by Limbic on May 4, 2012

Last night I had a deeply irritating problem with synching nvAlt and Simplenote. It forced me to look through my hundreds of note fragments looking for the problematic note. 

I came across an old note about Raymond Williams’ book “Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society“. 

Williams is a fairy extreme leftists (sympathised with Pol Pot) but the book is wonderful. 

Here are a few excerpts: 

Aberrant decoding:  An anti-structuralist term that recognises that audiences et messages in different ways to the ones intended.  ‘Encoding’ is the term used to describe the way in which media practitioners construct messages so that they can be understood by the widest possible audience, almost always the aim of media professionals. ‘Decoding’ is the term used to describe how people read these messages.  In communication theory there is an approach which claims that messages are encoded (produced) through one set of meaning structures and are therefore necessarily decoded (received) in the same linguistic framework and with the same meaning structures    

Anomie:  Normlessness (a product of sodal disintegration).    

Aporia:  A seemingly irresolvable logial difficulty or serious perplexity.    

Canon:  A list of approved texts, orginally of a religious character.      

Civil society: Everything in society that is not government    

Cultural capital  The transmission of privileges from one generation to the next.    

Dominant/Residual/Emergent : The factions wlthln cultures that are always in a state of conflict.        

Doxa:  A broader term than ideology, meaning somethihg close to comnon-sense or everyday assumptions.    

Enonce/enondation : The distinction between speaking and the effects of that act.    

Episteme:  The dominant mode of organising thought at a given tiistorical time.    

Essentialism:  The belief that people, groups or objects have fixed, ate characteristics. A combination of social and cultural characteristics that together form a distinctive socal identity.    

Feedback:  A term describing the reception and response of a message.    

Flaneur: The observer.    

Governmentality : Michel Foucault devised the term ‘governmentality to describe the increasing tendency over the past two centuries for the state to intervene in the lives of its citizens    

Habitus:   A system of shared sodal dispositions and cognitive structures.    

Hegemony:  The exerdse of cultural and social leadership by a dominant group.    

Hermeneutics:  Understanding how understanding works: a theory of interpretation.  Its basic philosophical meaning refers to translating something not understooda textinto a comprehensible form. We might say it refers to the process of interpretation, and it was generally used to describe the interpretation of biblical texts. Its current usage refers to our understanding of how understanding takes place, particularly in relation to how readers understand the meaning of works of art and literature.    

Metanarrative:  Stories about stories (Jean-Fran ois Lyotard).    

Metaphor/metonymy:  Metaphor: the substitution of one term for another.  

Metonymy: the substitution of an element of a term for the term itself.    

Moral panic : A media spiral in which sodal control and hysteria escalate social problems.    

Phenomenology:  A philosophical approach that concentrates on the meaning of experiences.    

Subaltern:  The underclass; the oppressed in colonial societies.    


The book is available at Amazon.com 

Raymond Williams on Wikipedia

Excerpts on Culture and Popular