Lawrence Grossberg (born December 3, 1947) is an American scholar of cultural studies and popular culture whose work focuses primarily on popular music and the politics of youth in the United States. He is widely known for his research in the philosophy of communication and culture. Though his scholarship focused significantly throughout the 1980s and early 1990s on the politics of postmodernism, his more recent work explores the possibilities and limitations of alternative and emergent formations of modernity.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Grossberg went to Stuyvesant High School. In 1968 he graduated summa cum laude in history and philosophy from the University of Rochester, where he studied with Hayden White. Afterwards, he trained under Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, England.
After two years of traveling through Europe with Les Treteaux Libres, a French-speaking theater company, Grossberg returned to the United States for doctoral studies in communication research (with James W. Carey) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There, he received a Ph.D. in speech communication in 1976. His doctoral dissertation, which he now largely repudiates, was entitled, Dialectical Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences. Grossberg taught briefly at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana (1975-1976), before returning to the University of Illinois as assistant professor of speech communication in 1976. At the University of Illinois he supported founding the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1982, and in 1990 achieved the rank of Professor of Speech Communication.
Currently, he is Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies and chair of the executive committee of the University Program in Cultural Studies at UNC.
His published books include It's a Sin: Essays on Postmodernism, Politics and Culture (1988), We Gotta Get Out Of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture (1992), Bringing it All Back Home: Essays on Cultural Studies (1997), Dancing in Spite of Myself: Essays in Popular Culture (1997), Caught in the Crossfire: Kids, Politics and America's Future (2005), and Cultural Studies in the Future Tense (2010). Grossberg is co-author of MediaMaking: Mass Media in a Popular Culture (2005) and About Raymond Williams (2010), and co-edited (with Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler) Cultural Studies. He has also published more than one hundred articles and essays. Grossberg serves on the editorial collective of Public Culture, among many other academic journals. He was also editor of the journal Cultural Studies from 1990 to 2019. His work, including a number of collections, has been translated into ten languages.
Grossberg has stated that Stuart Hall was the godfather to his only son.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Nelson, Cary (1988). Marxism and the interpretation of culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-01401-7.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Dervin, Brenda; Wartella, Ellen A.; O'Keefe, Brenda J. (1989). Rethinking communication, vol. I: paradigm issues. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. ISBN 978-0-8039-3029-2.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Dervin, Brenda; Wartella, Ellen A. (1989). Rethinking communication, vol. II: paradigm exemplars. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. ISBN 978-0-8039-3031-5.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (1989). It's a sin: essays on postmodernism, politics, and culture. Sydney: Power Publications. ISBN 978-0-909952-15-0.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Nelson, Cary; Treichler, Paula (1992). Cultural studies. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-90345-5.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (1992). We gotta get out of this place: popular Conservatism and postmodern culture. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-90330-1.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Firth, Simon; Goodwin, Andrew (1993). Sound and Vision: The music video reader. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-04-445605-6.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Hay, James; Wartella, Ellen A. (1996). The audience and its landscapes. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. ISBN 978-0-8133-2285-8.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (1997). Dancing in spite of myself: essays on popular culture. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-1917-7.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (1997). Bringing it all back home: essays on cultural studies. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-1916-0.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; McRobbie, Angela; Gilroy, Paul (2000). Without guarantees: in honour of Stuart Hall. London: Verso. ISBN 9781859842874.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Bennett, Tony; Meaghan, Morris (2005). New keywords: a revised vocabulary of culture and society. Malden: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-22569-0.
- Grossberg, Lawrence; Wartella, Ellen A.; Whitney, D. Charles; Wise, J. Mcgregor (2005). Media making: mass media in a popular culture (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. ISBN 978-0-7619-2543-9.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (2005). Caught in the crossfire: kids, politics, and America's future. Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59451-113-4.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (2010). Cultural studies in the future tense. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4830-6.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (2015). We All Want To Change The World. The Paradox of the US Left: A Polemic]. London: Lawrence & Wishart. ISBN 9781910448496.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (June 1986). "On postmodernism and articulation: an interview with Stuart Hall". Journal of Communication Inquiry. 10 (2): 45–60. doi:10.1177/019685998601000204. S2CID 143711821.
- Grossberg, Lawrence (June 1986). "History, politics and postmodernism: Stuart Hall and cultural studies". Journal of Communication Inquiry. 10 (2): 61–77. doi:10.1177/019685998601000205. S2CID 143469634.