What is “culture”

  We live in culture like fish live in water. We grow in culture, and culture shapes our character. We belong to culture, culture is embodied and created by us, we are part of culture. We talk about culture almost all the time. However, what exactly is culture?
  Since the 1980s, the worldwide craze for cultural studies has affected all social science research, and literary studies is no exception. Cultural studies generally arose in Britain after World War II, and then spread and influenced the United States and other Western countries. In 1963 Richard Hoggart founded the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, which aims to study cultural forms, practices and institutions and their relationship to society and social change. After the 1980s, this kind of cultural research ideas and methods in the United Kingdom spread to the United States, where it was further expanded and enriched, and subsequently had an extremely extensive and far-reaching impact on Western countries. After the 1990s, cultural studies were introduced into mainland China through Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and soon a mighty cultural studies craze was formed in China. In short, “culture has become a vital event in modern times”.
  Culture is a very complex concept with an extremely complex history of word meaning evolution. Raymond Williams, a famous contemporary British theorist, pointed out: “The closest etymology is the Latin cultura, and the earliest traceable etymology is the Latin colere. Colere has a series of meanings: inhabit, cultivate. ), protect, honor with worship.” “One of the original meanings of the word ‘culture’ in English is ‘husbandry’, or the management of natural growth… ‘coulter’ and ‘culture’ is a cognate word meaning plow blade (knife).” Another British theorist, Terry Eagleton, believes that “if the original meaning of culture is farming, then it implies both norms and nature. Growth. Culture is something we can change, but the material being changed has its own independent existence, which in turn gives it something like the opposite of nature.” “Human nature is not the same as a beetroot, but it Like fields need to be tilled—so much so that when the word ‘culture’ shifts us from nature to spirit, it also implies a close connection between the two.” “‘Civilization’ reduces national differences, while ‘Culture’ makes them more prominent.”
   “Culture” as an academic term first appeared in British Taylor’s “Studies on the Early History and Development of Civilization” in 1867, and six years later in “Primitive Culture”. Culture is systematically explained in : a
  culture or civilization, in its broad ethnological sense, includes all knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs, and any A complex of other talents and habits.
  Later, in their co-authored “Critical Examination of Culture, Concepts, and Definitions”, Crabbe and Clara analyzed more than 160 definitions of culture, and finally they concluded that
  culture consists of explicit and implicit behavior. Patterns constituted, patterns of behavior obtained and transmitted through symbols; cultures represent the remarkable achievements of human groups, including their manifestation in man-made artifacts, and cultural systems can be seen on the one hand as products of activity and on the other as Determinants of further activity.
  The German philosopher Kant said: “Culture is the creation of the ability of rational entities to carry out a definite purpose. Culture is a process or a state that is the result of a process: a sign of human beings’ transition from a natural state to a social state. Culture. It belongs only to human beings, not to individuals.” Contemporary cultural scholar Clifford Geertz explained culture in his book “The Interpretation of Culture”: “Culture is a map, a filter, and a matrix.” He Agree with Max Weber: “Man is an animal suspended in a web of meaning woven by himself.” Therefore, he said: “Culture is a web of meaning woven by man himself.”
  Over the years, scholars and experts have related There are hundreds of definitions of culture, but one definition has attracted more people’s recognition, that is, “culture is the sum of human creations”. Culture includes both the dynamic creative process of human beings and the tangible results accumulated by human beings. “Culture is not attached to an animal that has evolved or has finally completed evolution, but is part of the process of producing the animal itself, and is a central component. This slow, continuous, almost glacial flow, passing through The cultural development of the Ice Age changed the balance of selective pressures on evolving humans in a way that played a major guiding role in its evolution.” Culture is a vast system composed of numerous interconnected, The subsystems that restrict each other are structured in a certain way. Culture should have at least three meanings: the general process of thought, spiritual and aesthetic development; a particular way of life (of a people, a period, a group or all of humanity); intellectual works and activities, especially in the arts of. The latter is usually the most common usage today: “culture” refers to music, literature, painting and sculpture, theatre and film.
  In my country, the word “culture” has existed since ancient times. The original meaning of “wen” refers to the interlaced textures of various colors, which have the meaning of decoration and articles. It is extended to various symbols including language, as well as cultural relics regulations, etiquette systems and so on. The original meaning of “化” is change, generation, and creation. The so-called “transformation of all things” (“Yi Xie Xie”), its extended meaning is transformation, education, cultivation, etc. The parallel use of culture and culture was first seen in “Zhou Yi Ben Gua” in “Observing the astronomy, to observe the changes of time; observing the humanities, in order to transform into the world”. Liu Xiang of the Western Han Dynasty was the first to use the word “culture”. He wrote in “Shuoyuan·Zhiwu”: “The sage’s rule of the world is also by virtue of virtue and force. The prosperity of martial arts is for the sake of If you don’t accept it, the culture will not change, and then you will be punished.” Jin Shuxi’s “Poems of Complementing the Dead: Youyi” said: “Cultural compilation, martial arts outside.” Cloud: “Set up spiritual principles with scenery and customs, and apply culture with soft distance.” These concepts of “culture” in ancient China basically belonged to the category of spiritual civilization, mainly referring to the “cultural education” of feudal dynasties, which was often related to “force”, “” Corresponding to martial arts and barbarism, it itself contains a positive idealism, reflecting the “yin” and “soft” aspects of the country’s governance strategy, and has both political content and ethical significance. Secondly, in ancient times, this word was used as a verb to a large extent, and it was a method and proposition of governing society. It was opposed to conquest by force, but it was also connected with it and complemented each other. martial arts. Of course, the word “culture” was not very popular in ancient China, while the word “culture” in the modern sense is said to have originated in Japan.
