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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: July ::
Culture and Counterculture
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1205  Thursday, 1 July 1999.

From:           Carol Barton <
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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.

Cheers,
Carol Barton
 

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