Culture Text

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Culture Text

  1. 1. Culture Text and the Journey of the Sign
  2. 2. In what way is this a ‘culture text’ ?
  3. 3. What is the impact of point of view on our understanding of the ‘culture text’ ?
  4. 4. The Semiotics of Culture Cultural Models and Cultural Texts
  5. 5. A Typological Description of Culture <ul><li>Every aspect of culture creates its own conception of cultural development, that is, its own cultural typology </li></ul><ul><li>One’s own culture… is contrasted to the ‘ lack of culture ’ of other groups </li></ul><ul><li>This is done using the feature: ‘ organization – non-organization ’ </li></ul><ul><li>One’s own culture = ‘ the norm ’ in a system in which ‘ the other ’ is opposed to it </li></ul>
  6. 6. Some Questions <ul><li>What do we understand by the word ‘typology’? </li></ul><ul><li>In what ways might culture be viewed as oppositional? </li></ul><ul><li>What does the process of organization contribute to our understanding of culture? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we understand terms like ‘norm’ and ‘metalanguage’ in relation to culture? </li></ul><ul><li>In what sense might a cultural typology be understood as a sign system? </li></ul><ul><li>How does Lotman position the concept of non-culture? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Organising Culture <ul><li>Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Customs </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Weddings </li></ul><ul><li>Funerals </li></ul><ul><li>Relations </li></ul><ul><li>The organization of life </li></ul>
  8. 8. Cultural Typology <ul><li>Is determined according to the position of the observer </li></ul><ul><li>Is framed by ‘ systems of description ’: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychological </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Lotman’s Approach to the development of a Cultural Typology <ul><li>Cultural comparisons across historical periods are fruitful </li></ul><ul><li>Describing ‘one’s own’ culture from an ‘internal’ point of view is difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Describing culture as psychological, historical or sociological formalises it </li></ul><ul><li>Describing culture in this way precludes the possibility of identifying the common universals of human culture </li></ul><ul><li>The historical study of culture is problematical as it can only focus on one culture and one point of view at a time </li></ul>
  10. 10. Some Questions <ul><li>What is Lotman trying to get at here? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does he draw a distinction between cultural phenomena per se and the idea of cultural universals? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think a typology comprised of ‘cultural universals’ is possible? </li></ul><ul><li>How does Lotman’s view on history differ between the first point he makes and the last one (see previous slide)? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Lotman’s Aims <ul><li>Develop a metalanguage which allows both the examination of a particular culture but which, at the same time, provides a method of describing culture . </li></ul><ul><li>Create a uniform system of metalanguage which does not coincide with the language of culture in question so as to provide a means of determining the cultural universals required for a typological study . </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a means of studying culture from the point of view of universals thereby generating the possibility of comprehending all the variety of existing cultural texts as a single structurally organized system . </li></ul><ul><li>To do so on the basis of spatial models … utilizing the apparatus of topology </li></ul>
  12. 12. The ‘culture text’ <ul><li>Is the most abstract model of reality </li></ul><ul><li>Represents the ‘world view’ of a culture </li></ul><ul><li>Adopts a universal point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Inhabits a discrete space </li></ul><ul><li>Has two features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Those characterising the structure of the world (immobile) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those characterising the place, disposition and activity of man in the surrounding world (mobile) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Culture text and cultural models <ul><li>The space of a cultural text is a universal set of elements of the given culture </li></ul><ul><li>Culture texts described using spatial modelling may be categorised as cultural models </li></ul><ul><li>The culture text is an interpretation of these models </li></ul>
  14. 14. Cultural Models <ul><li>The basic characteristics of cultural models are: </li></ul><ul><li>Types of fragmentation of universal space ( divisions ) </li></ul><ul><li>The dimension of the universal space ( boundaries ) </li></ul><ul><li>Orientation ( directionality/movement ) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Boundary and Modelling Systems <ul><li>The boundary is an essential element of the spatial metalanguage of a cultural description </li></ul><ul><li>In the cultural model the continuity of the space is broken at the extreme points, the boundary always belongs but to one space – the internal or the external – and never to both at the same time. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Cultural Models, Culture Text and Sign Systems <ul><li>The establishment of relations between cultural models and cultural texts requires specific rules of correspondence. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the fundamental characteristics of cultural types is their relation to the problem of semiotics. The language of spatial relationships must be able to model various structures of sign systems. </li></ul>

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