Raymond Williams And Post Colonial Studies Cultural Studies Essay

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Twentieth century literary critic Raymond Williams was one of the most reputable, yet contested scholars from the British New Left. Once dubbed "our best man" in the New Left by his contemporaries, Williams's reputation in a post colonial context is less secure. [1] Patrick Brantlinger said it best: "Williams was thoroughly the representative man. He was the voice of the ordinary, the voice of the working-class, the voice of Wales, the voice of British socialism, the conscience of Britain and of Europe. He understood that his life mattered because it was ordinary, and representative." [2] However, the early 1980s signified the shift in political and economic relations between western and non-western countries through post-colonialism, including former British colonies. [3] Moreover, post-colonialism served as an avenue to "recover alternative ways of knowing and understanding or simply those 'other voices' as alternatives to dominant western constructs." [4] While Raymond Williams provides British colonial commentary, primarily in his seminal work, The Country and the City, it was in the periphery of his grander cultural theory. Scholars within the Birmingham School and post colonial studies have debated the implications of this, including Williams himself. Consequently, this essay will outline the scholarly debate regarding Raymond Williams's alleged ambivalence towards British colonialism and race within his conception of culture. This will allow for an examination of Williams's work within the context of postcolonial studies, particularly the legacy of his cultural theory in a modern context.

Raymond Williams's analysis in The Country and City certainly coincides with postcolonial theories emphasis on geography, whether in conversations around spaces, centers, peripheries or borders. [5] This analysis is especially significant because as argued by Anthony Alessandrini, "postcolonial theory has benefited from the Marxist and Marxist-influenced analyses undertaken by figures involved in the post-Second World war movements against imperialism and for national liberation." [6] Alessandrini attributed "the 1970s and 1980s political work and cultural analysis of writers like Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy" for influencing major figures in postcolonial studies such as Franz Fanon and Edwards Said. [7] Therefore, as Alessandrini continued, "We would need to look more closely at the historical circumstances under which the field of postcolonial studies has arisen, and especially at the sorts of strategic decisions involved in the adoption or rejection of particular theoretical paradigms. [8] Paul Giles would certainly agree as he adds, "It would be disingenuous to ignore the fact that postcolonial scholarship in its contemporary guise has as one of its enabling conditions of possibility…the increasing attention paid to issues of subalternity and hegemony by forms of cultural Marxism such as those of Antonio Gramsci and Raymond Williams." [9] Consequently, this paper is framed around this very approach in regards to the work of Raymond Williams.

While few would question the merit or significance of Raymond Williams and his nuanced study of the nineteenth century British rural working class in both Culture and Society and the Long Revolution, there has been significant criticism of Williams due in part to his silence regarding British colonialism. This has proved to be disturbing for some, and certainly problematic for a number of Williams's contemporaries and successors even within the British New Left. Gauri Viswanathan provides an exceptional layout of the criticisms against Raymond Williams and the British New Left in general to conceptualize culture and imperialism. He outlines that within British cultural Marxist tradition since Williams, the conception of British nationalism has been used interchangeably with issues of race, colonialism, or imperialism. [10] This is quite evident in Raymond Williams's Keywords (1976), in which the definition of race is not a separate entry of its own, but is distinctively tied to ideas of nationalism. Williams writes:

Nation…originally with a primary sense of a racial group rather than a politically organized grouping. Since there is obvious overlap between these senses, it is not easy to date the emergence of the predominant modern sense of a political formation.... The persistent overlap between racial grouping and political formation has been important, since claims to be a nation, and to have national rights, often envisaged the formation of a nation in the political sense, even against the will of an existing political nation which included and claimed the loyalty of this [racial] grouping. It could be and is still often said, by opponents of nationalism, that the basis of the group's claim is racial. (Race, of uncertain origin, had been used in the sense of a common stock from C16 [sixteenth century]. Racial is a C19 [nineteenth-century] formation. In most C19 uses racial was positive and favourable, but discriminating and arbitrary theories of race were becoming more explicit in the same period, generalizing national distinctions in supposedly radical scientific differences. In practice, given the extent of conquest and domination, nationalist movements have been as often based on an existing but subordinate political grouping as upon a group distinguished by a specific language or by a supposed racial community. [11] 

