Conversations with Stuart Hall (Soundings 71, Spring 2019)



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Publication date: April 1, 2019

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Michael Rustin, John Harris, Ash Sarkar

In this set of three discussions, the contributors look at Hall’s work on modernisation and its meanings; post-Fordism and disorganised capitalism; and race and migration. Hall’s discussions of post-Fordism, regarded by some as representing modernity (though characterised by others as disorganised capitalism), were informed by the view that this was an age to which either a progressive or a regressive politics could be articulated. Reactionary responses have been in the ascendant in Britain in the last few years, and modernity has been too often experienced as neoliberal globalisation. The British left has yet to find a strong counter-narrative, including on the question of nation. It needs to find a narrative capable of including both social liberals and more traditional left voters, and the progressive elements in both the middle and working classes. This cannot be done without a democratic sense of nation. The left is better at addressing questions of inequality and social justice than it is in connecting to progressive ideas about identity and the nations of the UK. It also needs to tackle the racist framing of much of the debate on migration, including the subliminal (though sometimes overt) message that all black and Asian people are ‘immigrants’, regardless of how long they and their families have lived in the UK. 

DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.71.07.2019More from Soundings