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 Praxis

Culture as praxis

The British anthropologists, for reasons described in the first chapter, have little use for the concept of culture; contrary to their American colleagues, who found it useful to describe what they heard in terms of culture, the generation of Radcliffe-Brown or Evans-Pritchard successfully accounted for what they saw in terms of social structure. The traditional British conceptual usage was aptly epitomized by Raymond Firth: social structure is that much of the social alignment, so much of the social relations, ‘as seems to be of critical importance for the behaviour of members of the society, so that if such relations were not in operation, the society could not be said to exist in that form’.1 Much can be told about the ...

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