'Music-City. Sports-City. Leisure-City.' is the latest publication from the Europaisches Institut fur Urbanistik at the Bauhaus University Weimar. It is a contemporary examination of the role that culture plays in the urban environment and in its development. The book's genesis derives from two seminars held at the institute, led by PhD candidate Alexander Bergmann, dealing with the same topic and it consists of a collection of essays primarily assembled from the students partaking in the seminar. It is broad in both its range and scope, first laying down a theoretical foundation exploring the historical and critical role of culture in the city, followed by a more current assessment of culture- led urban development around the world. The book concludes with the description of four proposed projects for Sheffield, where the students were assigned hypothetical scenarios for the city and asked to propose solutions.
The book's strength draws from the diversity of its contributors, trained architects, planners and academics hailing from cities across the globe. Contemporary urban cultural issues, such as graffiti, hip-hop, skateboarding and the creative classes, are approached with fresh new perspectives. The cities of Sheffield, Chemnitz and Essen are put under the cultural spotlight as we learn about the growing hip-hop movement in the former GDR, industrial cultural beauty in the Rhine-Ruhr Region and a cultural industry quarter in the heart of England's steel city. In the final section, we are taken on a fantastical tour of possible futures for the city of Sheffield.
- Will the city transform itself into a city of networked slides?
- Will the youth congregate around spontaneous i-pod car parties?
- How could a company like Apple help restore industrial heritage while building a clustered specialised high-tech community of its own?
- What role could companies like Nike and Adidas play in supporting a healthy active lifestyle for Sheffielders?
The book promises to be an exciting trek through this cultural cityscape.
It is illustrated by one of Germany's famous graffiti artists - Hamburg based CIDE.
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The relationship between culture and regeneration is at the forefront of key policy and academic debates.
This reader looks for evidence of culture as a driver, a catalyst or at the very least a key player in the process of social, environmental and economic regeneration or renewal. Its purpose is to present a judgment of the available evidence relating to the regenerative impact of cultural facilities, projects and activities. Architects as well as planners together with political, economic and cultural scientists from more than different countries contributed to this reader. Most of them attended master courses at the Institute of European Urbanistics, Weimar (Germany).
Municipal authorities throughout Western Europe are attempting to steer the regeneration of their urban centres through policies designed to attract inward investment and tourism. In an attempt to woo these outside economic agents, a variety of cultural, consumption-oriented policies have been developed and marketed. These include investment in concrete cultural infrastructure such as museums or art galleries, and in less physical aspects, staging events like the European Capital of Culture, for example. With its clearly economic agenda, this brand of cultural policy has given rise to a polemical debate.
The role of 'culture' in this context has been manifold. It has become a central element of city marketing strategies, intended to promote cities to tourists and inward investors. As such, culture has been part of a wider attempt by cities to create new images and identities in a post-industrial age. At the same time, 'cultural industries' have increasingly been identified as a key growth factor in urban economies, linked closely to other elements of the 'knowledge economy', and as a critical driving element in the growing popularity of city-centre living. This reflects broader trends of the new economy and the transition from traditional industries to those based primarily on creative activity and content.
The reader explores the theoretical background to this urban transformation, its consequences for social, economic and political relations in cities, and the challenges and opportunities that it poses both for urban policy-makers and those active in cultural industries. It is not only designed to enhance students' understanding of the changing nature of the contemporary city and of cultural policy but also seeks to develop a high-level understanding of social research methods. The reader explores the range of choices and dilemmas inherent to urban regeneration policies and the possible trade-offs between economic, environmental and social objectives. Moreover, it also provides a specific context in which to critically evaluate the potential applications and limitations of cultural policy as a distinctive form of urban regeneration.
The chapter on Globalisation, Culture and the City introduces transforming effects of globalisation on urban spaces and social relations. It examines the main parameters of globalisation in the contemporary city, exploring concepts such as the 'post-modern city' and different theories of modernity and culture. The chapter considers the impact of urban change on cultural freedom, different social groups and built structures. It highlights city image making in processes of urban transformations as well as social and symbolic change within urban space.
The Cultural Economy - between Subculture and Club Culture introduces a number of theoretical accounts of cultural industries and analyses the significance of culture as an 'economic factor' in the contemporary city. The chapter further develops the analysis of global-local relations, relating this specifically to cultural production and consumption. It uses a number of case studies to illustrate these themes and seeks to analyse possible explanations for the emergence of particular cities as key centres of creativity in cultural production. Referring to subcultures the chapter discusses origins of graffiti, its issues, how public authorities should deal with them and questions the possibility of legalising graffiti as a public form of art.
Music and the City introduces the role of music and musical production in city life. In a theoretical strand, music is portrayed as an influence on character, social structure and action. There have, however, been few attempts to define this power empirically and to provide theoretically grounded accounts of music's structuring properties and city regeneration, identity and high as well as nightlife culture. Combining lessons learned from cities with a strong musical history such as Chicago or New York with psychological and sociological concepts, this module highlights music's active role in the construction of personal, social and city life. It underscores the aesthetic dimensions of social order.
Sport-events, Cultural Policy and Urban Regeneration examines the strengths and weaknesses of policy-makers' attempts to use cultural policy as a facet of urban regeneration. Using a number of case study cities, ranging from Essen to Bilbao, the module evaluates both the potential and the limitations of urban cultural policy. Central to this analysis is the impact of cultural policy in relation to economic competitiveness, urban social relations and the character of the built environment. In many cities where the traditional economic activities have declined, authorities have invested in tourism as a means of boosting the image of their city, revitalising and physically regenerating it and creating new jobs. The chapter describes and interprets this process and assesses the impact of urban tourism on general regeneration concepts. References to sporting events will focus on the benefits of major sporting events in terms of economics, town planning and look at the bidding process. Finally, sport-based regeneration strategies as a means of enhancing the city's image as a tourist destination are discussed.
The Student Project aimed to gain a deeper insight into a broad variety of cultural influences and strategies alongside general inner city renewal strategies in a very specific and clearly defined location. Small groups of students were asked to begin a thorough analysis of inner city renewal attempts by the authorities of Sheffield, using information gained from other case studies around Europe and come up with new and innovative approaches to combine culture and city development strategies.
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Globalisation, Culture and the City.
Cultural progress under the primacy of liberalism.
It seems paradoxical. Culture constitutes the driving movement of a progressively increasing degree of civilisation. Cultural breakthroughs have continually generated achievements in civilisation in ever- broader strata (Williams 1958). Despite today's general recognition of culture as the foundation of our present welfare state, cultural novelties are regularly impaired from freely unfolding for dubious reasons - even in countries with liberal basic principles (Bernardi 1977, Beals 1979). Through the lobbying for selected promotion-worthy cultural trends, which thus attain protectionist care, innovative cultural development trends are neglected and often actively or passively undermined. A just openness in the socially institutionalised system is frequently undetectable, though desirable when considering culture as a force in the progress of civilisation.
This paper investigates the above-mentioned phenomenon by analysing institutional barriers. The objective of this paper is to identify a regulatory framework which could be described as 'open and just' and which allows for free cultural development. Three theoretically founded argumentation clusters can be identified which present barriers to cultural unfolding: - the cluster of the 'contextualists' manipulates cultural unfolding by deriving arguments from factual or material customs and traditions, o the cluster of the 'scepticists' manipulates cultural unfolding by deriving arguments out of their doubts about a correct knowledge and the generally limited possibility of cognisance, o the cluster of the 'preferencists' manipulates cultural unfolding by placing reference on their own subjective attitudes.
