Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Long on Culture..and my Reaction
So the first thing this class has done is entirely uproot my definition of 'definition,' and I'm okay with that. As I'm quickly learning, defining things like sci-fi and culture take more than the OED (as much as we love it). Long explains culture as a "metaphor for human development" (page 7), which I think makes sense. From my experiences, culture is the collection of customs, traditions, actions, beliefs, history and language (much of which is influenced by religion) that guides the way individuals behave on a daily basis. All of those elements I listed above influence our growth and development through life and as a society (or various societies depending on different cultures); thus culture is a metaphor for "human development," a way of explaining human development. And you can't really define culture any deeper than this (I think I probably defined culture too narrowly). I think the hammer example was well used to explain how terms have different meanings in different settings. In the same way, culture means different things to different people, depending on their backgrounds and histories. It's a very vague term, one that I don't think can be defined through the "nomothetic" or "idiographic" approaches. Both are too extreme, and would yield either a too-distant or too-narrow definition. You have to get into a culture a little bit, but remain a bystander on some level to give a rounded subjective and objective opinion.