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Re: <nettime> A tribute to Stuart Hall
Brian Holmes on Wed, 12 Feb 2014 23:59:34 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> A tribute to Stuart Hall


Jeremy Gilbert has written a beautiful tribute to Stuart Hall. Nothing could tell us more about the qualities of the man who has just passed than this living echo of those qualities, remade and transformed by another human being. One learns that the greatest thing you can possibly create is not your own authorial monument, but instead, the powerfully resonant space in which others can become conduits of awakened perception, engaged interpretation and vital resistant force. Stuart Hall unleashed a generation - in fact, several generations. We all have the opportunity to greet him in those who go on living up to their times.

I was struck by this:

He lamented that
‘cultural studies’ as it was taught and practiced in most academic
institutions today was too often reduced to cultural theory, with very
little in the way of conjunctural analysis going on anywhere; yet he
acknowledged that the individualisation and instrumentalisation of the
academy increasingly pushed scholars towards personal projects with
grandiose, abstract ambitions (my own would be no exception).

Conjunctural analysis: What is it?

Conjunctural analysis is when you interpret what's happening right now, by sifting the facts through the most adequate theory you can devise, then taking a position as a consequence. So the question is: What's a position? A position is a stance, your own body's stance within and against the social order, a stance you strike so that others can feel it, internalize it, transform it and put it into action.

To do a conjunctural analysis is to expose yourself, not only to error, but far in advance of that, to the immediate scorn of those whose greed and fear make them toe the dominant line (it most often reduces to cynical passivity). The academy, it's sad to say, is filled with generations of timid neurotics who wanted to have a grand theory but never dared let themselves feel the urgent passion of responding precisely to the demands of a conjuncture. The result is no theory at all - just the aimless hot air of untested theorizing, crafted to please one's betters but discarded by them for its minor inconveniences.

Stuart Hall: he made a difference. Honor the activist in the life you live today.


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