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Cultural Studies By: Stuart Hall

Submitted to: Ms Annabelle K. Mercado Submitted by: Ralston Jirah V. Dohello Jessa Marie Faustino Francelle Rongavilla

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall

Table of Contents
Biography of Stuart Hall Theory Content Analysis Summary Application Critique 10 13 14 3 6

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall

Biograpy of Stuart Hall Stuart Hall was born in Kingston, Jamaica a British Colony on February 3, 1932. He is a cultural theorist and sociologist who has lived and worked in the United Kingdom since 1951. Hall, along with Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies or The Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. He was President of the British Sociological Association1995-1997. At the invitation of Hoggart, Hall joined the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University in 1964. Hall took over from Hoggart as director of the Centre in 1968, and remained there until 1979. While at the Centre, Hall is credited with playing a role in expanding the scope of cultural studies to deal with race and gender, and with helping to incorporate new ideas derived from the work of French theorists. Hall left the centre in 1979 to become a professor of sociology at the Open University. Hall retired from the Open University in 1997 and is now a Professor Emeritus. British newspaper The Observer called him "one of the country's leading cultural theorists". He is married to Catherine Hall, a feminist professor of modern British history at University College London.

Stuart Hall was born into a middle-class Jamaican family of Indian and British descent. In Jamaica he attended a primary school modeled after the British primary school system. In an interview Hall describes himself as a "bright, promising scholar" in these years and his formal education as "a very 'classical' education; very good but in very formal academic terms." With the help of sympathetic teachers, Hall expanded his education to include "T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Freud, Marx, Lenin and some of the surrounding literature and modern poetry," as well as "Caribbean literature. In 1951 Hall moved to England as part of the Wind rush generation, the first large-scale immigration of West Indians, as that community was then known. He won a Rhodes Scholarship to Merton College at the University of Oxford, where he obtained an M.A..

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall

In the 1950 and 60s, after working on the Universities and Left Review, Hall joined E. P. Thompson, Raymond Williams and others to launch the New Left Review in the wake of the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary (which saw many thousands of members leave the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and look for alternatives to previous orthodoxies). The same group, with Raphael Samuel, launched the Partisan Coffee House in Soho as a meeting-place for left-wingers.[8] Hall's career took off after co-writing The Popular Arts with Paddy Whannel in 1964. As a direct result, Richard Hoggart invited Hall to join the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham. In 1968 Hall became director of the Centre. He wrote a number of influential articles in the years that followed, including Situating Marx: Evaluations and Departures (1972) and Encoding and Decoding in the Television

Discourse (1973). He also contributed to the book Policing the Crisis (1978) and co edited the influential Resistance Through Rituals (1975). After his appointment as a professor of sociology at the Open University in 1979, Hall published further influential books, including The Hard Road to Renewal (1988), Formations of Modernity (1992), Questions of Cultural Identity (1996) and Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (1997). He retired from the Open University in 1997. Hall received the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award in 2008. Hall's work covers issues of hegemony and cultural studies, taking a postGramscian stance. He regards language-use as operating view within a framework people

of power, institutions and




as producers and consumers of culture at the same time. (Hegemony, in Gramscian theory, refers to the cultural production of "consent" as opposed to "coercion".) For Hall, culture is not something to simply appreciate or study, but a "critical site of social action and intervention, where power relations are both established and potentially unsettled."[9] Hall has become one of the main proponents of reception theory, and developed Hall's Theory of encoding and decoding. This approach to textual analysis focuses on the scope for negotiation and opposition on the part of the audience. This means that the audience does not simply passively accept a text social control. Crime statistics, in Hall's view, are often manipulated
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for political and economic purposes. Moral panics (e.g. over mugging) could thereby be ignited in order to create public support for the need to "police the crisis". The media play a central role in the "social production of news" in order to reap the rewards of lurid crime stories.[10] His works such as studies showing the link between racial prejudice and media have a reputation as influential, and serve as important foundational texts for contemporary cultural studies. Hall has also widely discussed notions of cultural identity, race and ethnicity, particularly in the creation of the politics of Black Diasporic identities. Hall believes identity to be affected by history and culture, rather than a finished products, he sees it as ongoing production. Hall's political influence extended to the Labor Party, perhaps related to the influential articles he wrote for the CPGB's theoretical journal Marxism Today (MT) which challenged the left's views of markets and general organizational and political conservatism. This discourse had a profound impact on the Labor Party under both Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair.

