Dick Hebdige
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Dick Hebdige (born 1951) is an expatriate British
media theorist Media studies is a discipline (academia), discipline and field of study that deals with the content, history, and effects of various media (communication), media; in particular, the mass media. Media Studies may draw on traditions from both the soc ...
and sociologist, and a professor of art and media studies at the
University of California, Santa Barbara The University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a Public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara-Isla Vista, California. It is part of the Uni ...
. His work is commonly associated with the study of
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
s, and its resistance against the
mainstreamThe mainstream is the prevalent current thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, rea ...
of society. His current research interests include media topographies, desert studies, and performative criticism. Hebdige has written extensively on contemporary art, design, media and cultural studies, on mod style, reggae,
postmodernism Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of philosophical skepticism, skepticism toward what it describes as the meta-narrative, grand narratives and ideology, ideologies of modernism, as well as oppos ...
and style,
surrealism Surrealism was a that developed in Europe in the aftermath of in which artists depicted unnerving, illogical scenes and developed techniques to allow the to express itself. Its aim was, according to leader , to "resolve the previously contradi ...

surrealism
,
improvisation Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Improvisation in the performing arts is a very spontaneous performance without specific or scripted preparation. The skills of imp ...
, and
Takashi Murakami is a Japanese contemporary art Contemporary art is the art of today, produced in the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advan ...
. He has published three books: '' Subculture: The Meaning of Style'' (1979), ''Cut’n’mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music'' (1987), and ''Hiding in the Light: On images and Things'' (1988). From 1974 to 2016, he published over 57 essays and articles.


Early life and education

Hebdige received his
Master of Arts A Master of Arts ( la, Magister Artium or ''Artium Magister''; abbreviated MA or AM) is the holder of a master's degree A master's degree (from Latin ) is an academic degree awarded by University, universities or colleges upon completion of a ...
(MA) degree from the
Centre for Contemporary Cultural StudiesThe Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) was a research centre at the University of Birmingham A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recu ...
in
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can ...

Birmingham
,
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, and an
honorary degree An honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived all of the usual requirements. It is also known by the Latin phrases ''honoris causa'' ("for the sake of the honour") or ''ad hono ...
from
Goldsmiths, University of London Goldsmiths, University of London, is a public research university in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Th ...
(formerly known as Goldsmiths' College).


Professional career

Hebdige has been teaching at art schools since the mid-1970s. Since 1992, Hebdige has been working on arts administration, events planning, program development, and curriculum innovation first at CalArts (2001-2008), then at the
University of California, Santa Barbara The University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a Public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara-Isla Vista, California. It is part of the Uni ...
(UCSB) as director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center from 2005 and as co-director of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA). He served as the dean of critical studies and the director of the experimental writing program at the
California Institute of the Arts The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is a Private university, private Art school, art university in Santa Clarita, California. It was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the US created ...
before going to UCSB, where he is currently professor of film and media studies and art. In the UCSB art department, he is professor of "interdisciplinary/experimental Studies, (50% art, 50% film and media studies)." Hebdige is also a scholar in residence at the
University of Houston The University of Houston (U of H) is a Public university, public research university in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1927, U of H is the flagship institution of the University of Houston System and the List of universities in Texas by enrollment ...
where he has given multimedia lectures and performance series with the . In partnership with the Future Art Research Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, Hebdige launched UCIRA’s Desert Studies Project in 2009. The program, now run from UCSB, is "a pilot program in interdisciplinary arts-centered research, immersion pedagogy, and process curating," aiming to "integrate arts-based research and the production, performance and exhibition of artworks into Desert Studies." The project invites students, faculty, and the public to make art that is "immersive" in the desert in multiple ways.


Major publications

Hebdige's 1979 book '' Subculture: The Meaning of Style'' was written between 1977 and 1978 amid the unfolding of
punk Punk or punks may refer to: Genres, subculture, and related aspects * Punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1 ...
in the United Kingdom. Hebdige, in his mid-twenties at the time, had just graduated with a Master of Arts degree from Birmingham University’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). At this time, the domain of
cultural studies #REDIRECT Cultural studies #REDIRECT Cultural studies#REDIRECT Cultural studies Cultural studies is a field of theoretically, politically, and empirically engaged cultural analysis that concentrates upon the political dynamics of contemporary cul ...
was just emerging. ''Subculture'' was commissioned by University of Cardiff English professor and editor, Terence Hawkes, as part of a series published by
MethuenMethuen may refer to: *Methuen (surname) *Methuen, Massachusetts, a U.S. city **Methuen High School **Methuen Mall *Baron Methuen, a British title of nobility *Methuen Cove, South Orkney Islands *Methuen Publishing, Methuen & Co. Ltd., a British pu ...
called ''New Accents'' (aimed at introducing theoretical and interpretive approaches to English literature students). The commission was an opportunity for Hebdige to continue graduate work on developing a contextual, culturalist model of
youth culture Culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the indiv ...
and
consumption Consumption may refer to: *Resource consumption *Tuberculosis, an infectious disease, historically in biology: * Consumption (ecology), receipt of energy by consuming other organisms in social sciences: * Consumption (economics), the purchasing of ...
. Specifically, linking the concerns of youth culture, consumption, and the politics of
insubordination Insubordination is the act of willfully disobeying an order of one's superior. Insubordination is generally a punishable offense in hierarchical organizations which depend on people lower in the chain of command doing what they are expected to ...
to debates within
aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of m ...

