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Rethinking the Youth Question

THE ACADEMIC ENTERPRISE that goes by the name of cultural studies is by now a global phenomenon. Its fortunes indeed have paralleled the transnational expansion of the entertainment industries from which its exponents draw so much of their material for interpretation, adopting as well the unargued assumption of success over “sunset” counterparts in the world marketplace, with university colleagues who still find value in some refined and disinterested standards of art generally playing the analogous part of the latter. Traditional criteria of distinction, it is confidently asserted when not simply assumed, dissolve before the synergies increasingly effected between books, television, films, pop music, software, and leisure products; sheer currency and contemporaneity become the chief criteria of interest, leading one unimpressed commentator to call cultural studies “the vanguard party of

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