Stuart Hall and the Delineation of Culture

The Role of Representation

Stuart Hall is a Professor of Sociology at the Open University in the UK who describes the delineation of culture. For the past thirty years, he has been at the forefront of work on the role of the media in society. Apart from being very closely identified in media studies with the approach known as cultural studies, Hall begins with one of its central concepts: representation. He argues for a new view that provides a more active and creative concept of role representation concerning how people think about the world and its place. The new idea of representation is critical for thinking about communication in much more complex ways.

By pointing out that an image can have many different meanings, there is no guarantee that an image will work the way people thought it would. In the modern era, his attention to drawing attention to the complexity of communication is seen to belittle the idea that media have a substantial but powerful effect on the world. He understands that communication is always associated with power. Groups that hold power in society influence what is represented through the media. He wanted to have ideas about messages working in complex ways and always connected to how power operates in society everywhere. Together at the same time, he examines the everyday world in which representations intersect.

The Contemporary Perspective

The notion of representation is to understand how it works and why it becomes a more complicated and complex subject than it may seem at first. Stuart Hall first talks about culture delineation, which has to do with representation in general. In addition to choosing visual representation as a cliché and saturation of the modern world of culture in various forms, the image moves or stands still by multiple media. Late modern culture is not just about the culture found in the developed and industrialized societies of the western world.

However, it is due to the global explosion in communication systems. Apart from being a reassuring medium, Hall tries and takes the idea of representation to a picture with an important question. When it comes to cultural studies, it has paid much attention in one way or another to the centrality of representation and practice. In a definite sense, the point is partly to do with the different texts, i.e., representations transmitted by the media. Therefore, he starts by looking at how the representation process works.

The Human Practices

All human practice is a struggle to make history. However, it is in a condition that is not artificial. Human practice is communication theory. Bringing the Marxist maxim to bear on at least three different projects, Hall provides such a practice:

  • to offer an ideological theory that looks at communicative practice in terms of what people can and do;
  • to describe certain historical forms of cultural struggle and hegemony; and
  • to define Marxism by rethinking how it is conjunctural in society.

In complex ways, Stuart Hall connects theory and writing with practice and natural culture delineation. There is no radical separation between approaches at any level of abstraction.

The concrete historical, social context provides the object of study and the conditions for its existence. Apart from being a political position, it is also a Marxist attempt to reproduce walls in thought. By rejecting the magical thinking of empiricists who claim to have secure access to the real, he seeks concepts that can be used to bypass the complexities of the real. On the other hand, he rejects the abstract theory of Marx’s reading, which sees the relationship between conceptual and empirical reality as a constant movement between different levels of abstraction. By dismissing the relativism of rationalism, his adequacy is judged by the purchase people make to understand the complex and contradictory structure of any field.

The Distortion of Reality

To offer a different description, the word representation, according to Hall, conveys an idea that something already exists. Through the media, it has been represented. However, the idea that representations somehow express pre-existing meanings is very general. On the other hand, one of the ideas that Stuart Hall tries to subvert is giving sense to it to reclaim a bit of another understanding of the culture delineation. Besides playing a role in what society brings to representation, political figures representing Hall’s subjects do not think they represent society very well. Regardless of which, political figures are representatives of society.

Where the public cannot, political figures can. The idea of describing what represents another is somewhat lumped together in a notion of representation. The ideas practiced by the media, among others, represent a topic, type of people, events, situations, and the fact that representational ideas give meaning. In essence, representation is how meaning is somehow assigned to the things depicted through pictures. Suppose both scholars and the public think that Hall’s meanings are very different. In that case, the representation will measure the gap between what might be considered the true meaning of an event or an object.

