文化唯物主义是一种理论框架和研究方法，用于检验生产的物理和经济方面与建立社会，社会组织和社会关系以及主导社会的价值观，信仰和世界观之间的关系。它植根于马克思主义理论，在人类学，社会学和文化研究领域很受欢迎。文化唯物主义的理论视角和研究方法出现在20世纪60年代后期，并在20世纪80年代得到了更充分的发展。文化唯物主义最早是由马文·哈里斯（Marvin Harris）在1968年出版的“人类学理论的兴起”（The Rise of Anthropological Theory）中引入并在人类学领域推广的。在这项工作中，哈里斯以马克思的基础和上层建筑理论为基础，制定了一个关于文化和文化产品如何融入更大社会系统的理论。在哈里斯对马克思理论的改编中，社会基础设施（技术，经济生产，建筑环境等）既影响社会结构（社会组织和关系），也影响上层建筑（思想，价值观，信仰和思想的集合）。世界观）。他认为，如果人们想要理解为什么文化因地而异，不同群体，为什么某些文化产品如艺术和消费品（以及其他）在特定地方生产，以及什么他们的意思是那些使用它们的人。后来，威尔士学者雷蒙德·威廉姆斯进一步发展了理论范式和研究方法，并在此过程中帮助创建了20世纪80年代的文化研究领域。威廉姆斯的文化唯物主义秉承了马克思理论的政治本质以及对权力和阶级结构的批判性关注，瞄准了文化和文化产品如何与基于阶级的统治和压迫系统相关联。威廉姆斯利用已有的文化与权力关系的理论批评建立了他的文化唯物主义理论，包括意大利学者安东尼奥·葛兰西的着作和法兰克福学派的批判理论。威廉姆斯断言，文化本身是一个富有成效的过程，意味着它负责制造社会中存在的无形事物，如思想，假设和社会关系。他所发展的文化唯物主义理论认为，文化作为一种生产过程是阶级制度如何制造和重塑的更大过程的一部分，它与社会中普遍存在的阶级不平等有关。根据文化唯物主义，文化和文化产品通过促进和证明主流中的某些价值观，假设和世界观以及不适合主流模式的其他人的边缘化来发挥这些作用（考虑说唱音乐经常被诋毁的方式）主流评论家的暴力行为，或者经常将某种情况视为某种性宽松或道德缺陷的标志，而舞厅舞被称为“优雅”和精致的舞台舞。威廉姆斯传统中遵循的许多学者扩展了他的文化唯物主义理论，该理论主要关注阶级不平等，包括对种族不平等及其与文化的联系以及性别，性和国籍等问题的考虑。
Cultural materialism is a theoretical framework and research method for examining the relationships between the physical and economic aspects of production and built society, social organization and social relations, and the values, beliefs, and worldviews that predominate that society. It is rooted in Marxist theory and is popular in anthropology, sociology, and the field of cultural studies. The theoretical perspective and research methods of cultural materialism emerged in the late 1960s and were developed more fully during the 1980s. Cultural materialism was first introduced and popularized within the field of anthropology by Marvin Harris with his 1968 book The Rise of Anthropological Theory. In this work, Harris built on Marx’s theory of base and superstructure to craft a theory of how culture and cultural products fit into the greater social system. In Harris’s adaptation of Marx’s theory, the infrastructure of society (technology, economic production, the built environment, etc.) influences both the structure of society (social organization and relations) and the superstructure (the collection of ideas, values, beliefs, and worldviews). He argued that one must take this whole system into account if one wants to understand why cultures differ from place to place and group to group, why certain cultural products like art and consumer goods (among others) are produced in a given place, and what their meaning is to those who use them. Later, Raymond Williams, a Welsh academic, further developed the theoretical paradigm and research method, and in doing so, helped create the field of cultural studies in the 1980s. Embracing the political nature of Marx’s theory and his critical focus on power and the class structure, Williams’s cultural materialism took aim at how culture and cultural products relate to a class-based system of domination and oppression. Williams built his theory of cultural materialism using already existing theoretical critiques of the relationship between culture and power, including the writings of Italian scholar Antonio Gramsci and the critical theory of the Frankfurt School. Williams asserted that culture itself is a productive process, meaning it is responsible for making intangible things that exist in society, like ideas, assumptions, and social relations. The theory of cultural materialism that he developed holds that culture as a productive process is part of the larger process of how a class system is made and remade, and it is connected to the class-based inequalities that pervade society. According to cultural materialism, culture and cultural products play these roles through the promotion and justification of certain values, assumptions, and worldviews within the mainstream and the marginalization of others that do not fit the mainstream mold (consider the way rap music has been routinely vilified as violent by mainstream critics, or how twerking is often framed as a sign that someone is sexually loose or morally deficient, while ballroom dance is held up as “classy” and refined). Many scholars who followed in Williams tradition expanded his theory of cultural materialism, which was focused on class inequalities, to include the consideration of racial inequalities and their connection to culture, as well as those of gender, sexuality, and nationality, among others.