If a reproach against these three specified barriers is made, it should be the assignment of the pragmatically inclined scientist to find an alternative model that serves as a point of reference for optimising the status quo. In this matter, this paper's topic is less about unlimited freedom, but in the first place about the possibility for an open and just unfolding for all cultural trends. For that purpose, the question will be answered as to when cultural development meets the requirements of the principles of justice. These principles apply as basic orientation norms for assessment measures to open and just cultural development. To see if this problem is solved we can refer to the regulative model which finds its foundation in discursive reasoning and in the ideas of freedom, 'human dignity', respect and impartiality.
2. Culture as creative source for civil development
'Creation' is the central cause for cultural thinking, interpreting, and acting. These terms imply circumstances of social tensions. On the one hand stands psychological and physical human volition to design, shape, and organise. This characterises and makes possible individual development and general development of civilisation and history. On the other hand, stands human compulsion to design, shape, and organise.
Culture means dynamic change of material and social circumstances (Schweitzer 1923), a permanent practical negotiation process about regulations and forms of human co-existence (Elias 1939). Culture is creative shaping (Durant 1954), and creative destruction (Schumpeter 1942). In public discussions, the terms creation and culture are generally positively associated and count as sources of the civilisation progress. They direct against the mere transformation of technocrats' concepts. However, historically speaking, human cultural performance cannot per se be designated as 'good', 'promotion worthy', or 'socially valuable'. A thoroughly differentiated reflection about the cultural contribution to the development of civilisation exists. Complementary to this progressive belief, optimists see cultural development and creative acting as the continuous improvement of our living standards and our ever-growing participation in cultural achievements. In more recent times, criticism has aimed mainly at the de-humanisation of social structures, degeneration of meanings and values in life, unbalanced orientation towards consumption and self-centred living standards (Spengler 1963, Freud 1927).
The genesis of our consciousness, our ability for self-reflection, as well as the free development of our intellect are essential results of cultural development history and have significantly contributed to our progressive civilisation. Consequently, the term 'freedom' can be added next to the term 'cultural unfolding'. Freedom arises out of an awareness of possessing the possibility to create, without deriving any necessity to use this freely available possibility. Thus, cultural freedom requires an emancipation of possibilities and conditions to act creatively. Cultural freedom requires a granting, guaranteeing, supporting of freethinking, interpreting and acting to individuals and society.
With all this, the basic idea of an open and just cultural development as a source of our civilisation progress is postulated through the individual's autonomy - an autonomy that is very aware of its absoluteness as well as its boundaries in relation to the same autonomy of others.
3. Institutional barriers to cultural change
It is the human being's shortcoming that he has to shape his environment as a cultural creature. In the course of evolution, his adaptability to the natural environment has progressively dwindled while his cultivating abilities increased (Haeckel 1892). This refining behaviour lets him reify typical forms of living - including intellectual activities - in structured societal institutions. These shall serve him as a regulating framework, support, and occasionally Procrustean bed. With the institutions he has created are structures of values and objectives, which vice versa have an influence on individuals and the society in the present and over generations (Durkheim 1895). The paradox of the human being consists in his partially undetermined biological nature, which compels him to create a culture. Nevertheless, at the very moment this culture comes into being, it instantly reacts. A differentiation and selection process begins. Some cultural developments and values are rated higher, others lower. Some will offer further cultural development opportunities. Others are opportunities taken away. There is no anthropogenically democratic cultural structure 'according to equal rights' in this world. Each culture endeavours for the 'right' forming and perfection of the human being and society, but not necessarily corresponding to his respective condition. Rather they refer to 'right' thought inventions and decisions out of their repertoire of prevailing arbitrary measures (Lem 1987). The ideal-typical argumentation clusters that limit 'open and just' cultural unfolding can be identified within the above-depicted circumstances. They all can be found in regulations of interpersonal relations (norms, contracts, institutions), have homoeostatic tendencies, and have to be designated as 'unjust' due to their lacking universality. Needless to say, the clusters introduced are ideally stylised and can occur partially in combination with each other.
The first category's argumentation refers to its respective cultural context, in which the arguing persons are situated. They derive their arguments of justice for selective cultural promotion and suppression out of the historically evolved forms of factual and material customs and traditions. Therefore, I want to label this category - following Bar-Hillel (1970) - contextualism and its exponent's contextualists. Their historic reasoning of justice goes back to Aristotle and Roman antiquity. Aristotele (1969) refers in his reasoning for his 'way to blessedness' (eudaimonia) to empirical reality and derives the possibilities of cultural unfolding from given historical conditions. The ancient Romans oriented themselves to the 'customs of their fathers' (mores maiorum) and historical models (exempla). The great personalities of the past served as a general orientation and were declared heroes (Roth 2006). Even today, this concept of justice can still actually be identified in our attitudes, for example in our aspiration towards conformity or in statements like "this has always been done like this."
Cultural development contextualists perceive those forms as right and just, which can be derived from existing proven cultural standards and as valued cultural traditions of a society. Hence, the rightness of liberal principles for cultural unfolding are partially or eventually even totally rejected. The future framework for cultural development is thus exclusively backwards oriented. The foundation of the contextualists' argumentation is located in the past. Nevertheless, the question arises, why cultural developments of the past should determine those of the future. Which is the relevant institution to decide the relevant tradition, the relevant guide for evaluations? Moreover, why these and no different? Who decides again on these questions? A simple majority of a village, town, county, or country? Better a qualified majority? Is it an expert committee? A cultural board? Intellectuals? These questions must end in an infinite regress, can not be answered by the contextualists without dogmatism, and are not universally valid. Likewise religious (metaphysical) ideas have to be classified in the contextualist cluster, as their argumentation can always be traced back to the basic statement "Just is, what god commands!"
At least since Kant we know that god is a question of faith and neither verifiable nor refutable. Hence, his will can not be interpreted and can not be of any cognisant character (Kant 1922). The religious contextualist, too, does not deliver an insightful and freely verifiable foundation for argumentation. At its core, the whole foundation of contextualism does not present a strong basis for a just cultural development. It denies, in cultural self-realisation and unfolding, fundamental ideas of freedom such as human dignity, mutual respect, and impartiality. Contextualism possesses no closer concretised, universal concept of justice, and does not deliver any reasonable argument for its considerations. The conclusion from an actually prevailing culture to their rightness is subject to the naturalistic fallacy.
The second category derives its argument for the manipulation of a free cultural development less from the reason of an own position (e.g. the systematic development of a constitutional regulative framework of justice), but rather from a general critical doubt about the possibility of objectively 'right' cognisance and conclusive unambiguous declarations. This position is called 'scepticism' and its proponents 'scepticists'. No constructive concepts or even judgments about open and just cultural development can be expected of 'scepticists', but a permanent destructive doubt about the arguments of others. 'Scepticists' are characterised by their will to refute cognisance and their production and usage of fallacies in discourse. Due to the inherent subjectivity of thinking, they distrust any sensory perception. Their position, too, can be traced back in history to the pre-Socratics and Sophists. Following Heraklit in his argumentation, Kratylos does not only deny the possibility of right cognisance, but even of any communication, because speaker, listener, and words are in constant flux. The 'scepticist' abstains from judgments, arguing that 'non-decidable' disputes with contradicting opinions and assertions hamper the highest life ideal (ataraxie). Hence, in incompatible positions one is assessed 'not more true' than the other (Pyrrhon of Elis).