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall

Theory Content I Introduction

Cultural Studies is a Neo Marxist critique that sets forth the position that mass media manufacture consent for dominant ideologies. Cultural Studies picks up where semiotics leaves off. At the time when amateur semiologists were battling it out around tree trunks with yellow and black ribbons, a similar yet much larger conflict was being waged on television, through print, and in the minds of the media consumers. This media war was ideological, fought on both sides with formidable weapons of propaganda, live coverage, nationalism and censorship. Although Cultural studies theorists select different communication topics to study, they are similar in that all are heavily influenced by a Marxist Interpretation of society, which is suspicious of any analysis that ignores power relationships. Theorists like Hall take Marx Epitaph as mission statement for their work: The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. The change that hall and most critical theorists want to accomplish is to empower people who are on margins of society, people who have little say in the direction of their lives and who are scrambling just to survive. II The Media as Powerful Ideological Tools

Hall believes the mass media maintain the dominance of those already in position of power. Conversely, the media exploit the poor and powerless. Hall charges the field of communication to be stubbornly sociologically innocent. Non critical researchers represent their works as pure science with no presupposition, but every media theory by its very nature has ideological content. Ideology - Frameworks through which we interpret, understand and make sense of some aspect of social existence. As a mainstream mass communication research in the United States, Hall believes that it serves as the myth of democratic pluralism the pretense that society is held together by common norms, including equal opportunity, respect for diversity, one person vote, individual rights and rule of law. The usual finding that media messages have little effect celebrates the political claim that democracy works. Hall claims that typical research on individual voting behavior, brand loyalty, or response to dramatic violence fails to uncover the struggles that the media mask. Therefore, Hall refer to his as Cultural studies rather than media studies and in the decade of the 1970s, he directed the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham. Under Hall, the
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staff and graduate students at CCCS sought articulate their perception of the cultural struggle between the haves and the have nots. Hall uses the term articulate in the dual sense of speaking out on oppression and linking that subjugation with communication media because they provide terrain where meaning is shape. Articulate - The process of speaking out on oppression and linking that subjugation with the media representations; the work of cultural studies. III Early Cultural Critics

Cultural Studies is a complex movement. Hall has tapped into the economic determinism of Marxist scholars from the Frankfurt School, the deep textual analysis of semiotics, and philosophical/linguistic critique of French theorist. By the end of World War II, it was clear that the revolt of the proletariat that Marx had predicted wasnt producing egalitarian societies free of oppression. Nor were the dominant capitalist economies of the world deteriorating. Proletariat - The laboring class who lack capital or means of production so must sell their labor to live. Frankfurt School Theorist were the first to take up the question. They argued that the working classes had not yet revolted because corporate owned media were effective in tailoring messages that supported the capitalist system. Both news and entertainment media present a picture of the world in which capitalism is natural, eternal and unalterable. As rather orthodox Marxists, the Frankfurt School Theorist adhered to a hard line economic determinism. Economic Determinism - The belief that human behavior and relationships are ultimately caused by a difference in financial resources and the disparity in power that those gaps create. Where Marx speaks of the means of production whose owners dominate society, the Frankfurt School Theorist write of the means of production culture whose owner have an undue influence over ideology and political power. The idea of culture industries is heavier handed than Halls analysis 30 years later, but he agrees that the corporate control of public communication tends to maintain the status quo by constraining free expression. He also thinks that the average citizen is blissfully unaware of that affect. Culture Industries - The producers of culture; Television, radio, music, film, fashion, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall

