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Stuart Hall and the Rise of Cultural Studies | The New Yorker
"Culture, he argued, does not consist of what the educated élites happen to fancy, such as classical music or the fine arts. It is, simply, “experience lived, experience interpreted, experience defined.” And it can tell us things about the world, he believed, that more traditional studies of politics or economics alone could not."



"Broadly speaking, cultural studies is not one arm of the humanities so much as an attempt to use all of those arms at once. It emerged in England, in the nineteen-fifties and sixties, when scholars from working-class backgrounds, such as Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, began thinking about the distance between canonical cultural touchstones—the music or books that were supposed to teach you how to be civil and well-mannered—and their own upbringings. These scholars believed that the rise of mass communications and popular forms were permanently changing our relationship to power and authority, and to one another. There was no longer consensus. Hall was interested in the experience of being alive during such disruptive times. What is culture, he proposed, but an attempt to grasp at these changes, to wrap one’s head around what is newly possible?

Hall retained faith that culture was a site of “negotiation,” as he put it, a space of give and take where intended meanings could be short-circuited. “Popular culture is one of the sites where this struggle for and against a culture of the powerful is engaged: it is also the stake to be won or lost in that struggle,” he argues. “It is the arena of consent and resistance.” In a free society, culture does not answer to central, governmental dictates, but it nonetheless embodies an unconscious sense of the values we share, of what it means to be right or wrong. Over his career, Hall became fascinated with theories of “reception”—how we decode the different messages that culture is telling us, how culture helps us choose our own identities. He wasn’t merely interested in interpreting new forms, such as film or television, using the tools that scholars had previously brought to bear on literature. He was interested in understanding the various political, economic, or social forces that converged in these media. It wasn’t merely the content or the language of the nightly news, or middlebrow magazines, that told us what to think; it was also how they were structured, packaged, and distributed.

According to Slack and Lawrence Grossberg, the editors of “Cultural Studies 1983,” Hall was reluctant to publish these lectures because he feared they would be read as an all-purpose critical toolkit rather than a series of carefully situated historical conversations. Hall himself was ambivalent about what he perceived to be the American fetish for theory, a belief that intellectual work was merely, in Slack and Grossberg’s words, a “search for the right theory which, once found, would unlock the secrets of any social reality.” It wasn’t this simple. (I have found myself wondering what Hall would make of how cultural criticism of a sort that can read like ideological pattern-recognition has proliferated in the age of social media.)

Over the course of his lectures, Hall carefully wrestles with forebears, including the British scholar F. R. Leavis and also Williams and Hoggart (the latter founded Birmingham University’s influential Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, which Hall directed in the seventies). Gradually, the lectures cluster around questions of how we give our lives meaning, how we recognize and understand “the culture we never see, the culture we don’t think of as cultivated.” These lectures aren’t instructions for “doing” cultural studies—until the very end, they barely touch on emerging cultural forms that intrigued Hall, such as reggae and punk rock. Instead, they try to show how far back these questions reach."



"Hall found ready disciples in American universities, though it might be argued that the spirit which animated cultural studies in England had existed in the U.S. since the fifties and sixties, in underground magazines and the alternative press. The American fantasy of its supposedly “classless” society has always given “culture” a slightly different meaning than it has in England, where social trajectories were more rigidly defined. What scholars like Hall were actually reckoning with was the “American phase” of British life. After the Second World War, England was no longer the “paradigm case” of Western industrial society. America, that grand experiment, where mass media and consumer culture proliferated freely, became the harbinger for what was to come. In a land where rags-to-riches mobility is—or so we tend to imagine—just one hit away, culture is about what you want to project into the world, whether you are fronting as a member of the élite or as an everyman, offering your interpretation of Shakespeare or of “The Matrix.” When culture is about self-fashioning, there’s even space to be a down-to-earth billionaire."
2017  stuarthall  culture  culturalstudies  huahsu  arts  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  popularculture  richardhoggart  raymondwilliams  humanities  resistance  consent  jenniferdarylslack  lawrencegrossberg  frleavis  society  canon  marxism 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Can democracy survive the fourth industrial revolution? Should it? | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian
By contrast, the internet facilitates instantaneous worldwide communication and provides almost universal access to a vast compendium of human knowledge. As Morris says, it provides a technical solution to all the traditional difficulties of democracy, allowing ordinary people the means and information to express their preferences with an ease unimaginable to earlier generations.

But democracy isn’t simply a matter of choice. It’s also a matter of power – and, at the moment, voters have very little of that.
democracy  internet  politics  consumer  JohnPerryBarlow  PeterLewis  RaymondWilliams  Guardian  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
Metamodernism | Adbusters
"To be more precise, metamodernism is not a new art movement replacing the old but rather a new “structure of feeling” that “reveals” itself in different everyday and artistic practices. With the term “structure of feeling,” the authors refer to British philosopher Raymond Williams, who invented this concept in his 1977 text Marxism and Literature as an alternative to very general terms such as “worldview” or “Zeitgeist.” To Williams, a “structure of feeling,” very broadly speaking, refers to a shared set of values, notions and meanings of a culture, subculture or generation, which mainly reveals itself in the artistic practices of that culture, subculture or generation.

