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Offline JMT

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Culture Culture
« on: June 14, 2017, 09:20:55 am »
In honour of MH - discuss.

I'm joking :P
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 12:40:18 pm by jmt18325 »

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Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2017, 09:53:42 am »
Ask and you shall receive.  With such a broad and general topic, I decided to take Google's first returned site on 'elements of culture' without quotes:
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The major elements of culture are symbols, language, norms, values, and artifacts. Language makes effective social interaction possible and influences how people conceive of concepts and objects. Major values that distinguish the United States include individualism, competition, and a commitment to the work ethic.

From the University of Minnesota library:
http://open.lib.umn.edu/sociology/chapter/3-2-the-elements-of-culture/

Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 01:09:59 pm »


Reading the article 'artifacts' is the most confusing:

'The last element of culture is the artifacts, or material objects, that constitute a society’s material culture.'

Then they say that the wheel and cellphones are artifacts, so I would instead call that technological landscape or media topology.

So we have now:

So:
symbols, language, norms, values, and media topology.

Communication happens between people over media topology,using language to convey norms and values via symbols.  I'm going to come up with a sweeping and unnecessarily abstract simplification at some point.

Offline kimmy

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 01:52:20 am »

Reading the article 'artifacts' is the most confusing:

'The last element of culture is the artifacts, or material objects, that constitute a society’s material culture.'

Then they say that the wheel and cellphones are artifacts, so I would instead call that technological landscape or media topology.

Thinking of artifacts, one tends to think of stuff like arrow heads or rune stones or Stonehenge or other things.  Technology might fit part of the story but not all of it.  Arrow heads were, in part, the hunting technology of the people that made them, but they were also a part of a lifestyle that was central to the culture.  Hunting was not just an activity, it was the driving force behind everything. Stonehenge might have been a calendar technology of a sort, but it was more. It had spiritual importance that went beyond just marking the solstices and equinoxes.   Rune stones and tablets with hieroglyphics may have been media, but they were used to record stories and information that was considered too significant to trust to parchment and charcoal. Carven stone was supposed to last forever.

I'm not sure just any wheel would be an artifact, but the automobile may be one of our society's iconic artifacts of the era from the end of WWII right through to now.  Perhaps the cell phone is becoming the new iconic artifact.

 -k
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Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 05:00:09 am »
That's why I ditched 'artifact'.  An artifact is just a cultural object, by definition.  A fidget spinner and a smartphone are not equally important to a culture.

I am still working out the sweeping generalization...

Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2018, 08:39:28 am »
Almost a year old but I couldn't find another thread for this other than Culture Culture:

Larman's Laws of Organizational Behavior
(Russian translation here)

After decades of observation and organizational consulting, here are Larman's Laws of Organizational Behavior. These are observations rather than laws to follow ;)


1. Organizations are implicitly optimized to avoid changing the status quo middle- and first-level manager and “specialist” positions & power structures.

2. As a corollary to (1), any change initiative will be reduced to redefining or overloading the new terminology to mean basically the same as status quo.

3. As a corollary to (1), any change initiative will be derided as “purist”, “theoretical”, “revolutionary”, "religion", and “needing pragmatic customization for local concerns” — which deflects from addressing weaknesses and manager/specialist status quo.

4. As a corollary to (1), if after changing the change some managers and single-specialists are still displaced, they become “coaches/trainers” for the change, frequently reinforcing (2) and (3).

5. Culture follows structure.

http://www.craiglarman.com/wiki/index.php?title=Larman%27s_Laws_of_Organizational_Behavior

Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2018, 08:36:09 am »
'Culture Culture' seems like a place to post about a new font: Brand New Roman !

TRY IT
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Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2020, 09:15:30 am »
I posted about 'culture' on Facebook today.  I'd like to get some heady ideas if you have them, about the trajectory of 'our' common culture.  Keeping in mind: 1) Most people can't see past their nose and 2) One thing a fish knows exactly nothing about, is water

But for those of us who grew up in the highly-centrally-programmed cultures of the 60s and 70s you must agree that we have had an explosion of all kinds of culture since then.  And we now have platforms for marginal voices, to the extent that forces that oppose our governments and way of life have a substantial following.

The effect is that there is no "we" anymore.  We have a galaxy of perspectives that no longer converge on any kind of centre. 

My questions:

1) Can we sustain this ?
2) If not, is it changing or will it change ?   ie. Will the galaxy of perspectives become something else ?
3) How would it change ? Will it change towards some kind of equilibrium ?  Is there a model for this, from the past ?  I'm thinking if there is, it's more like our media topology between the 19th century and early radio days.
4)  If we can/can't sustain it... how will our mental model for all of this change to accommodate this ?  ie. How will we live in a community with no centre ? 

I kept this short - let's see some short and interesting ideas on Culture Culture  ;D

Offline Nipples Von Graham

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2020, 01:13:17 am »
But for those of us who grew up in the highly-centrally-programmed cultures of the 60s and 70s you must agree that we have had an explosion of all kinds of culture since then.  And we now have platforms for marginal voices, to the extent that forces that oppose our governments and way of life have a substantial following.

