Critical theory, political economy, and Marxism, oh my!

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post but it made me laugh when all I want to do is pull my hair out...


“What does a ‘political economy’ approach to study of the Creative and Cultural Industries involve?  What are its advantages and disadvantages?”   (word limit: 5,000)

What, I ask you, did I do to deserve such punishment? Political what now? I’m not even sure if I am reading English, though it is far better than one of the alternatives:  “What is cultural hegemony?  Is it ubiquitous and insurmountable?” Huh?

I’ll tell you what is insurmountable — this essay! I am up to my eyeballs in textbooks grappling with the delicate issues of critical theory and analysis in relation to the cultural industries, economies, and all sorts a fancy crap that is going way over my little writer’s head. I write stories. I try to avoid politics and complicated theoretical stuff at all costs. Sigh.

When I was in high school I loved the sciences. I adored balancing chemical equations and had a perverse affinity for the Periodic Table. I could tell you all about the process of osmosis and enjoyed rolling “deoxyribonucleic acid” off my tongue. Science I can handle. English Literature I can handle. Heck, I’m not even too bad at math…

But this? Ideological hocus pocus? It surpasses me. Just… can’t… get it.

And it isn’t for lack of trying — I keep reading and reading and the more I read, the dumber I feel! Lol. It is truly a cruel joke.

So I’ve emailed the tutor for a desperate sit down session so that I can somehow grasp these utterly foreign concepts. I have a deadline on the 23rd and all I have so far is a stark blank Word document and a splitting headache.

Anyone out there in cyberworld have a clue about any of this?? Honestly, I can’t be the only one mystified by this… can I?

9 thoughts on “Critical theory, political economy, and Marxism, oh my!

  1. Well, science often gives me creases on my forehead, but culture, any sort of culture, is a pleasant swim on a hot afternoon. Go down to the basics, Hegemony = dominance. Thus, I would recommend you lean towards insurmountable. You could argue, media, image, keeping up with the Jones, is an ubiquitous. But ask yourself, ‘is it?’ If it wasn’t a bit aggressive, women wouldn’t be starving themselves and going under the knife in droves for ‘image.’ Nor would you have people breaking their family-bonds for more overtime at the office if they weren’t trying to capture that all-American dream. And if you put this into political scenarios: think about the images of Korean mourners, think Nazism, think Radicalistic Governments the world-wide, think Animal Farm, and you still end up with the heavy-hand-of-hegemony. (You can use the heavy-hand, bit in your essay if you want.)


  2. Hello Again, glad if I could be some help… I just grabbed my B.A. in Cultural Geography in 2007, then moved to Canada for love. …hoping to move back if Mitt doesn’t get elected (smiles).
    I’m all new to this blogging thing and I’d actually like to shift into a cultural geog. type of feel, but much of my extended family in the States have been in a panic over “End Times.” (What’s been going on while I’ve been gone? Is this one of those new distractions to panic over, being driven into the masses or just broadcast from Fox news?) And since it is those people that will be reading my blog to start with, I thought I’d throw in some simple concepts to get started. ‘Best of Luck’ on your essay.

    • I really appreciate your insight! 🙂 Do you have anymore thoughts on political economy in relation to culture? This essay is just killing me…

  3. Well, for starters, I believe we don’t have socialized healthcare in the U.S. because the fear of “socialism” that has been formated through our media, has painted a universial health system as a bad thing. (A fear of socialism implemented during the cold war is a cultural phenomenon that has affect our political economy as well.) In Canada, where I live currently, there is a strong pride in their universal health care system, but in the U.S. it’s painted to be Canada’s “down-fall” which is simply not the case. Furthermore, you have the republican party that is undeniably tapped into the “christian values” market for political and financial gain, considering the “care of Israel” is a substancial part of our government budget. I am sure with your creative mind you can see all sorts of way that ones values, influences, customs, histories, and other cultural characteristics have afftected the political landscape of our nation.

    • Thanks again, you should really teach this stuff – you make it much more digestible than my teacher did. Yet with my creative mind I am still struggling… I have never been this thrown by an essay before in my life! I am trying to go with a glimpse into the media specifically the television and film industries but it is like pulling teeth! Don’t get me wrong, I find it so interesting and have really gotten into the reading but putting it all into my own words and using concrete arguments with academic sources to sound like I actually know what I’m talking about is proving next to impossible! Can’t bullshit my way out of this one, lol. Sigh. Such is life….

  4. You’ll do alright…. media influence is a broad place to grab from. Perhaps, look for the themes that you do find in your reading and get on your soap box from there. Good Luck! Funny, I actually miss the research until 3am followed by the sourcing until I have to wake up the kids to get them on school on time and barely getting the paper printed in time for the 10am class. Oh the good ol’ days 🙂

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