This paper examines the boundary and status of as well as issues surrounding ‘cultural studies’ (munhwaronjeok yeongu) as an interdisciplinary study and renewal of traditional literary studies. Basically, cultural studies is essentially inclusive and trans-disciplinary. Although cultural studies is in a particular proximity with other fields of research, it neither shares values with nor falls under major disciplines such as Korean literary studies (gungmunhak), Anglo-American cultural studies, or their tributaries including history of everyday life and micro-history. It observes and critically analyzes political aspects and structures of dominance reflected in cultural phenomena. Cultural studies has always been sensitive to ‘democracy from below’ and its culture, and sought ways to make intellectual action against commodification and marginalization of knowledge and cultural system. Until recently, this task has been fulfilled by studies of ‘cultural (munhwaronjeok) literary history,’ cultural history, or popular culture. This paper also outlines the methodology and perspective of cultural studies by discussing the issues and problems regarding texturalism and other theories. It also argues that the neo-liberalist ‘Regime’ has profound influence on interdisciplinary studies in terms of how Korean literary scholars and critics are employed or supported; the transformation in the writing process and the system of struggle for recognition; as well as governing our bodies and micro-relationships.
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