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
Chapter 2: 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 ...