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The Understanding of cCultural Materialism

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Raymond Williams has made valuable contributions to the understanding of cultural materialism and he regarded culture as the most essential arena where individuals are transformed as social beings. He makes a significant definition of his theory of cultural materialism in his Marxism and Literature where it is explained as a theory of the specificities of material, cultural and literary production within historical materialism. “ Thus, his conception of culture is deeply rooted in what he calls ‘ material social life’ ; it cannot be limited to the realms of ideas -Marxist superstructure-but needs to be dependent on social, material practices, where it can keep the connection with society, history, and every-day life.

In addition, he lays a big emphasis on culture as a social process that tends to ‘ natural growth’ and, hence, has a repercussion in the progress of humankind. ” (A Critical Analysis of Raymond Williams’ Professional Career) Therefore, one finds an expansion of the literary field in Williams’ notion of culture which understands cultural forms unlike the traditional, highbrow canon admired in academic studies of his period. To him, culture belongs to every human being including the old leisured classes as well as the new emerging class.

“ He claims that the ideas of the highly literate are not necessarily those of the majority. Besides, we should not conceive this majority as a ‘ block. ’ To him, we need to disassociate ‘ popular’ or rather ‘ working-class’ culture from labels such as ‘ mass culture’ which had been traditionally related to lower artistic forms. ” (A Critical Analysis of Raymond Williams’ Professional Career) Through his contributions to the cultural studies and sociological ideologies, Raymond Williams helped the modern man realize the realities of the contemporary world.

The cultural studies of the modern periods make a salient contribution to the understanding of cultural aspects as well as social characteristics and the value of Williams’ work to cultural studies is widely acknowledged in Britain today.

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