Gauri Viswanathan attributes Raymond Williams's understanding of British nationalism as "less of a theoretical oversight or blindness than an internal restraint with complex methodological and historical origins." [12] Citing Raymond Williams's conception of base and superstructure, Viswanathan dissects Williams's methodology and level of comfort with Marxist framework. While Viswanathan highlights the dynamic nature of Williams's work as seemingly "accommodating a broadened analysis of culture" to include colonial relations, he ultimately concedes that Williams continually resisted that kind of refinement of his work. [13] Moreover, Viswanathan continued that this "base and superstructure" framework "restricted him [Williams] to solely economic determinist outcomes" and pointed to the "inefficacy of Williams's cultural materialism." [14] Hence Viswanathan concluded that Williams's model was inherently unable to accommodate British imperialism as a function of metropolitan culture due to the internal restraints of his "troubled self-conscious" with Marxian [15] frameworks.

Forest Pyle presented a similar commentary in his essay, "Raymond Williams and the Inhuman Limits of Culture." Pyle argues that since "language is a human instrument" it is consequently "inhuman" for Williams to consider culture as "the mapping of a particular historical configuration and of social, economic, and political life." [16] Moreover, Williams's cultural theory is beyond repair and cannot simply be "corrected" [17] due to the intertwined nature of culture and community within Williams's work. Therefore Pyle concludes that Raymond Williams's sense of culture "cannot account for the historical and structural forms of colonialism and its aftermath." Pyle then goes a set further than Viswanathan in asserting that this points to not "merely a personal limitation but a structural limitation" that is explicitly exhibited by Williams's unapologetic understanding of empire. [18] 

Both Pyle and Viswanathan provide interesting critiques in light of Raymond Williams's 1973 essay, "Base and Superstructure." Within this essay Williams stated that he had "no use or static or highly determined… model(s) in which the rules of society are highlighted to the exclusion of the processional and historical." [19] Yet as both Pyle and Viswanathan conclude, Raymond Williams's analysis does not apply this cultural materialism model within an imperial or colonial context. Viswanathan indentified Raymond Williams as having an "internal restraint" due to his understanding of British culture and national identity. [20] Therefore Williams's conception of "national culture" remained "hermetically sealed from the continually changing political imperatives of empire." [21] For example in The Country and the City, Raymond Williams classifies imperialism as "the last mode of the city and country…within the larger context of colonial expansion in which every idea and every image was consciously and unconsciously affected." [22] Ultimately, however, "British influence extended outward rather than that the periphery had a functional role in determining internal developments." [23] Consequently, Williams could only conclude that "Britain achieved dominance through the power of a fully formed cultural and institutional system which was transplanted and internalized within British colonies." [24] 

Unsurprisingly, Raymond Williams's cohorts within the Birmingham have attributed this kind of colonial analysis to racism or an egregious form of Eurocentrism on Williams's part. This is especially the case for those involved in black cultural studies, namely Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. Stuart Hall openly critiqued the limitations of the Birmingham cultural theory in dealing with the "other" during his tenure as program director in the late 1960s. Hall found that the issues race and cultural relations as advocated by his predecessors were particularly oppressive to minority groups, therefore highlighting a departure of the School itself from Raymond Williams. [25] In "Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies," Hall discusses the question of race in cultural studies as a major break in the Birmingham School. He emphasizes:

Actually getting cultural studies to put on its own agenda the critical questions of race, the politics of race, the resistance to racism, the critical questions of cultural politics, was itself a profound theoretical….and sometimes bitterly contested internal struggle against a resounding but unconscious silence. A struggle which continued in what has since come to be known only in the rewritten history….of the Centre for Cultural Studies. [26] 

Paul Gilroy, who studied with Stuart Hall at the Birmingham School in England, focused on "postcolonial modes of deracination" within transatlantic culture. [27] As Paul Giles states, Paul Gilroy took issue with what he perceived as "traditional racism and ethnocentrism of English cultural studies," [28] citing in particular the tendencies of E. P. Thompson and Raymond Williams to systematically omit blacks from their analysis on British cultural identity. [29] Therefore, Gilroy viewed America as a counterpoint to British cultural analysis, and a means of disturbing any "narrowly ethnic definition of racial authenticity" or the "purity of cultures" on either side of the Atlantic. [30] Gilroy juxtaposed black culture in Britain with American black protest movements, in order to discredit conceptions of race, people or nation as advocated by Raymond Williams. In fact, Gilroy presents one of the most extreme critiques of Raymond Williams, charging him with proposing a "new racism" in his analysis of culture. [31] 

