Week#2 - Week#2 Culture What is it How can culture be...

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Week #2 Culture. What is it? How can culture be defined? There are many definitions and uses for the word ‘culture.’ Which one is correct? Why is one definition more correct than another? What makes culture, culture? According to Adam Kuper, “in its most general sense, culture is simply a way of talking about collective identities.” If this is to be true, what’s the big deal? “Everyone is into culture now” (Kuper, 2). Culture helps a civilization find an identity. During the Enlightenment in France and England, the Germans formed a strong opposition. These German intellectuals were “for Kultur [and] against Civilization.” (Kuper, 6) The Germans were looking to unify themselves in any way possible. Even if that meant changing the truth, distorting facts, and creating a new truth that would help to create a strong identity and a strong culture. Throughout the early twentieth century, this was made possible by many racist politicians and intellectuals. In the early 1800’s the Germans created a counter philosophy to the Enlightenment. German intellectuals believed that the Enlightenment created a cosmopolitan civilization. A civilization filled with materialistic ideas, competition, capitalism, science and technology, and bureaucracy (Kuper, 6). At the time, Germany was not united and these intellectuals believed that the ideas of the Enlightenment would only drive them further apart. In the Romanticism period in Germany, there was an attempt to re- establish the values of folk culture, myths, arts and crafts, self-expression, and national tradition. Spirituality meant authenticity. They wanted nothing to do with the artificial civilizations to the west and north. “While material civilization was tightening its iron grip on ever European society, individual nations therefore struggled to sustain a spiritual culture” (Kuper, 6). Civilization was not culture to the Germans and was therefore not authentic. It was believed that culture was the basis for social order “and because the fortunes of a nation depended on the condition of its culture, this was a crucial arena for
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political action” (Kuper, 9). Politicians were all too ready to jump on board with the idea that German Kultur would help create pureness and authenticity, and would help create a national identity. Racial purity became imperative to creating a cultural identity. It became a “struggle for the survival between races” (Kuper, 11). Thus began the long, winding road to world domination (survival) for Germany. The basis for German intellectual and political thought did not go without some evidence. How
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ANTH 350 taught by Professor Anthony during the Spring '08 term at Hartwick.

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Week#2 - Week#2 Culture What is it How can culture be...

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