Karl Marx's Influence On Early Cultural Studies

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The works of Karl Marx had an important influence on early Cultural Studies. So for example Raymond Williams argued in one of his earliest books, Culture & Society: 1780-1950, that he is ‘interested in Marxist theory because socialism and communism are now important’ (Williams 1958: 284). Williams argued for and worked on a ‘Marxist theory of culture’ that recognises ‘diversity and complexi- ty’, takes |account of continuity within change|, allows ‘for chance and certain limited autonomies’, but takes ‘the facts of the economic structure and the conse- quent social relations as the guiding string on which a culture is woven, and by following which a culture is to be understood’ (Williams 1958: 269). 17 years later, Williams confirmed his deep commitment to Marxist thought: he argued that he has ‘no real hesitation’ to define himself as a historical materialist, if this posi- tion means demanding ‘the destruction of capitalist society’, ‘the need to super- sede’ capitalist society and ‘to go beyond’ it ‘so that a socialist society’ is estab- lished (Williams 1975: 72). He wrote that Marxism that…show more content…
The basic points of criticism are summarised in table 1. Garnham (1995a: 64) summarises the criticism of Cultural Studies by saying that the latter refuses ‘to think through the implications of its own claim that the forms of subordination and their attendant cultural practices – to which cultural studies gives analytical priority – are grounded within a capital- ist mode of production’. The discussion between Garnham and Grossberg is an indication that something fundamentally changed in Cultural Studies since the time Williams and Thompson had written their major works, namely a profound move away from Marx, Marxism and the analysis of culture in the context of class and

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