New Left scholar Benita Perry highlights that the new racism advocated by Raymond Williams was especially problematic for Paul Gilroy, who argued that New Left efforts in the 1960s to reclaim patriotism and nationalism resulted in ethnic absolutism. [32] She continues that the concept of culture itself became a "site of struggles over the meaning of race, nation, and ethnicity" for scholars interested in minority studies such as Gilroy. [33] The main issue for Gilroy was that Raymond Williams's conception of culture, with its emphasis on "long experience," deflected the "nation" away from "race", setting the course for British Cultural Marxists in general to write irresponsibly and quite ambivalently about "race". [34] Additionally, this excluded blacks from the "significant" entities due to Williams's silence on racism, which for Gilroy "has its own historical relationship with ideologies of Britishness and national identity. [35] This is very similar to the argument presented by Gauri Viswanathan earlier on the influence of Raymond Williams on British imperial and national scholarship. [36] 

Beyond overt notions Eurocentrism, Williams's critics vehemently opposed his understanding of the "long [British] experience" deriving from "rooted settlement," which excluded colonized groups and immigrants from the "significant" entity. [37] Paul Gilroy notes that the most egregious silence in Williams's work is his "refusal to examine the concept of racism which has its own historic relationship with ideologies of Englishness, Britishness and national belonging." [38] He adds, "There can be little doubt that blacks ... are familiar with the legacy of British 'bloody mindedness' in which he takes great pride. From where they stand it is easier to see that its present day cornerstones are racism and nationalism, its foundations slavery and imperialism." [39] Therefore, Gilroy concludes that cultures are not isolated from each other as Raymond Williams seemly implied in The Country and the City, but are linked to "the persistent crisscrossing of national boundaries." [40] 

Additionally, Paul Gilroy discussed the implications of Raymond Williams's work for peoples of color residing in or immigrating to England. In direct response to Williams's position on "lived experience" and "rooted settlement," Gilroy pointedly asked: "How long is long enough to become a genuine Brit in the context of lived and formed identities?" [41] Gilroy argues, that Williams's favored the exclusion of immigrating peoples of color and contributed to a "new racism" grounded in a discourse of "nation," focused on "the enemy within" and without "race." [42] This new racism is rooted on cultural rather than biological determination, proving them undeserving of citizenship and creating "authentic and inauthentic types of national belonging." [43] This was a position that his Birmingham School program director, Stuart Hall agreed with as well.

Raymond Williams's requirements for British citizenship had major implications for those colonial "subjects" of the Commonwealth outside of Britain, such as Jamaican scholar Stuart Hall. These groups lacked the "settled kind" of identity and would certainly not qualify under this sort of citizenship as advocated by Raymond Williams as well. [44] Raymond Williams's commentary in Towards 2000 favored "lived and formed identities," preferably those of "a settled kind," for "practical formation of social identity" has to be "lived." [45] Williams continues: "Real social identities" are formed "by working and living together, with some real place and common interest to identify with". [46] Unsurprisingly, Stuart Hall retorts: "I am the sugar at the bottom of the English cup of tea. I am the sweet tooth, the sugar plantations that rotted generations of English children's teeth. There are thousands of others beside me that are, you know, the cup of tea itself. Because they don't grow it in Lancashire, you know. Not a single tea plantation exists within the United Kingdom"? What could Williams say to this-this "outside history that is inside the history of the English"? [47] 

