Stuart Hall 1932 – 2014 : Think, Debate and Get off your Backside


Stuart Hall

We’ve mentioned Stuart Hall a couple of times in recent years, noting how his intellectual work influenced at least some corners of the youth work world. Memorably Sue Atkins recollected his importance in her personal and working life.

Encounters with Stuart have punctuated my life – from 1958 on the CND march – through 59/60 at the Partisan in Soho – ( he was apparently one of the initiators and New Left Review had an office upstairs) through to 1966 when he delivered a lecture at the end of my one year course at National College – which made me think why did I bother with the rest of the course THIS man has put it all into context and it was all I needed – to 67/68 the work I did for the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants – to ’78 when he came to the Hub in Sheffield for a conference we had organised ( probably the first genuine inter-disciplinary piece of youth work ) when he talked about, among other things,  the context of black young people and the police – winning the battles was not the same as winning the war – and the blade of racism slicing through society – young people at the cutting edge – then all the work he did with the BBC and Open University creating the MOST challenging and accessible programmes on video and schools TV and of course his writings and editing – the list is endless.

Sadly he died on Monday and we lost a towering figure, who refused to abandon a belief in the common good and a vision of a just and democratic society. Lately a number of people have commented that they had known little about him. The following links fill out the story of his life.

Stuart Hall obituary

Stuart Hall – a class warrior and class act

Think, Debate and get off your backside

And one of the last pieces he wrote, as ever in collaboration, ‘Common-sense Neoliberalism’ is well worth some time and effort.

Common-sense Neoliberalism [pdf].

Speaking of the dominance of neoliberalism elsewhere he warns us though against throwing in the towel, accepting somehow that what is marks the end of history.

No project achieves ‘hegemony’ as a completed project. It is a process, not a state of being.No victories are permanent or final. Hegemony has constantly to be ‘worked on’, maintained, renewed, revised. Excluded social forces, whose consent has not been won, whose interests have not been taken into account, form the basis of counter-movements, resistance, alternative strategies and visions … and the struggle over a hegemonic system starts anew. They constitute what Raymond Williams called ‘the emergent’ – and are the reason why history is never closed but maintains an open horizon towards the future.

Thanks to Sue Atkins for the link to this discussion about the influence of Hall on a group of black, feminists, activists and intellectuals.

Meeting Stuart Hall – we are here because he was there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.