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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright 2001 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. Cultural Critique 48.

.1 (2001) 200-249 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Itinerary of a Thought Stuart Hall, Cultural Studies, and the Unresolved Problem of the Relation of Culture to "Not Culture" Janice Peck -------------------------------------------------------------------------------In a 1992 memorial for Allon White, Stuart Hall eulogized the passing of his friend and of the "metaphors of transformation" that had been "so significant, historically, for the radical imaginary." Modeled on the "revolutionary moment" and associated with Marxism, such metaphors, Hall said, "no longer command assent." Rather than mourning their demise, he suggested that cultural studies, having "moved decisively beyond such dramatic simplifications and binary reversals," required a new metaphor "for imagining a cultural politics" and thinking "the relations between 'the social' and 'the symbolic' " ("For Allon White," 28788). Hall might have been recounting his own intellectual travels, having embarked on his career committed to the metaphors he now came to inter. This reversal in Hall's thought parallels the theoretical itinerary of the field with which his name has become synonymous. Insofar as Hall is "largely responsible for developing and articulating [its] theoretical positions" (Dworkin, 196), his writings provide a map of the trajectory of cultural studies, from culturalism to structuralism to structuralist Marxism to poststructuralism and post-Marxism. This essay critically assesses that journey by tracing Hall's engagement with these bodies of thought as he sought to resolve the problem of a reflection theory of culture. His solution, I will argue, necessarily resulted in abandoning a materialist theory of culture while conserving the economism and idealism that cultural studies set out to surpass. [End Page 200] The Problem of Culture as Reflection Cultural studies is predicated on the belief that culture must be understood on its own terms and in relation to other aspects of social life (i.e., "not culture"). In the early 1960s, two of the field's "founding" figures were engaged in thinking that relation. Two years before the appearance of his The Making of the English Working Class, E. P. Thompson reviewed Raymond Williams's The Long Revolution. Applauding the book's accomplishments, Thompson concluded that Williams had fallen short of his claim to provide "a theory of culture as the study of the relationship between elements of a whole way of life" (Williams, Long Revolution, 46). The book erred in two directions, Thompson argued, edging toward a "culture equals society" explanation while segregating culture from politics and economics without establishing "the manner according to which the systems are related to each other" (Thompson, "Long Revolution," 31). He countered that "any theory of culture must include the concept of the dialectical interaction of culture and something that is not culture" and offered his corrective: we must suppose the raw material of life experience to be at one pole, and all the infinitely complex human disciplines and systems, articulate and inarticulate, formalised in institutions or dispersed in the least formal ways, which "handle," transmit or distort this raw material to be at the other. (33) Although both figures would later be placed under the sign of "culturalism," the difference in their thought was significant. For Thompson, the domains of culture and "not culture" were empirically distinct, while Williams was reaching toward a conception of culture as integral to the social totality--what he would later term a "whole indissoluable practice" (Marxism, 31). Indeed, he retrospectively described The Long Revolution as

the attempt to develop a theory of social totality . . . to find ways of studying structure, in particular works and periods, which could stay in touch with and illuminate particular art works and forms, but also forms and relations of more general social life. ("Literature and Sociology," 10) [End Page 201] In taking up the question of the relation of culture to "not culture" and to the social totality, Thompson and Williams took on the problem of "reflection"--the dominant understanding of culture in Western thought that posited it as a reflection of a more primordial mental or material process. In dialogue with the intellectual force field of Marxism, the version of reflection theory they addressed was that of the "orthodox" Marxism that emerged within the Second International, was appropriated by the various European communist parties, and solidified under the Third International and Stalin's reign in the Soviet Union. 1 This "congealed and simplistic conception of Marxism" (Bettelheim, 19) identified the "base" with the state of development of the productive forces. All other aspects of existence, including culture, were relegated to the "superstructure" and treated as a reflection of the demands of the base, which was considered autonomous, unconditioned, and selfdetermining. 2 Thompson and Williams challenged this mechanistic materialism and its reflection theory of culture that had informed Marxist literary criticism in Britain since the 1930s (Mulhern; Higgins). They were not alone in the endeavor. Beginning with Lukcs, various figures gathered under the rubric of "Western Marxism" also engaged the problem of reflection that lurked within the base/superstructure formulation (e.g., Bloch, Brecht, Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, Gramsci, Sartre, Goldmann). As Martin Jay notes, despite their many differences, these thinkers shared an "utter repudiation of the legacy of the Second International" and a preoccupation with the "critical role of culture" in reproducing capitalism (7, 8; also Anderson). Western Marxism can thus be seen as an ongoing effort to rethink the concept of the superstructure and the problem of reflection--a project that Hall and cultural studies would continue. Superseding the Past, Projecting the Future of Cultural Studies The centrality of the problem of reflection was acknowledged by Hall in "Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms." Published shortly after his decade (1969-1979) heading the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS), the essay considered the field's future [End Page 202] by reflecting on its roots in the intersection of culturalism and structuralism. The former, identified with Thompson, Williams, and Richard Hoggart, was credited with revising the received Arnoldian/ Leavisite view of culture, expanding it to encompass the meanings, traditions, and practices that arise from and express human existence. Structuralism (identified with Saussure, Lvi-Strauss, Barthes, and Althusser) was also concerned with culture as meaning, but from a decidedly different perspective. Here meaning (more accurately, signification) was seen as arising not from subjective experience, but from within the operation of objective signifying systems that preceded and determined individual experience. For structuralism, experience was not the source of signification, but its effect. Here structuralism's antihumanism collided with the humanist inclinations of culturalism. Hall noted this tension as well as a key point of convergence: both paradigms were critical encounters with the base/superstructure relation and rejections of reflection theory. If each paradigm was "a radical break with the base/superstructure metaphor" ("Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms," 65), both "make a constant, if flawed, return" to it; in Hall's view: "They are correct in insisting that this question--which resumes all the problems of a non-reductive determinacy--is the heart of the matter: and that, on the solution of this problem will turn the capacity of Cultural Studies to supercede the endless oscillations between idealism and reductionism" (72). Joining the paradigms, he intimated, might provide a means of resolving the field's "core problem" of grasping "the specificity of different practices and the forms of articulated unity they constitute." Culturalism and structuralism were central to the future of cultural studies because they "confront--even if in radically different ways--the dialectic between conditions and consciousness" and "pose the question of the relation between the logic of thinking and the 'logic' of historical process" (72). A decade later, Hall reconsidered the future of the field in light of its origins. This time he argued that the project of cultural studies begins, and develops through the critique of a certain reductionism and economism--which I think is not extrinsic but intrinsic to Marxism; a contestation with the model of base and superstructure, through which

[End Page 203] sophisticated and vulgar Marxism alike had tried to think the relationship between society, economy and culture. ("Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies," 279) The earlier quest to comprehend culture in dialectical relation to the social totality now seemed to Hall naive and tenuous: "there's always been something decentered about the medium of culture, about language, textuality, and signification, which always escapes and evades the attempts to link it, directly and immediately, with other structures." In consequence, "it has always been impossible in the theoretical field of Cultural Studies . . . to get anything like an adequate account of culture's relations and its effects." Practitioners must learn to live with this "displacement of culture" and its "failure to reconcile itself with other questions that matter, with other questions that cannot and can never be fully covered by critical textuality" (284). In the course of a decade, then, the terms of theoretical inquiry had changed. In his memorial for White, Hall refers not to the dialectic of "conditions and consciousness," but sees the core problem of cultural studies as "the relationship of the social and the symbolic, the 'play' between power and culture" ("For Allon White," 288). 3 It thus appears that cultural studies has undergone a signal reformulation of its problematic. Indeed, Hall characterizes the passing of "metaphors of transformation" as an "absolutely fundamental 'turn' in cultural theory" (303). How are we to understand this movement of thought? A common response among practitioners is that the field has outgrown its founding paradigms and their concern with the base/superstructure relation. Such theoretical evolution is to be expected, in Hall's view, given that "we are entering the era of post-Marxism" ("Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies," 281). This stance is echoed elsewhere. Lawrence Grossberg sees cultural studies as having surpassed the "reductionism and reflectionism" ("Cultural Studies vs. Political Economy," 79) of political economy (and, by extension, of Marxism) through the recognition that the relations between economy, society, and culture are "much more complex and difficult to describe" (76). Angela McRobbie notes that if the "two paradigms" arose in engagement with Marxism, "from the start Cultural Studies emerged as a form of radical inquiry which went against reductionism [End Page 204] and economism" (720). The "totalizing field of Marxist theory," she suggests, has been so discredited that "it is no longer useful to retain the word Marxism to characterize the current mode of inquiry" (723). In the wake of "post-Marxism" and decline of "grand theory," cultural studies has achieved a "greater degree of openness" (724). Critics, in contrast, paint this movement as a regression. Colin Sparks contends that having abandoned its original task of "understanding the determination of culture," cultural studies has opted for "an essentially textualist account" (98). Paul Smith suggests that the field has chosen to collapse the political into the cultural or place them "at a great distance from each other." Both paths elide the question of the relations between "the mode of production and the formation of civic life and cultures" and "between civic life and cultures." In Smith's assessment, "Cultural studies is still at the stage where it thinks of the realms of the economic, the civic, and the cultural as for all intents and purposes discrete" (59-60). The consequence of such analytical separation is to defuse the field's critical practice: In the division of those realms, cultural studies fails to grasp that the only object it can with validity propose as its own . . . is the totality of social relations and cultural productions at given times and in given places. Indeed, without this kind of recognition, cultural studies must be condemned as exactly one more bourgeois form of knowledge production, as it reflects the divisions between the realms that it is the desperate effort of capitalist discourse to police. (60) Dan Schiller also criticizes the withdrawal of cultural studies from thinking the relation of communication and culture to the social totality--a tendency that he says plagues the history of communication studies in general. For Schiller, this tendency derives from a dualism in communication theory between the mental and the material, or intellectual and manual labor, resulting in a "continuing inability to integrate, or even to encompass, 'labor' and 'communication' within a single conceptual totality" (xi). All three critics link the failings of cultural studies to its abandonment of a materialist understanding of the relation of culture to "not culture"--in other words, to its retreat from Marxism. Sparks and Schiller see this retreat as the result of cultural studies turning to [End Page 205] structuralism in the 1970s. Sparks contends that because the Birmingham Centre's appropriation of Marxism followed its embrace of structuralism in the