Donald Nonini adds to this discussion in his analysis of Stuart Hall's critique of Raymond Williams. He writes: "The issue here for Stuart Hall, is the requirements of "real" and "lived" social identities, and the manner of exclusion of recent immigrants, who although residence of England, have only been there for a few generations. Clearly they do not share the "long historical association with the land and forcible integration" upon it as Williams required for real citizenship. [48] This had major implications on Stuart Hall's work within the Birmingham School because he could not ignore the racialized aspects of Raymond Williams's cultural theory. In his essay, "Culture, Community, and Nation," Hall equates Williams's "cultural belongingness" through "actual, lived relationships of place, culture and community, amongst politically and culturally subordinate peoples" as a replacement for biological determinism and "coded language for race and color". [49] Therefore, Stuart Hall agrees with Paul Gilroy that there is overt ethnic absolutism within Raymond Williams work. Moreover, Hall concludes that post-colonial "diasporas of the late-modern experience" will never be "unified culturally" because they are products of "cultures of hybridity." [50] Hall equates this "hybridity" to a "diasporic consciousness," which meant that non- retain strong links with the traditions and places of their origins while adapting to their present circumstances, so that they can "produce themselves anew and differently." [51] 

In defense of Raymond Williams, Andrew Milner argued that both Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy misinterpreted Williams's position on race, citing Towards 2000 as an example. [52] Milner writes that Williams was not only vocal about race, but advocated the kind of grassroots social movements that would raise awareness for the "heterogeneous strands" of English society. [53] In fact, Williams describes anti-globalization social movements as "resources ... of hope". [54] Additionally, Milner relates Williams' analysis of social movements to his understanding of class. He adds that for Williams, neo- imperialist issues led 'into the central systems of the industrial-capitalist mode of production and ... its system of classes'. [55] He supports his position quoting Williams discussion of "rooted settlements" in Towards 2000: "Rooted settlements were 'alienated superficialities' of 'legal definitions of citizenship' with the more substantial reality of 'deeply grounded and active social identities.'" [56] This interpretation, according to Milner, was problematic for future Birmingham School scholars, particularly Paul Gilroy, who concluded that Williams's "authentic and inauthentic types of national belonging" followed the same racist rhetoric of British conservatives. [57] Milner, however, maintains that this was a distortion of Williams's original argument. He ultimately concludes that future scholars should reexamine Williams's position on race. [58] 

Similar to Milner, Donald Nonini and Christopher Prendergast presents Towards 2000 as the best evidence of Williams conception of racism and visible "others" in a post colonial context. Nonini cites Williams's observation that "the most recent immigrations of more visibly different peoples…have misrepresented and obscured pasts". [59] Nonini continues that Raymond Williams did account for the differences within British culture and the contested nature of citizenship. For example, Williams wrote that when newly arriving immigrants interacted with "true Englishman"…"angry confusions and prejudices" were evident because of the repression of rural culture and people within Great Britain. [60] Nonini interprets this as a sign of Williams' internalized colonist sentiment. [61] Therefore, Raymond Williams understood racism as the result of the "hostility between the 'formerly integrated peoples' and the immigrating 'more visibly different peoples' due to colonial ideology." [62] Moreover, Andrew Milner continues that Raymond Williams did not exclude blacks from "a significant social identity with their white neighbors," as Paul Gilroy suggests highlighting Williams's analysis of rural mining communities in Towards 2000. [63] Additionally, Stuart Hall's assertion that Raymond Williams not only questioned, but ruled out the possibility that 'relationships between blacks and whites in many inner-city communities' can be 'actual' and 'sustained' is even more unfounded when analyzing Williams's work in Towards 2000. [64] 

Christopher Prendergast clarifies that Raymond Williams did not consider this as "actual racism," but a "profound misunderstanding" due to "purely social and cultural tensions" between the English working class and who they perceived as outsiders. [65] While Williams seems to side with the ordinary, working-class man, Prendergast does specify that Williams did counter nativist claims in his conclusion that "foreigners" and "blacks" were "just as British as we are." [66] Therefore, Prendergast maintains that Williams understood the limitations of a merely legal definition of what it is to be "British". He adds that Williams felt that attempts to resolve issues around social identities were often "colluded with the alienated superficialities of 'the nation' which were often limited to the functional terms of the modern ruling class". [67] Ultimately, both Prendergast and Milner conclude that Raymond Williams was not oblivious to racial relations, citing Williams again: "It is by working and living together ... as free as may be from external ideological definitions, whether divisive or universalist, that real social identities are formed." [68] 

