Cultural Materialism: A Summary of Principles

  • H. Gustav Klaus


Since Raymond Williams’s initial adoption of the concept ‘cultural materialism’ in Marxism and Literature (1977), the position that goes with it has gained currency among a sizeable number of those active in the humanities. This development would be encouraging, were it not for some rather liberal, if not downright fraudulent, appropriations of the label. While Williams would have been the first to welcome a proliferation of materialisms — late in life he wrote, for example, a political article entitled ‘Towards Many Socialisms’1 in which he attacked the idea of a singular and unilinear movement to Socialism — he was also careful to distinguish certain inalienable properties of a materialism worthy of that name. In some recent claims about the concept, often in the typically British marriage with poststructuralist approaches, it takes a hard look to detect the materialist stance.


Cultural Practice Cultural Object Cultural Materialism Technological Determinism Human Assertion 
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  1. 2.
    For an early integrated view of Williams’s critical and fictional work, see my article, ‘Über Raymond Williams’, in Raymond Williams, Innovationen, edited by H. Gustav Klaus (Frankfurt: Syndikat, 1977) pp. 203–26.Google Scholar
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1993

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  • H. Gustav Klaus

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