Hall – Culture, Resistance, Struggle
Sadaf and Rinzin
Having discussed this particular reading in class and having written about this topic, both Rinzin and I felt that this was a difficult but very interesting reading. Much like other readings that describe the plight of the lower classes or those whose stories are never heard in history (subalterns), the arguments that Hall makes is an alternative to Williams’ idea pertaining to residual, emergent, and oppositional ways of resistance and struggle.
Sadaf: The most noticeable way that Hall distinguishes himself from other thinkers by discussing this, Hall does not see a major revolution as the best way to resist. Instead, Hall makes the argument that resistance is not a form of rebellion against a culture that can be done so in just a moment, rather it is something that must be done through the continual practice of resistance to a residual culture.
Rinzin: I thought it was interesting that Hall argues that resistance is a form of rebellion that is only successful if it is practiced continuously as Sadaf mentioned. The other thing Hall mention is that although not fully, culture does play some part in the improvement of the economy. My understanding from the reading is that the oppression/exploitation can’t be reduced all to class and second is that reform is/can be oppositional way to go against the dominant system. For example, the way in which a class is exploited doesn’t mean that there aren’t other cultural practices within that class that is taking advantage and furthering their oppression.
Sadaf: True, the exploited groups often do not understand that it is not only outside forces that create such a system instead, the way to empower a system that continually exploits and oppresses people, much like our discussion in class about law enforcement is to reform it. By reforming a system, Hall makes the argument that you are empowering it and allowing to exist by changing its form. The nature of the system as a result does not change, it only is made stronger. Like slavery, using more humane forms of oppression was still using oppression and by rectifying parts of the system, it was instead giving it more power.
Rinzin: The other thing that caught my attention and we also went over it in class is the fact that culture is related to capitalism but is not reproducible. Page one quotes, “ Culture is, and can never be outside of the structuring field of the central contradiction that gives shape, pattern and configuration to a social formation, that is contradiction to gender, class, and ethnicity”. In simpler terms, Hall is saying that culture is in the circle of what makes gender, ethnicity and class and is pointing out the fact that it is not outside of this circle that defines culture however culture cannot be reducible to this definition either.
The question that we wanted to pose would be; how does Hall’s ideas of resistance relate to some civil rights activists and their methods of resistance ?