Culture and Counterculture
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1205 Thursday, 1 July 1999.
From: Carol Barton <
Date: Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999 07:16:05 EDT
Subject: 10.1094 Culture and counterculture
Comment: Re: SHK 10.1094 Culture and counterculture
> Gabriel Egan writes:
> > I'm sorry to appear dense on this, but really this highly mutable term
> > 'culture' is throwing me off. If 'culture' is the good stuff, and it is
> > the ethnically-shared collection of good and bad stuff, aren't we just
> > playing humpty-dumpty with the word?
> > >Sean: your response didn't clear this one up either. Do you
> > >see no problem here? (If none, I will desist.)
> I think that there is a problem, in that "culture" can mean two things,
> which are related, but not quite the same.
I think we are splitting hairs on this one, gentleman. Culture can be
used more than two ways: nutrient agar is used as a culture in the
laboratory; yogurt has cultures (and is therefore a micro-organismic
microcosm?); the British culture (the sum total of the things that make
it a distinct population) differs from the U,S, culture; one who
patronizes the fine arts is said to be "cultured" . . . and so on. But
I would disgree-strongly-Sean, that "While both 'high' culture and
'popular' culture are valid expressions of a society, 'high' cultural
products are usually taken to be representative": it seems to me that
the context is indicative of the meaning, and that when we say "the
Chinese culture" we mean "the society"- the whole of it-whereas without
the article ("Chinese culture") we mean "high culture"-just as when we
say "the Chinese society" we mean the nation, but "Chinese society"
means, loosely, the standards of the Chinese aristocracy.