This article looks at social theory and cultural studies as the two types of interdisciplinary approach now dominating the intellectual scene in the social sciences and the humanities. It is very often argued that both social theory and cultural studies have reached an impasse and that their problems cannot be solved with the help of traditionally conceived general theories or the fragmentary approaches promoted by postmodern social theory and cultural studies. The origin of both fields lies in the classical philosophical and sociological analyses of industrial societies. The article therefore aims at answering the questions: what general theoretical influences have shaped the development of social theory and cultural studies and how have they affected and transformed the meanings of their key concepts? Modern social theory (connected with the Parsonsian programme) and the original project behind British cultural studies are taken as the key points of reference for the description of the changing nature of the two disciplines. Special attention is paid to the problems of the construction of theoretical models and general schemes in social theory and to the problems of identity construction in cultural studies.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.