Raymond Williams

Raymond Williams ( born August 31, 1921 in Llanfihangel Crucorney, Wales, † 26 January 1988) was a highly influential Marxist scientists, one of the most important cultural theorists of the English -speaking world, is considered the founder of Cultural Studies.


Raymond Williams was born into a railway family in rural borderland of Wales. He belonged to the first generation of British working-class children who made it into the higher education institutions. After studying at Trinity College, Cambridge, he taught for several years in adult education before he was appointed as Professor of Dramatic Art at the University of Cambridge ( 1974-1983 ). As an avowed socialist interested him above all the relationship between language, literature and society. He has published numerous books, essays and articles on these and other topics.

In his work " Culture and Society 1780-1950 " (1958) he came to his much-cited definition of culture as " full of life ", " as a way to represent all our shared experiences ." In this definition already shows Williams' willingness to extend literary text analysis on another subject area. In the last chapter of "Culture and Society " Williams disputes the elite in the then cultural studies ideas against a popular culture. Exemplary mass distribution not yet determined the quality of an artifact, quality must be determined within the genre. This leaves aesthetic value as a fundamental category.

In Williams second determining factor in cultural studies work "The Long Revolution " (1961) he defines culture as a unique way of life that expresses itself also in everyday behavior as in art and literature. He thus achieved a paradigm shift from an understanding of "culture" as " refined way of life, way of life " to the so-called " broad concept of culture ".

He engaged in life-long political grassroots movements - in the 1950s and 1960s within the New Left in the 1970s in Welsh and eco-socialist contexts, in the 1980s, for example, in favor of the great miners' strike. In 1967 he published along with Edward P. Thompson and Stuart Hall, the "May Day Manifesto" a polemic on May 1, in which the authors abrechneten with the Socialist Labour government and their technocratic society thinking aufzeigten.


  • Reading and Criticism (1950 )
  • Drama from Ibsen to Eliot (1952 )
  • Culture and Society 1780-1950 (1958 ); translated by Heinz Blumensath: social theory as a conceptual history, studies on the historical semantics of "culture" (1972 )
  • The Long Revolution ( 1961)
  • Television: Technology and Cultural form ( 1974)
  • Keywords: a vocabulary of culture and society (1976 )
  • People of the Black Mountains, a semi- fictional history
  • Marxism and Literature ( 1977)
  • Politics and Letters: Interviews with " New Left Review " (1981)
  • The Politics of Modernism: Against the New Conformists
  • A trilogy of novels, Border Country (1960), Second Generation (1964 ) and The Fight for Manod (1979 )
  • Studies in social history, politics, cultural studies and communications.
  • Introduction and Culture (1983 )