According to the book I have is Culture and Society, 1780-1950 by Williams, Raymond. In the conclusion part, he divides it to 7 sections.

The first one is Mass and Masses. The main point is the mass-democracy can be either an observation or a prejudice; sometimes, indeed, it is both. As an observation, the term draws attention to certain problems of a modern democratic society which could not have been foreseen by its early partisans. The existence of immensely powerful media of mass-communication is at the heart of these problems, for through these public opinion has been observably moulded and directed, often by questionable means, often for questionable ends. But he think the term mass-democracy is also a prejudice, if the masses are the mob, democracy will be mob rule. This will hardly be good government, or a good society; it will, rather, be the rule of lowness or mediocrity. And this confusion of the issue cannot be tolerated. Masses = majority cannot be glibly equated with masses = mob.

The second part is Mass-communication, he said the new means of communication represent a major technical advance. But we fail to realize, what we call communication is, necessarily, no more in itself than transmission: that is to say, a one-way sending. Reception and response, which complete communication, depend on other factors than the techniques.

About the Mass-observation, we are faced with the fact that there is now a great deal of bad art, bad entertainment, bad journalism, bad advertisement, bad argument. Actually, these things are written by skilled and intelligent people for a public that hasn’t the education. But this is said to be popular culture. Our problem is one of adapting our social training to a widely literate culture. It is obvious that we have allowed the technical changes to keep far ahead of the educational changes, and the reasons for this neglect, which lie in a combination of interest and inertia, deeply rooted in the organization of society. He think the local newspaper, stands as a most important piece of controlling evidence. The local newspaper is not governed by a ‘mass’ interpretation. Its communication, in fact, rests on a community. And he want to seek a new definition of communication.

In the part of Communication and community, he think communication is not only transmission; it is also reception and response. But at the same time any real theory of communication is a theory of community. It is very difficult to think clearly about communication, because the pattern of our thinking about community is, normally, dominative. Communication becomes a science of penetrating the mass mind and of registering an impact there. Transmission is always an offering, it is not an attempt to dominate, but to communicate, to achieve reception and response. Active reception, and living response, depend in their turn on an effective community of experience, and their quality, as certainly, depends on a recognition of practical equality. We need a common culture, not for the sake of an abstraction, but because we shall not survive without it. If one cannot believe in men, and in their common efforts, it is perhaps only in caricature that one can believe in oneself.

In my point,  I think it’s  quite difficult to be able to relate Williams idea of Culture and Society to today’s generation, but the social classes still exists. We can feel the repressive power of the upper layer to the masses sometimes.



Williams, R. (1960). Culture and Society. London: Anchor, ‘Conclusion’, pp.285-323.