Entertainment: An interdisciplinary approach to an object of study

Between 2007 and 2010 the three authors of this article were part of an interfaculty team that developed the study area of ‘Entertainment Industries’ at Queensland University of Technology. We worked with staff from three Faculties – Creative Industries, Business and Law – to put together a program which trains students to work as Entertainment producers. Producers are the people working in the Entertainment Industries who combine business, creative and legal skills in order to initiate, develop, fund, run and distribute entertainment products (Collis et al, 2010) Ben Hamley’s home discipline was originally Technical Production, and later Business; Alan McKee came from Film and Television; Christy Collis is trained in Cultural Geography and Media Studies – although all three of us have found a reasonably comfortable home in the area of Cultural Studies. In developing Entertainment Industries, we found that we had to expand our research ambit beyond the disciplines with which we were familiar – even given the fact that we have all ended up associated with the interdisciplinary area of Cultural Studies. This expansion occurred for two key reasons: first, there exist significant bodies of research on entertainment in Business, Law, and Psychology; and second, while Cultural Studies scholarship featured a great deal of discussion of ‘popular culture’ products, it did not feature much material on entertainment as a larger system of culture and cultural production. In extending our research into what were for us new disciplinary areas, we found that the under-recognition of such Business, Law, and Psychology scholarship in Cultural Studies entertainment research raised interesting questions about the nature of Cultural Studies – in particular the components of its interdisciplinary mix.


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