This comprehensive book provides an indispensable introduction to the most significant figures in contemporary social theory. Grounded strongly in the European tradition, the profiles include Michel Foucault, J[um]urgen Habermas, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Pierre Bourdieu, Zygmunt Bauman, Martin Heidegger, Frederic Jameson, Richard Rorty, Nancy Chodorow, Anthony Giddens, Stuart Hall, Luce Irigaray and Donna Haraway. In guiding students through the key figures in an accessible and authoritative fashion, the book provides detailed accounts of the development of the work of major social theorists and charts the relationship between different traditions of social, cultural and political thought.

Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall

Biographical Details and Theoretical Context

What are the chief theoretical achievements of Stuart Hall? He manoeuvred ‘culture’ to the head of the agenda in the academic study of society; he brokered a synthesis between the Gramscian and Althusserian traditions which has been immensely influential in cultural studies and cultural sociology; he cultivated and refined Gramsci's concept of the ‘organic intellectual’ and provided an important role-model for public intellectuals; and he persuaded the left to reassess its relationship with the history and politics of class by declaring ‘new times’ and the rise of ‘the politics of difference’.

The verbs ‘to manoeuvre’, ‘to cultivate’, ‘to broker’ and ‘to persuade’, suggest a political creature. No assessment of Hall will suffice unless it mentions his quality as a ...

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