While Milner and Prendergast offer an apologetic interpretation of Raymond Williams and colonial relations, Paul Giles and Forest Pyle emphasize William's conception of culture as the liability in his analysis. In his essay, "Virtual Americas: The Internationalization of American Studies and the Ideology of Exchange," Paul Giles cites Raymond Williams's idealized conception of community as an "empowering and socially cohesive force"as problematic. [69] Williams's stubborn insistence in holistic communities and rooted settlements creates significant challenges when dealing with imperial relationships. Seemingly, Raymond Williams's cultural analysis accommodates a broadened conceptualization of culture that is inclusive of "colonizer-colonized relations, yet this never materializes. Instead, Williams's understanding of the cultural experience becomes overtly exclusive of colonial others, minorities, and immigrants due to his naturalized and geographically localized notion of English national culture." [70] As outlined previously with Forest Pyle, Williams's appropriation of culture as "inhuman and fictional" due to the 'pervasive and elusive' nature of the term itself in relation to colonial analysis. [71] 

Post colonial scholar R. Radhakrishnan provides a critique of Raymond Williams's cultural theory as a means of deconstructing Eurocentrism in a post colonial context. While Radhakrishnan acknowledges the insight provided in The Country and the City, he argues that Williams's continual self-reflexivity posits him in a contradictory position when it relates to colonialism and culture. Therefore his commentary becomes both "oppositional-marginal and dominant-central" and ultimately coincides with a "demonstrably metropolitan voice." [72] As a result, those within the margins or periphery of dominant British culture are "too easily and prematurely adjusted and accommodated within what Williams considered as a 'connecting process towards a common history.'" [73] Radhakrishnan maintains that what differentiates post colonial scholars such as Edward Said or Paratha Chatterjee from Raymond Williams is their awareness and articulation of subaltern marginality that often negates Williams's notion of a "successfully transplanted method of cultural commonality." [74] In that sense British nationalism or culture can be enacted in the postcolonial context to the detriment of indigenous, peripheral cultures because it fails to "speak for them". Therefore, Radhakrishnan concludes that Williams's cultural analysis is incapable of dealing with the nuances of either a colonial or post colonial world.

Nevertheless, numerous scholars have worked to understand Williams's rationale for situating colonial and racial identities at the periphery of his work. [75] Donald Nonini argues that "Williams's ambivalence toward issues of imperialism and race needs to be taken seriously." [76] David Simpson would certainly agree. He adds: "Williams's 'nativist streak' prevented him providing a thorough critique and understanding of colonialism." [77] Donald Nonini addresses the resentment and exclusion Williams felt as well, citing his internal struggle as a "Welsh European." [78] He cites Raymond Williams's commentary regarding his own experiences in the country as an example of this: "I was born in a village, and I still live in a village…this country life then has many meanings: in feeling and activity; in region and in time." [79] Williams continues: "Country is both a nation and a part of a land; the country can be the whole society or its rural area." [80] Evidently, as Nonini argues, Williams was a victim of "a colonization of the body, the intellect and spirit that took place within national boundaries, rather than across them." [81] Therefore, colonization was indeed internal for Williams, and it expressed itself during his Cambridge experience when his "country" was being silenced, and transformed by the language of the metropole, the "city". [82] This is conclusion that Williams reached when questioned by his colleagues in the New Left on the issue of his ambivalence with colonialism.

Raymond Williams comes to terms with these criticisms in his work, Politics and Letters: Interviews with New Left Review (1979). Williams remarks on how he was often taken to task for not discussing the relationship between culture and the British Empire. When challenged by his fellow New Left colleagues concerning his understanding of colonial/imperial discourse, Williams states that imperialism was not something which was "secondary and external, it was instead absolutely constitutive of the whole nature of the English political and social order…the salient fact." [83] He goes on note that his Welsh experience, which ought to have enabled him to think about the imperial experience, was "very much in abeyance" at the time he wrote the book. [84] Williams then contextualizes his internal colonization by quoting from his earlier work The Country and the City, highlighting his fixation towards the oppressive city: "It is the 'city' that does violence to the 'country' and to the 'actual,' 'lived identities' that country life generates." [85] While Williams is unable to extend the meaning of "city" as analogous of colonialism and empire overseas, he is able to relate it to his personal internal oppression.