aesthetics
,
semiotics Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the study of sign processes (semiosis Semiosis (, ), or sign process, is any form of activity Activity may refer to: * Action (philosophy), in general * Human activity: human behavior, in sociology ...

semiotics
, and poststructuralism. Hebdige states that “the aspiration was to blur the line between specialized, discipline-embedded academic and intellectually curious subcultural, non-academic readerships.” The book serves as a mirror of
bricolage In the arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an ...
subculture, with “do-it-yourself bricolaged theory for do-it-yourself bricolaged subculture.” Whereas previous research was concerned with the relation between subcultures and social class in postwar Britain, Hebdige saw youth cultures in terms of a dialogue between black and white youth. He argues that punk emerged as a mainly white style when black youth became more separatist in the 1970s in response to discrimination in British society. Previous research described a homology between the different aspects of a subcultural style (dress, hairstyle, music, drugs), while Hebdige argues that punk in London in 1976-77 borrowed from all previous subcultures and its only homology was chaos. In making this argument, he draws on the early work of
Julia Kristeva Julia Kristeva (; born Yuliya Stoyanova Krasteva, bg, Юлия Стоянова Кръстева; on 24 June 1941) is a Bulgarians in France, Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, semiotics, semiotician, psychoanalysis, psychoanalyst, ...

Julia Kristeva
who also found such subversion of meaning in French poets such as Mallarmé and Lautréamont. Hebdige’s 1987 book ''Cut’n’Mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music'' focuses on the music of the Caribbean including
calypso Calypso refers to: *Calypso (mythology), a nymph who, famously in Homer's ''Odyssey'', kept Odysseus with her on her island of Ogygia for seven years. *Calypso (nymphs), other nymphs called Calypso. Calypso may also refer to: Places *Calypso ...
,
ska Ska (; ) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although i ...

ska
,
reggae Reggae () is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

reggae
, and Caribbean club culture. ''Cut’n’Mix'' traces the roots of this music and describes the style and cultural identity that have developed alongside it. Specifically, the book addresses the African and Caribbean roots of the music in relation to religion and the myth and importance of rhythm, the music of
Trinidad Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the and is known for its fossil- ...

Trinidad
, the story of reggae, the musical and spiritual inheritance of
Rastafari Rastafari, also known as the Rastafari movement or Rastafarianism, is a that developed in during the 1930s. It is classified as both a and a by . There is no central authority in control of the movement and much diversity exists among prac ...

Rastafari
, the Jamaican record industry, and the scene of black British reggae, white Jamaican music, Two Tone, and the legacy of punk. Hebdige’s 1988 book ''Hiding in the Light: On Images and Things'' is a collection of essays examining the creation and consumption of objects and images, including fashion and documentary photographs, 1950s streamlined cars, Italian motor scooters, 1980s style manuals, Biff cartoons, the Band Aid campaign, , and pop music videos. Hebdige considers their cultural significance and impact on popular taste within the framework of
modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period (the modern era) and the ensemble of particular socio-cultural norms, attitudes and practices that arose in the wake of the Renaissance The Renaissance ...
,
postmodernity Postmodernity (post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is the economic or cultural state or condition of society which is said to exist ''after'' modernity. Some schools of thought hold that modernity ended in the late 20th century – in the ...
, and
popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and ...
: “The wider questions raised in these debates are addressed throughout this book, but the stress falls on the ‘thing itself’ – and the author concludes that it is only by grounding our analysis in the study of ''particular'' images and objects that we can counteract the limitations of semiotics, mass culture theory and the vertigo of postmodernism.”


Thought

In interviews, Hebdige often challenges typical expectations and depictions of his role in academia. He has also spoken out about the division between his work as a writer and his job as a professor and lecturer, saying: “I tend to separate my writing – most of it for the last twenty years for art catalogs – from the teaching and other University work so that the conventional research component of what I do is in effect detached from my daily life in the academy. For instance I’ve never taught a class on youth subculture though as an academic I’m identified almost exclusively with that topic because of a book I wrote more than 30 years ago.”What Counts with Hibbert-Jones (UCSC) and Hebdige (UCSB)
. University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA). Accessed 14 March 2017.


Publications


Publications by Hebdige

*'' Subculture: The Meaning of Style.'' London & New York:
Routledge Routledge () is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a so ...
, 1979. *''Cut‘n’Mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music.'' London & New York: Routledge, 1987. *''Hiding in the Light: On Images and Things. ''London & New York: Routledge, 1988.


Publications with contributions by Hebdige

*''Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture.'' Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press The MIT Press is a university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the ...
, 2008. Edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a.
DJ Spooky Paul Dennis Miller (born September 6, 1970), known professionally as DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid, is an American electronic and experimental hip hop Hip hop or hip-hop is a culture and art movement that was created by African Americans, ...

DJ Spooky
. . Hebdige contributed a chapter.


References


External links


"Dick Hebdige: Unplugged and Greased Back" by Timothy Dugdale (2004)Stuart Hall Interview: Professor Dick HebdigeCritic in Residence: Dick Hebdige
(audio podcast/video #51) {{DEFAULTSORT:Hebdige, Dick 1951 births
Living people Related categories * :Year of birth missing (living people) / :Year of birth unknown * :Date of birth missing (living people) / :Date of birth unknown * :Place of birth missing (living people) / :Place of birth unknown * :Year of death mi ...
Mass media theorists British sociologists