By S. Aronowitz
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Extra resources for Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents
Unlike many of his erstwhile acolytes, Williams was a populist even less than he was an orthodox or “Western” Marxist. Rather, as a cultural historian, he plumbs the canonical works of English literature to reveal the ways in which, in Leavis’s terms, they may provide “real knowledge” not only of the complexity of human nature, but also of the density of everyday life, with which economic and political structure invariably intersect. We see no better example of this work than in The Country and the City, which, from a methodological perspective, is exemplary.
From the methodological standpoint, Williams bears considerable responsibility for the crucial movement within cultural studies away from criticism and toward ethnography, although this has not always been in the way Williams would have wanted. For, after an initial decade during which cultural studies embedded its work within the humanities, especially literary history and criticism, with the departure of Hoggart in 1969, the CCCS turned away from representations and engaged almost exclusively in subcultural ethnographies, except Stuart Hall, who, as its leading theorist, directed his efforts toward textual analyses of, among other objects, television.
The Hermeneutic Response The hermeneutic response attempts to deal with the difficulties of positivism by intentionally reconfiguring the methods by which the social world was studied. A Critique of Methodological Reason 41 ● For us, this response includes more than just those who define their method as explicitly “hermeneutic,” but also all those who turned to a reformulation of method as a response to this crisis in positivism. , Gadamer 1975), since that work, for the most part, was methodologized as it was taken up by social scientists.
Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents by S. Aronowitz