Stuart Hall

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Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies- Stuart Hall

the following write up on Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies is by Rinu Dina John ------------------
Stuart Hall is one of the most influential figures in cultural studies. He was part of the time when cultural studies was originated as an academic discourse or discipline. In this essay he questions the seriousness with which this discourse is engaged with a personal version of the history of the cultural studies. According to Hall cultural studies emerged as a disciple out of the 1950s disintegration of classical Marxism and its thesis that the economic base has a determining effect on the cultural superstructure. He speaks of two interruptions that the trajectories of cultural studies faced namely feminism and racism. But what is stable in cultural studies is the conjunctional knowledge based on the idea of Gramsci. It means knowledge situated in and applicable to, specific and immediate political/historical circumstances. In addition, the awareness that the structure of representations which forms culture’s alphabet and grammar are instruments of social power requiring critical examination. What he does is to trace the history of the development of cultural studies. He does it by referring to some theoretical legacies, namely the New Left and some theoretical moments, namely Racism and Feminism According to Hall cultural studies has a discursive formation in Foucault’s sense. It means it has no single origin. It is a multiple discourse and has many histories. It is always a set of unstable formation. It has ‘centre’ only in quotation. It has many trajectories. It does not mean it is not a organised or policed disciplinary area. It means cultural studies refuse to be a meta narrative. It is a project that is open to that which it does not know. But at the same time just because there is no fixed centre doesn’t mean that there is no possibility of taking a particular position and arguing...
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