A modern 'scepticistical' variant is that with utilitarian characteristics. This variant considers a weighing between the (usually unquestionable) singular factual preferences of people for the rationally possible. However, the substance of this individual empirical evidence is thereafter considered as insufficient for general statements about universally valid evidence. For 'scepticists' any efforts in conceptualising a just regulative framework for cultural development are condemned to failure. They hold as unthinkable a universally valid reasoning for the norms of justice about cultural development and justify their position with the limited capability of the human cognitive ability. They perceive cultural unfolding as one arbitrary, merely subjective ideology amongst many others. They might perhaps like cultural development, but hold principles of justice for cultural development as impossible and, hence, not universalisable. To them, cultural development is a matter of opinion. Contextualists act without considering a possible solution. They literally prevent the construction of a universally valid concept of cultural justice. Consequently, 'scepticists' do not deliver a reasoned foundation for a universal concept. Scepticism does not even trouble itself with the generation of an own concept, but buries itself in destructive negation. Through their matter-of- opinion attitude the 'scepticists' strip their discourse partners of their carefully reasoned basis. Further, in its disillusion with the human cognitive capability the 'scepticists' position makes us weak against authoritarian and totalitarian attitudes, which even proponents of scepticism like Rorty (1979) condemn.
The third category is defined through its subjective preference for particular cultural trends. In this cluster the preferences of individuals, of few or many people (depending on election constellation) determine the scope of the cultural unfolding area - but sub-optimally to the Pareto criterion. The regulative framework can be defined in a wide variety, but does not exhaust the discursively identifiable optimal area for cultural acting. Its borders can be determined rigidly or flexibly, but can never be reasoned with liberal, or ethical arguments, but only with subjective ones.
Within a determined frame, the culturally interested individual is allowed to move freely; but when he trespasses the boundaries in his unfolding, he leaves the normed cultural action area and violates the declared rules. This will most often be 'sanctioned' as 'violation of public interests.' Intentional negotiations, which could lead to rational decisions about the openness of the cultural action area, are either manipulated or torpedoed to the disadvantage of the subjectively disliked alternative. In its simplest expression, the biased decisions follow an individual, in other words the objectively arbitrary logic of the preference of an alternative X to another alternative Y or their possible benefitleveraging combination. Due to the subjective moment in the decision-making or negotiation process, an equally just weighing of all parties' interest constellations and consequences is left aside. In this model, the decider's personal subjective preference succeeds as opposed to the better argument. The decider proves himself as unresponsive to the explained (or only implicit) argued position of his counterpart, whom he determines the cultural area of action for. He is incapable of developing a holistic understanding of the problem. The result derives out of the relative asymmetric apportioning of power. Power can be based on an institutionalised position (e.g. mayor, senator for cultural affairs, expert board) or a manipulated majority in a ballot. When determining an area of cultural development action without public voting, only an individual or institutional internal discussion of the general problem is undertaken.
A systematic analysis of all existing or theoretically possible arguments and a weighing of alternative action relations are carried out to a very limited degree or are totally left aside. The argumentation about one's own preferred alternative and other alternatives is exercised in a privileged construction 'pro' the own alternative. For this a disguising rhetoric, a manipulation of the problem area, and a reduction of alternative diversity are exploited. The final decision is executed in a willfully subjective manner, without any truthful multi-polar recourse to others' interest situations. Officially, the limiting determination of the non-intentional value ranking is justified as an ethical a priori act for the higher desirability of the own over other alternatives (Schwarz 1900, Scheler 1913).
Authorising power to this procedure is mostly justified with a 'democratic legitimating' of the institution. When determining the area of cultural development action with collective voting, an aggregation of group or societal-individual preferences to collective preferences is carried out. In this kind of decision finding the problems and paradoxes of election procedures like (a) manipulation of voters' preferences and (b) manipulation of voting procedures respectively are intentionally exploited (Borda 1781, Condorcet 1785) for one's own individual preference. Manipulation of voters' preferences can be exercised by direct information politics (enhancing or leaving out of relevant information), invoking emotions (anxiety, hope), election promises, buying votes, menacing, stating falsified preferences, among other options. With choice procedures, experienced practitioners manipulate the co-ordination sequence, the type of weighting, the formulation of choice alternatives, their combinations etc. and exploit Arrow's impossibility theorem (Arrow 1951, Leininger 2004). In this cluster, too, we cannot speak of a just openness of the institutionalised system for a liberal progress of all cultural development trends. A freely scrutinisable argumentation basis does not exist; it differs from situation to situation and, hence, cannot be universalised to a general consistent concept of justice. The biased preference does not deliver a reasoned argumentation basis for its consideration of justice.
4. When is cultural development just?
If we now can accept that cultural development represents the driving moment of the progress of civilisation, and if we have identified institutional barriers to a just and open cultural unfolding, we must in the next step evaluate the rightness of the liberal principle to open cultural unfolding. The problem of the question of justice lies in its translation of ethically derived guiding principles into a practical design for our everyday living and acting. To us, this means the clarification of generally just, universal, objectively understandable norms, which guarantee to all cultural development trends their possibility for optimal self-unfolding. Further, this means thinking about how the norms can be applied in our social reality and where their boundaries arise.
The first question arising from this focuses on the problem of a moral basis for the right of everybody. A second question that arises deals with the generality of just regulations and institutions, and their superiority over individual considerations in specific situations according to moral norms. Objectively, the principle of justice counts as a measurement for the norms of action. The current discussion about justice is coined by two different positions: the Kantian and the utilitarian. Kant points at human dignity, which is part of the human being as a rational creature and concedes to him his claim on liberty in the 'outer relationship of people to each other.' The acceptance of liberty for anyone, which is anyone's liberty of arbitrariness "to search his bliss on the way he thinks is best" (Kant 1968: 290), as well as the liberty of will "to be one's own law" (Kant ibid.), is explicated as a principle of justice in the determination of the term right: "Right is [...] the epitome of conditions, under which the arbitrariness of the one can be united with the arbitrariness of another according to a general law of liberty" (Kant 1968: 230). The rational equality of individuals is consequently not determined by an independent reason of its own - as it was with Aristotle's 'bliss' - but ensues from the will to a statutory generality. All individuals are equal in their right to liberty and reasonable self-determination in their acting and living. The protection of this right, liberty, can only be desired if it is understood as a self-set general law. The individual liberty to arbitrariness is thus reasoned as a right, and at the same time - due to its suitability as a general legal regulation - limiting (Kant 1968).