work of Barthes and Lvi-Strauss, the Marxism that briefly achieved orthodoxy in cultural studies was the structuralist Marxism of Althusser. The field's subsequent "move away from Marxism" followed from Althusser's own weaknesses (71). Schiller also faults the turn to structuralism that cultural studies took, which isolated signification from the rest of practical activity: "sundered from other processes of production, signification--properly credited with being a 'real and positive social force'--veered off as an increasingly selfdetermining generative principle" (153). In consequence, "the full range of production, which was to remain of vital importance to Williams and others, who challenged the classic model of base and superstructure, was severely truncated" (153). Sparks comments that "the dominant view within the field today is probably that in shedding its marxist husk, cultural studies has empowered itself to address the real issues of contemporary cultural analysis" (98). Indeed, many cultural studies practitioners seem relieved to have shed outmoded theoretical frameworks and impatient with those who have not freed themselves. 4 The implication is that cultural studies has finally surpassed idealism and reductionism and resolved "all the problems of a non-reductive determinacy" that Hall once deemed "the heart of the matter." It is precisely this assumption that I wish to interrogate. I agree that the intellectual trajectory of cultural studies is indelibly marked by its adoption of the "structuralist paradigm" in the 1970s, with which it hoped to counter a reflection theory of culture. Under Hall's guidance, cultural studies tried to resolve the problem of reflection by separating culture from "not culture"--a move facilitated by structuralism's privileging of linguistic form over substance, contingency over necessity, and synchronic structure over diachronic development. This commitment to structuralism was decisive for the field's subsequent appropriation of Marxism via Althusser and Gramsci. Having adopted structuralism--with its explicit Saussurean foundations--the pro-ject of cultural studies was inherently vulnerable to destabilization by the poststructuralist critique of those foundations. Hall's journey from seeking to grasp the "dialectic between conditions and [End Page 206] consciousness" ("Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms," 72) to his admission that it is impossible "to get anything like an adequate account of culture's relations and effects" ("Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies," 284) reflects the passage from structuralism to poststructuralism. A key casualty of that passage was the commitment of cultural studies to Marxism. Contra to the view that this trajectory constitutes a theoretical advance, I suggest that it merely repeats the past. Hall's solution to the problem of reflection--making culture autonomous--preserved not only the reflection/autonomy binary, but the autonomy of "not culture," which, by default, becomes the "base" or "economy." Insofar as an autonomous economy or base is the defining feature of economism, Hall thereby conserved the very specter that had haunted cultural studies from the beginning. I will argue that overcoming a reflection theory of culture involves refusing the analytical separation of culture and "not culture" and their autonomy and embarking on a long overdue investigation of the notion of the "base." The Structuralist Turn in Cultural Studies Culturalism emerged in post-WWII Europe in conjunction with socialist or Marxist humanism and drew theoretical sustenance from Marx's early work, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. Rediscovered and published in German in 1932, French in 1933, and English in 1959, the work was introduced to Hall, Thompson, and others in the British New Left by Charles Taylor, who served with Hall as editor of Universities and Left Review (Dworkin, 62; Taylor). As Ali Rattansi argues, "with their emphasis on a critique of human alienation in capitalist society and the potential liberating realisation of the human 'essence' under socialism," the Manuscripts provided a means of challenging the economism that had prevailed within Marxism since the 1930s (1). Contra to Stalinism's privileging of the productive forces, Marx's early work "urged the interpretation of human labour as an act of self-creativity of which the development of productive technology was only one moment" (2). Williams and Thompson stressed this theme of essential human [End Page 207] creativity in their arguments for the centrality of culture in the historical process. Rejecting the view that consciousness and culture were reflexes of economic forces, they sought to restore the place of praxis in history. As Thompson argued, "It is the active process--which is at the same time the process through which men make their history--that I am insisting upon" ("Long Revolution," 33). Williams criticized the reflectionism of "orthodox" Marxism, whereby "art is degraded as a mere reflection of the basic economic and political process, on which it is thought to be parasitic." For Williams, "the creative element in man is the root both of his personality and his

society; it can neither be confined to art nor excluded from the systems of decision [politics] and maintenance [economy]" (Long Revolution, 115; see also Culture and Society). If culturalism laid the foundation for cultural studies, its hegemony, according to Hall, "was interrupted by the arrival on the intellectual scene of the 'structuralisms' " ("Cultual Studies: Two Paradigms," 64). 5 It was under Hall's leadership that structuralism achieved paradigmatic status in cultural studies. Like culturalism, structuralism engaged with the problem of reflection and the base/superstructure formulation. In The Savage Mind, Lvi-Strauss acknowledged "the incontestable primacy of infrastructures," while aiming to contribute to "that theory of superstructures scarcely touched upon by Marx" (130). Barthes's Mythologies employed Saussurean semiotics to "account in detail for the mystification which transforms petit-bourgeois culture into a universal nature" (9). Althusser challenged economism with his notion of the "relative autonomy of the superstructures" and called for a "theory of the specific effectivity of the superstructures" that "largely remains to be elaborated" (For Marx, 113). Indeed, Fredric Jameson has characterized the structuralist project as "the study of superstructures, or, in a more limited way, of ideology" (101). Structuralism mounted its challenge to reflection theory through the appropriation of Saussurean linguistics. It was Saussure's achievement to undermine previous models that had viewed language as "a reflection or an expression of a pre-existing meaning or psychic impression, a re-presencing of something immaterial in the material" by proposing a relational, rather than substantialist, theory of language (Riordan, 4; see also Frank). Rejecting the existence of a [End Page 208] prior world of cognitive states represented by symbols, Saussure suggested that words and ideas were born together through the operation of a linguistic system that, via principles of differentiation and combination, imposed form on both thought and matter. In Saussure's model, language was a closed taxonomy of signs that, as binary relations of signifiers and signifieds, were articulated by an invariant code that assigned to each signifier a unique signified. This code allowed for the differentiation and recombination of elements according to strict rules of formation, and the formulation of this principle of formation constituted the "structure" of language. Because in order to use language, a speaker must recognize the identity of a particular element through its difference from all others, Saussure held that a linguistic system is always already complete--a "synchronic (timeless) totality of interrelations" (Riordan, 5). In this model, meaning is not a property of consciousness or of things, but the effect of a formal schema of articulation that determines how elements are distinguished and combined. Accordingly, the relation of signs and referents is arbitrary (i.e., not a reflection of anything), and the positive content of signs (ideas and phonic substances) is subordinate to their function as formal values within the linguistic structure (langue) that constitutes the conditions of possibility for actual language use (parole). Thus, Saussure could argue that "language is itself a form not a substance" (120) consisting of "only differences without positive terms" (118). French structuralism arose through a "strong interpretation" of Saussure's conception of language as form rather than substance (Frank, 31). Appropriating key principles of Saussurean linguistics--its conception of structure, nonrepresentational model of language, doctrine of the arbitrariness of the sign, indifference to language's referential dimensions, prioritization of langue over parole and synchrony over diachrony-structuralism applied these to the study of culture and society in a move that had profound implications across the human sciences. Positing Saussure's structure of language as the blueprint for the study of society in general, structuralism proposed that the multiplicity of human practices could be understood as "differential articulations of signifying systems ruled by structural codes" (Riordan, 4). Thus, phenomena ranging from kinship systems to eating habits to myth and literature could be conceived as [End Page 209] manifestations of the same general principles. Through this prioritization of form over substance, structuralism made language "the privileged object of thought, science, and philosophy," the " 'key' to man and to social history," and "the means of access to the laws of societal functioning" (Kristeva, 3). As Julia Kristeva notes, "the scientific knowledge of language was projected onto the whole of social practice. . . . In this way were laid the bases of a scientific approach to the vast realm of human actions" (4). Central to structuralism is that the activities of individuals are "reduced to the level of phonic material" (ibid.). That is, individual actions are arbitrary--without substantial meaning of their own--because their significance is constituted through their inscription within a schema of articulation that preexists them. Thus, structuralism held that human beings are "spoken by" the structure. Pierre Bourdieu has argued that the "destiny of modern linguistics" and the human sciences that have taken the linguistic turn was "determined by Saussure's inaugural move through which he separates the 'external'

elements of linguistics from the 'internal' elements." In imputing autonomy to language, structural linguistics "exercise[d] an ideological effect," presenting itself as "the most natural of the social sciences by separating the linguistic instrument from its social conditions of production and utilization" (33). This critique holds for structuralism, which engaged in a double movement of theoretically isolating language from the rest of sociohistorical existence so as to submit it to scientific analysis, and then projecting the rules of operation of language back onto the "whole of social practice." It was only by means of this prior separation that language could be made into the privileged mode of "access to the laws of societal functioning." Integral to this privileging of language was the demotion of a diachronic (historical) understanding of meaning in favor of the view that signification derived entirely from the operation of synchronic differentiation. From such a perspective, the diachronic is reduced to mere repetition without meaning--to a series of "discontinuous sequential structures" (Riordan, 7). Hence, structuralism's rejection of any notion of historical necessity in favor of "irreducible contingency" (Lvi-Strauss, From Honey to Ashes, 477). 6 Laboring under the shadow of Saussure, structuralism thus replaced history (temporal development) with structure (the internal relational logic [End Page 210] of static systems) as both the object and method of inquiry--a move that paved the way for the abandonment of Marxism. Given that cultural studies searched for a nonreflectionist conception of culture, the allure of structuralism was predictable. According to Sparks, semiotics and structuralism were introduced at the Birmingham Centre in the late 1960s "independently of, and earlier than, any serious engagement with marxism" (81). From 1969 to 1971, the Centre embarked on a "search for an alternative problematic and method" that included "phenomenology, symbolic interactionism, structuralism and marxism" (cited in Sparks, 81). This period of theoretical reappraisal, which coincided with Hall's rise to Centre director, marked the beginning of culturalism's displacement from dominant paradigm status. This shift is evident in Hall's assessment of the "two paradigms," where he sides with structuralism's view of "experience" as an effect of structure, favors its notion of "the necessary complexity of the unity of a structure" over culturalism's "complex simplicity of an expressive causality" ("Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms," 68), and grants it methodological superiority owing to its "concepts with which to cut into the complexity of the real" (67). Hall's acceptance of structuralism's founding principles is evident in his treatment of Lvi-Strauss. "The linguistic paradigm," Hall argues, allowed Lvi-Strauss to approach culture "not at the level of correspondences between the content of a practice, but at the level of their forms and structures," and to conceive " 'culture' as the categories and frameworks in thought and language through which different societies classified out their conditions of existence." Further, Lvi-Strauss "thought of the manner and practice through which these categories and mental frameworks were produced and transformed, largely on an analogy with the ways in which language itself--the principal medium of 'culture'--operated." For Hall, LviStrauss's emphasis on "the internal relations by means of which the categories of meaning were produced" provided a new way to conceptualize the relation of culture to "not culture"--one in which "the causal logic of determinacy was abandoned in favour of a structuralist causality--a logic of arrangement, of internal relations, of articulation of parts within a structure" (65). While Hall portrays structuralism as only one theoretical influence [End Page 211] on cultural studies, he grants it was a "formative intervention which coloured and influenced everything that followed" ("Cultural Studies and the Centre," 29). Under that influence, Hall (and with him the Birmingham Centre) made the move from meaning (as an activity of human beings) to signification (as an operation of language). The conceptual basis of his "encoding/decoding" model of media discourse, as he noted in a 1989 interview, "reflected the beginnings of structuralism and semiotics and their impact on Cultural Studies." The encoding/decoding model was also "an argument with Marxism . . . with the base/superstructure model, with the notion of ideology, language and culture as secondary, not as constitutive but only as constituted by socioeconomic processes" (Angus et al., 254). An understanding of signification in terms of the operation of language guides Hall's description of media "meanings and messages" as "sign vehicles of a specific kind organized, like any form of communication or language, through the operation of codes within the syntagmatic chain of a discourse" and "constituted within the rules of 'language' " (Hall, "Encoding/Decoding," 128). He adopts the idea that linguistic systems precede and determine access to the "real": "Events can only be signified within the aural-visual forms of the televisual discourse. In the moment when a historical event passes under the sign of discourse, it is subject to all the complex formal 'rules' by

