In his article “Culture Is Ordinary”, Raymond Williams defines culture, based on his knowledge, and experience –which would, as he defines, would be his culture. He starts his article with simply giving a definition according to his understanding by telling what is and is not culture, and continues with the reasons he doesn’t agree with some of Marxist ideas of culture, and that of F. R. Leavis’. While giving reasons for his disagreements, he gives solid examples from both people he knows and doesn’t know.
Culture is something that is alive, moving. It is not something that some people have and some don’t. It is not only what is seen in public “common meanings” as Williams say, or some kind of education, but also what an individual experiences when s/he encounters them both. Therefore, it is a false approach to declare some people “cultured” and others “not cultured”, because in the end, however uneducated one might be, whatever s/he sees in life is his/her own culture.
Furthermore, to say that only bourgeoisie or higher class can experience culture would also be a false approach. People may give the inability to get academic education as an example for this situation. For example, in the UK or the USA, one must pay some certain tuition fee in order to go to college or universtiy. While some in countries this tuition f...
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...is training being not necessarily a proper education.
The false analogy is the idea that bad culture drives out good culture like bad money does to good money. At this point one cannot help but think about the definition of “good” or “bad” culture. Good according to whom? Even if there was a certain way to distinguish them, it can be said that all aspects of culture are expanding, be it “bad” or “good”.
In the end, what we learn from this article is very realistic and logical. Furthermore, it is supported with real-life examples. Culture is ordinary, each individual has it, and it is both individual and common. It’s a result of both traditional values and an individual effort. Therefore, trying to fit it into certain sharp-edged models would be wrong.
Williams, Raymond. "Culture is ordinary (1958)." Cultural theory: an anthology(2011): 53-59.
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