The Kantian principle of justice seems to be inadequate for the utilitarian position and its proponents in determining single rights. According to their view, it has to be searched for in material reasons to determine these. So, one needs the knowledge about ways of action which are wished to be exercised, as well as the knowledge about possibilities of how the ways of action can be exercised agreeably. Utilitarianism attempts - opposing Kant's position - to establish a direct assessment possibility for the individually developed will. That means utilitarianism does not take this individual will unjudged first and judged about its agreeableness with the will of others in a second step (as Kant does). Nevertheless, its elaborated utility theories do not lead to the acknowledgement of an others' right to realise their own will. Consequently, attempts by utilitarianists do not reach the degree of generality that Kant postulates as a general acceptance of human dignity and human liberty. Utilitarianism fails in setting a principle of universal justice because its explanatory statements have to be relativised to single needs and types of situations. Thus, they apply only conditionally, and have this reason to be differentiated from absolute (categorical) postulations.
The most influencing theoretical attempt for a reasoned justice model in recent times goes back to Rawls (1971). He unites Kant's formal principle of justice with the utilitarian determination of 'right' out of individual considerations. In doing so, Rawls generates two basic principles:
- The super-ordinated first principle ties to Kant and acknowledges to anyone the same right to the broadest possible system of fundamental freedom, which is compatible with the corresponding system of freedom for all.
- The sub-ordinated second principle incorporates the utilitarian position into Kant's conception of justice and demands for inequalities to furnish proof that these deliver the least beneficiary the biggest advantage.
The problem with this theory of justice is especially the identification of the biggest advantage and the least beneficiary.
Consequently, 'justice' means the normative rightness of a basic order of a society, and respectively the singular decisions in it. It means the rightness of specific kinds of value statements. Analogously, 'truth' says something about factually existing circumstances. Moreover, 'reason' means our ability to decide about questions with rational arguments. Normative reason is the ability to decide about the rightness of general orders, norms, regulations, institutions, etc. and their weighing among each other with rational arguments. A cultural norm is then just, exactly when reason interprets the norm right. Hereby, normative and instrumental reasons are distinguished from each other. Instrumental reason only searches for effective methods of realisation and does not scrutinise objectives any further. In addition, the normative and theoretical reasons of, for example, a natural scientist, hereby distinguish themselves from each other. With this, normative justice establishes the abstract source from which the justice of societal orders, regulations, institutions and decisions can be judged.
5. Institutionalising normative cultural justice
If we now proceed to the transformation of 'the just', we leave the area of the normative and get to the area of instrumental reason. This deals with the effectiveness of specific means. Effectiveness is the degree of appropriateness of means regarding an assumed-as-correct objective, as in our concern for the optimal open and just regulative framework for cultural unfolding. Here belongs the question, to what extent are arts centres, museums, culture committees, support/non-support of specific cultural projects, public opinion polls - in short institutions, organisations, guidelines, laws and rules - suitable for a possible objective like open and just unfolding. This is an instrumental rational question and it is a question that is accessible with empirical factual proof. Efficiency puts the effort for an objective into the terms of its own results, for example how many cultural novelties have resulted out of the implementation of a commission for culture. Above instrumental reason, the degree of openness is justified, and the degree of freedom of the system for cultural development is determined.
Instrumental justice can only be created when applying the universalistic principle of justice to free discourse and using rational reason. Reason is neither contextualistically or subjectively preferentially aligned. The 'use of rational reason' means the methodological-discursive argumentation with open and generally understandable reasons, weighing of different alternatives in order to lead them to an optimal solution concept - the open and just system for cultural unfolding possibilities.
The institutionalised discourse framework has to be open to anyone for participation in the argumentation as well as for controlling the course of argumentation whether it is perceived as just or not. It is just exactly when all discourse-interested parties can freely and easily agree on it. Each of the discourse partners has to be respected as equal and granted an equal right to participate in the discourse. The principle of mutual respect accounts especially for the autonomous individual; the idea of autonomy thus becomes obligatory. Through the necessity for rational reason in the discourse and the obligation to rational arguments, the human being with his justified interest in cultural self-unfolding and self-realisation shifts toward the centre of consideration. In the discourse, evolving arguments have to be weighed in an open and just framework. The criterion for weighing assessments is neither the quantity of arguments, the societal position of the arguing discourse partner, nor his potential or actual power, but only the rational quality of the respective arguments and their fair weighting in a generally agreeable assessment process. The individual and collective cultural unfolding freedom serves as orienting the normative assessment criterion. For the deployment of reason, the freedom of all argumentation partners is obligatory.
The arguments in institutionalised open discourse can be of realistic or hypothetical character, but all need an understandable rational reason. Through this linking construction of (a) in real presence stated and (b) hypothetically possible arguments, the equal right of those parties not represented in the discourse is protected. Thereby, the above addressed 'freedom of all argumentation partners' meets the idea of mutual respect and impartiality of anyone's realistic or hypothetical argumentation position. Each argument either present or theoretical has - due to the human dignity of anyone and his reasoned individual interest - to be equally discussed and to be fairly considered in the decisionmaking process according to the arguments' relevance.
A determining institutionalisation of the discourse framework must be arranged as openly as possible, so it is not subjected to a permanent revision. It must also remain open for newly evolving interests, which were or could not be considered in the past, but which have, however, a justified claim of consideration. The institutionalising must be appropriate to cope fairly with an arguments' quality. A mere quantitative majority or power voting treats well-reasoned interest positions of minorities or weaker groups unfairly. Under the capability for fair consideration of multi-polar interest situations, this institutionalised reconstructive procedure compellingly requires the three principles of reason: respect for everyone, human dignity of everyone, and impartiality.
Four fundamental requirements have to be addressed by the argumentation, which have to be compellingly met (Habermas 1971):
- requirement for truthfulness of the arguing
- requirement for correctness of the norm/institution
- requirement for truth of the arguments
- ... and most important to the points (1) to (3)... requirement for comprehensibility for everyone
The primacy of the truthfulness requirement demands of all arguing parties an accordance of their talking and acting with their attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts, even if these are based on misinterpretations. It stands synonymously for sincerity, honesty, and probity of all discourse parties. The primacy of the correctness requirement presupposes the error-free correctness and indisputability of the set norms and institutions. The primacy of truth requirement is directed at the reality of arguments, which "with the material conditions of the experience (the feeling)" (Kant 1781: 248) can be determined from the fact of proof. It stands in contrast to falseness and lies. An argument is then considered as true if it actually corresponds to the existing circumstances. The primacy of the requirement for comprehensibility demands as a measure the mental accessibility for everyone to the stated arguments in each case and the argumentation linkages. It aims at the obviousness and clarity of the discourse argumentation. If all parties with an entitled interest in the discursive argumentation can agree to the legitimacy of these four premises, an objectively reasoned and universally just consensual search for the possible cultural unfolding 'framework' can be exercised. Strategic acting and pre-suppositions are hereby eliminated.
The discourse itself is about the systematic determination of a liberal system of individual and collective cultural development possibilities. Cultural development is aspired to in a Pareto-optimal maximum and reasoned by the normatively deduced premise of cultural development's contribution to the progress of civilisation. Thus, a maximum of cultural action and unfolding is opened to each individual societal participant. This must be practically exhaustible fully, but does not need to due to its mere existence. The unity of this possibility of arising individual and collectivistic potential is the crucial criterion of reason for the Pareto-optimal maximum. Even if practically not exhausting the opened scope over a longer period, this does not deliver an argumentative reason for a later reduction of the maximum, since that reduction could only be founded with contextualistical, sceptical, or preferential arguments and would thus be unjust. Systematic limitations exclusively take place via the discursive collection, consideration, and evaluation of arguments, which speak against a most extensive liberty of individual cultural development, due to an impairment of the justified, objectively comprehensible interest situations of others. These must, however, be able to be evaluated as relevant and important in a holistic relationship set.
