Three Moments of Stuart Hall in South Africa: Postcolonial-Postsocialist Marxisms of the Future

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sharad Chari


Critical Sociology, Volume 43, p.831-845 (2017)



What does it mean to read Stuart Hall from South Africa, in relation to South Africa, and with South Africa in mind? This paper engages ‘what’s left of the debate’ between Marxism and postcolonialism as politico-theoretical projects by refusing the opposition of compartmentalized scholarly fields, and by positing a conjunctural postcolonial-postsocialist praxis necessary for interpreting contemporary South Africa (as elsewhere.) Drawing on Hall’s notion of ‘moments’ as both spatial and temporal, and assembled in the work of representation, I draw together insights from three moments in Hall’s work: his foundational essay for the apartheid predicament, ‘Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance’; the collectively written Policing the Crisis and particularly its remarkable conclusion which speaks to the criminalization of poor people’s struggles; and his later thoughts on ‘the end of innocence’ with respect to coalitional Black politics. Reflecting on aspects of my research on 20th-century Durban, I suggest why these three moments must be seen in relation to each other, as a constellation that points, through the legacies of the Black Radical Tradition, to as yet unnamed postcolonial-postsocialist Marxisms of the future.

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