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 also 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 is editor of the journal Cultural Studies, and has served in that capacity since 1990. He also serves on the editorial collective of Public Culture among many other academic journals.
His work, including a number of collections, has been translated into ten languages.