Thus, at one and the same time, Thatcherism was a crass, bullying project favouring the rich and appealing to rather primitive conservative notions of whiteness, nationhood, and domestic-familial authority. So there were elements of a radical new social settlement in Thatcherism as well as a summoning-up of worlds the English had lost.
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New societal constituencies were being produced as well as older enmities. Correspondingly, no adequate Left counter-imaginary, for Hall, could be based on simple reversals of these new discursive elements, unproblematically reproducing all the old nostalgic verities, whether in terms of good old Labour paternalism or proletarian revolution.
Some socialist critics felt this was getting all too complicated, giving too much credit to the popularity and populism of Thatcherite gambits, and in effect undermining the potential for collectivist unity. That his own distinctive pathway and persona were due in part to his Jamaican, Black, post-colonial formation seemed obvious enough. But there were many ways in which its effects and measure were not obvious at all.
Thus it could involve rhetorical contestations such as Black is beautiful, black power, and the argument that all peoples of colour are politically Black. The final dialectical paradox, however, is that even as Stuart Hall pronounced on these issues, he always cast them in a way that was open to all, and in ways that were typically received as generous and solidaristic.
In his radiant company at least, it was always a matter of sameness-in-difference. A thoughtful and much appreciated piece, Gregor. I think his ideas have not been focused on enough in the tributes that have followed his death, or for that matter the people whose thinking he also facilitated. This article touched my deepest fibers. A moving and beautifully explained sense of what Stuart meant to us personally and to our thoughts and understanding.
I for one plundered that four volume series on Modernity he co-edited for the OU! I agree with this sentiment, but how difficult is it to reconcile this observation with the necessary and far from facile task of heading a school at a prestigious university which, albeit inevitably, succumbs and perpetuates these very values? One testament to the power of that course is that it ran for more than its alloted 10 year cycle; more importantly, the ideas in it continuted to resonate even if the cases or examples had dated a lot.
Remarkably, the story of the Sony walkman was still re-published in a new edition by Sage only 2 or so years ago, when it feels like the Walkman itself belongs to another era [or maybe epoch]. The circuit of culture as a teaching device is something that many courses have tried to find an analogue for ever since. The teaching and intellectual contribution extends far beyond this but its good to see it explained….
Stuart Hall Workshop - Marx on Method, Hall on Theory
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Gregor McLennan, University of Bristol Seldom can such glowing tributes have been paid to a social scientist than to Professor Stuart Hall on the occasion of his death in February.
Dialectics personified To answer this, I find myself reaching for a rather old-fashioned, almost absurdly abstract term: dialectics. Politics and pedagogy Neither is it quite right to think of Stuart Hall as an academic as such. Cultural Studies and Sociology What about the at times vexatious relationship between cultural studies and sociology, the two subjects he most obviously professed? Three Linked Interventions Stuart Hall contributed many specific ideas and studies that have proved extremely fruitful to social scientists, often developed in a cumulative, slow-burn way. Les Back.
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