Raymond Williams's Sociology of Culture

A Critical Reconstruction


This study of Williams provides the most detailed account available of the sociological dimensions of his project. While including an overview of the central themes throughout his writings, it seeks especially to unlock his late sociology of culture. Previously overlooked aspects of Williams's 'mature' work are thus highlighted. These include: his critique of Birmingham cultural studies; his critique of conservative sociological orthodoxies; his debt to the work of the Frankfurt School; his use of an Adorno-like approach to 'cultural production'; his 'social formalist' alternative to formalism, structuralism, and post-structuralism; his later work on 'the media'. All these are related to his radical democratic vision. Comparisons are drawn between Williams's initiatives and contemporary sociologists such as Habermas and Bourdieu.
The book is thus relevant to many contemporary theoretical debates and aims particularly to make Williams's sociological project available for concrete analysis within sociology, media studies and cultural studies.
  • Palgrave Macmillan; May 2006
  • ISBN 9780230596894
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Raymond Williams's Sociology of Culture
  • Author: Jones, Paul, Dr
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

In The Press

'A critical, meticulous and coherent account of Raymond Williams's principal ideas and intellectual development, Paul Jones provides a scholarly overview of Williams's immanent emancipatory theory. In charting the growth of Williams's sociology of culture, this volume explores the complex and conflictual relations between sociology, cultural studies and literary theory. The Raymond Williams book for which we have all been waiting.' - Bryan Turner, University of Cambridge, UK

'One of the most important examinations of Williams's work to date. Skilful summary exposition and explanation of Williams's positions(s) are valuably supplemented by a depth of theoretical knowledge that seeks throughout to place Williams's work in a broader context. Exploring as it does interactions and borrowings between sociology, semiology, literary history, Marxist theories, Frankfurt School critical theory and (post)structuralism(s), the book would make a fine contribution to graduate-level courses that address the emergence and complexities of critical-cultural analysis throughout the past 50 years or more.' - James Hamilton, University of Georgia, USA, in Media, Culture and Society

About The Author

PAUL JONES is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of New South Wales, Australia.