On 'Telling Better

This article is part of a special issue on the impact and relevance of Lawrence Grossberg for Cultural Studies, which was based on a discussion panel about his work that I organized for the Association for Cultural Studies (ACS) conference in Shanghai, 2019.

Over the course of his forty-year career, Lawrence Grossberg has modeled a form of rigorous, politically engaged, radically contextual social research. Writing about Cultural Studies in the abstract, he has often characterized this work as, principally, about ‘telling better stories,’ and he attempts to tell them in his work on the contemporary conjuncture through analyses of political struggles in the United States. However, in a moment where calls for and claims of ‘better’ cultural stories abound on both the Left and the Right, what exactly does it mean for Cultural Studies to tell them better? I suggest we can locate attempts to grapple with Cultural Studies’ ‘better stories’ problem in the space between Grossberg’s conjunctural work and his work on the identity and future of Cultural Studies. Highlighting these efforts, I clarify what it means for Cultural Studies to assume the responsibility of telling better stories given the specific contours of the present context.

View this article at Cultural Studies