This would mean that people from ‘lesser’ classes and backgrounds would get involved in politics, government and media groups, bringing different opinions and their own view of the world – increasing understanding of different cultures. This is why Williams refers to the revolution as a demographic one – bringing distanced groups together through cultural understanding. Their ‘social being’ would change, allowing people to become more involved in other forms of high culture. “social being determines consciousness”6.
“it is a genuine revolution, transforming men and institutions, continually extended and deepened by the acts of millions, continually and variously opposed by explicit reaction and by the pressure of habitual forms and ideas” 7 Williams designed four models that he believed were the possible types of state. Here I have related them to the media, showing for each model how the media would be run. Authoritarian – The media totally controlled by the political regime, all newspapers state approved. Television state controlled.
Paternal – Media is designed to ‘guide people to educate country’. This is based on Williams’ opinion of the BBC, who’s role is to inform, educate and entertain. It should expose people to art, literature, classical music etc, elevating people to certain level of standards. Commercial – Plurality of operators, media a ‘booming’ industry, ‘free press’. In this case the BBC in the UK would have to change their role in educating the nation in order to compete with the sheer number of television operators, such is the case today.
Democratic – William’s proposal, there would be plurality in media operators but legislation would exist through the cultural and political elite, forcing media institutions to behave acceptably, and continue to educate. Creating a freedom of speech scenario to a certain extent, where more or less anyone can get involved and have their say. The importance of communication in Williams theories mean that the media plays a huge role. A large amount of communication in today’s society is through newspapers, television, film, the internet etc.
As you can see from the four models above which are related to the media industry, the type of government, which can be affected by the long revolution that Williams proposes, will dictate the types of communication we can be part of, and the way in which we are communicated to. For example if the base structure continues to determine the superstructure, the media industry would be controlled by the bourgeoisie who would continue to develop their ‘own’ people, with the lower classes not being educated enough to be able to appreciate what is being shown on television, played on the radio, or printed in the newspapers.
However, if the long revolution came into effect Williams’ suggestion would mean that more education would be more widely accessible, people would be encouraged to read, and with the promotion of ‘proper’ English, communication to people within the higher classes, whom have developed a separate version of English to the lower classes, would become less complicated. With these processes put into practice, people from lower classes will go to university and be able to gain positions in authority and the media.
These people, from different backgrounds would then go on to produce their own forms of communication which will be influenced by their own experiences, in turn developing a more plural media industry, allowing more people to continue their search for that ‘perfect moment’.
Bibliography Williams, R, “Problems in Materialism and Culture, 1980, Redwood Burn LTD Williams, R, “The Long Revolution”, 1961, Chatto & Windus Branston, G & Stafford, R, “The Media Students Handbook”, second edition, Routledge, 1996.
Munns, J & Rajan, G, “A Cultural Studies Reader”, Longman London,1995 www. aber. ac. uk Williams, R, “Culture and Society 1780-1950”, Chatto & Windus Blumler, J & Gurevitch (1995) The Crisis of Public Communication: Routledge Briggs, A & Cobley, P (1998) The Media: An Introduction: Longman Gardner, C (1979) Media, Politics & Culture: Macmillan Grossberg, L et al (1998) Media Making: Sage Inglis, F (1990) Media Theory: An Introduction: Blackwell Levinson, P (1999) Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium: Routledge.
1 Williams, R, “The Long Revolution”, Chatto & Windus, 1961, pg41 2 Williams, R, “The Long Revolution”, Chatto & Windus, 1961, pg 9 3 Williams, R, “The Long Revolution”, Chatto & Windus, 1961, pg125 4 Williams, R, “The Long Revolution”, Chatto & Windus, 1961, pg 156 5 Williams, R, “The Long Revolution”, Chatto & Windus, 1961, pg 214 6 Williams, R, “Problems in materialism and culture, a series of essays”, pg31, “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural theory” 7 Williams, R, “The Long Revolution”, Chatto & Windus, 1961, pg 10.