Rereading Stuart Hall ("Encoding/Decoding") last week, I was struck by this passage:
We identify three hypothetical positions from which decodings of a televisual discourse may be constructed. These need to be empirically tested and refined.
The social science orientation of Birmingham-school cultural studies is not entirely forgotten - the mass-comm side of the School of Communications I'm housed in, for instance, fully inhabits it. But the passage was a surprise to me because for film studies, humanities-oriented TV studies, and much of what is called "cultural studies" in English departments across the US, the sociology gets written out of the cultural studies approach. It gets written out because the American cultural studies approach does not see itself as doing empiricial work, since "cultural studies" becomes generalized to a hermeneutic, a reading sensibility, but also it gets written because certain of the intellectual touchstones of the Birmingham school get played up (Raymond Williams, Althusser) while others get downplayed (Garfinkel, social-theorist Habermas).