Culture

Postmodern Cultural Patterns

by Miroslav Pujic

All statements are true in somesense, false in some sense, mean­ingless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.”1

Really? While the above may be a parody of inclusiveness, mocking the idea that truth and false are opposites, postmoderns do tend to see less of a distinction. Contemporary culture has blurred some previously clear lines: docu-fiction, “reality” television (TV) that has scripts, celebration of crime, and amoral behavior. Much that we have learned from culture patterns says that image is all important, and this plays into postmodern thought. Since “everything is subjective,” the implication suggests that you can do as you please. Of course, following such a principle does not avoid the painful consequences of being so self-referenced; denying distinctions between good and evil does not make it right. But as a characteristic of post­modern thought, the impact of cultural patterning is important to understand and address.

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Modernism and Post-Modernism in Western Thought and Culture: From ‘buttoned-up tight’ to ‘ad hoc tattooed’

By D. J. B. Trim

Does history matter in understanding postmodernism? By its very nature ‘postmodernity’ may seem essentially contemporary—innately current—a break with the past. And yet, history is vital for Christians seeking to make God known in twenty-first-century Europe. The secular, postmodern, post-Christian condition that characterizes European society and culture (and that is characteristic of Europe more than any other continent) is a product of history: of four and a half centuries of religious conflict, persecution and oppression in Europe; and then of a third of a century (the twentieth) in which civilization showed itself more destructive, brutal and pitiless than any primitives, and in which humanity showed itself to be worse than the animal kingdom in its contempt for life. Examining the historical roots and development of postmodernism, with a focus on its history in Europe, enables us to analyse this continent’s post-Christian condition more astutely, and thereby to have a better understanding of Europe’s postmodern and secular culture.

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Cultural Relativism: All Truth Is Local

Cultural Relativism is the view that moral or ethical systems, which vary from culture to culture, are all equally valid and no one system is really “better” than any other. This is based on the idea that there is no ultimate standard of good or evil, so every judgment about right and wrong is a product of society. Therefore, any opinion on morality or ethics is subject to the cultural perspective of each person. Ultimately, this means that no moral or ethical system can be considered the “best,” or “worst,” and no particular moral or ethical position can actually be considered “right” or “wrong.”

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Cultural Materialism

by Marvin Harris

Cultural Materialism is an anthropological paradigm founded upon, but not constrained by, Marxist Materialistic thought. The term Cultural Materialism, first coined by Marvin Harris in his The Rise of Anthropological Theory (1968), is derived from two English words: "Culture" (social structure, language, law, religion, politics, art, science, superstition, etc.) and "Materialism" (materiality, rather than intellect or spirituality, is fundamental to reality). Harris developed Cultural Materialism by borrowing from existing anthropological doctrines, especially Marxist Materialism.

Cultural Materialism - Infrastructure, Structure and Superstructure
Cultural Materialism retains and expands upon the Marxist Three Levels of Culture Model: Infrastructure, Structure and Superstructure.

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Religion in Europe, Also in Crisis

By Paul Ames

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The press room podium in the European Union's headquarters is usually the domain of men in conservatively cut dark suits.

Last week however, the stage was a profusion of flowing robes, broad-brimmed fedoras, gleaming gold chains, turbans, ecclesiastical dog collars and a shimmering blue-grey sari, as the EU's leadership sought to take the continent's spiritual pulse at their annual meeting with religious representatives.

With its popularity battered in the midst of the economic crisis, the EU was seeking some solace and support.

"You the religious authorities, help us with your societal and spiritual contributions, to rediscover the enchantment of our European future and to rebuild the strength of our European soul," pleaded Herman Van Rompuy, the devout Catholic and former Belgian prime minister who presides over EU summits.

Europe's crisis goes beyond the economic, speakers at the meeting agreed.

Disillusioned citizens are questioning the values of European integration that have pushed nations of the post-war continent together for the past 60 years, rejecting traditional political parties to seek new and sometimes scary alternatives on the political margins.

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