In this major work, Zygmunt Bauman seeks to classify the meanings of culture. He distinguishes between culture as a concept, culture as a structure and culture as praxis and analyzes the different ways in which culture has been used in each of these settings. For Bauman, culture is a living, changing aspect of human interaction which must be understood and studied as a universal of human life. At the heart of his approach is the proposition that culture is inherently ambivalent. With a major new introduction to this new edition, this classic work emerges as a crucial link in the development of Bauman's thought. By his own admission, it was the first of his books to grope towards a new kind of social theory, in contrast to the fals

Culture as Structure

Culture as structure

The second law of thermodynamics states the universal tendency of all isolated systems to pass from more to less organized states; this passage is called ‘increase of entropy’. Increase of entropy is, if considered within the confines of the given isolated system, an irreversible process; the system cannot ‘on its own’ return to a more organized state. There is an interpretation of entropy1 as energy, which must be applied to bring the system back to its initial condition. This amount grows unremittingly as a function of time flow. No isolated system can draw the required energy from its internal resources; it must be, if at all, brought in from the environment of the system.

The only remedy against the otherwise inescapable ...

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