Due to the permanent process of cultural thinking, interpreting, and acting, regular new reasons for an alteration-worthy arrangement of the originally specified cultural unfolding framework arise. The regulative system must therefore be set as open as possible for newly evolving cultural interests. Thus, new rights do not have to be fought out in short-term intervals. Instead, the system must enable and promote individual and collective thinking, interpreting, and acting respectively by granting and guaranteeing it in a broadly defined array.
Finally, I have one more remark: the interpretation of the constitution or a law by a court or another institution must not necessarily meet contentwise the constitution or law. The respective interpretation can be partly or totally wrong. Therefore, if one argues about the just extent of the cultural development framework or about a certain interpretation, court decisions or majority opinions may be always an interesting starting point - they do not, however, represent a correct criterion in the above genuine sense!
6. Conclusion: Liberalism as an optimal progress for cultural development
With this necessarily and consequently consciously very openly held description and determination of the institutionalising of cultural justice, I take on the one hand the dynamics of cultural development in its indeterminateness into account, and, on the other hand, maintain the universal claim of the concept. Hence, it can find its respective application only as an orienting and not as a determining tool to individual situations. Any attempt by me at a static determination would again find its only reason in contextualistical or subjective-preferential arguments. If I had done so, I would have acted inconsequently and offended the derived principle of justice, in which the discursive striving for the best argument in a specific situation is decisive. I would have contradicted the requirement of the socially normative autonomy idea.
For those acquainted with the regulative-liberal principle it quickly becomes obvious: the model of justice described here is that of democracy - here in its application to open and just cultural development. Such an elaborated discursive derivation to an open and just cultural development seem especially appropriate to me, as over and over again - even in our liberally constituted regulative framework - we can detect more or less intensive tendencies into contextualistic, 'scepticistic' or subjectively-preferential directions.
Democracy is the instrument of liberalism. Liberalism elevates the autonomous individual to the central defines of culture. Universally, liberalism aims at human dignity, mutual respect, and impartiality for the autonomous individual on his individually set route to self-realisation. According to its central theme "Sapere aude! Have the courage to use your own reason!" (Kant 1784: 481), liberalism challenges the human being's ability to 'free' oneself decisively and courageous. This also implies liberation from cultural constraints. The individual is called upon for the development of his autonomy and liberalism helps this endeavour by offering the necessary tools and space.
It is obvious that due to our latent egoism many conflicts will not actually be solved very voluntarily and just. Therefore, we necessarily depend on a supporting instrument. Liberalism introduces with the democratic model a fairly justified instrument to argue about normative and institutional questions with objective reasons and - despite multi-polar interest constellations - to agree on Pareto-optimal conflict solutions. Democracy allows as the only instrument the determination of a universally just extent of individual cultural development possibilities, without the unfounded impairment of general liberty and the cultural rights of others. It always determines exactly that institutional order, which puts the universalistic basic principles into best practice. Institutions are sketched exactly where they are needed and created exactly how they are needed, to serve cultural liberty in the best possible way. The process of democracy must not worry about institutionalisation. The democratic process and a democratically justified institutionalising prevent us from further decision-making in back rooms. Since institutions have to serve cultural liberty it can occasionally step back when cultural liberty can be better carried out in a different fashion. It has to conduce to the social determination of culture as an open and flexible web of meaning (Geertz 1973) and to permit the co-existence of different cultural development trends. It is subject to the constant process of practical negotiating about degrees of cultural unfolding. With democracy as its instrument, liberalism generates consequently the liberty-concretising principle of justice as an optimal driver of just cultural development and therefore civilisation progress.
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Postmodernism and popular culture.
Definition, Representation and Conditions
Postmodernism has attracted increasing interest and attention today. Two major journals of the social and cultural sciences, Theory, Culture and Society, and Screen, have devoted special issues to postmodernism, while arts programmes have considered major themes raised by the debate or looked at specific areas, such as architecture. Indeed, in the United Kingdom postmodernism is now a term commonly used about contemporary architecture. The universal cognizance of postmodernism is a social and cultural trend of thought, which includes postmodernist art, sociology and philosophy. Certainly, there are some different arguments as to what is postmodernism - namely whether it can be identified in contemporary popular culture, what the reasons are advanced for its emergence, and what critique can be developed of its arguments.
This essay intends to show some of the main arguments to consider in the postmodernist analysis of contemporary popular culture.
Postmodernism is a complicated term, a set of ideas hard to define because it is a concept that appears in a wide variety of disciplines and areas of study, including art, architecture, music, film, literature, sociology, communication, fashion and technology. It is hard to locate temporally or historically, because it is far from clear exactly when postmodernism begins.
From a general perspective, there are two different approaches to understanding the postmodernist phenomenon, which I shall outline.
One view considers postmodernism to be a trend of thought in western culture, dating back to the 1950s and broadly speaking in opposition to traditional philosophy. They animadverted on a diverse range of neoteric philosophies and thus achieved a transformation from modernism to postmodernism.
Another view considers that this post-philosophism is a trend of thought from the 1960s, which characteristically is opposed to the neoteric and modern system of western philosophy. In Europe, the philosophers representing this approach include Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, poststructuralists who attempted to negate the basic conception of the completely western traditional systematic philosophy from animadverting on some basic conceptions of pre-structuralism. In America, the philosophers included W. V. Quine and Richard Rorty who attempted to exceed and animadvert on neoteric and modern western philosophy by reconstructing pragmatism. They negated not only the western philosophical tradition of Descartes but also the modern philosophy of Nietzsche. The symbol of this construction of postmodernism is thus the post-structuralism and the new pragmatism, which are both rooted in 1960s.
There are some phenomena that are seen in everyday life and to a certain extent take on crosssectional postmodernism. For example, we watch more films; we pay more attention to the surface and style. The uniqueness, the artistic aura, of a work of art such as the Mona Lisa is destroyed by the infinite reproducibility through silk-screen printing techniques. Rapid international flows of capital, money, information and culture disrupt the linear certainties of time, and the established
distances of geographical space. According to these phenomena, the authors sum up and enumerate five main arguments, which can define postmodernism through its various elements:
- Firstly, the argument is that postmodernism describes the emergence of a society in which the mass media and popular culture are the most important and powerful institutions and control and shape all other types of social relationships. Popular culture signs and media images increasingly dominate our sense of reality, and the way we define ourselves and the world around us. Postmodern theory is an attempt to understand a media-saturated society.
- Secondly, the argument is that we increasingly consume images and signs for their own sake rather than for their 'usefulness' or for the deeper values they may represent. Images and signs are consumed precisely because they are images and signs, regardless of questions of utility and value (Strinati 2004). As David Harvey puts it: "images dominate narrative" (Harvey 1989).
- If popular cultural signs and media images are taking over in defining our sense of reality for us, and if this means that style takes precedence over content, then the third point is that it becomes more difficult to maintain a meaningful distinction between art and popular culture. Therefore, the breakdown of the distinction between art and popular culture, as well as crossovers between the two, becomes more prevalent.
