Stuart Hall is the leading figure in cultural studies today - no one else has had the same influence in the shaping of the field. This book is the first full-length study of Hall's work. It examines every aspect of his work and constitutes a major critical introduction and appraisal of Hall's contribution.
The book guides the reader through Hall's formative experience in Jamaica and Oxford. It examines the increasing politicization of his thought and his identification with emancipatory, socialist politics. In Birmingham, during his Directorship of the seminal Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Hall created a genuinely collaborative approach to the study of culture. In a series of dazzling publications in the 1970s, the Birmingham Centre changed the way in which social scientists think about culture. The book provides a complete guide to the debates and contribution of the Birmingham School. It explores Hall's relation with Marx, Gramsci, Althusser and a variety of traditions in continental sociology and philosophy.
In the 1980s Hall occupied the vanguard of criticism against Thatcherism and Reaganism. His passionate, principled attack on the New Right and his critique of authoritarian populism reached a readership well beyond the confines of the academy.
His later work has moved on to the terrain of hybridity, identity, Occidentalism, race relations. multiculturalism and the politics of difference. All of these areas are methodically explored in the book, making it the most complete study of Hall's work and significance. It will be required reading by students and lecturers in cultural studies, media studies and sociology.