Dobrescu 4/2006

Sociologie Românească, Vol. IV, no. 4/2006, pp. 144-160.



SR 4 2006 coperta

Studiile culturale britanice și problemele comunicării. Contribuția lui Raymond Williams

British Cultural Studies and Problems of Communication. The Contribution of Raymond Williams

Paul Dobrescu


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Abstract (Rezumat în limba engleză): British Cultural Studies represent a cultural movement that flourished in the United Kingdom in the 60s and 70s. The main authors belonging to that movement Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, Edward Thompson and Stuart Hall put forth unique perspectives on culture and communication. Their contributions were the starting point for a wide array of concerns and research projects across all continents, that came to be united under the umbrella term Cultural Studies. This article focuses on Raymond Williams work, based on the idea that his theoretical contribution to the study of communication and culture is the most enduring and encompassing one. Williams’ view on communication is extensively analysed, with a focus on the features setting it apart from the prevailing thinking about culture, audience, and audience’s response. According to this „culturally richer” view, communication means transmission, reception as well as response. Moreover, this response may mean either approval or rejection. Using terms that are strikingly similar to those used by the Chicago School thinkers, Williams underlines the idea that only the existence of a genuine community, with a well-structured experience can guarantee the possibility of the response to a certain message. These are prerequisites that influence the very possibility of a response. When in place, these prerequisites may diminish the prominence of the source and turn the communication process from a matter of mere transmission to genuine exchange. Thus, says Williams, when talking about communication, one does not deal with two persons talking to each other, but with two worlds, two types of social and cultural experience, involving different meanings, interpretations and even codes.