Culture and Society: A Sociology of Culture by Rosamund Billington, Visit Amazon's Sheelagh Strawbridge

By Rosamund Billington, Visit Amazon's Sheelagh Strawbridge Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Sheelagh Strawbridge, , Lenore Greensides, Annette Fitzsimons

This article explores the problems of defining a sociology of 'culture', emphasising the advanced, interdisciplinary nature of 'cultural studies', and the range of theoretical contributions from sociology, literature, heritage and anthropology. meant for quite a lot of undergraduates, the textual content covers components now not often incorporated in cultural reports, including these extra time-honored to the sphere. It bargains with the improvement and breakdown of key conceptual differences, like structure/culture, culture/knowledge, target reality/subjective adventure and the consequences for the learn of tradition.

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Social theorists of many persuasions have utilised Wittgenstein's concept of language games. For example, in his anthropological work, Geertz sees culture consisting of clusters of rule-governed forms of life, a multiplicity of cultural systems. Culture is 'conducted in the context of systems of communication, using symbols linguistic, material and behavioural' (Austin-Broos, 1987, p. 149. Geertz and other theorists have also drawn on the insights and analytical tools furnished by the structural linguistics of Saussure.

The word 'woman' in English only has meaning in the context of a whole system of words - man, girl, child, boy, baby: the relationship between words and what they signify is not arbitrary within a language because it is a structure of concepts, a code specifying the relationship between objects, not simply the objects themselves. The term 'engagement ring' can only be understood by knowing that this object is worn by a woman in Western societies who is either signifying her intention to marry a specific man, or, if she is also wearing a wedding ring, is married.

All investigation was aimed at an understanding of some inexpressible intrinsic qualities in the external world by which cultural 46 Culture and Society products could be ranked (Elliott, 1986, pp. 7-10). At the beginning of the nineteenth century the aim was rather to establish a theory of aesthetics which was outside history, but which lay within the senses, in the aquisition of perception and illustrated particularly through the arts, which as we saw in Chapter 1 were seen as the essential component of a transcendent 'culture'.

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