Cultural studies has generally organized itself around the opposition of high to low culture, reversing the traditional hierarchy of value, but leaving intact the polarity and the direct correlation of culture and class. Through detailed readings of the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Michel de Certeau, Stuart Hall, and Ernesto Laclau, John Frow challenges this key assumption. He argues that the field of culture now has multiple centres and multiple domains of value and that these are irreducible to a single scale. Intellectuals play the crucial role in the mediation of the cultural field; their possession of cultural capital endows intellectuals with specific class interests which are distinct from those of the classes of groups for whom they claim to speak.
Cultural Studies and Cultural Value seeks a revitalized and ‘poststructuralist’ account of social class, a basis from which cultural studies can effect a much-needed reorientation.