which language signifies" (129). Thus, Hall argued, discourse is not "the 'transparent' representation of the 'real,' " but the construction of knowledge through "the operation of a code" (29). The influence of Lvi-Strauss and Barthes is evident in Hall's "The Determinations of News Photographs." Patterned after Barthes's "The Rhetoric of the Image," Hall's essay examines "the codes which make signification possible" (176) in order to discern the "hidden 'deep structure' " (183) that functions as a "selection device" (181) to "classify out the world" (186). This view of signification as a process that constructs knowledge by assigning meaning to " 'raw' events" ("Encoding/Decoding," 129) is echoed in Hall's "Culture, the Media, and the 'Ideological Effect.' " Thus, the founding principle of structural linguistics--that signification results from the purely formal articulation of elements within a system--was imported into cultural studies and applied to the study of the media. For Hall, structuralism's value for building a "nonreductionist" cultural theory [End Page 212] was its method for "studying the systems of signs and . . . representations"; its "emphasis on the specificity, the irreducibility, of the cultural" ("Cultural Studies and the Centre," 30); and its break with "theoretical humanism" (31). Structuralism, he argues, "obliged us really to rethink the 'cultural' as a set of practices: to think of the material conditions of signification and its necessary determinations" (31). Here, in the language of "practices" and "material conditions of signification," we encounter the influence of Althusser on Hall's thought. Although Lvi-Strauss had aspired to "a theory of the superstructures" and Barthes had turned the lens of semiotics on ideology, it was Althusser who would tie the knot of Marxism and structuralism within cultural studies. Structuralism + Marxism As with structuralism, the turn toward Marxism at the Birmingham Centre began under Hall's direction. 7 Sparks contends that while the Centre's early forays into Marxism traversed a range of thinkers, including Lukcs and Sartre, by 1973 Althusser's structuralist Marxism had achieved "orthodoxy" (82). A chapter of Althusser's For Marx--"On Contradiction and Overdetermination"--was particularly formative for Hall, who as late as 1983 applauded the "richness of its theoretical concepts" and deemed its achievement as having begun "to think about complex kinds of determinacy without reduction to a simple unity" ("Signification, Representation, Ideology," 94). Althusser won pride of place in British cultural studies in the 1970s because he offered an innovative merger of Marxism and structuralism, which at the time represented the theoretical cutting edge in the human sciences. His Marxism was antieconomistic, antihumanist, and provided a philosophical rationale and method that promised to pierce "the opacity of the immediate" (Althusser and Balibar, 16). Althusser's critique of economism followed from his rejection of Hegelianism's notion of the social totality driven by "one principle of internal unity" (For Marx, 183). Hence, he renounced a Hegelian "expressive totality" in which every element is a manifestation or reflection of a single principle. Althusser saw Stalinism as one variant of this error--where the "general contradiction" between the [End Page 213] forces and relations of production was held to unilaterally "cause" the superstructure as its phenomenal reflection. And while human-ist Marxism saw itself as diametrically opposed to Stalinism, for Althusser it was simply the flip side of the expressive totality mistake: humanism made "alienation" (and its "negation") the single principle of unity. Althusser's critique of the Hegelian residue in Stalinism and socialist humanism--indeed, his entire project to develop a Marxist "science"--can be understood as an effort to rethink the problem of determination outside the orbit of Hegel. His end run around Hegel was executed through Spinoza, according to Christopher Norris: "the entire project of Althusserian Marxism comes down to this issue of Spinoza versus Hegel, on the claims of a Marxist theoretical 'science' as opposed to a subject-centered dialectics of class consciousness, alienation, 'expressive causality' and other such Hegelian residues" (35). From Spinoza, Althusser developed the notion of "structural causality" where the "social totality comprises the articulated ensemble of the different levels . . . [of] the economic infrastructure, the politico-juridical superstructure, and the ideological superstructure" (Althusser, Philosophy, 6). While each level possessed a degree of autonomy and efficacy, it was also determined by the totality of practices of all three instances. Althusser thereby rejected the twin propositions that the relations of production were the "pure phenomena" of the forces of production and the superstructure the phenomenal expression of the base (For Marx, 100). He proposed instead the "ever pregivenness of a structured complex unity" (199) in which "the mode of organization and articulation of the complexity is precisely what constitutes its unity" (202).

Althusser thereby replaced the unitary determination of Hegelianism with the concept of "overdetermination," where the "con-crete variations and mutations of a structured complexity such as a social formation" were understood as "complexly-structurally-unevenly-determined" (210, 209). A social formation was not, however, simply "an equality of interaction between all instances" (Dews, 113), but "a structure articulated in dominance" (Althusser, For Marx, 202). One level was dominant in every social formation and the mode of production determined which level occupied that position. Thus, the economic base was determinant ("in the last [End Page 214] instance") insofar as it "distributes effectivity between the instances of a social formation" (Dews, 114). To posit a "relative autonomy" of these different "levels" required a way of conceiving their relation outside the constraints of reflection theory, as Althusser recognized: Marx has given us the "two ends of the chain," and has told us to find out what goes on between them: on the one hand, determination in the last instance by the economic (mode of production); on the other, the relative autonomy of the superstructures and their specific effectivity. (For Marx, 111) Althusser's conception of ideology--which became central for cultural studies--derived from the structuralist premise that a given domain of activity can be isolated and examined in terms of its internal logic and relations. Indeed, he argued that "it was because each of these levels possesses this 'relative autonomy' that it can be objectively considered a 'partial whole,' and become the object of a relatively independent scientific treatment" (Philosophy, 6). Following Spinoza, who distinguished between "knowledge of imagination" (prereflective, commonsense awareness arising from practical experience) and "adequate knowledge" or "understanding" (achieved through the correct deployment of critical reason), Althusser asserted a "crucial distinction and opposition between science . . . and ideology" (22). While ideology was comprised of "representations, images, signs, etc." (26), its unity and meaning did not derive from those individual elements (content), but from their internal organization and relations (form): "considered in isolation, [signs and representations] do not compose ideology. It is their systematicity, their mode of arrangement and combination, that gives them their meaning; it is their structure that determines their meaning and function" (26). That function was social reproduction: "assuring the bond among people in the totality of the forms of their existence, the relation of individuals to their task assigned by the social structure" (28). Ideology was "opaque to the individuals who occupy a place in the society determined by its structure" (ibid.) because it was the hidden structuring principle that determined the way images and representations were selected and combined. In this way, ideology "hailed" or "interpellated" (i.e., produced) social subjects, even as it appeared to individuals as their spontaneous "free" thought. Hence, [End Page 215] Althusser's argument that "what is represented in ideology is not the system of real relations which govern the existence of individuals, but the imaginary relation of those individuals to the real relations in which they live" (Lenin, 155). Insofar as ideology is form rather than content, it is eternal and transhistorical. However, as structure, it can also be made "the object of an objective study" (Philosophy, 26). Thus, like Lvi-Strauss, who strove to create a science by which one could identify the timeless "universal grammars" beneath the surface variations in cultural practices, Althusser sought to establish scientific knowledge of the objective structure of ideology out of which were generated specific historical variants. Such knowledge was attainable through conceptual clarification or immanent critique, which became political practice by establishing "the difference between the imaginary and the true" (Althusser and Balibar, 17). This critical clarification, or "theoretical practice," constituted the science and the political project of structuralist Marxism. For Althusser, "practice" was "any process of transformation of a determinate given raw material into a determinate product, a transformation effected by a determinate human labour, using determinate means [of production]" (For Marx, 166). Practice was also divided into "levels": economic, political, ideological, and theoretical. Marxist science was located on the level of theoretical practice, which "works on raw material (representations, concepts, facts) which it is given by other practices, whether 'empirical,' 'technical,' or 'ideological' " (167). At this level, the "means of production" are the concepts employed, the method is the way concepts are used, and the product is knowledge, or scientific truth. For Althusser, "To know is to produce the adequate concept of the object by putting to work means of theoretical production (theory and method), applied to a given raw material" (Philosophy, 15). Theoretical practice might contribute to political practice by establishing the identity between "two different concretes: the concrete-inthought, which is a knowledge, and concrete-reality, which is its object" (For Marx, 186). 8

Introducing Hall to an American audience, Grossberg and Slack noted "the importance of the 'Althusserian moment' which moves cultural studies onto a structuralist terrain" (88). From that terrain emerged what Hall termed the "critical paradigm" in media studies, in which the "move from content to structure or from manifest [End Page 216] meaning to the level of code is an absolutely characteristic one" (Hall, "Rediscovery of 'Ideology,' " 71). For Hall, this "paradigm shift" constituted a "theoretical revolution" in media studies, "at the center of [which] was the rediscovery of ideology and the social and political significance of language and the politics of the sign and discourse" (89). If the "Althusserian moment" marked the embrace of Marxism by cultural studies, it also conserved the founding principle of structuralism: that language/culture is not substance, but form. Culture was not the content of expression or experience, but the codes, inventories, taxonomies (i.e., the principles of formation) that provided the frameworks and basis for thought/consciousness. Signification--both the activity and product of this structuring process--was therefore the proper object of cultural analysis. In "The Rediscovery of 'Ideology,' " Hall states that having "dethroned the referential notion of language," structuralism had definitively shown that "things in the real world do not contain or propose their own, integral, single, and intrinsic meaning." Rather, "the world has to be made to mean" through "language and symbolization," which are "the means by which meaning is produced" (67). Because there is no access to the "real" except through language and "social relations have to be represented in speech and language to acquire meaning" (Hall, "Signification, Representation, Ideology," 98), it followed that "how people will act depends in part on how the situations in which they act are defined" (Hall, "Rediscovery of 'Ideology,' " 65). Accordingly, Hall conceived ideology as a set of rules to generate meanings that define situations for social action. Ideologies, he argued, pre-date individuals, and form part of the determinate social formations and conditions into which individuals are born. We have to "speak through" the ideologies which are active in our society and which provide us with the means of "making sense" of social relations and our place in them. . . . ideologies "work" by constructing for their subjects (individual and collective) positions of identification and knowledge which allow them to "utter" ideological truths as if they were their authentic authors. ("Whites of Their Eyes," 3132) This implies that we can have no knowledge of our inscription within an ideological discourse, as Hall notes: "We are not ourselves [End Page 217] aware of the rules of systems of classification of an ideology when we encounter an ideological statement." However, following structuralism and Althusser, he maintained that ideologies, "like the rules of language . . . are open to rational inspection and analysis by modes of interpretation and deconstruction, which can open up a discourse to its foundations and allow us to inspect the categories which generate it" ("Signification, Representation, Ideology," 106). Such a project turns on the assumption that it is possible to stand apart from a structure (of language, of ideology), identify its principle of formation, and disengage from the practical awareness it constructs for all of us. It presumes that one can be both "inside" (determined by) and "outside" (free from) the structure, and thus able to pierce the generative "foundations" of a discourse. It is precisely this notion of a generative foundation--a structure with a "center" and an "outside"--that poststructuralism would steadily erode, beginning with Derrida's dissection of the metaphysical heart of Saussurean linguistics. In the wake of that critical enterprise, the commitment of cultural studies to a materialist (i.e., Marxist) account of culture would of necessity capsize. Hall attempted, by way of Gramsci, to sidestep the path that led through Marxism and "right out the other side again" ("Problem of Ideology," 28), but was ultimately unable to reverse this "unstoppable philosophical slide" ("Signification, Representation, Ideology," 94) precisely because he had already accepted the founding principles of structuralism. The Gramscian Turn: The Synthesis of the Paradigms If the history of Marxist theory during the 1960's can be characterised by the reign of "althusserianism," then we have now, without a doubt, entered a new phase: that of "gramscism." (Mouffe, 1) In her introduction to Gramsci and Marxist Theory, Chantal Mouffe proposed that the Gramscian revival--"developed in the wake of the events of 1968"--signaled a shift from pessimism to optimism among left intellectuals who, having earlier placed their hopes in Third World movements for national liberation,