- The fourth point argues that with the present and future expansions, constrictions and concentrations of time and space have led to increasing confusion and incoherence in social senses of space and time, in our maps of the places where we live, and our ideas about the times by which we organise our lives (Strinati 2004).
- Finally, the loss of a sense of history as a continuous, linear narrative, a clear sequence of events, is indicative of the argument that metanarratives are in decline in the postmodern world. Metanarratives are ideas such as religion, science, art, modernism and Marxism, which make absolute, universal and all-embracing claims to knowledge and truth. Postmodern theory is highly sceptical about these metanarratives, and argues that they are disintegrating, losing their validity, legitimacy and increasingly prone to criticism.
I shall employ two examples, Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and Iain Sinclair's Downriver, to relate the postmodern definitions to the representation of the urban environment.
The Satanic Verses describes London in mythical terms, with the queen, cricket and warm beer all standing metonymically for England itself - for Saladin's understanding is based upon the "stories he has been told" about England. It also offers a range of perspectives on the urban environment and multiple viewpoints both in terms of different characters, but within the same character. The Satanic Verses employs multiple and unstable characters, and imaginary and intertextual cities to represent the nature and the experience of being in the postmodern city. This nature, which is the decline of metanarrative, might be the reason why it is banned in the Middle East - because they deconstruct such grand narratives (Bentley).
As in The Satanic Verses, there are real and imaginary representations of the city in Sinclair's text and London is never simply an objective location. In Downriver, the textuality of the city is foregrounded, a process which inevitability leads to the questioning of the representations of the urban experience, and the nature of any "reality" of the city. The narrator, who is provocatively called Iain Sinclair, is a complex construct that both is and is not the author of the text, and it is through this complex narrator that we read the city. Downriver represents the fragmented nature of London - there are different worlds within the city, which are at times presented realistically, but at times as fantasy, "Mother London herself was splitting into segments, the overlicked shell of a chocolate tortoise" (Bentley).
The modernism in architecture insists that building and design have to be created anew according to rational and scientific principles. Functional, efficient, high-rise, streamlined, glass and concrete structures, and a disregard for the past and its context, have all become its trademark (Strinati, 2004). However, postmodernism in architecture rejects this metanarrative. Postmodernism turns buildings into celebration of style and surface, for example, Las Vegas has been seen as an exemplar of and inspiration for postmodern architecture (Venturi et al. 1977).
As Jameson affirmed, postmodern architecture is usually willing to embed some idiosyncratic structure, such as commercial advertising, motel and the snack stop of an American city's freeway. Moreover, it implication and echo of its form (historicism) increasingly enhances the communication between these new buildings and circumambient commercial idol and space, thereout, rejects the high modernism which claims unconventional or unorthodox (Fredric Jameson).
Its substance might be how to distinguish a modality of the new commercial culture from these architectures, started from advertising, expand a variety of forms stage by stage, for example, television, the cinema, music and other artistic production.
One of the examples in television is Miami Vice, which heavily rely upon style and surface, and its visual "sense" and striking imagery pointed to the overall look and ambience, which the series managed to capture. Like another realistic police series Hill Street Blues (1981-1989), the designer clothes worn by its detective heroes, and the imaginative day- and night-time images of Miami (Strinati 2004) enhanced it.
Postmodern theory clearly holds what it considers important arguments about visual phenomena, and the most obvious films in which to look for signs of postmodernism are those, which emphasize style, spectacle, special effects and images, at the expense of content, character, substance, narrative and social comment (Strinati 2004).
One good example is the Indiana Jones, adventure trilogy, produced by Steven Spielberg and his associates and these films display elements of postmodernism. It is not only because of their style but because their major points of reference and the sources they most frequently invoke are earlier forms of popular culture. These films appear to stress spectacle and action through their use of sophisticated techniques and relentless pursuit sequences, rather than the complexities and nuances of clever plot and character development. Another particularly rich example is the Silence of the lambs, a contemporary horror series, which provided an extraordinary example of metaphorically postmodern cinema, not least because it literally concerns the fragmentation of the body.
There is no doubt that there are three central conceptions of postmodernism: as a style of artmaking that rejects the principles of modernism; as a set of philosophical tenets rooted in poststructuralism; and as a widespread cultural transformation, manifest in every dimension of contemporary life.
The good examples of popular music that can be argued to be postmodernist include the electric successors of pop and rock-'n'-roll, reggae, rap, house, hip-hop and techno. It is also necessary to include in this category the so-called 'art rock' musical innovations and mixing of styles associated with groups and performers such as Laurie Anderson and the Pet Shop Boys. They are concerned with collage, pastiche and quotation, with the mixing of styles which remain musically and historically distinct, with the random and selective pasting together of different music and styles, with rejection of divisions between serious and fun or pop music, and with the attack on the idea of rock as a serious artistic music which merits the high culture accolade of the respectful concert (Strinati 2004).
Therefore, in the postmodern society, the emergence and expansion of the cultural industry have destroyed the delineation that could traditionally serve to differentiate art from popular culture. Not only are commercial modalities all over culture (including art, aesthetics), but also art, aesthetic theories and cultural theories have themselves become a product of everyday life, and thus engrained in a popular style. The emergence of a prominent postmodern culture reflects a new reality that is the expansion of the modern social cultural industry - culture popularised, and culture in the service of the commercial. As such, in postmodernism, there is no distinction between 'elegance' and 'earthiness'; there is no distinction between culture and life; and there is no distinction between culture and product.
4. Social and historical conditions 4.1. Consumerism and media-saturation
As Jameson said, postmodern society is the dialectic variation of the capitalistic system, which has existed for a long time - it is the third phase of capitalism. The key issue is about how the scale and the effects of consumerism and media-saturation have been vital aspects of the modern development of industrial, capitalist societies.
During the twentieth century, economic needs of capitalism have shifted from production to consumption. This suggests that the major need of capitalist societies was to establish their conditions of production. It means the consumption had to be sacrificed to the needs of production. Hence, the growth of consumer credit, the expansion of agencies such as advertising, marketing, design and public relations, encourages people to consume, and with it, one witnesses the emergence of a postmodernist popular culture, which celebrates consumerism, hedonism and style. In this process, mass media obviously become more significant. The world, it is argued, will consist more and more of media and popular culture images - through TVs, videos, computers, computer games personal stereos, adverts, theme parks shopping malls, 'fictitious capital' or credits - which are part and parcel of the trends towards a postmodern popular culture (Strinati 2004).
4.2 New middle-class occupations
According to the above point of view, the increasing importance of consumption and the media in modern societies has given rise to new occupations (or changed the role and character of older ones) entailed by the need to encourage people to consume, more frequently, a greater number and variety of commodities (Strinati 2004). These new occupations such as advertising, marketing, design, architecture, journalism and television production, as well as others such as accountancy and finance associated with increased consumer credit - and those such as social work, therapy, and teaching, associated with the definition and selling of notions psychological and personal fulfilment and growth - are said to be among the most important in determining the taste patterns for the rest of the society.
