Contemporary cultural studies are a diverse and sometimes contradictory collection of theories and thoughts, which aim to guide readers to a more universal understanding of a cultural artifact. But inherent in the aim to discover, or make more clear, the “universal” are logical fallacies that many authors attempt to hide through the incorporation of physical science. However, by employing interdisciplinary modes of analysis to particular texts to create a unified community of thought, many authors overlook the cultural critiques that inspired their original research questions.
In the case of Introduction Cognitive Cultural Studies, the editor has compiled a series of articles that if read only for their cultural analysis could be considered somewhat contradictory and therefore unrepresentative of the discipline. But because the collection of authors unifies around notions of the workings of the human mind and its ability to understand and interpret artifacts, those inconsistencies are overlooked.
The books editor, Lisa Zunshine, makes clear that the perspectives of the included authors are unique to one another. However, much of the cognitive work incorporated in the text is based largely on the writing of Raymond Williams, an early cultural critic of the impact of television. That said, the intervening decades have produced a wealth of physical science and philosophical theory that was labeled as post-structural – or as we might think of it, post-Williams.
Indeed, many of Zunshine’s fellow authors consider themselves post-structural (post-modern) or something else. It is in the authors self-description that we can begin to better evaluate the nature of the ongoing value of cognitive science as an extension of cultural criticism.