The Recent History and Dynamics of Culture - Essay Example

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The history of culture dates back to the stone age. When humans began communicating, cultivating crops, creating rituals and cave paintings for the hunt, making sophisticated tools and teaching apprentices, burying the dead culture was formed. Certain changes in technology have made huge changes in culture. …
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The Recent History and Dynamics of Culture
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Download file to see previous pages Spoken communication gave rise to stories, poetry and music in order to make remembering easier and communicating more entertaining. Written language changed the way we use our brains, and the printing press made knowledge available to all who could learn to read. This led to the rise of the middle classes, and to the development of the idea of a separation between the cultured and the masses.
Public education was one result of technology and the rising middle class, as society needed to train its best and brightest in order to maintain productivity and growth. The Internet has now eliminated the need for physical books and made this knowledge available to literally anyone in the world with a connection. The common thread here is language, art and communication. Most parts of any culture fall under one of these categories. Law and government seem to be part of culture, but these are simply formal governance of the cultural values society. So culture is, essentially, everything involving more than one person in a society. This includes literature, music, art, value systems, behavioural norms, institutions, and the interpretation and dissemination of each of these. Food, a major part of culture, is both ritual and art. Music and visual arts are products, and also mirrors, of the culture. However, more than anything else, a society’s language and its texts represent its culture....
(Most Canadians or Australians did not make the cut either.) British and Western Europeans were the sole providers of “literature”. Cultured people were “elite”, so anything readily accessible by the masses was not a part of culture. This meant that even though cultured texts, music and art were available to everyone, only the most cultured could truly understand them, if they even read them. It required a great deal of education to read Homer in the original language, or to appreciate Opera without subtitles, or ballet, or to read works of learned men and discuss the myriad values of each. Theoretically, culture includes modern discourses that bridge the various disciplines which include culture as part of their inquiries. Certain critical practices for cultural analysis are used to create that discourse concerning cultural activities, products, and institutions (Jere Paul Surber). It has expanded to this from the very narrow beginnings in Great Britain in the 18 century. Certain British universities instituted cultural studies in the 1950s. With this kind of base, cultural studies aims for a practical critique of concrete and measurable factors that effect economic and political power. In its beginnings, culture was the pursuit of improvement of person among the aristocracy by virtue of education and practice. One of the first developments of any culture is the appearance of its critics. Critics always try to define what they criticise in order to be able to define its value. This sets them up to be the experts and that attracts people who need to feed their egos. In the late nineteenth century, people like Matthew Arnold saw culture more as a product than an aspect of society. It was something to aspire to as it represented knowledge of the best ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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