Stuart Hall - Encoding and Decoding Essay examples

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Stuart Hall

Four intellectuals established Cultural Studies, namely, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, E.P. Thompson, and Stuart Hall. Hall (b. 1932) has had the lion's share of publicity. Scholars working in this tradition often take their cue from his articles.

Hall tells us that he grew up in Jamaica, the "blackest son" (in his words) of a middle-class, conservative family; from an early age, Hall says, he rejected his father's attempt to assimilate into white, English-speaking society (his father worked his way up through the United Fruit Company). In 1951, he won a scholarship to Oxford (he was a Rhodes scholar)--and (as they say) the rest is history. As a student at Oxford, he sensed that his color as well as his economic
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During the 1980s, Hall wrote about "Marxism without guarantees." Despite his ambiguous relationship with Marxism, he never accepted the view that the class struggle explains/determines everything. Nevertheless, he insists that cultural studies can have a practical impact on reality. He challenges intellectuals by asking: "What effect are you having on the world?" Since 1979, Hall has been professor of sociology at the Open University, the distance-learning institution.

During the late 1970s, Hall produced at least two papers on the COMS paradigm he called "encoding/decoding," in which he builds on the work of Roland Barthes. What follows is a synthesis of two of these papers, offered in the interest of capturing the nuances he gave his presentations. The numbers in brackets identify the two papers (the bibliographic details are provided at the end).


1. introduction

2. research project

research question

3. approach taken

theoretical framework

analytical technique

4. findings

5. works cited

I. Introduction

Traditionally, mass-communication theorists and researchers have conceptualized the process of communication in terms of a circuit: production, distribution, and consumption (p. 51). Since the late 1940s, they have represented communication as a linear process: SENDER-MESSAGE-RECEIVER. I propose to re-think this model,
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