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Canada (162,047)
POLS 2080 (26)
Adam Sneyd (20)

Chapter Twenty Six Summary

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Political Science
POLS 2080
Adam Sneyd

Chapter Twenty Six: Culture and Development What is Culture?  A progressive process of human development, a movement towards refinement and order and away from barbarism and savagery o „A state or process of human perfection, in terms of certain absolute or universal values‟ o These definitions are elitist, evolutionary, and European („civilizing mission‟)  Anthropologists‟ view of culture: o That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society o A description of a particular way of life, which expresses certain meanings and values not only in art and learning but also in institutions and ordinary behaviour o These are rendered vague and imprecise as they capture a lot  A symbolic definition of culture: „the pattern of meanings embodied in symbolic forms, including actions, utterances, and meaningful objects of various kinds, by virtue of which individuals communicate with one another and share their experiences, conceptions, and beliefs‟ The Cultural vs. the Material  Culture must be understood in relation to its linkages with the economic sphere  Capitalism structures in various ways the cultural forms that are produced o How are things produced, how are things valued, how are people used, etc. o How can you understand media without understanding the system that produced it?  Culture and development are linked  Commodification and transmission of culture are now global in scope  Technology also plays a crucial role in the cultural meanings of human relationships o Things like the internet and cell phones have changed the way people mobilize and communicate in the South o The ability to record culture and past information through photos and videos has impacted cultures that rely on spoken word to pass on stories, for example  Science influences cultural forms as well o People responding to detective shows and books are an example of this, only in a scientific age would people understand these things  Relations between capitalism, technology, and science and culture are not mechanical nor should they be reductionist o Look at them in other ways than the economic sphere and vice versa o There was the belief that cultures would shift around and grow to accept development, seen in the British colonies when they introduced the vaccines for smallpox and outlawed Native medicine traditions  Culture in capitalism is not homogenous o Japan, the US, the UK, are all examples of capitalist societies with unique culture  Idealism vs. Materialism o Materialism puts forth the idea that material factors influence social change o Idealism says that cultural factors, mental phenomena, and ideas influence change more o This distinction causes issues because they‟re interlinked, separating them undercuts the role of both of them working together o A modernization theorist may say that development isn‟t working because the people are backward thinking  Amartya Sen: Presents a new understanding of development as more than just economic progress. Development is also about human and cultural freedom. Culture can become one of the basic ends of development. Culture is a means of development Culture as Domination and Culture as Resistance  The biggest myth about culture is that it is an ahistorical entity. Rather, culture is produced in particular social historical circumstances by specific individuals drawing on certain resources and endowed with varying degrees of power and authority  Culture is permeated by power relations which cannot be reduced to economic relations or class power  Culture is also present in gender relations, relations between ethnic and religious communities, and nation- states  Culture is influenced by the ruling classes‟ ideological and material interests o This was put forth by Marx and Engels  Cultures are subjected to resistance, which thus dispels the myth of their homogeneity  Claims of cultural homogeneity are often associated with nationalism  Today‟s nationalism is a cultural ideology that hides the inequities generated by development processes
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