“Doing” cultural studies: Chua Beng Huat on popular culture.
ABSTRACT Focussing on the relationship between Chua Beng Huat’s sociological thinking before the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies project and his more recent famous works on consumption and popular culture, this essay seeks to understand how he has produced a methodology and a mode of authority that is effective for the context he inhabits in Singapore as well as resonant for scholars working elsewhere. After discussing his interest in large rather than ‘cult’ popular cultures, his emphasis on the detail of government processes as well as popular practices, his economically-grounded concept of consumption and his materialist approach to texts, I read his work on ‘nostalgia for the kampung’ as modelling an Inter-Asian way of doing Cultural Studies that helps us ask questions and develop concepts for our own local contexts.
KEYWORDS: popular culture; consumption; housing; governmentality; textuality; nostalgia.
Note on the contributor
Meaghan Morris is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. Her books include Too Soon, Too Late: History in Popular Culture (1998); Hong Kong Connections: Transnational Imagination in Action Cinema (co-ed. 2005); Identity Anecdotes: Translation and Media Culture (2006) and Creativity and Academic Activism: Instituting Cultural Studies (co-ed. 2012). Prof Morris is a former Chair of the international Association for Cultural Studies, and former Chair of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society.