4.3 The erosion of identity
Through economic globalisation, with the tendency for investment, marketing and production to take place on an international basis and beyond the national stage and the bounds of local communication, some traditional sources of identity, such as social class, religion, trade unions and the 'neighbourhood', are said to be in decline. Indeed, this is seen as an important reason for the gradual erosion of these traditional sources of identities. In their place, there are no new institutions or belief sets that arise to give people a secure and coherent sense of themselves, the times in which they do not live nor their place in society - the demands of consumerism are not thought to offer a satisfactory and worthwhile alternative. Therefore, popular culture and the mass media come to serve as the only frames of reference available for the construction of collective and personal identities (Strinati 2004).
To conclude, I would like to outline my own perspective on postmodernism and popular culture. The history that popular culture criticized is mainly history of itself; however, rewriting of this history is the scientific result of postmodernism. Considering its philosophical basis, its aesthetic tendency, and its quest for art, its attitude to culture, there is no doubt that postmodernism is a theory of popular culture.
If postmodernity is the naming of the time in which we live, postmodernism is a movement, which has arisen in response to this naming. The term postmodernism was first used in the 1950s and 1960s to refer to a movement in architecture that was a reaction against the austere linear forms of modern architectural styles. It was soon broadened to include movements in literature, art, and a mixture of philosophy and sociology that has come to be known as critical theory. Because of the multiple applications of the term, "it is almost impossible to give a coherent definition or account of postmodernism." This should not be surprising since pluralism is perhaps the most obvious result of the postmodern condition, and deconstruction eschews all forms of ultimate meaning. The most substantial character of postmodernism is criticism. It used the thorough criticism and negative approach of thought to criticize the capitalist social system and culture.
At the most encompassing and most abstract level the terms postmodern, as per Jean-Francois Lyotard's the postmodern condition (1979), and postmodernism, as in Fredric Jameson's Postmodernism or the Culture Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), have frequently been used to refer to the new era that western society at large - and not simply western culture, either in its high-brow or its popular manifestations - has supposedly entered. In such analyses, postmodernism, or postmodernity, as theorists such as David Harvey and Philip Cooke wisely prefer to call it, may refer to both the lifestyle postmodernism and the theoretical.
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Popular Culture Theories.
The Concepts of Culture
Sangwan Sarvdeep Singh
Culture as a notion is multi-coloured and multifarious in the wealth of its meanings. Research literature on the subject reveals hundreds of different definitions. However, that is not necessarily proof of a total lack of unity, but can be seen instead as an expression of the great variety of aspects and factors, which constitute culture, or of the many approaches one can take. Thus, one can differentiate numerous aspects within the concept of culture, although these are also closely interwoven with one another. In general, they represent traditional studies and scientific disciplines:
- the philosophical aspect as defined by basic cultural philosophy,
- the theory of science and the epistemological aspect: how we comprehend culture and cultural processes,
- the anthropological aspect: cultural anthropology, cultural ecology (culture as an essential aspect of being human),
- the sociological dimension: cultural sociology (social structures as an element of culture), o the economic aspect, primarily in relation to cross-cultural comparative studies of companies,
- the political science aspect: especially development aid policies and theories on globalization as a basis for discussion of the connections between culture and development, o the semiotic-linguistic aspect: culture as a storehouse of signs for a particular group, as public representations, the linguistic reproduction of culture in discourse, o the philological aspect: literature as a primary form of cultural manifestation, o the psychological aspect: psychology which compares cultures, the cognitive representation of culture,
- the aesthetic aspect: studies of the visual arts, theatre and music (art is not to be equated with culture!),
- the historical aspect: cultural heritage, cultural history,
- the media studies aspect: media culture in the age of television, video and the Internet.
Most cultural theories, and the concepts of culture they rely on, embrace more than one of these aspects.
Key components of culture
A common way of understanding culture sees it as consisting of four elements that are 'passed on from generation to generation by learning alone': Values, Norms, Institutions and Artefacts.
Values comprise ideas about what in life seems important. They guide the rest of the culture.
Norms consist of expectations of how people will behave in various situations. Each culture has methods, called sanctions, of enforcing its norms. Sanctions vary with the importance of the norm; norms that a society enforces formally have the status of laws.
Institutions are the structures of a society within which values and norms are transmitted.
Artefacts - things, or aspects, of material culture - derive from a culture's values and norms.
2. A Brief History of the Culture Concept
Anthropology began as a specialised discipline in the 19th century within a theoretical school called evolutionism. This approach was related to the dominant Darwinist1 and, more importantly, social Darwinist paradigms of the period. Evolutionists proposed a developmental framework for recording and interpreting cultural variations around the world and understanding them in relation to contemporary Victorian standards. Culture was reduced to separable traits, which were collected by travellers, traders, missionaries and collated by 'armchair anthropologists' in much the same way, as one would collect natural specimens and fossils. Grand catalogues of these items were used to chart the stages of the human cultural development under an assumption that some traits were representative of earlier or more "primitive" historical periods. This view ultimately rested on a racial theory that these progressively arranged cultural differences were attributable to unequal genetic propensities and endowments amongst peoples.
The theses of early anthropology are evident in Edward Taylor's2 1871 work Primitive Culture, which includes the first formal definition of culture: "Culture or Civilization, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."
Although most of these prejudices about non-Western peoples are still with us, anthropologists have thoroughly repudiated the 19th century approach as an expression of racialism and ethnocentrism, the practice of interpreting and judging other cultures by the values of one's own. Franz Boas, an early 20th century anthropologist, was instrumental in this reversal of perspective and laid out the ground rules for the modern anthropological orientation of cultural relativism3. This approach rests on four major postulates, which directly confront the evolutionist position:
- Cultural aspects of human behaviour are not biologically based or conditioned but are acquired solely through learning.
- Cultural conditioning of behaviour is ultimately accomplished through habituation and thus acts through unconscious processes rather than rational deliberation, although secondary rationalizations are often offered to explain cultural values.
- All cultures are equally developed according to their own priorities and values; none is better, more advanced, or less primitive than any other is.
- Cultural traits cannot be classified or interpreted according to universal categories appropriate to "human nature". They assume meaning only within the context of coherently interrelated elements internal to the particular culture under consideration.
More recently, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO (2002) described culture as follows: "... culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs."
3. The Concepts of Culture
Sociologists and anthropologists have come to account for the concept of culture in a variety of ways. In its most general and pervasive sense it directs us to a consideration of all, that which is symbolic: the learned, ideational aspects of human society. In an early sense culture was precisely the collective noun used to define that realm of human being that marked its ontology off from the sphere of the merely natural. To speak of the cultural was to reaffirm a philosophical commitment to the difference and particularity that is 'humankind'. Animals, even the chattering dolphins, 'do' nature, while human beings inevitably transform their world into, and by way of, a series of symbolic representations. The symbolic then satisfies and absorbs the projections of human beings into objects and states of affairs that are different, and it acts as a mediator between these two provinces. We no longer confront the natural, as if we were continuous with it, as it is supposed that animals do. We now meet with the natural and, indeed, experience it as performed, through our vocabulary of symbols that are primarily linguistic but increasingly elaborate out into other forms like custom, convention, habit and even artefact. The symbolic representations that constitute human knowing are, in their various groupings, classifications and manifestation, the cultural. The very idea of culture therefore generates a concept, which, at one level, provides a principle of unification for the people of the world: including those who once have and those who continue to populate the world through time and across space. Culture, therefore, for early anthropology, was the common domain of the human; it distinguished our behaviour from that of other creatures and it provided a conceptual break with the dominant explanatory resource of biological and, latterly, genetic determinism. From this happy state of egalitarian one-ness through the aegis of culture - the very inspiration for culture anthropology - the story takes a different turn and we move into an account of diffusion, stratification, hierarchy and relativism, still clinging to the unrevised central concept of culture.