now envisioned [End Page 218] "possibilities of revolutionary transformations in the countries of advanced capitalism" (1). 9 Hall would be among those who made that shift in the 1980s. Cultural studies turned toward Gramsci as Althusser was coming under attack from friends and foes alike. 10 In "Cultural Studies and the Centre," Hall argued that "Gramsci massively corrects the ahistorical, highly abstract formal and theoreticist level at which structuralist theories operate" and "provided, for us, very much the 'limit' case for marxist structuralism" ("Cultural Studies and the Centre," 36, 35). Gramsci also appeared compatible with culturalism. In "Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms," Hall argued that culturalism's emphasis "on the affirmative moment of the development of conscious struggle . . . against its persistent downgrading in the structuralist paradigm" had been further developed via Gramsci, who provided us with a set of more refined terms through which to link the largely "unconscious" and given cultural categories of "common sense" with the formation of more active and organic ideologies, which have the capacity to intervene in the ground of common sense . . . to organize masses of men and women. (69) Gramsci thus promised to be an antidote to criticisms of Althusser, a bridge to culturalism, and a possible path beyond the limitations of both that might carry cultural studies into the future. Ironically, Hall's move to Gramsci was provoked by Althusser. In Reading Capital, Althusser treated Gramsci as an important, but historicist-tainted figure in Marxist thought. Painting Gramsci with a Hegelian brush, Althusser implied that one could follow him or Gramsci, but not both. Hall rejected that choice. In "Politics and Ideology: Gramsci," Hall, Bob Lumley, and Gregor McLennan challenged Althusser's critique. Far from being incompatible with Althusser, they argued, "Gramsci has played a generative role and occupies a pivotal position in relation to the work of structuralist marxism as a whole" (57). Making Gramsci a precursor to Althusser was justified through their commonalities: both rejected economism, stressed the importance of the superstructure, spoke of ideology's role in producing "common sense," and were committed to political intervention. Hall and his coauthors concluded that the meeting of [End Page 219] structuralist Marxism and Gramsci constituted "one of the most important encounters in the field of contemporary marxist theory" (5859). Thereafter, Gramsci would play a costarring role with Althusser in the pantheon of seminal theorists in cultural studies. Hall has insisted that Althusserianism in its "fully orthodox form . . . never really existed for the Centre" ("Cultural Studies at the Centre," 35). Without rejecting this claim, I propose that Hall's prior engagement with structuralism, and structuralist Marxism in particular, was determinate for his encounter with Gramsci and subsequent response to poststructuralism. 11 Turning Gramsci into a protostructuralist meant that his key concepts could be integrated into the already accepted principles of structuralism, an operation that began in Hall's first engagement with his thought. Working within an Althusserian problematic, Hall, Lumley, and McLennan characterized Gramsci's conception of social formations as comprising three levels--the economic, political, and ideological--mirroring Althusser's categories. For both theorists, they said, the economic was determinate "in the last instance," but the political and ideological levels enjoyed a significant autonomy. The political level, which Hall et al. equated with "civil society," was the "intermediary sphere that includes aspects of the structure and superstructure" (47), while the ideological level, solely superstructural, "serves to cement and unify . . . classes and class fractions into positions of domination and subordination" (48). Corresponding to Althusser's conception of a social formation as a "structured complex unity," Gramsci's concept of hegemony was credited with "keep[ing] the levels of the social formation distinct and held in combination" (49). Althusser's distinction between ideology and science was paralleled for Hall and company in Gramsci's couplet of "common sense" and "systematic thought" or "philosophy," which could transform "good sense and class instinct . . . into a coherent socialist perspective" (53). They also characterized Gramsci's view of ideology as "an epistemological and structural matter" (46) in line with Althusser's notion that ideology "interpellates" social subjects. Just as "theoretical practice" was the Althusserian key to unmasking ideologies, Gramsci seemed to imply that radical intellectuals could denaturalize "common sense" through the application of "systematic thought" (50). Like Althusser before him, Gramsci was appended to Hall's [End Page 220] antireductionist crusade. In "Cultural Studies and the Centre," Hall proposed that Gramsci's work "stands as a prolonged repudiation of any form of reductionism--especially that of economism" (35). 12 Key for Hall were Gramsci's concepts of "civil society," seen as "the terrain in which classes contest for power" (Hall, Lumley, and McLennan, 47);

the "war of position" and centrality of intellectuals in seizing a leadership position; and hegemony, which "played a seminal role in cultural studies" (Hall, "Cultural Studies and the Centre," 35). In Hall's appropriation, hegemony was defined as "the (temporary) mastery of a particular theatre of struggle and the articulation of that field into a tendency [to] create the conditions whereby society and the state may be conformed in a larger sense to certain formative national-historic tasks." Because the outcome of that process "always depends on the balance in the relations of force," Hall held that the concept of hegemony "rids Gramci's thinking of any trace of a necessitarian logic and any temptation to 'read off' political and ideological outcomes from some hypostatized economic base" (36). Gramsci was deemed less reductive than Althusser because he emphasized "ideological struggle." Adopting Althusser's notion that ideology works by "binding" or "cementing" together signs, interests, subjects, classes, and levels of the social formation, Hall proposed that Gramsci enabled cultural studies to understand how an ideology could "intervene in popular thinking 'positively' in order to recompose its elements and add new ones, or 'negatively' by setting the boundaries on its development" (Hall, Lumley, and McLennan, 50). Combining Althusser and Gramsci meant that cultural studies should focus on "the 'articulation' of ideology in and through language and discourse" (Hall, "Rediscovery of 'Ideology,' " 80). The concept of articulation became the linchpin of Hall's attempt to recast the two paradigms through a synthesis of Gramsci and Althusser. As employed in structural linguistics and structuralist Marxism, articulation is the enactment of a structure's principle of formation, which determines how elements (e.g., signifiers, signifieds, signs, discursive or ideological propositions, levels of the social formation, etc.) are differentiated and combined. That operation is "arbitrary" insofar as the elements possess no prior substantial meaning, but acquire significance relationally only through the [End Page 221] process of articulation. In Hall's fusion of structuralist Marxism and Gramsci, the concept of articulation undergoes a crucial revision. He conserves the structuralist view of meaning as relational and arbitrary in his definition of articulation as the form of the connection that can make a unity of two different elements, under certain conditions. It is a linkage which is not necessary, determined, absolute and essential for all time. . . . the so-called "unity" of a discourse is really the articulation of different, distinct elements which can be re-articulated in different ways because they have no necessary "belongingness." The "unity" which matters is a linkage between that articulated discourse and the social forces with which it can, under certain historical conditions, but need not necessarily, be connected. (Grossberg, "Interview with Stuart Hall," 53) However, rather than treating articulation--as Althusser did--as a structural operation, Hall reconceives it as an activity of social subjects engaged in ideological struggle. Hence, he argued "one of the ways in which ideological struggle takes place and ideologies are transformed is by articulating the elements differently, thereby producing a different meaning: breaking the chain in which they are currently fixed" ("Whites of Their Eyes," 31). This reconceptualization of ideology, in Hall's view, helped cultural studies understand how "ideas of different kinds grip the minds of masses," permitting a historical bloc to "maintain its dominance and leadership" and "reconcile the mass of the people to their subordinate place." It also shed light on how "new forms of consciousness . . . arise, which move the masses of the people into historical action against the prevailing system." Armed with this knowledge, cultural studies was equipped to "comprehend and master the terrain of struggle" (29). From this perspective, challenging a particular ideology involved identifying its "articulating principle" or rules of formation so as to recombine its elements and expose the constructedness of its apparently natural unity. Thus, Hall envisioned a "theoretically-informed political practice" that identified the generative foundations of an ideological discourse in order to "bring about or construct the articulation between social or economic forces and those forms of politics and ideology which might [End Page 222] lead [the masses] in practice to intervene in history in a progressive way" ("Signification, Representation, Ideology," 95). 13 This argument is riven by a contradiction, however. Once one adopts the structuralist premise that individual elements (signs, units of discourse, etc.) have no inherent (substantial) meaning unless and until they are set into relation with each other by the structure (the formulation of the principle of formation), the idea of individuals effecting a different meaning by substituting or recombining elements is nonsensical. Because meaning is always and only inscribed by the logic of the structure, any change in the meaning of individual

