Birmingham Sch. and first instance

Jonathan P. Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Mon Dec 5 18:00:15 MST 1994

I find it interesting which writers and topics get discussed on this
list, and which don't (and wonder why).

One definite lacuna in our discussions seems to have been the Birmingham
School, and the British "new left" more generally (Williams, Thompson,
Anderson, Nairn, Johnson...).

What about Stuart Hall in particular.  Here's a phrase I've heard
attributed to him that I find intriguing (though I don't know the
source--help would be appreciated):

"Perhaps it would be better, instead of always referring to the economic
as determining in the 'last instance' to think instead of its
determination as the 'first instance' of capilist cultural production."

or something like that.  I take this to mean that the economic factors
are almost always (banally) obvious, on the surface--and indeed already
subject to so much disocurse (book advances, costs of film
productions)--as are the economic determinations of everyday life, that
the move to the "base" can scarcely be taken anymore as some
"demystificatory" move.

Back to the end of ideology theme?

Any other thoughts?


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at


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