“New Conformism Redux”
To assess future priorities for cultural studies, this essay returns to the later writings of Raymond Williams, in particular his concerns about “new conformism.” It is argued that today we face comparable analytical challenges in which the pressures of institutionalization, and a strain of ahistoricism, have produced a “weak materialism” in contemporary cultural critique. The essay recommends a flexible and context-driven navigation of the current dominant tendencies toward micro-recuperative and macro-epistemological analysis, and proposes that this flexibility is the preferred mode of assuring that the dynamism of culture is captured by our critical methods.
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