The effect is that there is no "we" anymore.  We have a galaxy of perspectives that no longer converge on any kind of centre.

Media has changed a lot since the 70's obviously, mainly due to technology.

With the past centralized media, it was mainly controlled by professional white and jewish men, not because they were evil, but because that's just who mainly worked in large media companies, especially in positions of power.  Social media means those who create media are now much younger, and social change means more women and minorities have more power in media to control cultural content.  We have more ethnic minorities in our society now, and they tend to be younger, so they now have much more of a voice.

What we have now and always have had is a culture war, to control the message, whether conscious or unconscious.  In international relations, the most stable type of international order is a hegemonic world, which we've had from the the early 1990's until recently with the US as the hegemonic power.  The next most stable is a bi-polar order, ie: the Cold War, and now with the rise of China vs the US.  The least stable is the multi-polar order, ie: WWII and prior.

When white men ruled, it was a mainly hegemonic cultural order, with minorities and women given some scraps, and not as much cultural conflict as now.  Now it's becoming a multipolar order, with people of many different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations jockeying for power based on whatever group they belong to.  This has led to more cultural instability and conflict.

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1) Can we sustain this ?

Who knows, we have no choice.  Might not be pretty though.

Quote
2) If not, is it changing or will it change ?   ie. Will the galaxy of perspectives become something else ?

Technology and demographics have a huge part in cultural change.  It's possible to predict future demographics, which will be more diverse, so that will create even more cultural conflict.  We have no way of predicting how technology will change in the future, and thus no way to predict the forms of media we'll consume.  Seems likely to remain less centralized though.

Quote
3) How would it change ? Will it change towards some kind of equilibrium ?

I expect no equilibrium in the foreseeable future,  I expect more cultural conflict as society continues to become more diverse.  Different identity groups will continue to jockey for power.  Why wouldn't they?  People always want to control the narrative.

Quote
4)  If we can/can't sustain it... how will our mental model for all of this change to accommodate this ?  ie. How will we live in a community with no centre ?

Great question.  I just think more bubbles will form and deepen, and we'll have to learn to live with that while putting up with our neighbours.  Much easier said than done.  Multiculturalism is only going to deepen.  Multiculturalism means there's no center culture, and it means conflict between cultures is much more likely.  Aboriginal Canada, vs anglo Canada vs french Canada...now add more cultures to the mix:  Punjabi/Sikh Canada, Chinese Canada, Muslim Canada etc.  I'm a Canadian nationalist because I want there to be a "center" culture, not just an "anglo Canada" and a "french Canada".  Nothing wrong with having differences, but it's good to have some kind of common culture also to unify us.  Trudeau is naive because he wants multiculturalism and a "post-national state", but doesn't understand the dangers inherent in that.  He's an idealist.  He and many others are hell-bent on eroding much of the common culture Canada has ever had.  They want a multi-polar order but also expect unity.  That's naive idealism.  Quebec is the canary in the coalmine, because they've always rejected multiculturalism.
I can tell how good of a person you are by how you treat the people you disagree with.

Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2020, 07:35:38 am »
Media has changed a lot since the 70's obviously, mainly due to technology.

Yes... there's also an aspect of technology evolving into its 'best' use.  I would say that the generation that grew up watching television, for example, understood television than the first content producers - who came from radio.  The people producing web content now grew up with the web.

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With the past centralized media, it was mainly controlled by professional white and jewish men, not because they were evil, but because that's just who mainly worked in large media companies, especially in positions of power.

Yes.  The 'Jewish' angle had to do with Jews in America.  You can read a book called "Our Crowd" which is just fascinating in its detailed review of the Jewish experience in transition from Germany to New York.  It was anti-Semitism that ironically was to account for the Jewish tradition of entrepreneurship ... and which happened to land in America at the time when new media (film, radio) were evolving from vaudeville.   The nickelodeons were small arcades that had hand cranked film viewers.  These were eventually to become the powerful cinema chains, etc.

Another factor that drove this to white-anglo/Jewish men was the huge capital costs involved in building, maintaining and running the infrastructure.  So the existing business networks had to be used to develop film and radio.

I am going to respond to the rest of your post separately.  You wrote a lot of substance, so it can be broken down into a few topics.


Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2020, 07:44:11 am »
 
When white men ruled, it was a mainly hegemonic cultural order, with minorities and women given some scraps, and not as much cultural conflict as now.  Now it's becoming a multipolar order, with people of many different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations jockeying for power based on whatever group they belong to.  This has led to more cultural instability and conflict.

And it's usually informative to examine culture change TOGETHER with infrastructure and demographic change. 

After the advent of television, you had an effective expansion of primordial 'cyber space' or really media space.  You now had television as the natural medium for entertainment in the form of story telling.  So long form radio plays effectively died in the 1950s.  The vacuum in AM radio was filled by DJs who played for the burgeoning post-war demographic of the 'teenager'... who could listen on smaller sets in their bedrooms while the family watched Gunsmoke.  With their own media space, teenagers developed a separate and new identity.