Hall adopts the term hegemony when he speaks of the cultural role of the media. Hegemony usually refers to the preponderant influence or domination of one nation over another. Hall employs the term to describe the subtle sway of societys haves over its have not. He emphasizes that media hegemony is a conscious plot, its not overtly coercive, and its effect are not total. The broadcast and print media present a variety of ideas, but then they tend to prop up the status quo by privileging the already accepted interpretation of reality. The result is that the role of mass media turns out to be production of consent rather than a reflection of consensus that already exists Hegemony - The subtle sway of societys haves over its have-nots. Hall believes that the consent making function of the mass media is to convince readers and viewer that they share the same interests as those who hold the reins of power. Roland Barthes provided a way to start with concrete media images and systematically deconstruct their shift in meaning. One of the problems semiotics has however, it its inability to separate ideological or mythic signs from non ideological or oppositional signs. Semiotics lacked an adequate explanation of why certain meanings get attached to certain symbols at certain historical times. Michael Foucault - A leading twentieth-century French philosopher who believed signs and symbols are inextricably linked to mass media messages and that the frameworks people use to interpret them are provided through the dominant discourse of the day. He thought it wrong to view signs and symbols as somehow separate from mass media messages. His concept of discourse established a bridge between semiotic and economic determinism. His construction can account for the changing nature of meaning over time, while keeping a steady eye on power relations. Hall describes the contribution of Foucaults work to the study of communication with revolutionary fervor. Discourse Frameworks of Interpretation Discursive Formation - The process by which unquestioned, and seemingly natural ways of interpreting the world becomes ideologies.


Corporate Control of Mass Communication

Hall has worked to move the study of communication away from the compartmentalized, influence, media effects, gender and communication. He believes we should be studying the unifying atmosphere in which they all occur and from which they emanate human culture

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall

Obstinate Audience

The fact that the media present a preferred interpretation of human events is no reason to assume that the audience will correctly take in the offered ideology. Hall holds out the possibility that the powerless may be equally obstinate by resisting the dominant ideology and translating the message in a way more congenial to their own interests. 1. Operating inside the dominant code the media produce the message; the masses consume it. The audience reading coincides with the preferred reading. 2. Applying a negotiable code the audience assimilates the leading ideology in general but opposes its application in specific cases. 3. Substituting an oppositional code the audience sees through the establishment bias in the media presentation and mounts an organized effort to demythologize.

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall

Analysis Summary of Cultural Studies I. Introduction. A. Critical theorists such as Stuart Hall question the scientific focus of mainstream communication research on media influence. B. Influenced by Marxist interpretation of society, Halls central concern is how the mass media create support for hegemonic ideological positions. C. Hall and most critical theorists want to change the world to empower people on the margins of society. II. The media as powerful ideological tools. A. Hall believes that the media function to maintain the dominance of the powerful and to exploit the poor and powerless. B. Ideology is defined as those images, concepts and premises which provide the framework through which we represent, interpret, understand and make sense of some aspect of social existence. C. Mainstream U.S. mass communication research serves the myth of democratic pluralism and ignores the power struggle that the media mask. D. To avoid academic compartmentalization, Hall prefers cultural studies to media studies. E. Articulate means both speaking out against oppression and linking that subjugation with the communication media. F. G. Hall's mission reflects his Marxist interpretation of history. Cultural studies is closely related to critical theory but places more emphasis on resistance than rationality. III. Early cultural critics. A. B. In order to grasp Halls theory, we must first understand its roots. Cultural critics by the end of World War II were concerned with the question of why oppression persisted and dominant capitalist economies continued to thrive. C. Frankfurt School theorists argued that the corporate-owned media were effective in tailoring messages that supported the capitalist system.
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1. 2.

The media present capitalism as natural, eternal, and unalterable. To describe the cultural role of the media, Hall adopts the term hegemony, meaning preponderant influence or domination of one nation over another. In Halls terms, hegemony refers to already accepted interpretations of reality that keep societys haves in power over its have-nots.



Roland Barthes provided a way to start with concrete media images and systematically deconstruct their shift in meaning. 1. Semiotics tangibly illustrates how societal power is preserved and communicated through everyday objects and symbols. 2. Yet semiotics does not adequately explain why certain meanings get attached to certain symbols at certain times.


Michel Foucault believed signs and symbols couldnt be separated from mass media images. 1. They are unified by their common discursive nature and require frameworks of interpretation in order to make sense. 2. The framework people use is provided through the dominant discourse of the day.


