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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: July ::
Re: Culture and Counterculture
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1257  Tuesday, 13 July 1999.

From:           Jadwiga Krupski <
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Date:           Saturday 10 Jul 1999 13:37:25 -0400
Subject: 10.1205 Culture and Counterculture
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1205 Culture and Counterculture

My I add a European twist to this conversation? I was taught, many years
ago  that "culture"  meant an interest in and involvement with the
serious forms of art, literature, drama,  music, the visual arts  - as
opposed to "civilization" signifying  civil behaviour and its outward
aspects, such as the correct use of knife and fork. Nowadays, the word
"culture" has acquired the anthropological meaning of  ethnic, tribal
and societal customs and mores. The differentiation lies in the context,
and I see no problem in this.

     Cheers, Jadwiga Krupski

> >  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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