cultural studies

Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network by Caroline Levine

The final chapter of Caroline Levine’s Forms begins by asking what the formalist cultural studies of the future might look like. Levine’s answer: “it could look something like David Simon’s superb television series, The Wire.” Notice, not like an analysis of The Wire but like The Wire itself, which Levine goes on to treat as an exemplary “theorization of the social” (133). Rather than analyze the show’s most sympathetic characters, she says, the formalist critic might do better to emulate their “canny formalism” (150).