Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall was a Jamaican-born British cultural theorist and a towering figure in post-war British intellectual life. A longstanding professor of Sociology at the Open University, Hall made his early mark as one of the founders, along with Richard Hoggart, of what became known as the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. His emphasis on approaching culture as a linguistic nexus operating within a powerful framework of power and ideology which constructed hegemonic social categories was foundational to the inception of British Cultural Studies. This approach, and his engagement with Foucault, led to his development of ‘Hall’s Theory’ of encoding and decoding, which emphasized the power of audience reception and the role of the media in shaping social attitudes on issues such as race and class. Best known for his many influential essays and collaborative volumes, many of which were linked either to the Birmingham School or to the Open University, he published his four-volume collaborative work The Formations of Modernity, Political and Economic Forms of Modernity, The Social and Cultural Forms of Modernity and Modernity and Its Futures with Polity.