  In modern China, it is not clear who was the first to talk about culture. Yan Fu talked about civilization in his “Political Lectures” published in 1906, but did not mention culture:
  once civilization is said, we need to examine the words translated by our country, which words should be used in Western languages, and should be detailed from its original meaning before knowing. What kind of realm is the so-called civilization of the Western countries? Now I ask the gentlemen sitting here, do you know what the word civilization is in the Western language? Civilized people, Westerners call it civilization. More asked who knows the origin of the word? The word case is the word for city or city, which is derived from the Latin cititas, the so-called one city is already. It can be seen that the so-called civilization of the Westerners is no different from the fact that the group has laws, has become a country, and is a group of officials. The behavior of the people is that they must be compatible with such a group society, cherish punishment and fear the law, and have the moral heart of respecting the country and caring for the same kind, and then they are called civilized people.
  Obviously, there is not much difference between civilization and culture here. Later, Chinese scholars made many different definitions and interpretations of culture. Liang Qichao said: “Culturists are the valuable common deeds released by the human mind.” “Culture is all the content of human history.” Liang Shuming said: “Culture is the pattern of life.” “Culture is our life. Everything depends on… The original meaning of culture should be all-encompassing in economy, politics, and even everything.” Hu Shi said: “Culture is a way of life formed by civilization.” Chen Youren said: “Culture has a material spirit. This is probably the distinction between material culture and spiritual culture mentioned earlier in our country. In 1940 Fei Xiaotong translated the British scholar Malinowski’s “Theory of Culture”, many of which were previously published in Tianjin’s “Yishibao”. Malinowski believes that “culture contains two main components—material and spiritual, namely, the transformed environment and the altered human organism.” Zhou Zuoren said: “The spirit is a thing, and it cannot be seen by oneself. There must be something attached to it and see it later. All cultures are no different, and this article is a special work.” When Lu Xun wrote “Cultural Bias” in 1907, he did not define the word “culture”, but its meaning has generally been related to that of culture. In modern times, it is the same: “If its culture is clear and its sincerity is enough to be comparable, it is impossible to have it.” “Put the material and Zhang Lingming, let the individual eliminate the multitude.” “Civilization cannot be unbiased.” From this we can see , in modern Chinese culture and civilization are often mixed together. Yang Dongguan simply said: “Culture is life.” “The material way of life produced by social production relations, such as clothing, food, housing, and transportation, is called material culture. The spiritual life produced by social production relations The way, that is, the ideology reflected by the social production relations, such as law, politics, art, and philosophy, is called spiritual culture. Only by interpreting the term culture in this way can the true meaning of the term be obtained.”
  Thirty years after liberation, The research on culture in our country is very weak, almost blank. During this period, the definition of culture has always followed the so-called broad and narrow sense before liberation. According to the 1979 edition of “Ci Hai”: “Culture, in a broad sense, refers to the sum of material wealth and spiritual wealth created in the process of historical practice of human society. In a narrow sense, it refers to social ideology and its adaptation to system and organization.”
  Open the English dictionary, the word “culture” has the following four meanings: (1) culture; spiritual civilization. (2) Education; edification; self-cultivation. (3) Cultivation; breeding; nurturing (cultivation). (4) Farming. Open the Chinese-English dictionary again, “culture” can be translated as “civilization; culture; education”. In the “Modern Chinese Dictionary”, “culture” has the following three main meanings: (1) The sum of material wealth and spiritual wealth created by human beings in the process of social and historical development, especially spiritual wealth, such as literature, art, education, Science, etc.; (2) Archaeological terms, referring to the complex of relics and relics in the same historical period that did not depend on the distribution location, such as Yangshao Culture and Longshan Culture; (3) Refers to the ability to use words and general knowledge, such as learning Culture, cultural level, etc. It can be seen that the English “culture” is not equivalent to the Chinese “culture”, and the difference should arouse our attention and analyze it.
  In short, we can divide culture into different levels from different starting points: according to the different functions of culture, it can be divided into etiquette culture, corporate culture, campus culture, food culture, clothing culture, etc.; It can be divided into physical culture, institutional culture, behavioral culture, mentality culture; according to different geographical environments, it can also be divided into world culture, western culture, oriental culture, Chinese culture, American culture, marine culture, continental culture, etc.; From the historical evolution of culture, it can be divided into primitive culture, ancient culture, modern culture, modern culture, post-modern culture and so on.