What are the main points in Raymond Williams' "Dominant, Residual, And Emergent"?
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These concepts, explicitly elaborated in Marxism and Literature (1977), contributed to innovate Marxist criticism which had been largely based until then on the analyses of historical epochs according to the prevailing mode of production. While Williams generally agreed with the division of historical periods following this method, he also found them to be too broad and felt the need to make more explicit the conflicts and resistances that occurred within these larger historical formations. Thus, dominant ideologies are those held by the majority of society. They include also residual elements of ideologies that were dominant in the past but that have been replaced. These reisdual elements are re-invented to a certain extent and adapted to the new dominant values. Finally, emergent elements are those which, consciously or unconsciously, set themselves in opposition to the dominant. The social interaction and clash between the dominant and the emergent leads to social change. Eventually emergent elements may become dominant, but this process is not inevitable for all emergent elements, some of which remains confined in the margins of society.
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