Over the last 20 years culture has become a key concept in intellectual disciplines across the social sciences and humanities. However, it is a notoriously difficult concept to pin down, having very different meanings in different contexts. This book seeks to chart a route through the maze, revealing the variety of meanings of culture. It demonstrates that culture is not something that emerges from out of human activity, but rather is part and parcel of it. This book looks at how culture emerges and manifests itself in human life, and how it is experienced in the life of individuals and collectivities. It also explores the ways in which globalizing processes and changes in technology are affecting cultural identity, and w
Chapter 2: Entering Culture
As individuals, we are born into culture. We emerge from an undifferentiated state in which we identify with our surroundings, comfortable in the safety of our mother's womb, into a world that is strange and alien. We strive at first to re-establish the primal comfort we have known, identifying with our new surroundings and not making a clear distinction between what constitutes our self and what does not, but we are forced little by little to come to terms with the separation birth involves: the fact that, ultimately, we are alone in the world. This is not easy to accept. The experience of birth – perhaps for all beings – is traumatic. As Otto Rank (1993) has shown, in being born we ...