Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies

The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) was a research centre at the University of Birmingham, England. It was founded in 1964 by Richard Hoggart, its first director.[1] From 1964 to 2002, the Centre played a "critical"[2] role in developing the field of cultural studies.


The Centre was the focus for what became known as the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies, or, more generally, 'British cultural studies'. After its first director, Richard Hoggart departed in 1968, the Centre was led by Stuart Hall (1969–1979). He was succeeded by Richard Johnson (1980–1987). The Birmingham CCCS approach to culture and politics evolved from a complex moment within British post-war history: the rise of the anti-Stalinist New Left; the promotion of adult education in Britain after World War II; the "Americanization" of British popular culture and the growth of mass communication in the decades after 1945; the growing multiculturalism of British society; and, the eventual influence within British academia of new critical methods like semiotics and structuralism.[3][4] Drawing on a variety of influences (feminism, structuralism, Marxism — especially the work of Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci, sociology, critical race theory, and post-structuralism), over the course of several decades the Centre pioneered a variety of approaches to the study of culture, including: ideological analysis; studies of working-class cultures and subcultures; the role of media audiences; feminist cultural research; hegemonic struggles in state politics; and the place of race in social and cultural processes.[5] Notable Centre books include Off-Centre: Feminism and Cultural Studies,[6] Resistance through Rituals,[7] The Empire Strikes Back,[8] Border Patrols: Policing the Boundaries of Heterosexuality.[9] The history of this development can be found in the series of stencilled occasional papers the Centre published between 1973 and 1988.[10] To mark the 50th anniversary of the CCCS's founding, the University of Birmingham—in collaboration with former members of staff at the Centre, including Richard Johnson, an archive of CCCS-related material at the Cadbury Research Library at Birmingham.