What is it?
How can culture be defined?
There are many definitions and uses for the
Which one is correct?
Why is one definition more correct than another? What makes
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”
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).
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
“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