What is a culture?

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Like Japanese culture for instance. Some people don't want to admit that there can be such a thing at all.
What are cultures? How do they take shape? What are the comprised of? How do they change? Should they be preserved? Are they under threat? Have they already disappeared? What is the role of mass media and globalisation in all of this?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Geography and climate? Without straying too far into north=industry, prudence, temperance.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
There's been a huge revival of 19th century "race science" over the last few years. I'm not intending to feed that.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Something to be said here about the analogy between economic protectionism and cultural protectionism? Allowing unique cultural forms to gestate and grow without undue influence from outside.

Japan is obviously a good example in this regard - it remains the most culturally alien place I have ever been to (far more so than some other places 'supposed' to be more different), which must be due to its cultural insulation from the outside world for centuries.

Also lots of examples of cross-national cultures of course
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I think he's talking specifically about Welsh culture, built on laverbread, hatred of the English and low-level weekend thuggery in Swansea town centre.

Nothing wrong with any of that of course.
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization (including practices of political organization and social institutions), mythology, philosophy, literature (both written and oral), and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.

I wrote this myself and I stand by every word.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
The collective organic life-blood of a People while it is still in the flower of youth and exists in a state of creative and vital Becoming, before it exhausts its possibilities and calcifies into Civilization, upon which it will have Become and develops only extensively, not intensively.

Duh.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
"Social learnings" - the internet spreads these universally. From the right-wing racists to the communists everybody speaks the same meme language. It's an American language, of course.

Online culture will surely trend towards a monoculture.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Presumably a one-man desert island couldn't have a culture, but a two-man desert island could?
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Maybe cultural 'validity' is determined by the number of adherants.

(Although today with the championing of minority rights that actually might be flipped!)
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
One interesting aspect of the world history for dimmies I'm reading ATM is

Some cultures (e.g. Egypt, China) thrived in - relative - isolation.

Others (Greece, Rome) thrived due to oppenness to outside influences.

The isolated cultures were less diluted but also less innovative.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Some cultures (e.g. Egypt, China) thrived in - relative - isolation.
Was Egypt 'isolated', though? It was connected to other nearby civilizations by trade routes from earliest prehistory. Invaded and ruled by Hyksos for several generations, later conquered a large empire that extended as far north as modern-day Turkey, brought them into contact with the Hittite empire... admittedly it does seem more monolithic from an aesthetic and theological point of view, compared to the peoples of the Levant and Mesopotamia who more readily shared artistic ideas and had a common stock of gods and myths.

China maybe was more isolated, but even so, you've got the Silk Road going back to 200 BC and earlier interactions with central Asia and Iran going back much further than that.
 
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