elements arises only through a change within the structure itself. The question then becomes how, why, and under what circumstances a structure changes. From a classic structuralist position, the answer is that, fundamentally, it doesn't: structure is a priori, timeless, and at every moment complete. Hence, structuralism rejects diachrony (temporal development) in favor of synchrony (a serial succession of structures). Within a structuralist paradigm, then, one might identify the operating logic of a given structure, but the idea of individuals changing that logic is illogical. For Hall to argue that individuals might intervene in an ideology by rearranging its components only makes sense if he assumes that those elements do have a substantial (versus merely formal) meaning that derives from something other than the principle of formation of the structure. That is, he is forced to appeal to an "outside" of the structure (of language, discourse, ideology) that would facilitate different practical inflections of meaning. It is on this problem of an "outside" that both structuralism, and Hall's attempt to fuse Gramsci and structuralist Marxism, founders. In "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," Derrida launched a definitive assault on structural linguistics and structuralism. He zeroed in on fundamental problems in Saussurean linguistics: its notion of structure as a closed taxonomy and belief that a structure's unity could be grasped from the outside by an investigator. Derrida argued that the principle of unity (principle of formation) of a structure can be neither inside nor outside of it. If the unity of meaning is outside (i.e., identifiable by an external investigator), then it can have no meaning, since meaning is by definition [End Page 223] an effect of the differential relations of elements in a system. Conversely, if the principle of unity is inside the structure, then its own meaning is determined by its difference from all other values in the system, and it cannot be the unifying principle for that system. While Derrida accepted Saussure's "conception of a differential articulation of the sign," he rejected "the idea that this articulation takes place in a theoretically comprehensive and enclosed system" (Frank, 25). He thus concluded that a structure cannot be a closed system organized by a unifying law; it must of necessity be forever open, without a founding principle or an "outside," and "subject to infinite transformations" (ibid.). Derrida thereby judged structuralism guilty of the very metaphysics it imagined itself as transcending. This is the heart of the poststructuralist critique, not only of structuralism, but of all systems of thought that require a foundational (metaphysical) principle, be it god, nature, "man," structure, or the forces of production. The consequence of this critique was a progressive destabili-zation across the human sciences, including cultural studies. In "Signification, Representation, Ideology: Althusser and the Post-Structuralist Debates," Hall responded to poststructuralism in an attempt to salvage his synthesis of Gramsci and Althusser and avoid the slide out of Marxism. He reiterated his rejection of "classical" Marxism, which he characterized as relying on "the idea of a necessary correspondence between one level of a social formation and another." He also criticized what he erroneously took to be poststructuralism's "declaration that there is 'necessarily no correspondence' " and its implication that "nothing really connects with anything else" (94). Hall countered with a "third position" of "no necessary correspondence" in which "there is no law which guarantees that the ideology of a class is already and unequivocally given in or corresponds to the position which that class holds in the economic relations of capitalist production" (ibid.). He conceded that Derrida was "correct in arguing that there is always a perpetual slippage of the signifier, a continuous 'deference' " (93), but asserted that his own "claim of 'no guarantee' . . . also implies that there is no necessary non-correspondence." Therefore, he insisted, "there is no guarantee that, under all circumstances, ideology and class can never be articulated together in any way or produce a social force capable for a time [End Page 224] of self-conscious 'unity in action,' in a class struggle" (94-95). Hall accused poststructuralism of privileging difference over "unity." In his view, signification might in theory be the perpetual motion of diffrance, but in practice it necessarily interrupted that movement to construct unity or identity: "without some arbitrary 'fixing,' or what I am calling 'articulation,' there would be no signification or meaning at all. What is ideology but, precisely, this work of fixing meaning through establishing, by selection and combination, a chain of equivalences?" (93). That Derrida would find nothing to disagree with in this statement reveals Hall's inadequate understanding of poststructuralism. It also exposes a fundamental weakness in his attempt to bridge structuralism (via Althusser) and culturalism (via Gramsci). From the former, Hall accepted the view of ideology as a formal structure that forges relations between elements to constitute the meaning of social subjects and their relation to "real conditions"--meanings that cannot exist independently of or prior to that suturing. From the latter, he retained the notion that meaning is constituted by social subjects in response to their lived conditions. Conflating the paradigms, Hall proposed that these same subjects could not only identify the articulating

principle (i.e., the "center") of an ideological discourse, but also personally dismantle it by consciously rearranging its elements. Thus, Hall's "third position" salvaged the founding paradigms of cultural studies by wedding structuralism's conception of language with culturalism's conception of human subjects. These positions are, first of all, incompatible. Further, neither (alone or in combination) is capable of standing up to the poststructuralist critique. In his early assessment of the two paradigms, Hall imagined that cultural studies was poised to resolve "the question of the relation between the logic of thinking and the 'logic' of historical process" ("Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms," 72). A dozen years later, he stated that the "question of how to 'think,' in a non-reductionist way, the relations between 'the social' and 'the symbolic,' remains the paradigm question in cultural theory" ("For Allon White," 287). The inability of cultural studies to answer those questions, I suggest, lies within its founding paradigms themselves, neither of which Hall has relinquished nor surpassed. [End Page 225] Countering Reflection with Autonomy: Economism Conserved Hall's synthesis of Althusser and Gramsci ultimately resolved the problem of a reflection theory of culture by opting for its binary opposite--autonomy--and in so doing preserved that very polarity. In effect, he spliced together structuralism's autonomous signifying systems and culturalism's autonomous subject, while retaining the autonomy of the "economic" inherited from economistic Marxism and bourgeois economics. This move of separating language/culture/the symbolic, consciousness/subjectivity, and objective conditions/economy into discrete objects or domains necessarily conserves economism because it treats the economic as autonomous, external, and self-conditioning. Further, once these are deemed separate entities, the problem becomes, as Grossberg puts it, "how one thinks about the relationships or links between the different domains (forms and structures of practices) of social life" ("Cultural Studies vs. Political Economy," 72). The absence of a "necessary" relation between these domains requires something to link them together: that something is signification/articulation. Having adopted structuralism's conception of language as autonomous form, Hall conceived ideological struggle through the logic of language--as the formal differentiation and combination of elements that disrupted established meanings and created new ones. The point of such signifying practice (or "articulation") was to create a link, for example, between class and ideology, so as to "move the masses . . . into historical action" ("Problem of Ideology," 29). However, having rejected structuralism's notion that linguistic structures also produce subjects on the grounds that this was another form of reductionism (a reflection theory of consciousness), Hall's model required subjects who were somehow independent of and not reducible to discourse or conditions. As he has stated, "people are not cultural dopes. . . . they know something about who they are. If they engage in a project it is because it has interpolated them, hailed them, and established some point of identification with them" (Hall, "Old and New Identities," 59). Although Hall employs Althusserian language, he imports a humanist conception of human beings as selfaware, self-determining [End Page 226] subjects whose actions derive from the force of arguments (ideologies) presented to them. Similarly, those who seek social leadership (hegemony) by fashioning convincing arguments (ideologies) must also be nonidentical with the structure of language and their conditions of existence. In Althusser, the subject hailed by ideology is inscribed in/spoken by the structure (form), but misrecognizes this as the freely chosen content of her/his thought; for Hall, interpolation and hailing are akin to persuasion. That is, people can be "hailed" by an ideology only if it resonates with "who they are," and who they are must precede and be independent of that ideological interpellation. In Hall's view, Laclau had "dismantled" the validity of any notion of a "class determination of ideas" ("Problem of Ideology," 39) and thereby made untenable the notion that people are "irrevocably and indelibly inscribed with the ideas they ought to think" or the politics they "ought to have" based on their position in the social formation ("Signification, Representation, Ideology," 96). Thus, Hall argued, "there must always be some distance between the immediate practical consciousness or common sense of ordinary people, and what it is possible for them to become" (Grossberg, "Interview with Stuart Hall," 52). Consciousness was therefore given neither by conditions nor by language--its relation to both is contingent because some remainder of subjectivity always exceeds its determinations. This contingent subject is coupled with the contingency of the symbolic: because "language by its nature is not fixed in a one-to-one relation with its referent"; it "can construct different meanings around what is apparently the same relation or phenomenon" (Hall, "Problem of Ideology," 36). The perpetual "slippage" of

language interferes with its ability to fully determine subjects; this instability of language, combined with that of the subject, precludes their perfect correspondence. Contingency is also extended to social conditions: "there is 'no necessary correspondence' between the conditions of a social relation or practice and the number of different ways it can be represented" (Hall, "Signification, Representation, Ideology," 104). Given the absence of any necessary, interior relation between language, subjectivity, and conditions, any connection is external and has to be created discursively to move people to hold the ideas (and politics) they "ought to have." In Hall's words: "by [End Page 227] generating discourses which condense a range of different connotations, the dispersed conditions of a practice of different social groups can be effectively drawn together to make those social forces . . . capable of intervening as a historical force" (104). This conception of autonomous subjects who can be turned (and turn others) into a social force by rhetorically forging a correspondence between conditions and consciousness reflects Hall's apparent concession to poststructuralism's critique of foundationalism. I suggest, however, that he fell prey to a common misunderstanding of that critique by associating it with a modernist--rather than poststructuralist--view of foundationalism. Philip Wood contrasts the modernist position, which conceives foundationalism as "the opposite of self or autonomous legislation" (i.e., the self as externally legislated by god, nature, reason, etc.), to poststructuralism's critique of any foundation or "ground" of being. For the latter, "the very ideals of 'self,' 'autonomy,' and even ostensibly anti-foundationalist notions like 'structure,' which were expressly designed to shatter notions of selfhood, all work with a secret assumption of a ground" (168-69). In rejecting the notion that consciousness is an effect of language or expression of material conditions, Hall defaulted to a modernist ideal of freedom based on an autonomous, self-legislating subject--one contingently related to language and social conditions who can be moved to engage in a political project through the practice of articulation. 14 Which brings us to the third autonomy. If any correspondence between people's consciousness and their conditions of existence has to be created by signifying practice, for Hall there are clearly better and worse articulations: those that move the masses to challenge the prevailing system and intervene in history in a progressive way, versus those that maintain the hegemony of the "power bloc" and reconcile the "people" to their subordinate place. Thus, while there is no necessary correspondence between signs, subjects, and circumstances, there is a politically superior one, which it is the goal of cultural studies to foster. One response to making the relation between language, consciousness, and conditions purely arbitrary is a Humean conventionalism and relativism embraced by the likes of Rorty, Lyotard, and Fish. Given Hall's affinity for a Marxian position, he rejected this relativist option. But to assert that there are progressive and retrograde [End Page 228] ways of articulating the links between these domains is to presume a basis upon which to make that judgement and appeal to "the people" to intervene in history. That is, Hall requires a "truth" that precedes any particular articulation. That truth resides in what he has variously construed as "the real conditions of existence," the "social formation," "social relations," "the prevailing system," "structures," and "the economic," which he holds to exist independently of symbolic representation or subjective experience: Social relations do exist. We are born into them. They exist independently of our will. They are real in their structure and tendency. We cannot develop a social practice without representing those conditions to ourselves in some way or another; but the representations do not exhaust their effect. Social relations exist, independent of mind, independent of thought. And yet they can only be conceptualized in thought, in the head. (Hall, "Signification, Representation, Ideology," 105) Having rejected the idea that "social relations give their own unambiguous knowledge to perceiving, thinking subjects," Hall maintained that we have no access to "the 'real relations' of a particular society outside of its cultural and ideological categories" (97). This neo-Kantian formulation seems to grant determinative primacy to the means of representation; indeed, this is a critique of Althusser made by Paul Hirst, who suggested that this was simply another species of reflection theory: "It is not too much to argue that once any autonomy is conceded to these means of representation, it follows necessarily that the means of representation determine the represented" (395). Responding to that critique, Hall proposed that Hirst failed to appreciate the difference between "autonomy and relative autonomy." For Hall, the former resulted in "a theory of the absolute autonomy of everything from everything else," while the latter allowed one to conceptualize "a 'unity' which is not a simple or reductionist one" (" 'Political' and the 'Economic,' " 58). However, to posit that everything is "relatively autonomous" from everything else still begs the question of the nature of their relationship and

