It is imperative to mention that culture is a fascinating topic that has been actively discussed by scholars. Moreover, it is important to understand that numerous definitions have been suggested, and many scientists have different perspectives. An essay by Raymond Williams titled “Culture is ordinary” that was published in 1958 is especially interesting and needs to be reviewed because it has led to numerous discussions and disagreements.
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Ideas suggested by the author must be analyzed to understand if such concepts may be applied in modern society. Williams suggests that there are two aspects of culture. First of all, he draws attention to directions and meanings that are already known. On the other hand, the second one is focused on new observations. Moreover, this indicates that Williams thinks that some aspects of culture do not change because of the influence of external factors. It is necessary to mention that this means that such factors as core traditions do not change (Williams, 1993).
However, the culture is always expanding with new knowledge, and it may adapt to any possible changes. Another aspect that it was mentioning is that Williams has agreed with some of the ideas suggested by Marxists. For instance, he believed that culture is closely connected to the method of production (Dworkin & Roman, 2013).
It is also necessary to note that the author suggests that there are two meanings of this concept. The first one is focused on lifestyle, and the second one is based on knowledge and art. Marxists suggest that the difference between the classes is enormous, and many are excluded from culture. However, the author has noted from his personal experience that the situation has changed. He does not believe that there are particular limitations of barriers that would prevent an individual from experiencing culture (Williams, 1993).
Furthermore, it is necessary to mention that it is especially true nowadays when almost every single person may have access to information that is needed. Also, most forms of art are incredibly accessible, and it may no longer be viewed as entertainment for the elite.
However, it is important to note that it is possible to argue with the ideas suggested by the author. It can be seen that some aspects of culture are slowly being forgotten. Moreover, it is necessary to understand the reasoning behind such processes. The fact that new technologies have a significant impact on the culture should not be disregarded. Such methods of communication as the Internet and social media are used by enormous percentages of the population, and it is entirely possible that their perspective of the culture is going to change in the future. The author suggests that information that is received from printed sources may have to be tested because the importance of experience should not be disregarded (Williams, 1993).
However, one of the core factors that he was not able to predict is that an individual is capable of leading a healthy lifestyle without many real-life interactions with other individuals. Such an approach may be viewed as highly questionable, but it is possible to state that many cultures have been established on the Internet, and it changes the whole meaning of this concept. Another issue that has been identified is that the author is very particular with his definitions of culture (Baskin, 2013).
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For instance, he suggests that some books or newspapers are not good (Williams, 1993). However, it is important to note that this opinion is highly subjective, and such qualities cannot be measured. It is understandable that some works may be criticized, but this idea is especially problematic when it comes to forms of art because every individual has his or her tastes, and it is not reasonable to call something bad without any justification.
It is true that a consensus may be reached on a particular topic, but this idea is still questionable. Another aspect that needs to be discussed is that differences between generations of people are enormous nowadays, and such tremendous dissimilarities could not be seen some time ago. It is necessary to mention that people at that time did not have access to such a variety of forms of entertainment and cultures were not as diverse at that time. The difference between the preference of adults and young people is significant, and the situation is not expected to change anytime soon because the society is developing at rapid rates.
On the other hand, the situation in countries that are less developed has not changed significantly, and their cultures may be compared to traditional ones. However, the importance of globalization needs to be discussed. Interactions with other cultures are especially important because some of the traditions are incredibly outdated, and their potential is not utilized. It is also necessary to mention that Williams has overlooked the fact that discrimination and unfair treatment are not as severe as they used to be, and different cultures are much more welcoming and ready to accept new individuals.
It is imperative to note that it is entirely possible that the perspective of the author would not change nowadays because he valued his beliefs and was influenced by his surroundings and other authors (Higgins, 2013). Moreover, one of the most important aspects that should not be overlooked is that he most likely would not support the direction of modern culture, and it is especially true when it comes to art. Also, he would be able to identify that the influence of new ways of communication is enormous. However, the perspective of the author can be explained by the fact that it was not possible to predict that the society is going to develop at such rapid rates. Such factors as globalization also should be taken into account because they have an enormous impact on cultures. Moreover, it is necessary to understand that it is entirely possible that the number of cultures is going to be reduced in the future, or it may be hard to identify dissimilarities between them.
In conclusion, it is evident that the perspective of the author has been influenced by numerous external factors, and it is hard to predict if his stance on this subject matter would change. However, it is necessary to understand that most ideas suggested by Williams are reasonable and can still be applied to modern society. The problem is that the overall perception of culture has changed. Overall, it is not likely that the perspective of the scholar would change significantly if the essay has been written today, but he would acknowledge such aspects as new technologies and their impact on the culture.
Baskin, J. M. (2013). Romanticism, culture, collaboration: Raymond Williams beyond the avant-garde. Cultural Critique, 83(1), 108-136. Web.
Dworkin, D., & Roman, L. (2013). Views beyond the border country: Raymond Williams and cultural politics. London, UK: Routledge. Web.
Higgins, J. (2013). Raymond Williams: Literature, Marxism and cultural materialism. London, UK: Routledge. Web.
Williams, R. (1993). Culture is ordinary. In A. Gray & J. McGuigan (Eds.), Culture: An introductory reader (pp. 5-14). London, UK: Edward Arnold. Web.