"Taking this into account, “metamodernism” could be considered the dominant structure of feeling of a generation born in the peak of “postmodernism,” roughly between 1960 and 1990. A generation that grew up in economic prosperity, but which, because of the financial crisis, witnessed the collapse of the neo–capitalist dream and, as a result, the evaporation of the political essence of the 1990s."
metamodernism  generations  modernism  raymondwilliams  2014  capitalism  postmodernism  collapse  worldview  zeitgeist  subcultures  nielsvanpoecke 
january 2015 by robertogreco
raymond williams and education - 'a slow reach again for control' - the encyclopaedia of informal education
"Raymond Williams was a literary critic, cultural historian, cultural and political theorist, novelist, dramatist, and the virtual inventor of the interdisciplinary field known as 'cultural studies'. Josh Cole explores his little appreciated contribution as an educational thinker."

"as child in Wales, Raymond Williams learned more than just an appreciation for the life of the mind. He also began to see education and politics as deeply intertwined, a lesson that marked him deeply. In the Wales of Williams’ boyhood, formal schooling served as a means of supplanting local cultures with the official culture of the British Empire. Children in Pandy were punished for speaking Welsh in schools, and were taught, above all else, about the glories of ‘English Civilization.’ As he was finishing at King Henry VIII, Raymond Williams’ father and his headmaster colluded to send him to Cambridge University without his consultation. He later recognized that this educational official played a small but important role in the colonizing process, by identifying talented local children and whisking them away to elite English universities, thus neutralizing their potential anti-colonialist tendencies. (Williams 1979: 37)"

"For Raymond Williams, adult education as a means of expanding democracy meant all involved would be educated—including the educators. Anticipating Paulo Freire’s great work Pedagogy of the Oppressed (published in 1968), Williams argued in the early 1960s that the educational process cuts both ways. The adult instructor has much to learn about herself and her discipline from her students. Ideally, through adult education, instructors and students would ‘meet as equals’ in the classroom, and share fully in the process of democratic learning. (This is not to suggest that Raymond Williams assumed that students automatically knew more about a teaching subject than their instructors—his was not an uncritical version of ‘student-centred learning’--rather, he simply took it as given that the instructor is not beyond reproach: the educator “may not know the gaps between academic teaching and actual experience among many people; he may not know when, in the pressure of experience, a new discipline has to be created.” Interaction with adult students could give educators that experience) (Williams 1993: 225)"
raymondwilliams  education  learning  informallearning  colonization  unschooling  deschooling  joshcole  interdisciplinary  culture  politics  lifelonglearning  paulofreire  adulteducation  democracy  democraticlearning  democraticschools  community  communities  lcproject  openstudioproject 
february 2013 by robertogreco
School Days — Lined & Unlined
[Now here: https://linedandunlined.com/archive/unbuilding ]

Quotes highlighted by Allen on Reading.am:

"It is not simply the unexamined life here that is not worth living, but the unnarrated life — and far from a nostalgic examination, that narration is increasingly essential and increasingly likely to occur in real time."

"Instead of the dismantling and overtly critical strategy employed by postmodernism, the reflexively modern society seeks to examine and correct itself in order to keep placing itself continually back on track. The result is a heightened sense of self-awareness and self-preservation leading all the way back to the individual. "

"Whether overtly biographical or simply self-referential, design remains even today in the peculiar position of having its history and criticism written largely by and for its own practitioners."

[This is a link-rich article that points to many other articles worth reading.]

[Manifesta 6's Notes for an Art School is available in PDF here: http://a.nnotate.com/docs/2011-11-11/iVdeoOj9/NFAAS%20fire%20inside%20copy.pdf ]
designcriticism  altgdp  manifesta  via:litherland  via:tealtan  whitneyispprogram  mountainschoolofart  josephbeuys  freeinternationaluniversity  skowhegan  blackmountaincollege  bauhaus  manifesta6  self-involved  art  criticalautonomy  andrewblauvelt  lorrainewild  wiggerbierma  karelmartens  graphicdesign  gunnarswanson  criticaldesign  speculativedesign  fionaraby  anthonydunne  helenwalters  brucenussbaum  dextersinister  raymondwilliams  antonvidokle  waltergropius  paulelliman  nowinproduction  designeducation  writing  education  criticism  2012  self-preservation  self-reference  unnarratedlife  examinedlife  unexaminedlife  self-awareness  design  robgiampietro  bmc  designfiction  dunne&raby  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
The Country and the City - Wikipedia
"Coming from the Welsh border, a village in the Black Mountains, Raymond Williams found that the images of rural life taught at Cambridge did not match what he had seen. As an academic at Cambridge, he studied and examined the contradiction, along with the contrasting idea of the city, which in the U.K. has never been separate from the countryside. Rural life without cities had existed in other parts of the world, but not for a very long time in Britain."
history  urbanism  communitites  knowablecommunities  community  classconflict  class  contrast  uk  britain  1973  culture  cities  urban  rural  raymondwilliams  via:litherland  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
TOM CLARK: Raymond Williams: Individuals and Societies
"To the member, society is his own community; the members of other communities may be beyond his recognition or sympathy. To the servant, society is an establishment, in which he finds his place. To the rebel, a particular society is a tyranny; the alternative for which he fights is a new and better society. To the exile, society is beyond him, but may change. To the vagrant, society is a name for other people, who are in his way or can be used." [via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/2388426722 ]
society  community  servitude  rebellion  membership  belonging  establishment  sympathy  identity  tyranny  change  resistance  raymondwilliams  revolution  gamechanging  individuality  longrevolution  evolution  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco

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