unity. In 1977, Hall located that unity in "the economic structure," which, in his view, Marx had conceived "as in some sense other than a reductionist one, 'determining' " (58). To do otherwise, he believed, [End Page 229] would be to abandon the "Marxist 'topography' of the base and superstructure" that constituted the "boundary limit for Marxism" (59). Thus, the basis upon which one might articulate a temporary correspondence between representations and subjects ultimately leads back to the economic, and it is here that Hall's economism surfaces, despite his persistent attacks on economic reductionism. 15 Before proceeding, Hall's characterization of "reductionism" warrants closer examination. His criticism of a Marxism "guaranteed by the laws of history" (Grossberg, "Interview with Stuart Hall," 58) is a recurring theme in Hall's writings from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, where it serves as the "other" to cultural studies--that which the field came into being in order to vanquish. Indeed, his work evinces a sense that economism is the special province of Marxism and that no Marxist thought outside of cultural studies has gotten beyond Stalinism (with the exception of Althusser, who was plagued by other errors, and, of course, Gramsci). Neither implication is accurate. It is fair to say that none of the figures associated with "western Marxism" (including Lukcs) held to this "automatic Marxism." In fact, their various projects were consciously opposed to it, as was Maoism (including the French Maoists Nicos Poulantzas and Charles Bettelheim), whose break with Soviet Marxism centered precisely on rejecting its economistic privileging of the productive forces (see Rossanda). One might take issue with other aspects of these thinkers' work, even find traces of economism in their thought, but one can-not accuse them of viewing history as the unfolding of some iron economic law. Further, to identify economism exclusively with Marxism is to ignore the history of bourgeois political economy and modern economics. Bettelheim's criticism of economistic Marxism--that it "bore within itself . . . the premises . . . of bourgeois ideology" (20)--echoes Marx's critique of classical political economy. Samir Amin argues that Marx's aim in Capital was to expose the economism at the heart of liberal political economy: "to reveal the secret of capitalist society, the logic that causes it to present itself as being directly under the control of the economy, which occupies the center stage of society and, in its unfolding, determines the other dimensions of society, which appear to have to adjust themselves to its demands" (5). [End Page 230] Bourgeois political economy is founded on this understanding of capitalism as the natural progression of productive capacity, the necessary outcome of a "law" of supply and demand, and the social expression of innate human nature, i.e., individuals as Homo oeconomicus, naturally self-interested, competitive beings who seek to "maximize their satisfactions" (Godelier, xv). Far from being the exclusive province of economistic Marxism, economism is the dominant mode of explanation within bourgeois economics. Amin calls economism the "dominant ideology" of capitalism itself, in which "economic laws are considered as objective laws imposing themselves on society as forces of nature . . . as forces outside of the social relationships peculiar to capitalism" (7). That is, the economy is treated as an autonomous, unconditioned, self-determining force, thing, or institution. Economistic Marxism conserved this conception even as it saw itself as a radical critique of capitalism. Its understanding of social relations, consciousness, and superstructures as reflections of the forces of production parallels the liberal political economy's view of the economy as the "center stage" upon which the rest of society performs. To the extent that Hall's critique of reductionism has focused on the culture-as-reflection problem without simultaneously interrogating the received notion of the economic as an unconditioned, external force or domain, he has also conserved economism. In "A Sense of Classlessness" (1958), an early engagement with the question of the relation of culture to "not culture," Hall criticized "vulgar Marxist interpretations" of the superstructure, suggested refining the notion of the base, and called for a "freer play in our interpretation between" the two (27). However, his analysis of post-WWII Britain was squarely located within an economistic framework, complete with a reflection theory of consciousness and culture. He referred to a "shift in patterns of social life" that could be traced to changes in "the rhythm and nature of work," "technological innovations," and "growth in the volume of consumer goods" (26). In Hall's view, these factors had changed objectively and "subjectively, i.e., as they present themselves to the consciousness of working people" (27), thereby "giv[ing] rise to a different set of emotional responses" manifested in a "new 'class consciousness' " (28). Thus, apparently self-propelled changes in the base were reflected in subjectivity. As Hall argued: [End Page 231]

The transformation of the technical base has done its work. . . . the development of the means of production must in turn raise the level of human consciousness, and may make possible, and in turn, create the demand for greater participation in all the human activities--the "social relations of production" associated with work. (28) This demand from below was not inevitable, however, because a new form of capitalism "based in consumption" (29) had created a "general sense of class confusion . . . resulting in a false consciousness in working class people" (30). Thus, Hall cautioned,

the material and technological means for complete human freedom are almost to hand . . . [but] the structure of human, social and moral relationships are in complete contradiction and have to be set over against our material advances, when we are reckoning them up. (31) Although Hall would no doubt reject his early analysis as reductionist, the issues it raised effectively established the agenda for cultural studies for the next three decades: the base/superstructure (economy/culture) relationship; the relation of culture to "not culture" and consciousness to conditions; the problem of why the working class (or "the people") did not/could not/would not recognize their own domination; and the question of what critical intellectuals might do about it. The journey through structuralism, structuralist Marxism, and Gramsci provided new analytical concepts and methods, and along the way gender and race were added as sites of analysis, but Hall's original questions endured. So did the tendency to conceive the economic (or capitalism) as unconditioned--a self-driven force or thing. What changed are the terms in which Hall conceived the relation of culture and consciousness to the economic. Writing during the "Althusserian moment," Hall countered reductionism by conceiving the political and ideological as relatively autonomous levels with their own structures, effects, and "conditions of existence" that were "not reducible to 'the economic.' " However, he continued to view their relation as linear, i.e., the economic precedes the other "levels" conceptually and actually. The political, juridical, and ideological, he argued, "are related but 'relatively [End Page 232] autonomous' practices, and thus the sites of distinct forms of class struggle, with their own objects of struggle, and exhibiting a relatively independent retroactive effect on 'the base.' " (" 'Political' and the 'Economic,' " 56; emphasis added). The autonomy of the superstructural levels facilitates "effects within what we have broadly designated as the 'economic' " (ibid.), but the economic still takes precedence; its effect upon the other levels are primary, theirs are secondary and "retroactive." That is, the political, ideological, and juridical do not produce the economic--which appears to be self- generated-but only respond to it after the fact. Nine years later, after the Gramscian detour, this conception of the economic persists, despite Hall's claim to offer a new, nonreductionist determinacy. In "The Problem of Ideology: Marxism without Guarantees," he argues that "the relations in which people exist are the 'real relations' which the categories and concepts they use help them to grasp and articulate in thought," but the "economic relations themselves cannot prescribe a single, fixed and unalterable way of conceptualizing it [sic]" because "it can be expressed within different ideological discourses" (38). If working people accept the representation of "the market" as a "system driven by the real and practical imperatives of self-interest" (34), this is a consequence of representation. Thus, "a worker who lives his or her relation to the circuits of capitalist production exclusively through the categories of a 'fair price' and a 'fair wage' " is not plagued by false consciousness, but hindered by "inadequate" frameworks of knowledge. In Hall's words, "There is something about her situation which she cannot grasp with the categories [of thought] she is using" (37). By also insisting that the discourses within which "the process of capitalist production and exchange" is represented "situate us as social actors . . . and prescribe certain identities for us" (39), Hall risks making the means of representation determinate. He sidesteps this issue by asserting that the "real relations" can be known through an "adequate" or "theoretical discourse," thus implying that there are true correspondences between language, conditions, and consciousness. Where does this adequate discourse--as well as inadequate ones--come from? For Hall, they are ultimately supplied by the economic: [End Page 233]

the economic aspect of capitalist production processes has real limiting and constraining effects (i.e., determinacy), for the categories in which the circuits of production are thought, ideologically, and vice versa. The economic provides the repertoire of categories which will be used, in thought. What the economic cannot do is (a) to provide the contents of the particular thoughts of particular social classes or groups at any specific time; (b) to fix or guarantee for all time which ideas will be made use of by which classes. The determinacy of the economic for the ideological can, therefore, be only in terms of the former setting limits for defining the terrain of operations, establishing the "raw materials" of thought. Material circumstances are the set of constraints, the "conditions of existence," for practical thought and calculation about society. (42) Hall therefore distinguishes his conception of economic determinacy from reflection theory by privileging form over content--the structuralist solution. By providing the "raw materials" of experience (conceived here as the classificatory schema of thought), the economic (i.e., "material circumstances") determines the boundaries (or principle of formation) of what it is possible to think, even if it cannot command what any given individual actually does think. It therefore continues to precede both thought and action as an unconditioned external cause. Indeed, Hall suggested that Althusser's ill-fated "determination in the last instance" be replaced by "determination by the economic in the first instance," since "no social practice or set of relations floats free of the determinate effects of the concrete relations in which they are created" (43). Both shifts and continuities are evident when comparing Hall's "A Sense of Classlessness" to his analysis of Thatcherism in the 1980s, culminating in the New Times project, where the synthesis of Althusser, Gramsci, and Laclau and the "no necessary correspondence" thesis are everywhere evident. In the conclusion to The Hard Road to Renewal, Hall reiterates his view that "There is no automatic correspondence between class position, political position and ideological inclination. Majorities have to be 'made' and 'won'--not passively reflected" (281). Class is no longer an organizing trope, given the presumably discredited notion of any class determination of consciousness. Working class and ruling class have been replaced, via Laclau, by the theoretically amorphous notion of "the people" versus "the power bloc." False consciousness has also been jettisoned-- [End Page 234] usurped by "identities"--since consciousness hinges on how our "real conditions of existence" are articulated. Gone too is the claim that people's interests are given by their position within existing social conditions, because "social interests are contradictory" and must be marshaled by a hegemonizing project (ibid.). These differences, however, belie an important continuity in Hall's treatment of the economic as a selflegislating foundation. In their introduction to New Times, Hall and Martin Jacques argue that the New Times project grew out of the fact that "the world has changed," that "advanced capitalist societies are increasingly characterised by diversity, differentiation and fragmentation, rather than homogeneity, standardisation and the economies and organisations of scale which characterised modern mass society" (11). "New Times" are the result of the transition from "Fordism" to "post-Fordism," characterized by "the rise of 'flexible specialisation' in place of the old assembly-line world of mass production. It is this, above all, which is orchestrating and driving on the evolution of this new world." They deem this transition "epochal"--comparable to the nineteenth-century passage "from the 'entrepreneurial' to the advanced or organised stage within capitalism," which "has shifted the centre of gravity of the society and the culture markedly and decisively in a new direction." In sum, "post-Fordism is at the leading edge of change, increasingly setting the tone of society and providing the dominant rhythm of cultural change" (12). This is not far removed from Hall's claim in 1958 that "the transformation of the technical base has done its work." In both cases, the economic perks along of its own volition and everything else (culture, consciousness, politics, etc.) reacts to that external momentum. This conception of the economic also traverses Hall's writings on race, ethnicity, and globalization in the 1980s. In two 1989 lectures, Hall addresses a tension in globalization between homogenization (identity) and specificity (difference). Although rejecting class as a "master concept" ("Old and New Identities," 46) and positioning himself against a view of capitalism operating according to a "singular, unitary logic" ("Local and the Global," 30), he retains a view of the economic (i.e., capitalism) as an external, autogenerated force. Capitalism is treated here as a thing--almost as a subject itself acting of its own logic and volition: "Capitalism is constantly exploiting [End Page 235] different forms of labour force" ("Local and the Global," 30); "in order to maintain its global position, capital has had to negotiate . . . to incorporate and partly reflect the differences it was trying to overcome" (32); "the more we understand about the development of capital

