Tracing the development of one of the most influential and respected figures within cultural studies Helen Davis focuses on Stuart Hall's writings over a period of nearly fifty years, offering students and academics a cogent and exploratory route through complex and overlapping areas of analysis. In her critical assessment of Hall's most important contributions to academic and public debate, Davis shows the extent to which his analyses of race and ethnicity have been informed by early studies of Marxism, class and 'societies structured in dominance'. Davis offers fresh insight into the formation of one of the most prolific, charismatic and controversial intellectuals of his generation. Despite having been branded a 'cultural pessimist' Stuart Hall has long been associated with encouraging new, cutting-edge scholarship within the field. This volume concludes with a discussion of Hall's most recent political and academic interventions and his continuing commitment to innovation within the visual arts.