Urbanism and City Spaces in the Work of Stuart Hall Michael Keith


This article considers the manner in which city life informs some of the writing of Stuart Hall. The city appears as an ambivalent site of both freedom and sequestration and reconfigures the ways in which we think about articulations of race, rights and identity. The article interrogates tropes of the urban in three of Hall’s most well-known pieces of writing over the last 30 years; the co-authored volume Policing the Crisis, the original ‘New Ethnicities’ essay and a more recent intervention that considers the nature of the multicultural. The spaces of the city in these works act as both the horizon of the political imaginary and the stage of political action in Hall’s work. The article argues that a sense of urbanism is transformed from being the empirical realization of theoretical determinations of identity to becoming a constitutive feature in an understanding of the incommensurabilities of languages of rights and languages of the community in an understanding of racial politics that addresses the globalized metropolis of the twenty-first century.

Keith, M. (2009) ‘Urbanism and City Spaces in the Work of Stuart Hall’, Cultural Studies, 23(4): 538-558