itself, the more we understand that . . . alongside the drive to commodify everything, which is certainly part of its logic, is another critical part of its logic which works in and through specificity" (29). Within such a formulation, capitalism is external and prior to thought, discourse, practices, and social relations. It is, in other words, something like a force of nature to which human beings respond after the fact, rather than a historically determinate system of social relations within which, individually and collectively, we daily produce and reproduce both the conditions of our existence and ourselves through our practical activity. Hall's view of the economic is precisely that held by economistic Marxism and bourgeois economics--with which reflection theory is eminently compatible--where the economy (or productive forces) acts as the motor of history that, "in its unfolding, determines the other dimensions of society, which appear to have to adjust themselves to its demands" (Amin, 5). Insofar as Hall conserved this conception, he countered the determinacy of the economic by positing the (relative) autonomy of language, consciousness, and culture. Thus, the power of the economic was whittled down by making it only partially determinant, culture was elevated by adopting a nonrepresentational model of language, and human freedom was reinstated by reviving the modernist ideal of the subject who always exceeds any external legislation. From Poststructuralism to Post-marxism: Repeating the Past The 1990s marked the dawn of "post-Marxism" and the break of cultural studies with a Marxian problematic. Ironically, this eclipse, according to Hall, was initiated through Gramsci, whose importance for cultural studies is precisely the degree to which he radically displaced some of the inheritances of Marxism in cultural studies. The radical character of [End Page 236] Gramsci's "displacement" of Marxism has not yet been understood and probably won't ever be reckoned with now we are entering the era of post-Marxism. ("Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies," 281) 16 Equally important in the field's theoretical pilgrimage was the "linguistic turn," which had "decentred and dislocated the settled path" presumably paved by Marxism (283). As Hall notes, "the refiguring of theory, made as a result of having to think questions of cul- ture through the metaphors of language and textuality, represents a point beyond which cultural studies must now always locate itself" (283-84). In Hall's view, the earlier propensities of cultural studies toward "class reductionism" ("For Allon White," 295) and "simple binary metaphors of cultural and symbolic transformations" (303) had been cured by a "general theoretical shift from any lingering flirtation with even a modified version of the 'base-superstructure' metaphor to a fully discourse-and-power conception of the ideological" (297). 17 The abandonment of the base/superstructure question and Marxian "metaphors of transformation" signals the wane of the attempt of cultural studies to think the "dialectic between conditions and consciousness." Indeed, Hall favored replacing the "metaphor" of "the dialectic of class antagonism" with that of the "dialogic of multi-accentuality" (299). For post-Marxist cultural studies, relative autonomy had become simply autonomy; Althusser's "structure in dominance" had been replaced by a structure with no center and no dominant, and historical necessity had bowed before contingency. This migration of thought is evident in Hall's introduction to Formations of Modernity. He describes the textbook as an examination of the "four major social processes" responsible for the "transition to modernity"--"the political, the economic, the social and the cultural" (1)--that constitute "the 'motors' of the formation" of modern society (7). None are granted "explanatory priority" because all were necessary, if not sufficient, for the emergence of modernity. The book thus "adopts a multi-causal explanation" reflecting its opposition to "teleological" accounts (specifically, Marxism and modernization theory) that attributed "social development ultimately to one principal cause: the economic" (10). In Hall's terms, "unlike many earlier sociological accounts, which tended to privilege class as the 'master' [End Page 237] category, [the book] does not adopt a clear hierarchy or priority of causes, and is generally critical of economic reductionism, in which the economic base is assumed to be the determining force in history" (11). In contrast, Formations of Modernity gives "much greater prominence and weight to cultural and symbolic processes." Culture is granted "a higher explanatory status" because it is "considered to be, not reflective, but constitutive of the modern world: as constitutive as economic, political or social processes of change" (13).

This "pluralization of key concepts" (11), according to Hall, marks an advance in knowledge. Modernity is now understood in terms of "different temporalities," events that "follow no rational logic" (9), "diverse outcomes," and "unevenness, contradiction, contingency (rather than necessity)." He stops slightly short of advocating a view of history as "a series of purely random events" (11): "the processes of formation were not autonomous and separate from each other. There were connections between them--they were articulated with one another. But they weren't inevitably harnessed together, all moving or changing in tandem" (9). If the ghost of Althusser lives on in Hall's terminology, it is a mere spectral presence as Hall assiduously distances himself from Marxism, which he presents as irretrievably reductionist. In the wake of the passage to poststructuralism and post-Marxism, the economic is dethroned from a position of centrality to one among several "processes" that contributed to something called modernity. Indeed, of the "four processes," the cultural, defined as the "symbolic dimension of social life" (13), appears more decisive in that "the production of social meanings is a necessary condition for the functioning of all social practices" (14). Despite the demotion of the economic in Hall's new schema--it is now determinant in neither the first nor last instance--this does not signal the death throes of economism. Hall describes Vivienne Brown's chapter on the economy as an examination of "the formation of a distinct sphere of economic life, governed by new economic relations, and regulated and represented by new economic ideas." The "economic sphere" comprises "commerce and trade," "the expansion of markets, the new division of labour and the growth of material wealth and consumption." All were "consequent upon the rise of capitalism in Europe and the gradual transformation of the traditional economy." Europe's "economic development," Hall argues, [End Page 238] was driven by "the expansion of trade and the market." The "productive energies of the capitalist system" were "unleash[ed]" by "laissez faire and the market forces of the private economy." The "engines of this development were the commercial and agrarian revolutions" (3). Such language represents the economy as a thing that operates independently of social subjects and social relations--indeed, to have given birth to itself, as the chapter title implies: "The Emergence of the Economy." This is akin to the language used to describe geological change. It is also the language of bourgeois economics, where the market and capitalism are presented as arising spontaneously from the natural order of things. Witness Hall's statement that "Modern capitalism sprang up in the interstices of the feudal economy" (8). Hall's depiction of the economic as a distinct, self-generated sphere echoes bourgeois economics identification of the economy as "the market" operating independently from and setting the stage for the rest of social existence. The consequence of conceiving the economic in this way is to desocialize and dehumanize it. The segregation of the economic from something called "the social" is particularly telling. In his description of the chapter on "changing social structures," Hall states that author Harriet Bradley shifts the focus from economic processes to the changing social relations and the new type of social structure characteristic of industrial capitalist society. Her chapter is concerned with the emergence of new social and sexual divisions of labour. She contrasts the class and gender formations of pre-industrial, rural society with the rise of new social classes, organized around capital and waged labour; the work patterns associated with the new forms of industrial production; and the new relations between men and women. (4) In this formulation, "economic processes" appear to emerge of their own accord and then provide the impetus for changes elsewhere in "social relations," which also exist separately from, and respond after the fact to, self-initiated changes in "the economy." There is a term for this way of conceiving the economic--fetishization--where the outcome of practical human activity is taken to be a suprahuman thing. It was precisely Marx's aim in his [End Page 239] critique of classical political economy and analysis of capitalism to expose this "fetishized economic universe" in which "the language of labor and human life activity" was translated into "the language of commodities" (McNally, 102, 103). Through that sleight of hand, the "lived reality of labor" was reduced to its "alienated and abstract form" (i.e., money) and capital proclaimed its "pure autonomy" from its "other": human labor. The task of bourgeois economics is to enshrine this fetishized universe as fact and theory. As David McNally argues,

the fetishized categories of vulgar economy thus constitute a bourgeois myth of "self-birth." . . . In vulgar economy, capital becomes a raging Nietzschean, an insatiable will to power that denies all otherness, that refuses to acknowledge its origin in labor, and that claims authorship of all the conditions of its existence. (103) Although Hall does not claim "pure autonomy" for the econo- mic--his four "processes" are, naturally, "articulated with one another"--he nonetheless reproduces the fetishized universe of bourgeois economics and economistic Marxism by turning the economy into an object independent of politics, culture, and social relations. Further, treating each of these as distinct "spheres" or "organisational clusters" (Hall, introduction to Formations, 11) precludes the possibility of thinking their "complex unity" and defaults to a view of society as congeries of contingently related processes. In effect, the post-Marxist Hall opts for a position he once explicitly rejected: a "traditional, sociological, multifactoral approach which has no determining priorities in it," where "everything interacts with everything else" ("Signification, Representation, Ideology," 91). In 1973, in "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory," Raymond Williams criticized this very position because it entailed "withdrawing from the claim that there is any process of determination" (36). Williams observed that although the concept of the superstructure had undergone many reformulations since Marx, "what has not been looked at with equal care is the received notion of the 'base,' " which was "the more important concept to look at if we are to understand the realities of cultural process." He noted the tendency to conceive the base in "essentially uniform and usually [End Page 240] static ways"--to treat it "virtually as an object" that unilaterally conditioned everything else (33). This, Williams asserted, was at odds with Marx's own position, which located the origins of determination in "the specific activities and relationships" of human beings (34). I suggest Williams homed in on the core weakness of the attempt of cultural studies to surpass a reflection theory of culture: it tried to rethink the base/superstructure relationship by focusing all of its energies on the latter and leaving the received notion of the former essentially intact. Given this lopsided endeavor, it is no surprise that Hall's challenge to reflection theory moved inexorably in the direction of the autonomy of the superstructure while conserving the autonomy of the base. Further, once these are deemed separate domains, it is impossible to empirically establish a relation between them of either necessity or freedom. They become instead a series of objects, events, or "processes" whose relationship is external and contingent. Any "unity" among them is then entirely subjective and conventional--a product of a particular "articulation" that temporarily interrupts and "fixes" the endless play of signification. In resolving the problem of reflection by asserting culture's autonomy, Hall thus opted for an analytical and neopositivist--as opposed to dialectical-mode of intelligibility, insofar as for the latter there is no such thing as an autonomous object or fact. 18 This failure to question the autonomy of the base also conserves the mental/material split Schiller criticizes. In Formations of Modernity Hall states: "the processes of economic, political and social development seem to have a clear, objective, material character. They altered material and social organization in the 'real world'-how people actually behaved." Cultural processes, in contrast, "deal with less tangible things--meanings, values, symbols, ideas, knowledge, language, ideology." Although he claims that language is "the result of social practices" and "material processes--like the economy and politics--depend on 'meaning' for their effects" (13), Hall nonetheless conceives "the material' and "the discursive" as separable areas whose relation must be analytically posited, rather than as dialectical, mutually constituting moments of what Williams once termed "a whole indissoluable practice" (Marxism and Literature, 31). Two decades ago, Hall proposed that the future of cultural studies turned on finding a solution to "the problems of a non-reductive [End Page 241] determinacy" ("Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms," 72). His solution was to parcel up the world into discrete spheres whose relation to each other is external, contingent, and therefore indeterminate. In effect, Hall reverted to Thompson's early distinction between the "raw material of life experience" and the "disciplines and systems" that " 'handle,' transmit or distort" it, but, contra to Thompson, treats their relation as arbitrary rather than necessary. Ironically, this strategy conserves both idealism and economism--those twin pillars of modern thought--by making culture the exclusive domain of thought, language, and meaning, and turning the economic into a realm of mute, nonsignifying materiality. Hall's theoretical itinerary issues from the failure to rethink the base outside the limitations of economistic Marxism and bourgeois economics; from the linguistic turn, which isolated and privileged language and then projected it back onto the whole of social practice; and from the resuscitation of the modern subject who

