Classification Of Cultures Essays

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Culture is a hot topic. Scholars (Fukoyama, Huntington, to mention but two) disagree about whether this is the end of history or the beginning of a particularly nasty chapter of it.

What makes cultures tick and why some of them tick discernibly better than others – is the main bone of contention.

We can view cultures through the prism of their attitude towards their constituents : the individuals they are comprised of. More so, we can classify them in accordance with their approach towards "humanness", the experience of being human.

Some cultures are evidently anthropocentric – others are anthropo-transcendental. These two lingual coins need elaboration to be fully comprehended.

A culture which cherishes the human potential
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A culture can be described by using a few axes :

Distinguishing versus Consuming cultures

Some cultures give weight and presence (though not necessarily equal) to each of their constituent elements (the individual and social structures). Each such element is idiosyncratic and unique. Such cultures would accentuate attention to details, private enterprise, initiative, innovation, entrepreneurship, inventiveness, youth, status symbols, consumption, money, creativity, art, science and technology.

These are the things that distinguish one individual from another.

Other cultures engulf their constituents, assimilate them to the point of consumption. They are deemed, a priori, to be redundant, their worth a function of their actual contribution to the whole.

Such cultures emphasize generalizations, stereotypes, conformity, consensus, belonging, social structures, procedures, forms, undertakings involving the labour or other input of human masses.

Future versus Past Oriented Cultures

Some cultures look to the past – real or imaginary – for inspiration, motivation, sustenance, hope, guidance and direction. These cultures tend to direct their efforts and resources and invest them in what IS. They are, therefore, bound to be materialistic, figurative, substantive, earthly.

They are likely to prefer old…