Thursday, September 06, 2012

Mad dogs and Englishmen: Stuart Hall on 'Englishness'

My latest for Jacobin, should you be interested (of course you are):

Stuart Hall, prelate of British cultural studies, has intervened in the Labour Party’s current debates about ‘Englishness’.  He is brief, but nonetheless interesting: “I talked to Cruddas about this … I think I understand his preoccupations rather more than Maurice Glasman’s. In a constituency like Cruddas’s, where you’re fighting the far right, you have to think about those things [English identity, immigration]. But you have to be careful about how you recruit them. He came to talk to me about the New Left, which, of course, was interested in the popular language of the nation.  But I had the feeling he was raiding the past, out of context, in a way.  I do think Englishness is something we need to talk about, but it’s contested terrain that is structured powerfully against a contemporary radical appropriation.”
This is perhaps a more pointed intervention than the tone of guarded scepticism would lead one to believe...