Abstract: The authority and alterity figures in the title are associated with theoretical narratives preceding the developments of both Cultural Studies and Postmodern thinking in the 1960s and 1970s. The present paper sets itself the more reasonable task of clarifying some connections, filiations, and oppositions that are meant to shed some light on important developments in the parallel, sometimes interwoven narratives of these two sometimes friendly, sometimes inimical travelers, with a view to elucidating the meanings linked to them and to stressing their relevance to contemporary thinking about culture. It will become apparent that the description of the discursive practices and modes of inquiry, extending in both cultural space and time, naturally require evocations of both influential authority figures that paved the ground to and became influential in the two respective cultural projects, as well as instances when expressions of alterity are necessary to achieve that end. The stress, as it will become apparent, will be laid on definitions of Cultural Studies in what is here called “the Birmingham tradition.”
Keywords: cultural studies, indeterminacy, postmodernism, alterity figure, liberal humanism.