COMMUNITIES, ENVIRONMENTS AND CULTURAL STUDIES
Some ‘pessimism of the intellect’ is all the more in order given that cultural studies itself seems increasingly caught up in the pursuit of academic stature, in bending its applicability to increasingly rarefied exchanges of ‘high (postmodern) theory’ and away from generative strategies for intervention. Yet, just as Gramsci’s revolutionary is also afflicted with an ‘optimism of the will’, so too there seems to be little option for cultural theorists. We have to proceed with a belief that there are significant ways in which we can intervene, with the conviction that critiques of contemporary cultural and social practices can be so formulated as to issue in effective change, in the transformation of existing structures of power. Though we may tangle with the thickets of theory, we can avoid immiring ourselves in them. We can avoid losing sight of the issues which motivate our project, and without which cultural studies would remain more/mere academic exercise.