Think of a cultural phenomenon — a song, a film, a social media trend, a mass movement, a personal experience — any phenomenon. Now, imagine this phenomenon lies at an intersection; an intersection of multiple axes — of politics, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, psychology — and many more. It is this intersection that we understand as the conjuncture; the existence of a phenomenon amidst the social forces that shape it. We aim to facilitate a space for multimodal dialogue about cultural phenomena.
Cultural studies is often treated as simply analysing a cultural phenomenon, as though it is an isolated phenomenon. In many of his works, Lawrence (Larry) Grossberg, challenged the notion as such by proposing what is defined as conjunctural analysis. Conjunctural analysis requires a conversation across many different fields, and thereby putting a cultural phenomenon in its relation to broader discourses, institutions, and epistemes. The object of cultural studies, as he said, ‘is not television or even culture, the object of cultural studies is to understand the context’ from which hegemonic struggle between these forces is contested.
So, what the fuck is the conjuncture? How is it useful to understand contemporary culture? How can it exist outside of the academy? How do we practice it through the art? And how can this mode of inquiry sustain in the future? These are some questions, among many, that will be elaborated by Larry on this discussion.
The Conjuncture is a digital cultural publication focussing on the intersection between specific cultural events and broader social phenomena.