freely creates meanings from the "raw material" at hand. This trajectory--which pitted the autonomy of the symbolic against that of the subject and the economic--precluded the possibility of surpassing either economism or idealism. Further, having chosen structuralism as the weapon with which to battle economistic Marxism, cultural studies was inherently vulnerable to the poststructuralist critique of both. Once on board the structuralist train, without having done the necessary theoretical labor on the problem of the base, Hall and cultural studies had little choice but to go along for the ride through Marxism and "right out the other side again" (Hall, "Problem of Ideology," 28). It is hardly scandalous to say that cultural studies has abandoned Marxism when its most famous practitioners openly proclaim as much. It is perhaps more provocative to suggest that the field has thereby conserved economism--the very thing it sought to abolish once and for all. British cultural studies is the most recent in a series of twentieth-century efforts to formulate a nonreductive Marxian cultural theory. Like its predecessors, it entered that project by way of the superstructure. To the extent that they neglected to also critically engage with the question of the base, these efforts have been unsatisfactory. 19 The theoretical itinerary of Hall and the field he helped institutionalize holds a lesson for those who remain committed to a historical materialist understanding of culture. If we are to learn [End Page 242] from the failure of cultural studies to extricate itself from economism or idealism, we might recall Williams's effort to conceive culture within "a whole indissoluable practice." From such a perspective, neither the "superstructure" (culture) nor the "base" ("not culture") are autonomous. Both are the materialization of human practical activity within a definite historical milieu and concrete ensemble of social relations. Signification is not the exclusive property of language nor the special province of culture, but is at once the practical activity (praxis) of human beings and the material inscription of those multiple past and present activities "in things and in the order of things" that necessarily escape each of us, constitutes a field of objective imperatives for all of us, and inscribes every one of us within a system of social relations (Sartre, Search for a Method, 156). Capitalism, in this view, is not restricted to a domain called "the economic." Nor is it a thing, process, or force. It is a dynamic, conflictual system of social relations and as such is always a source, site, and object of signification. If we wish to grasp culture in relation to the social totality, we might heed Williams's call to look again at the received notion of the base that has so long evaded interrogation. Perhaps there we might begin to discover "the realities of cultural process" ("Base and Superstructure," 33).

Janice Peck teaches media studies and American studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is the author of The Gods of Televangelism: The Crisis of Meaning and the Appeal of Religious Television and is writing a book on Oprah Winfrey's rise to cultural icon status. Her work has appeared in Cultural Critique, Communication Theory, American Studies, and Journal of Communication Inquiry. Notes The title of this essay is inspired by that of an interview in New Left Review with Sartre, who was asked to reflect on the development of his thought ("Itinerary"). The author would like to thank Dan Schiller and especially Bill Riordan for their valuable comments on early incarnations of this work. 1. For critiques of the Marxism of the Second International, see Arato; Colletti; and Jacoby. While this form of Marxism came to be closely identified with Stalin, it infused the thought of European communist parties in the early to mid-twentieth century; even Trotsky, typically hailed as Stalin's antithesis, held this view, as Bettelheim has documented. Among early theorists of Marxism, only Lenin opposed this reading of Marxism and christened it "economism." 2. Thus did this "automatic Marxism" (Jacoby) dispatch to the superstructure the social relations of production that, for Marx, had properly constituted the "economic structure" of society (Marx, 20). A consequence of relegating the social relations of production to the superstructure was to make class struggle a superstructural phenomenon--a problem that was conserved by cultural studies in its conception of "ideological struggle."

3. Lawrence Grossberg, a student of Hall and major figure in American cultural studies, has similarly defined the field's task in terms of developing a theory of culture and power ("Cultural Studies vs. Political Economy"). 4. Witness the title of Grossberg's retort to Nicholas Garnham: "Cultural Studies vs. Political Economy: Is Anyone Else Bored with This Debate?" 5. This representation is somewhat misleading, given that French structuralism emerged contemporaneously with the work of Williams and Thompson. Structuralism's late arrival in Britain was due to the lag in translation of key texts and to the insularity of British intellectual culture, long dominated by empiricism and a suspicion of anything French. 6. Foucault's conception of history as a succession of discrete epistemes in his structuralist "archeological" phase, or in his poststructuralist "genealogical" mode as sequential ensembles of discourse/power with no necessary relationship, is a consequence of this devaluation of the diachronic. 7. The Centre's 1971 report noted that it "chose as a coherent theory one . . . not previously analyzed, that of Karl Marx" (cited in Sparks, 81). That same year, the CCCS sponsored a symposium titled "Situating Marx," inspired by David McLellan's Marx's Grundrisse, which provided the first English translation of portions of the 1857 manuscript. Papers from the symposium were collected in Situating Marx, edited by Paul Walton and Hall. 8. For Althusser, "the process that produces concrete knowledge takes place wholly in theoretical practice" (For Marx, 186). This makes him vulnerable to charges of idealism, despite many critics' claim that he was economistic and reductive. For the former, see Rancire, and Glucksmann; for the latter, Thompson (Poverty). 9. Mouffe's introduction was translated by CCCS's Colin Mercer. 10. See, for example, Rancire; Hirst; and Thompson. Dworkin notes that Althusser's dominance within British cultural studies "was already beginning to recede" in 1978 (232). 11. A powerful influence on Hall's understanding of Althusser and move to Gramsci was Ernesto Laclau's Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory (1977). That influence was personal as well; Hall notes in The Hard Road to Renewal that from 1982 to 1984 he participated in a discussion group organized by Laclau "around the broad themes of expanding the concept of 'hegemony' and the analysis of the present conjuncture" (160). Hall's analysis of Thatcherism--which he characterized as a hegemonic campaign to bind popular "common sense" to a conservative political-economic agenda--is closely patterned on Laclau's reading of Peronism in Politics and Ideology. Hall's writings on Thatcherism, many of which first appeared in Marxism Today and The New Socialist, are collected in his The Hard Road to Renewal and New Times: The Changing Face of Politics in the 1990s, coedited with Martin Jacques. 12. Here Hall follows Laclau, as well as Mouffe, who introduced Laclau to Gramsci and with whom he would write Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. All three came to Gramsci by way of structuralist Marxism. Mouffe argued for Gramsci's "importance for a non-economistic refounding of Marxist philosophy" (8) that avoided the "expressive totality" error of Hegelian Marxism; Laclau called for "a rupture of the last traces of reductionism" in Marxist theory (12). 13. The acceptance of this understanding of ideological struggle is evident in Grossberg and Slack, who characterize it as "on the one side--to articulate meanings and practices by creating or constructing those 'unities' which favor a particular disposition of power; and--on the other side--to disrupt or 'disarticulate' those constructed unities and to construct in their place alternative points of condensation between practice and experience which enable alternative dispositions of power and resistance to emerge and be empowered" (90). 14. Schwartz provides an interesting critique of the valorization by cultural studies of the autonomous individual and the limited notion of politics that follows from this implicit individualist tendency.

15. This argument seems to contradict the many critics who accuse Hall of undervaluing the place of the economic (e.g., Garnham; Jessop et al.; McGuigan; Sparks). However, succumbing to economism and paying scant attention to explicitly economic issues are not mutually exclusive categories. 16. Gramsci would be surprised, and likely dismayed, to learn he was a herald of "post-Marxism." 17. Hence, Hall's growing affinity for a Foucauldian approach, from which he had earlier maintained a critical distance (see "Cultural Studies and the Centre" and "Signification, Representation, Ideology"). His later "The West and the Rest," in contrast, relies entirely on Foucault. 18. Sartre contrasts a dialectical examination of history, which takes as its object "the developmental unity of a single process," to an analytical or positivist approach that "attempt[s] to show several independent, exterior factors of which the event under consideration is the resultant" (Critique of Dialectical Reason, 15). 19. The exception is Sartre, whose Search for a Method and Critique of Dialectical Reason center precisely on rethinking the base/superstructure formulation beyond the limitations of economistic Marxism and liberal humanism. Sartre's work is indispensable to developing a nonreductive materialist cultural theory--an argument I will explore in a subsequent essay. Works Cited Althusser, Louis. For Marx. New York: Vintage Books, 1970. ------. Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. New York: Monthly Review Press. ------. Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists. London: Verso, 1990. Althusser, Louis, and tienne Balibar. Reading Capital. London: New Left Books, 1970. Amin, Samir. Eurocentrism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1989. Anderson, Perry. Considerations on Western Marxism. London: New Left Books, 1976. Angus, Ian, et al. "Reflections upon the Encoding/Decoding Model: An Interview with Stuart Hall." In Viewing, Reading, Listening: Audiences and Cultural Reception, ed. Jon Cruz and Justin Lewis, 253-74. Boulder: Westview Press, 1994. Arato, Andrew. "The Second International: A Reexamination." Telos 18 (winter 1973/74): 2-52. Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. London: Jonathan Cape, 1972. Bettelheim, Charles. Class Struggles in the USSR: The First Period, 1917-1923. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1976. Bourdieu, Pierre. Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991. Colletti, Lucio. "The Marxism of the Second International." Telos 8 (summer 1971): 84-91. Derrida, Jacques. "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences." In Writing and Difference, 278-93. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978. Dews, Peter. "Althusser, Structuralism, and the French Epistemological Tradition." In Althusser: A Critical Reader, ed. Gregory Elliott, 104-41. Oxford, England: Blackwell, 1994. Dworkin, Dennis. Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1997.

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