A socialist, in the 1950s he joined forces with E. P. Thompson, Raphael Samuel, Ralph Miliband, Raymond Williams and John Saville to launch two radical journals, The New Reasoner and the New Left Review.
In 1957 Hall joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Other members included J. B. Priestley, Bertrand Russell, E. P. Thompson, Fenner Brockway, Frank Allaun, Donald Soper, Vera Brittain, Sydney Silverman, James Cameron, Jennie Lee, Victor Gollancz, Konni Zilliacus, Richard Acland, Frank Cousins, A. J. P. Taylor, Canon John Collins and Michael Foot.
Hall worked as a supply teacher in Brixton, edited the New Left Review (1959-1961) and taught media studies at Chelsea College. In 1964 he co-wrote The Popular Arts. This resulted in him being invited by Richard Hoggart to join the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham.
In 1968 Hall became director of the Contemporary Cultural Studies unit. Over the next few years he wrote several books including Situating Marx: Evaluations and Departures (1972), Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse (1973), Reading of Marx's 1857 Introduction to the Grundrise (1973) and Policing the Crisis (1978).
In 1979 Hall was appointed as professor of sociology at the Open University. Other books by Hall include The Hard Road to Renewal (1988), Resistance Through Rituals (1989), Modernity and Its Future (1992), The Formation of Modernity (1992), Questions of Cultural Identity (1996), Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (1997) and Visual Cultural(1999)
Hall retired from the Open University in 1997 and was appointed to the Runnymede Trust's commission on the future of multi-ethnic Britain.