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Race, Religion and Counter-Hegemonic Practice in Empson, Williams and Freire.

Dix, H., 2021. Race, Religion and Counter-Hegemonic Practice in Empson, Williams and Freire. In: Paixão, A. H., Mazza, D. and Spigolon, N., eds. Centelhas de Transformações – Paulo Freire e Raymond Williams. São José do Rio Preto: Editora HN.

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This chapter explores the place of race and religion in the work of Raymond Williams and Paulo Freire. Beginning with a discussion of William Empson’s Structure of Complex Words (1951), it argues that the work of Empson was a greater influence on Williams’s work than has previously been realised, especially in using social linguistics to analyse culture. However, there are also two key elements in Empson for which there are no equivalent in Williams: a Christian sensibility and a Eurocentric perspective which fails to incorporate racial diversity. Williams’s Culture and Society (1958), Keywords (1976) and Marxism and Literature (1977) are all rooted in the work of Empson but say virtually nothing about either religion or race and the jettisoning of these things has a series of very precise effects. Positively, it enables Williams to move away from the Eurocentric racial politics of Empson so that his work can be read as a corrective to his predecessor’s in this regard. On the other hand, the opportunity to identify forms of counter-hegemonic relationships that a sociology of religious organisations can provide is missed – and Williams interprets organisations of religion solely as organs of the dominant ideology. The problem with this assumption is that it fails to account for how the kinds of relationship that typify faith-based communities (of all kinds) are inflected by experiences of race and can provide instances of counter-hegemonic solidarity. This, the chapter argues, is why it is worth reading Williams alongside his exact contemporary Paulo Freire, because in Freire’s work a connection between a critical racial politics and an acknowledgement of the contribution certain religious communities can potentially make to that politics can be re-established.

Item Type:Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords:historical linguistics; dominant ideology; counter-hegemonic practice; race; religion
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:38112
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:21 Mar 2024 12:47
Last Modified:21 Mar 2024 12:47


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