Cultural Studies at Universität Passau

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Guy Fawkes Night

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Halloween

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Thanksgiving

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Nature-Culture-Paradigm

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Origins of the term Culture 

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T.S. Eliot (1888-1948) on Matthew Arnold 

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T.S. Eliot’s Approach to Culture 

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Raymond Williams on T. S. Eliot

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Williams, "The Analysis of Culture“ in
The Long Revolution

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“Structure of Feeling” in
The Long Revolution

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Raymond Williams, "The Analysis of Culture„ in
The Long Revolution


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Defining Culture: Summary

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Cultural Studies


Guy Fawkes Night
5. November 1605
Today: fireworks + bonfire, strawman-> celebrate failure of gunpowder plot
  • Tried to blow up Houses of Parliament with Protestant king and replace him with a catholic monarch 
  • Masks: Anonymous + V for Vendetta
  • Government enforced a public day of celebration 

Cultural Studies

Halloween
31. October
Celtic origin (new year) Samhain!
All Hallow’s Eve = All Saints
Mass Irish + Scottish immigration during 19th century

Cultural Studies

Thanksgiving
Celebrated by Pilgrim Fathers after their first harvest in the new world 1621
Since 1941 celebrated on 4th Thursday in november

Cultural Studies

Nature-Culture-Paradigm
Nature = term of virtually limitless application, which initially may be understood to refer to everything that is produced by human beings as distinct from all that is a part of nature. It has often been observed that since nature is itself a human abstraction, it too has a history, which in turn means that it is part of culture
- Michael Payne

Cultural Studies

Origins of the term Culture 
  • Term is derived from Latin word cultura meaning cultivation (originally it was applied to agriculture and horticulture 
  • Transferred to human beings by the Latin orator Cicero who introduced the term cultura animi (the cultivation of the soul) through the refinement of the soul (especially through education)
  • This usage gained popularity in Europe during the 18th century (period of enlightenment)

Cultural Studies

T.S. Eliot (1888-1948) on Matthew Arnold 
His critique of classes in confined to an indictment of the classes for their shortcomings, and does not proceed to consider what should be the proper function or ‘perfection’ of each class 

Cultural Studies

T.S. Eliot’s Approach to Culture 
The term culture has different associations according to whether we have in mind the development of an individual, of a group or class, or of a whole society. It is a part of my thesis that the culture of the individual is dependent upon the culture of a group or class, and that the culture of the group or class is dependent upon the culture of the whole society to which that group or class belongs. Therefore it is the culture of the society that is fundamental, and it is the meaning of the term 'culture' in relation to the whole society that should be examined first.
(T. S. Eliot, Notes towards the Definition of Culture )
Taking now the point of view of identification, the reader must remind himself as the author has constantly to do, of how much is here embraced by the term culture. It includes all the characteristic activities and interests of a people: Derby Day, Henley Regatta, Cowes, the twelfth of August, a cup final, the dog races, the pin table, the dart board, Wensleydale cheese, boiled cabbage cut into sections, beetroot in vinegar, nineteenth-century Gothic churches and the music of Elgar.“

Cultural Studies

Raymond Williams on T. S. Eliot
The major importance of the book [i.e. Notes towards the Definition of Culture], in my view, lies in two of its discussions: first, its adoption of the meaning of culture as 'a whole way of life', and the subsequent consideration of what we mean by 'levels' of culture within it; second, its effort to distinguish between 'élite' and 'class', and its penetrating criticism of the theories of an 'élite'. [...] The sense of 'culture' as 'a whole way of life' has been most marked in twentieth-century anthropology and sociology, and Eliot, like the rest of us, has been at least casually influenced by these disciplines.

Cultural Studies

Williams, "The Analysis of Culture“ in
The Long Revolution
• There are three general categories in the definition of culture. There is, first the ideal, in which culture is a state or process of human perfection, in terms of certain absolute or universal values.
• Then, second, there is the documentary', in which culture is the body of intellectual and imaginative work, in which, in a detailed way, human thought and experience are variously recorded.
• Finally, third, there is the social' definition of culture, in which culture is 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.

We need to distinguish three levels of culture, even in its most general definition. There is the lived culture of a particular time and place, only fully accessible to those living in that time and place. There is the recorded culture of every kind, from art to the most everyday facts: the culture of a period. There is also, as the factor connecting lived culture and period cultures, the culture of the selective tradition.

Cultural Studies

“Structure of Feeling” in
The Long Revolution
In one sense, this structure of feeling is the culture of a period: it is the particular living result of all the elements in the general organization. And it is in this respect that the arts of a period, taking these to include characteristic approaches and tones in argument, are of major importance. For here, if anywhere, this characteristic is likely to be expressed.
[Any structure of feeling is] as firm and definite as 'structure' suggests, yet it operates in the most delicate and least tangible part of our activities.

Cultural Studies

Raymond Williams, "The Analysis of Culture„ in
The Long Revolution


I would then define the theory of culture as the study of relationships between elements in a whole way of life. The analysis of culture is the attempt to discover the nature of the organization which is the complex of these relationships. Analysis of particular works or institutions is, in this context, analysis of their essential kind of organization, the relationships which works or institutions embody as parts of the organization as a whole. A key-word, in such analysis, is pattern: it is with the discovery of patterns of a characteristic kind that any useful cultural analysis begins, and it is with the relationships between these patterns, which sometimes reveal unexpected identities and correspondences in hitherto separately considered activities, sometimes again reveal discontinuities of an unexpected kind, thatgeneral cultural analysis is concerned.

Cultural Studies

Defining Culture: Summary
1. "Taking now the point of view of identification, the reader must remind himself as the author has constantly to do, of how much is here embraced by the term culture. It includes all the characteristic activities and interests of a people: Derby Day, Henley Regatta, Cowes, the twelfth of August, a cup final, the dog races, the pin table, the dart board, Wensleydale cheese, boiled cabbage cut into sections, beetroot in vinegar, nineteenth-century Gothic churches and the music of Elgar."
(T.S. Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture)
2. "I would then define the theory of culture as the study of
relationships between elements in a whole way of life." (Raymond Williams, "The Analysis of Culture")
3. "[...] the whole way of life of a society, its beliefs, attitudes and temper as expressed in all kinds of structures, rituals and gestures, as well as in the traditionally defined forms of art."
(Richard Hoggart, Contemporary Cultural Studies)

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