TVRA 4430 W
Reading Response 1
Williams, “Traditions, institutions, and formations”
This week article the author Williams talks about Traditions, institutions, and formations but he also talks about hegemony. I think the thesis is when he mentions how this 3 topics relate to hegemony and that this is a process that organizes and incorporates this meanings. He gives specific information and shows how each one follows one another and also how its meaning relate to each one of them. In this chapter he helps us understand more about how they play their roles in our society.
Williams starts writing by saying that “Hegemony is always a active process, but it doesn’t mean that is is simply a complex of dominant features and elements” (pg. 115) Which he basically wants us to know its that is a organization and also a interconnection of some meanings, values and that in other cases they separated and that they incorporate in the culture in a social order. Williams also writes, “ The practice of tradition has been radically neglected in Marxist culture thought”(p115). He explains here that Marxism completely ignores the concept of tradition because it was considered a part of the superstructure and also because it was considered to be the surviving past . He also mentions that its not just tradition but a selective tradition. A selective tradition is defined as a version of the past that is intended to connect with the present. The first part of the reading he talks about traditions.
For William “ tradition can quickly shown to be radically selective. From a whole possible area of past and present, in a particular culture, certain meanings and practices are selected for emphasis and certain other meanings and practices are neglected or excluded” (pg. 115). Here he means that what is being offered is the past as best fits the contemporary dominance of a specific class. We can also see how only the present its available and tradition becomes just an other cultural artifact. As long as we don’t see tradition in the traditional Marxist way, but as an active process of selection, “an intentionally selective version of a shaping past and a pre-shaped present, which is then powerfully operative in the process of social and cultural definition and identification” (pg.115). Williams also says that “tradition gives a selection of the past in order to provide continuity with the present. The active sense of tradition is especially important as it gives us a clue as to where to find counter- hegemonies, in the discarded past material separated from “the tradition,” which can be taken up and used to create an alternative tradition, such that tradition as a mode of incorporation is both powerful and vulnerable” (115-116). It can also be a Vulnerable at times because at any time while in practice, sometimes we have to discard some areas that are completely important or reinterpret and also convert them into form that instead of contradict it , it will support important elements of the current hegemony.
Continuing into his second topic, which is institution. William starts by leading tradition into institution by saying that “ It is true that the effective establishment of a selective tradition can be said to depend on identifiable institutions. But it is an underestimate of the process to suppose that it depends on institutions alone” (pg.117). He says that the creation of a tradition is usually thought to take place in identifiable institution. Mostly for the ones involved in socialization. Williams says “In a Family children are cared for and taught to care for themselves, but within this necessary process fundamental and selective attitudes to self, to others, to a social order, and to the material world are both consciously and unconsciously taught” (pg.117). Educational institution for example is where selected knowledge and skills are taught to the children as ways of making them recognize what social reality is and also how to live in it. Institution is also seen in communication systems , where they materialized selected news and opinions.
Formation, William defines formation as “ Most recognizable as conscious movements and tendencies ( literary, artistic, philosophical or scientific) which can usually be readily discerned after their formative productions” (pg.119) William also informs us that “ formation relate, inevitably, to real social structures, and yet have highly variable and often oblique relations with formally discernible social institutions, any social and cultural analysis of them requires procedures radically different from those developed for institutions, any social and cultural analysis of them requires procedures radically different from those developed for institutions (pg. 119). By this William is letting us know that Formations are specialized practices which can enter an institution with values and meanings.