BASE AND SUPERSTRUCTURE IN MARXIST CULTURAL THEORY RAYMOND WILLIAMS PDF

Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph. Base refers to the production forces, or the materials and resources, that generate the goods society needs. Superstructure describes all other aspects of society. As such, the superstructure justifies how the base operates and defends the power of the elite. Neither the base nor the superstructure is naturally occurring or static. They are both social creations, or the accumulation of constantly evolving social interactions between people.

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The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.

At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or—this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms—with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead, sooner or later, to the transformation of the whole, immense, superstructure.

In studying such transformations, it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic, or philosophic—in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production.

Across these disciplines the base-superstructure relationship, and the contents of each, may take different forms. Max Weber[ edit ] Early sociologist Max Weber preferred a form of structuralism over a base and superstructure model of society in which he proposes that the base and superstructure are reciprocal in causality—neither economic rationality nor normative ideas rule the domain of society.

In summarizing results from his East Elbia research he notes that, contrary to the base and superstructure model "we have become used to," there exists a reciprocal relationship between the two. Political society consists of the organized force of society such as the police and military while civil society refers to the consensus-creating elements that contribute to hegemony. Both constituents of this superstructure are still informed by the values of the base, serving to establish and enforce these values in society.

Rodney states that while most countries follow a developmental structure that evolves from feudalism to capitalism, China is an exception to this rule and skipped the capitalism step. In China, religious, educational and bureaucratic qualifications were of utmost importance, and government was in the hands of state officials rather than being run by the landlords on their own feudal estates.

Rather the role of the superstructure allows for adaptation of the development cycle, especially in a colonial context. In this new categorization, social ideology and social psychology is a material process that self-perpetuates, the same way economic systems in the base perpetuate themselves.

Reich focused on the role of sexual repression in the patriarchal family system as a way to understand how mass support for Fascism could arise in a society. The first is that economic structure is independent from production in many cases, with relations of production or property also having a strong effect on production. Defenders of the theory claim that Marx believed in property relations and social relations of production as two separate entities.

Regarding developments in the United States during this era roughly , Jenkins highlights the nature in which political parties and the political system itself are inherently designed to protect the economic base of capitalism and, in doing so, have become "increasingly centralized, coordinated, and synchronized over the past half-century.

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Base an Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory Raymond Williams

The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or—this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms—with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.

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