The dominant European linguistic convention equates 'culture' largely with the idea of 'civilization': they are regarded as synonymous. Both ideas may be used interchangeably with integrity in opposition to the notion of that which is vulgar, backward, ignorant or retrogressive. Within the German intellectual tradition, to which we shall be repeatedly drawn, a different and particular sense of culture emerged that was to assume a dominant place in our everyday understanding. This was the Romantic, elitist, view that culture specified the pinnacle of human achievement. Culture, in this sense, came to specify that which is remarkable in human creative achievement. Rather than encapsulating all human symbolic representation German Kultur pointed us exclusively to levels of excellence in fine art, literature, music and individual personal perfection.
The main body, or in this formulation, the residue of what we have previously meant as culture, was to be understood in terms of the concept of Zivilisation. This distinction, by no means fine, in many ways reflected the dichotomy provided by Kantian4 philosophy between the realms if 'value' and 'fact', and was generative of two different ways of understanding and relating to the world.
Within the confines of British and American social theory, the concept of culture has been understood in a far more pluralist sense and applied, until relatively recently, on a far more sparing basis. Although culture is a familiar term within our tradition and can be employed to summon up holistic appraisals of the ways of life of people, their beliefs, rituals and customs, it is not the most common. We social scientists are rather more accustomed to mobilising such batteries of understanding into 'action sets'. That is, we tend to use more specific concepts such as, 'value systems', 'patterns of belief', 'value orientations' or more critical notions like 'ideologies'.
The above accounts of the genesis of the Concepts of Culture can be summarised through a four-fold typology:
Culture as a cerebral, or certainly a cognitive, category: culture becomes intelligible as a general state of mind. It carries with it the idea of perfection, a goal or an aspiration of individual human achievement or emancipation. At one level, this might be a reflection of a highly individualist philosophy and at another level an instance of a philosophical commitment to particularity and difference, even the 'chosen-ness' or superiority of humankind.
Culture as a more embodied and collective category: culture invokes a state of intellectual and/or moral development in society. This is a position linking culture with the idea of civilization and one that is informed by the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and informative of that group of social theorists now known as the 'early evolutionists' who pioneered anthropology, with their competitive views on 'degeneration' and 'progress', and who linked their endeavour to nineteenth-century imperialism. This notion nevertheless takes the idea of culture into the province of the collective life, beyond the realm of the individual consciousness.
Culture as a descriptive and concrete category: culture viewed as the collective body of arts and intellectual work within any one society. This is very much an everyday language usage of the term 'culture' and carries along with it connotations of particularity, exclusivity, elitism, specialist knowledge and training of socialisation. It includes a firmly established notion of culture as the realm of the produced and sedimented symbolic, albeit the esoteric symbolism of a society.
Culture as a social category: culture regarded as the whole way of life of a people. This is the pluralist and potentially democratic sense of the concept that has come to be the zone of interest within sociology and anthropology and latterly, within a more localised sense, cultural studies.5
It is no longer possible to assume that the world is divided up into discrete 'societies', each with its corresponding and well integrated 'culture'. I think that the concept of culture is something, which we need to retain. It is time to recall the norm and value studies because while efforts to revitalise the culture concept by focusing on expressive elements have not yet reached their conceptual or empirical limits, there is a danger that each may become a self-contained school for itself. If the various lines of work are to avoid this fate, they must more explicitly take each other into account and link back to the larger sociological enterprise. One way would be to forge explicitly the link between expressive symbols and the norm and value elements of culture. However, to speculate on the development of conceptions of culture incorporating expressive and belief elements with norm and value elements would be to move from the rigours of review to the hazards of preview. Suffice it to say, it seems unlikely that the new synthesis will presuppose a society-wide shared culture. It seems much more likely that the reconsolidation of the culture concept will begin to take place around concepts such as status group and lifestyle.
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Theoretical Background of City Power.
Popular Culture Theories
Today the races of countries are various. Up until the beginning of the 20th Century, popular cultures were more traditional and lead by high-society or the bourgeoisie. Some have argued that the masses are dominated by an all-encompassing culture industry, obeying only the logic of consumer capitalism, that is, the domination of society by a specific group that stays in power by partially taking care of and partially repressing the claims of other groups. This view, however, no longer reflects modern society. Another view on popular culture, which fits in the liberal-pluralist ideology and is often referred to as 'progressive evolutionism', is overtly optimistic. It sees the capitalist economy as creating opportunities for every individual to participate in a culture, which is fully democratised through mass education, an expansion of leisure time and the availability of cheap music records and paperbacks. As Swingewood points out (1977: 22), there is no question of domination here anymore. In this view, popular culture does not threaten high culture, but is an authentic expression of the needs of the people. New cultures are created by the mixing of cultures and are influenced by other cultures through the migration of peoples. The essay 'Moving culture' describes how black culture reached into American culture, describing the influence of cultural change on social movements, both in terms of their traditions and rituals. Moreover recently, the Information Age has been having a major influence on cultures, which have been built up over hundreds of years. Transculturality - the puzzling form of cultures today - describes the theory of the change of culture internally, through the pluralisation of identities, and externally, through bordercrossing contours. In this short-essay, I take American cultural change as an example of 'moving culture'.
The concept of transculturality suggests a new conceptualization of culture differing from classical monocultures and the more recent conceptions of interculturality and multiculturality. The traditional description of cultures as islands or spheres is descriptively wrong, because cultures today are characterised internally, by a pluralisation of identities, and externally, by border-crossing contours. Furthermore, the traditional conception, which emphasises homogeneity and delineation, is normatively dangerous in structurally suppressing differences and encouraging separatism and violent conflicts. The concepts of interculturality und multiculturalism tackle some of these ills, but their basic flaw remains the presupposition of cultures as homogeneous islands or enclosed spheres. Welsch presents a concept of transculturality. He contrasts it with three other concepts: with the classical concept of single cultures, and then with the more recent concepts of interculturality and multiculturality.
2.1 The Traditional Concept of Single Cultures
The traditional concept of single cultures is characterised by three elements: by social homogenisation, which is unifying, ethnic consolidation that is folk-bound and intercultural.
1 For The Complete Works of Darwin Online. See Biography at darwin-online.org.uk.
2 E. B. Taylor is considered representative of cultural evolutionism. In his works Primitive culture and Anthropology, Taylor has defined the context of scientific study of anthropology, based on evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin.
3 Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be interpreted in terms of his or her own culture
4 Immanuel Kant (22.04.1724 - 12.02.1804), was a German philosopher from Konigsberg in East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe and the last major philosopher of the enlightenment.
5 He believes the concept of transculturality to be the most adequate concept of culture today both for descriptive and normative reasons.
- Quote paper
- Dipl.-Pol. Alexander Bergmann (Author), 2008, Music-City. Sports-City. Leisure-City., Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/92745