Cultural Materialism Danny Chen Outline Definition 1. Historical context 2. Theoretical method 3. Political commitment
4. Textual analysis Further definition Differences from New Historicism Definition Politicised form of historiographythe study of historical material (includes literary texts) within a politicised framework, and this framework includes the present which those literary texts have in some way helped to shape (by Graham
Holderness) It combines an attention to: 1. Historical context 2. Theoretical method 3. Political commitment 4. Textual analysis (Jonathan Dollimore and Allan Sinfield) Historical context Allow the literary texts to recover its histories which previous kinds of study have often ignored Involve relating the plays to the
phenomenon as enclosures and the oppression of the rural poor, the state power and the resistance to it Theoretical method The break with liberal humanism and the absorbing of the lessons of structuralism, post-structuralism and and other approaches which have become prominent since the 1970s.
Political commitment Influenced by Marxism and feminist perspectives The break from the conservativeChristian framework which hitherto dominated Shakespeare criticism Textual analysis
Locates the critique of the traditional approaches where it can not be ignored To make theory not to just be an abstract kind, and to practice it on canonical texts which continue to be the focus of massive amounts of academic and professional attention, and which are prominent national and cultural icons
Further definition Culture:all forms of culture (like television, popular music , movies and fiction) Not to limit itself to high culture forms (like Shakespeares play) Materialism:the opposite of idealism (Idealists believe that high culture represents the free and
independent play of the talented individual mind , on the contrary, Materialists think thathigh culture cannot transcend the material forces and relations of production) Further definition Culture is not only simply a reflection of the economic and political system, but nor can be independent of it
Raymond WilliamsStructure of Feeling:meanings and values as they are lived and felt (to be often antagonistic both to explicit systems of values and beliefs and to the dominant ideologies within a society) Differences from New Historicism
More optimistic about the possibility of change and is willing to see literature a a source of oppositional values Use the past to read the present Reveal the politics of our society by what we choose to emphasis or suppress of the past Differences from New Historicism New Historicism:men and women make their own history but not in the conditions
of their own choosingpolitical pessimism Cultural Materialism:concentrate on the interventions whereby men and women make their own history--- political optimism Questions
Is Cultural Materialism based on the cultural evolution or the economic development? The concern of Cultural Materialism is to convert the ideologies of hegemony in the society or to break the class system? Whats the differences between Cultural Materialism and Marxism?
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