Making meaning. A. Hall contends that the primary function of discourse is to make meaning. 1. 2. Words and signs have no intrinsic meaning. We learn what signs mean through discoursethrough communication and culture. B. Hall believes we must examine the sources of discourse. 1. 2. People with power create discursive formations that become naturalized. Those ways of interpreting the world are perpetuated through further discourse and keep the dominant in power.


Corporate control of mass communication. A. Hall believes the focus of the study of communication should be on how human culture influences the media and on power relations and social structures. B. Hall and other advocates of cultural studies believe that media representations of culture reproduce social inequalities and keep the average person powerless.
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At least in the U.S., corporations produce and distribute the vast majority of information we receive.

D. E.

Corporate control of information prevents many stories from being told. The ultimate issue for cultural studies is not what information is presented, butwhose information it is.


The media role in the Gulf War. A. A variety of cultural products can be deployed to generate popular support for the dominant ideology. B. The media practice hegemonic encodingthe regulation of discourse so that some messages are encoded by the mass media then decoded, internalized, and acted upon by the audience. 1. 2. C. Other ideas remain unvoiced. Complex ethical questions are not engaged.

Hall uses the term ideological discourses of constraint to refer to the medias limitation of alternatives and presentation of restricted choices as the only options.


Post 9/11 media coverage. A. Hall believes the mass media provide the guiding myths that shape our perception of the world and serve as important instruments of social control. B. He believes hegemonic encoding occurs all the time, yet its not a conscious plot. Audiences may not accept the sources ideology. There are three ways to decode a message. 1. 2. 3. C. Operate inside the dominant code. Apply a negotiable code. Substitute an oppositional code.


An obstinate audience. A. B.

Although Hall has trouble believing the powerless can change the system, he respects the ability of people to resist the dominant code.


He is unable to predict, though, when and where resistance will spring up.

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall


Application Scenario 1 "The ideological fight is a struggle to capture language." We see this battle in the abortion debate. The media seems to favor those with "pro-choice" beliefs. How I wish we could even the debate by having news announcers use "pro-life" instead of anti-abortion. This would be a sign that at least pro-life groups are being seen as reasonable, positive people. Yet, this group doesn't seem to be successful in capturing positive language. The media does give an ideological spin to the abortion demand by its very use of language and its connotations. Scenario 2 Usually I think The Record, our school newspaper, is pretty good. It covers big events on campus, has great quotables, and lets you know who's going up the tower. They do a good job of covering world events and talk about things that aren't always status quo. Last week, however, the Wheaton College Women's Soccer Team found out that even the record, was capable of functioning to maintain the dominance of those already in positions of power." I am not a pessimist, but I am a realist and I know that male athletes tend to be put on the highest of pedestals around here. The football team, whether because of size or the fact that they out number every other team, seem to be particularly dominant. Last week I realized that some things never change though. Our team had just won our regional in the NCAA tournament and advanced to the quarterfinalsfurther than we'd ever gone before. It was a great weekend but it was not without its losses. One girl broke her leg, another sprained her ankle, and a third got knocked out. There were 600 people at Saturday's game. Any of these facts I think are considered newsworthy. However, all that appeared in the paper was the scores of the 2 games in tiny print on the back page. But you know what was coveredmen's football that is about 500 this year and men's soccer who placed so low in the tournament that they had to play a mid-week game. I'm not saying The Record never covers us. In fact, they've always done a nice job. But last week proved that some still like men in sports, are men are still dominating society.

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall


Critique Stuart Halls characterization for cultural studies is not a typical type, in which from the name cultural studies your mind has already produced an idea where the studies were all about culture and nothing further, but in this study, Hall will all prove us that cultural studies wasnt really necessary about studying the culture. In Stuart Halls case he gives cultural studies a deeper sense, which is in medias hegemony, and hegemony means how media wanted supremacy, domination or power, media wanted as much as possible to merge with powerful people as part of dominating, thus those powerless will become an instrument for media to strive more and get well-known. In example for this hegemony is political campaign, who wont take media for their campaign? Its already a dominant authority when politicians take this as their campaign tool, all politicians have sugary words in order to win, some might really say the truth but some other are just deceitful. Stuart Hall also respects people that have already something in their mind before someone actually speaks; he believed that no one can change that unless the speaker holds virtuous character.

Culture Studies by Stuart Hall