The Counter of Neoliberalism

Together with Doreen Massey and Michael Rustin, Hall emerged from the crisis of late capitalism and global militarism. They have started to build a literary work that aims to disrupt the ideological foundations of neoliberalism. With a bold approach that deviates from the popular anarchist-inspired model, it is given the nod to the famous for their rejection of the prescribed manifesto. They argue that a radical alternative that addresses the fundamental assumptions of neoliberalism, rather than simply rejecting its impact, is necessary if society is to limit the crises that society faces in the modern era. The reconceptualization of values up to the growth of society is integral to overthrowing the fundamental assumptions of neoliberalism.

They propose replacing the monetary value with caring, inclusive forms of democracy and a genuine commitment to equality. Leaving contributions to the manifesto open allows the scope for the participatory decision-making that many functional left movements strive for. Apart from challenging leftists and workers in overturning assumptions now commonly held and reproduced by governments, working poor in response to laziness and greed is simply a reflection of the realities of everyday life. In addition, it responds to ordinary people’s needs in guiding and advising the practical Hall.

The Fundamental of Representation

In the era of modern cultural studies, people consider the idea of representation too straightforward. For Stuart Hall, the reason is that people want to ask questions about whether an event of culture delineation has an essential, permanent, or true meaning. As if to be at a level of distortion in a usual way. It complicates the thing when it comes to decisions. The public must know not only the entire history of what led to it. Society must understand what each individual wants and an assessment of what the consequences of an event will be. In essence, what does that mean? There will never be a fixed or definite meaning. In the modern era, it is a different situation. People meet, talk, and argue with each other. Apart from making decisions and consequences, that does not mean nothing happens in the world.

What is doubtful is what the true meaning of a subject is. When it comes to representation, it is not acting as an activity after an event. It means that presentation can change or distort meaning. When society talks about the fact that it has no fixed meaning, it has no real purpose in a clear sense. Until it gets a representative, on the one hand, it is not meaningful either. To locate the subject, it is necessary to say that the representation does not occur after the event. In essence, representation is constitutive of an event and part of the object itself. Representation is neither outside nor after the event. However, the representation resides within the event itself.

The Primary Culture

Why in the study of culture, however, the idea of culture becomes a significant force. Apart from not being a secondary element, society understands the meaning of one kind or another. If society does not share concepts with other people, then society really cannot understand the world. Culture consists of an understanding framework, a meaningful map, which allows people to understand the world as it exists. However, the meaning is ambiguous until society understands it. In essence, meaning arises because of the conceptual map of several groups or members of a culture or society.

For Hall, it is a fundamental way of understanding why in the study of culture. If philosophers prioritize the idea of representation as giving meaning, then philosophers must make culture central. It is the way without which society would find a world of absurdism. Globalization illustrates the increasing interdependence of societies. Apart from not being everywhere the same, it is no longer a place outside the play of influence elsewhere. In addition to increasingly becoming a historical phenomenon, the term is urgent. It is because they see the world more, not because of the decisions of the past. While it was always a diaspora, in another sense, it was always open to differences, had little else, and became a closed relativism compared to now.

The Stake

For Hall, an image operates by signaling a significant presence. There is no difference where what is different from what society expects. By marking what is different from what society expects, it allows meaning to start operating. When discussing the importance of images having implications for society in the production of meaning, the question is about power in representation, what closure is, and how symbolic power operates in representation.

It attempts to naturalize meaning so that society cannot have it, i.e., other access to knowledge and what people tell about the world. However, it is how a representation interprets an attempt to keep such a representation open. Using a new type of subjectivity, a new dimension of meaning that the power system has not covered is operating. In other words, both representation politics and identity politics, a principal orientation of identity, is how the power of the media represents a cultural representation.

Bibliography

About the author

Salman Al Farisi is the owner of Calxylian and is an elitist who has enjoyed and studied various mediums. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in 2020 from the Haluoleo University, Indonesia, where he studied English Literature, Film Criticism, Cultural Studies, Literary Theory, and Literary Criticism. He lives in Kendari in his mom's basement, now unemployed and ghostwriter, life with his cats, and is looking for the future.

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