culture as somewhere ‘inbetween’ social and artistic categories

Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society by Raymond Williams provides a comprehend and useful understanding of contemporary terms, which define our world and worldview.What makes the book still remarkable is that Willimams did not just look for further clarification, in order to impose a finite meaning on them, but instead to describe the terms’ development, adaptation and translation between times and places and their relationship to other words.

Interestingly this announcement about a lectures series at the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp just came along days after my recent posts on understanding and defining ‘cultural issues’ in specifically by a very personal comparison between European and anglo-american understandings and insights to the very term and accomanying differences – so it gives a good reason to blog on the issue – beginning with a quote by Williams:

… Men of all the quarters of the globe, who have perished over the ages, you have not lived solely to manure the earth with your ashes, so that at the end of time your posterity should be made happy by European culture. The very thought of a superior European culture is a blatant insult to the majesty of Nature…

Right .. and as the museum announcement puts it further .. Williams believed that the awkward position that the word ‘culture’ occupies somewhere in-between social and artistic categories, rather than being a problem, instead produces a range and overlap of meaning that is the source of its significance. Indicating a complex argument about relations between general human development and a particular way of life, and between both and the works and practices of art and intelligence.
It is a good point to start and I would like to pass the word over and make you read over there: The words Culture and Popular from Keywords: a Vocabulary of Culture and Soceity Citation by Raymond Williams (Revised, 1983)

Culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language. This is so partly because of its intricate historical development, in several European languages, but mainly because it has now come to be used for important concepts in several distinct intellectual disciplines and in several distinct and incompatible systems of thought. …
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