Concepts of Culture: Art, Politics, and Society

Concepts of Culture: Art, Politics, and Society

Concepts of Culture: Art, Politics, and Society

Concepts of Culture: Art, Politics, and Society

Synopsis

How do we define 'culture?' In this volume, Adam Muller brings together contributions from established & emerging scholars in a number of different disciplines who each examine the concept of culture as it is understood & deployed within their respective fields.

Excerpt

Wenn ich kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning – Hanns Johst,
Schlageter

Clearly, we are involved with one of those terms that have a way of
touching off controversies. – Harry Levin, "Semantics of Culture"

Although the first recognizably modern English usage of "culture" occurs towards the end of the nineteenth century, the conceptual roots of the term extend much deeper, travelling past John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) and the writings of the fourteenth-century Arab historian Ibn Khaldûn to come to rest in the histories of Herodotus and Tacitus. Etymologically, the Latin root of the term is "colere," meaning anything from cultivating to inhabiting, protecting, or worshipping, the latter a term connoting both divinity and transcendence, aspects of which inform the influential Ciceronian notion of "cultura animi" or cultivation of the soul. We thus find in its early English usage associations with husbandry, natural growth, and refinement, associations exploited by Thomas More in 1510 with reference to "the culture and profit of theyr "sic" minds," and by Francis Bacon in The Advancement of Learning (1605) in which he writes that . . .

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