Following Stuart Hall's provocation to understand theory as the “process of theorizing, of the development and refinement of new concepts and explanations which, alone, is the sign of a living body of thought, capable still of engaging and grasping something of the truth about new historical realities,” this essay looks at Hall's understanding of theory as a “detour” in the 1980s and 1990s and wonders whether new historical realities might force us to rethink theory's relation to everyday life—perhaps less as a detour than as a main road forward for cultural studies.

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