DOI: 10.5176/2382-5650_CCS16.20

Authors: Eitan Ginzberg

Abstract:

Since its identification as a unique field of research, the modern study of culture has become very popular. Its analytical-interpretive power has earned it a place of honor among the natural, social and human sciences. Despite its central status, however, the term "culture" itself has not yet found an accepted, customary definition. The absence of such a definition compels scholars of culture to walk uncertainly within the discipline they are engaged in. This situation literally blocks knowledge of whom we are as human beings and how we accomplish our existence, and prevents lucidity in terms of research goals and methodologies. The current article aims to deal with this drawback. Taking as its starting point Freud's basic definition of culture as the "total achievements and institutions, which moved us away from our animal-like ancestors," and organizing this "total" definition under three categories – taste, value and control – this study seeks to create order in the inventory of existing academic definitions, placing them within the context in which they were formed. This may offer a basis for studying and understanding culture. Underlying this analysis is the humanistic-relativistic approach, which views all human products as culture.

Keywords: Culture; The Concept of Culture; Definition of Culture; Normative Definitions of Culture; Discriptive or Relative Definitions of Culture; Popular Culture; High Culture; Low Culture; Taste, Value and Control as basic componants of Culture; Power and Culture.

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