Moreover, representation of a particular culture is also a point which has triggered much controversy among the intellectuals. In this context culture entails subjective disposition of an individual or an ethnic group from an external frame of reference. Cultural theorist Stuart Hall laid the foundation of cultural discourses in modern times. Throughout his illustrious career, Hall researched extensively on a number of socio-humanitarian issues, including representation, subjectivity and identity. This essay is going to answer four questions that are central to Stuart Hall’s cultural theories.
1. ‘Culture is itself a signifying practice and has its own determinate product: meaning’ (Hall). Discuss this understanding of culture and relate it to other ways of conceptualizing culture referred to throughout the course.
Stuart Hall was the first theorist to hint at the correlation between etymological significance of discourse and culture. His steadfast denial of a pervasive ‘cultural superstructure’ (During 97) brought about a revolutionary change in the social science of language and its meaning. Hall terms language as ‘the medium for the production of meaning’ (Hall 30), which underscores the linguistic concept of the paradigmatic shift from the signifier to the signified. In other words, we need to keep aside the superficial meaning of language to gain a profound understanding of what lies within. As regards perceiving a particular culture in its entirety, it is not as important to consider the outward manifestations of the same as it is to understand the subliminal threads that bind it in a structural accord. Hall himself stresses on dissociation of meaning even within a specific cultural discourse as he endorses arrangement or order of things (30). What he simply conceives is that nothing has a static meaning per se (Hall and Open University 19). Meaning is itself an