Culture and Formation of Culture Essay
Culture and Formation of Culture
The word culture can be referred to the behavior of the human beings specifically with the objects, things and commodities around them and these objects are used as an essential part of this behavior. In this sense it is only the ability of the mankind to create a culture. And culture itself will include all the norms and behaviors of human beings like language, customs, beliefs, religions, tool, techniques, arts, rituals, ceremonies and common practice of every day life.
There are numerous definitions of culture and every anthropologist has a different view about it. Some has defined culture as “learned behavior” or “ideas in mind” or “a logical construct”, but the most favored definition is that culture is “the abstraction from behavior” (Culture). Certeau (xi) states that Culture is the combination of every day practices of the societies. But instead of making the unit force an individual he has taken a more economist perspective and regarded them as “consumers” (Certeau, xi).
While John Fiske produced a two economic theory and regards culture as a parallel economy against the financial economy and has named it as “cultural economy” (Fiske, 538). As every economy has a capital the cultural economy’s capital consists of pleasure and meanings (Fiske, 541). Frederick Engels while speaking in the context of history defines culture as “traditions, which haunt human minds” (Engels, 10). Speaking conclusively culture is not only behavior neither an action, but it is the combination of abstraction and behavior or a behavior explicating a concept. Formation of Culture:
According the theory of evolution, the advancement of the human behavior from natural to learned and freely variable behavior, the particulars of which have the tendency to be transferred to the next generation and has the ability to evolve into a system of things. Thus culture is a man made environment brought into existence by the human ability to symbol. When a culture is established then it has a life of its own. It is a range of things and events in a cause and effect relationship (Culture). Different theorists have argued about the formation of culture in their own specific way and style.
According to Bourdieu “cultural needs are the product of upbringing and education” (Bourdieu, 42). He initially states that the production of cultural goods as well as the description of different ways of appropriating these goods as work of arts as well as providing social conditions, which are considered legitimate (Bourdieu, 42). He further emphasis that all social practices, which are the core of any culture, are traced back to education or social origin (Bourdieu, 42). On the other hand Fiske says that culture is the opposite force developed in response to the producers of consumer goods.
He states that culture is the parellel economic system, which runs in response to the financial economic system. According to him it’s capital is meanings and pleasure (Fiske, 538). This is a more economic perspective of rather than the anthropological perspective. Theodor Adorno while discussing the evolution of popular music culture states that the popular music culture and its hold on the masses is because of the urge to distract the individuals from the current realities to the world of fantasy, and popular music has the ability to distract the listener from it (Adorno, 80,81).
Thus according to him a culture evolves as a reaction of the current cultural norms. That is the main reason that the popular culture did not evolved before the industrial revolution. Social Relations: Social relations are the behaviors of different social groups related to and in response of each other. Thus speaking about the ruling class, which is also regarded as the elite class or aristocracy is the social group, which has the means of production at its disposal Thus the ruling ideas and concepts are the expressions of dominant material relationships (Marx & Engels, 8).
According to Marx and Engels the historically speaking the relationship of the individual and the ruling class are reflected by the dominance of ideas and concepts during the dominance of that ruling class. For instance during the dominion of the aristocracy the concepts of loyalty and honor were dominant, while during the dominion of the bourgeoisie the concepts of equality and freedom were dominant (Marx and Engels, 8). The relation between the ruling class and the lower class has two ways.
Either it leads or it dominates. The first relation is with its allies while the second is with its enemies (Gramsci, 12) Thus the social relations between the aristocracy has two conditions. If the aristocracy has friendly terms with the lower class, the lower class will follow accordingly under its leadership. But if the lower class does not consent the way the ruling class leads it will refuse to follow. As a result the ruling class will try to dominate the lower class in order to maintain its status.
Marx has regarded the aristocracy as the material forces of production, which sometimes come into conflict with the property relations that is the lower class and results in the social revolution (Marx, 9). Engels says that the economic political and traditional i. e cultural factors are interrelated and they in combination play the determined role in the formation of history. Thus history is the product of the combine efforts of the economical, political and demographical factors.
Thus one can very easily find the social relation between the economy, politics and cultural norms. Works Cited Adorno, Theodor W. “On Popular Music” Studies in Philosophy and Social Sciences. 1941. Bourdieu, Pierre. “Distinction and The Aristocracy of Culture”. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. 1984, Routledge, London. Certeau, Michel de. “The Practice of Every Day Life” 1984, Berkley University California Press. “Culture. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. 2007. Encyclop? dia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD 8 May, 2007.
Fiske, John. “The Popular Economy” Television Culture. 1987, Routledge, London. Gramsci, Antonio. “Hegomony, Intellectuals and the State” Princeton Notebooks, Lawrence & Wishart, London. Marx, Karl. “Base & Superstructure” A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. 1976, Foreign Languages Press, Peking. Marx, Karl & Engels, Federick. “Ruling Class and Ruling Ideas” The German Ideology. 1970, Lawrence & Wishart, London. Marx, Karl & Engels. “A Letter to Joseph Bloch” Selected Letters. 1977, Foreign Languages Press, Peking.