Raymond Williams wrote extensively of his personal experience at Cambridge University as attributing to his understanding of culture on multiple occasions. In Politics and Letters he wrote: "I was wholly unprepared for it. I knew nothing about it." [86] Williams goes on to discuss his name change while enrolled at Cambridge University: "All the people [in Wales] who knew me till I was eighteen called me Jim. I adopted my legal name Raymond at university….this points to the problem of being two persons, and negotiating between two different worlds. Yet I always find it strange how quickly one adjusts to being called a certain name in a certain place." [87] This self analysis is also present within Williams's 1958 essay "Culture is Ordinary". Regarding his acceptance to Cambridge Williams writes: "The fact of restriction I accepted, because it was still obvious that only the "deserving" poor get much educational opportunities…I was no better and no worse than the people I came from." [88] All in all, Raymond Williams's indicated throughout his professional career that his upbringing in the border country led him to conclude that "culture as a whole way of life," and inhibited him from dealing with external British colonialism extensively. [89] 

That being said, Raymond Williams constantly reflected on this glaring gap in his work especially in light of the use of his cultural theory in post colonial studies, by scholars like Edward Said. In his essay, "Traveling Theory," Edward Said details his opposition to Raymond Williams's romanticized cultural separatism and belongingness as "the the purer form of the community as a means of salvation." [90] This contributed to his reaction to Raymond Williams in their 1986 interview over the nature of community at the Institute of Education in London. Edward Said notes his displeasure with Williams's response to his critics regarding culture, because, as Said adds, "historically culture has not been cooperative and communal term as Williams suggests, but rather exclusive." [91] Said then cites examples in Culture and Society in which references are made to "our" culture as opposed to "their culture", as "theirs" is defined and marginalized by virtue of race. Therefore, Said designates Williams's commentary as documenting a privileged culture that is not only excluding, but also exported to the rest of the world. [92] Said continues, that this exported culture "remains at a distance; you can therefore be in it, but you can never be of it. Therefore, people are unable to belong to a particular culture, but are seemingly outside of it. [93] 

However, Williams countered that his concept of a "common culture" that excluded the marginalized "outsiders" was greatly misunderstood. [94] Common culture was meant to be oppositional to an elite or dominant culture for Williams. It was to be an ideal that opened access and distribution to all level of society instead of being exclusionary. [95] Ultimately, common culture was meant to challenge the divisions, separation, and conflict which Williams believed to be rooted in real historical situations and inclusive of diversity. In Politics and Letters, Williams adds that "however dominant a social system, may be, the very meaning of its dominance involves a limitation or selection of the activities it covers, so that by definition it cannot be exhausted, and therefore it always contains space for alternative acts and alternative intentions which are not articulated or realized by a social institution or system. [96] Moreover, Raymond Williams was not muted on the issue of imperialism. In the Country and City, he writes that, "the relationship between England and its colonies, have gone deeper than can be easily traced, it is in every idea and every image both consciously and unconsciously. [97] In this sense, John Higgins is correct in his defense of Williams, in regards to imperialism or racial exclusivity. [98] Higgins maintains that despite Williams's sporadic attention to imperialism, his analysis was certainly unusual and nuanced for its time. When most of his contemporaries were absolutely blind to it, Williams attempted to come to terms with British imperialism. [99] Therefore, Williams's work should be looked at as an achievement, especially because it played such a significant place within Edward Said's work, notably Culture and Imperialism. [100] 

Andrew Rubin writes that Williams's The Country and the City provided Said with a theoretical problem. [101] Said, therefore, sought to extend Williams's work in regards to subordinate groups, and their engagement in contested social relationships over geographical, territorial, and property division within Britain. [102] This emphasis on geography is certainly one of the main concepts that Edward Said appropriates within his own work from Raymond Williams. In Said's essay "Narrative, Geography and Interpretation," he notes that Williams conceived of culture as 'a remarkably varied set of structures deriving from the land', and that his conception of Britain 'is in a quite radical sense a geographical one'. [103] He follows this by stating that because of Williams's work "we can now retrospectively examine 'other nations' of the world without which any true geography of the historical adventure of mankind would be incomplete." [104] Therefore as Alexander Moore asserts Edward Said does extend Williams's geographical and spatial formularies, instead of explicitly questioning them. For example Edward Said's states that his mission is to find "something as comparable to and as certain as England's geography in post-war world culture …and ask how, in their own way, do these other [cultural] formations depend on no less concrete a geography than does, say, The Country and the City?'. [105] 

