Stuart Hall's “Deconstructing the Popular”: Reconsiderations 30 Years Later


Corresponding author: Jayson Harsin; e-mail:; Mark Hayward; e-mail:


This introductory essay outlines some of the issues that surround contemporary engagements with the “popular” as a site of political struggle and change. This piece notes that in the 30 years since Stuart Hall published his seminal essay, “Notes on Deconstructing the Popular,” the power relations that define the term as well as the way in which scholars study the popular have shifted in profound ways. The authors argue that, rather than simply equating the popular with popular culture, it is necessary to recognize that the popular is a contingent term that marks the possibility of constituting forms of collective agency and the potential for bringing about social and political change.