'This is the most lucid and engaged account of Stuart Hall's work. Meticulously, and with an exemplary generosity, Helen Davis patiently unravels the threads of Hall's intellectual history. The result is a most useful and thoughtful book, which could prove to be indispensable for students of cultural studies' - Graeme Turner, University of Queensland Understanding Stuart Hall traces the development of one of the most influential and respected figures within cultural studies. Focusing on Stuart Hall's writings over a period of nearly fifty years, this volume offers students and academics a cogent and exploratory route through complex and overlapping areas of analysis. In her critical assessment of Hall's most important contributions to academic and public debate, Davis shows the extent to which his analyses of race and ethnicity have been informed by early studies of Marxism, class and 'societies structured in dominance'. Davis offers fresh insight into the formation of one of the most prolific, charismatic and controversial intellectuals of his generation. Despite having been branded a 'cultural pessimist', Stuart Hall has long been associated with encouraging new, cutting-edge scholarship within the field. This volume concludes with a discussion of Hall's most recent political and academic interventions and his continuing commitment to innovation within the visual arts.

A Deadly Serious Matter

A deadly serious matter

I come back to the deadly seriousness of intellectual work (Hall, quoted in Morley and Chen, 1996: 274)


In this chapter we will look at Hall's early experiences at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham. In particular, we will focus on the innovative studies of culture undertaken by Hall and his colleagues at this time, and consider the significance of their approach to European philosophers and theorists. This marked a particular break from established theories of mass communication, and paved the way forward for an eclectic and productive engagement with ideas around culture, politics and society.

Early Days at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies

The three years from 1964 to 1967 were hectic and productive. Though it was ...

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