Moreover, Alexander Moore persuasively argues that while Edward Said notes the paradox within Williams's work due to his ethnocentrism, he perceived if it as a useful tool of analysis, and not a liability. For example, Said essay, "Narrative, Geography and Interpretation" utilized Williams's ethnocentrism in comparative studies of other "centrisms" extending from Britain in the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, to Ireland, Africa, India, the Caribbean, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. [106] Ultimately, Said sought to answer the question: "How does Williams's work in and about England help us to address some of the related aesthetic, political and cultural problematic that we can find in locales and texts far less English and European than Williams's?" [107] Evidently, Said believed that Raymond Williams's analysis of Great Britain, when expanded, allowed for the emergence of various colonial "structures of feelings values, embeddedness, difference, and the particularities of the counterhegemonic discourses and social relations oppositional groups construct" within those "other" places. [108] Moor concludes that unlike his other critics, Said gives Williams the benefit of the doubt because he viewed Williams not as a "reflective critic…who could see the limits of theory or a particular ideology knowing that any liberating idea can become a trap of its own." [109] 

Unsurprisingly then, Benita Parry maintains that Said owes more to Raymond Williams than anyone else. [110] She writes that Said draws on Williams's work, and is able to provide one of the most sophisticated critiques of Williams's work. Said acknowledges that it is from Williams that he derived his usage of culture as "a negotiated social practice, within which subjectivities, cognition, and consciousness are made and remade under determinate historical and political conditions". [111] Said highlights Raymond Williams's awareness that the events in the peripheries reshaped and determined domestic relations at home. For example, he quotes for The Country and the City: "From at least mid-nineteenth century, there was this larger context of colonial expansion within which every idea and every image was consciously and unconsciously affected. [112] Therefore, Said accepts the challenge of Williams's cultural theory is able to offers an extended interpretation of Williams's work on empire and constructed metropolitan cultures.

Notwithstanding, it was not just Said and other post colonial scholars how offered a reinterpretation of Raymond Williams, but Williams offered his on revision. Williams did not write in isolation of his critics and was quite aware of the criticism his work generated. In fact, he was very candid and openly critiqued his work in a series of New Left interviews, and in the later part of his career wrote extensively on the limitations of his British Marxist theory and his own conceptions. Moreover, Williams attempted to extend his original conceptions of culture and cultural materialism to include the notable and "salient fact". [113] As Andrew Milner notes as well, Williams accounts for his early shortcomings and was highly motivated by the possibility and desirability of shared social identities in the future. [114] Therefore, Raymond Williams viewed his contribution to both colonial and post colonial scholarship as ultimately continuing an earlier conversation. Evidently, despite the limitations of Raymond Williams's work, his concepts and cultural theory provided the groundwork for post colonial and cultural scholarship as evident in the work of Edward Said, Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy and the other noted scholars in this essay. Consequently, his relevance in the post colonial work, although contested, is still apparent.

All in all, it can be concluded that Raymond Williams was never completely oblivious to issues of race and imperialism because of the depth and longevity of his scholarship. While Raymond Williams cannot be considered as a founding figure of post colonial studies or an unapologetic racist, he does qualify as a reflective scholar who took an uncompromising accountability for his work. Raymond Williams provided not only the framework of cultural studies, but outlined the challenges of early British Marxist scholarship throughout the 1960s in regards to racial identities. Moreover, the transparency of Williams's own internal struggles allowed for an open dialogue in the late 1970s 1980s between Williams and his critics within both the New Left and postcolonial studies. This allowed Williams's successors to either critique, modify, or appropriate his work to deal with modern issues, which is certainly something Raymond Williams would have appreciated in light of his own career with Marxist theory. Therefore, through analysis of Raymond Williams's own work on imperialism, a fuller understanding of Raymond Williams's scholarship can be appreciated in relation to post colonial scholarship.