Culture politics

From: Eugene Matusov (
Date: Mon Mar 22 2004 - 07:31:16 PST

Dear everybody-

I do not want to side-track Bill's discussion, but it touches upon my long
desired inquiry. Does anybody know about any research on politics of
defining culture (e.g., what is counted as "culture", who is considered
"cultured" and who is "not", who decides what is culture and for what
purposes, how "culture" argument was historically used in political debates,
by whom, and for what purposes)? I'd like to educate myself on this issue.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Barowy []
> Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 8:55 AM
> To:
> Subject: What is culture?
> Well, if it walks like a culture and quacks like a culture, it's a
> I'm feeling bold and careless this morning. How about a rant if not
> perspicuity? Here's one pseudo/quasi/semi-operational definition: Culture
> a meta-expression, a placeholder, for all that which a non-cultural
> psychology cannot account. It's a shapeshifter -- what it is depends upon
> who is looking at it, and what framework they are using. Let's look at it
> through a 3-sided prism:
> In an extended triangle, culture is, in part, what is modeled by the
> triangle. The element "community" is the wild card modeling whatever is
> represented by the other elements. That's the present. Culture is also
> ensemble of all the triangles that have led to the developments of the
> elements (and their relations) of the triangle modeling the activity one
> investigating. That's the past. Culture is also the ensemble of all the
> extended triangles that will develop because of the present activity
> by the extended triangle. That's the future.
> It's very much like the physicist's universe. It's everwhere surrounding
> everything, permeating it, inside of it. In a physicist's universe, the
> universe is not just "out there" but is also very much "in here", even in
> vacuum. If you don't believe it, just ask any experimentalist.
> ask MIT physicist Dan Kleppner who pulled apart nothing to get light.
> Perhaps developments in both the universe and culture are limited by the
> of light. But even over the vast distancs of the internet, that's much
> faster then microgenesis.
> bb

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