In the 1960s, television popped into colour and the artistry of the medium began to gain its own look and feel.  Panel discussions and public television gave space to liberal themes, and you had a new kind of public intellectual and political oratory eg. the guise of JFK.   As the decade went on, the speed and vibrancy of the medium coupled with hippie culture and eventually you had coverage of protests, the summer of love and Laugh In.

It's not enough to examine cultural and demographic changes in isolation.  You need to look at both.  I'll admit that my points aren't easy to confirm, but in retrospect it seems obvious to me at least.   

More to come later.  I'll respond to the rest of your substantive note here, and we can talk about cable networks and the web next.

Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2020, 08:26:59 am »
Technology and demographics have a huge part in cultural change.  It's possible to predict future demographics, which will be more diverse, so that will create even more cultural conflict.  We have no way of predicting how technology will change in the future, and thus no way to predict the forms of media we'll consume.  Seems likely to remain less centralized though.

YES.  Less centralized.  But... you can look to the past at epochs that were multi-cultural with decentralized communication.  Sumeria, Rome, Babylon etc.  Not that those examples would comfort us any.

Quote
I expect no equilibrium in the foreseeable future,  I expect more cultural conflict as society continues to become more diverse.  Different identity groups will continue to jockey for power.  Why wouldn't they?  People always want to control the narrative.

But 'diverse' is a malleable concept too.  Diverse how ?  I already see alliances between fundamentalist Christians and religious Muslims, between LGBTQ and corporate money, etc.  A 'public' is a group of people with common interests, and levers to power.  Too many publics is a problem, but media serenity and calmness could conceivably lead to conflict resolutions, alliances and new frameworks.

Offline MH

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2020, 12:03:46 pm »
I just think more bubbles will form and deepen, and we'll have to learn to live with that while putting up with our neighbours.  Much easier said than done.  Multiculturalism is only going to deepen.  Multiculturalism means there's no center culture, and it means conflict between cultures is much more likely. 

As I have said before, the idea that multiculturalism is 180 degrees different from the melting pot negates reality.  I know people from China, Israel, etc. who feel more at home in Canada than in their 'home' countries.  Multiculturalism is, to me, an assertion of one's right to express their background without apology but it doesn't mean that Canadians don't blend in.  Far from it, we have had this policy for almost 50 years and Canada is regarded as a model for tolerance internationally.

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I want there to be a "center" culture, not just an "anglo Canada" and a "french Canada".

There will be a "centre".  I do think it will be language based, which is an odd dichotomy maybe.

Quote
  Nothing wrong with having differences, but it's good to have some kind of common culture also to unify us.  Trudeau is naive because he wants multiculturalism and a "post-national state", but doesn't understand the dangers inherent in that.  He's an idealist.  He and many others are hell-bent on eroding much of the common culture Canada has ever had.  They want a multi-polar order but also expect unity.  That's naive idealism.  Quebec is the canary in the coalmine, because they've always rejected multiculturalism.

There is absolutely nothing new in the policies of Trudeau here that I can see.  Don't mistake talk for action.


Offline eyeball

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2020, 02:30:40 pm »
I posted about 'culture' on Facebook today.  I'd like to get some heady ideas if you have them, about the trajectory of 'our' common culture.  Keeping in mind: 1) Most people can't see past their nose and 2) One thing a fish knows exactly nothing about, is water

But for those of us who grew up in the highly-centrally-programmed cultures of the 60s and 70s you must agree that we have had an explosion of all kinds of culture since then.  And we now have platforms for marginal voices, to the extent that forces that oppose our governments and way of life have a substantial following.

The effect is that there is no "we" anymore.  We have a galaxy of perspectives that no longer converge on any kind of centre.
 

The physics of relativity may provide a clue why. There is no absolute center or singularity of agreement for the same reason two physicists can't make the same precise measurement of a single photon's behaviour at the same time.   

Quote
My questions:

1) Can we sustain this ?
Maybe its more a matter of accepting it for what it is by realizing the idea of an absolute we is and always has been an illusion that's impossible to resolve. Everything is relative to the observer and even more so as they increase their efforts to pin the same thing down at the same time and place.  Obviously a compromise of some sort is what we get by with because its the only way forward.
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2) If not, is it changing or will it change ?   ie. Will the galaxy of perspectives become something else ?
Taken together, Graham's answer to the 2nd question and Michael's 3rd question shaped my next response.
Quote
Technology and demographics have a huge part in cultural change.  It's possible to predict future demographics, which will be more diverse, so that will create even more cultural conflict.  We have no way of predicting how technology will change in the future, and thus no way to predict the forms of media we'll consume.  Seems likely to remain less centralized though.

Quote
3) How would it change ? Will it change towards some kind of equilibrium ?  Is there a model for this, from the past ?  I'm thinking if there is, it's more like our media topology between the 19th century and early radio days.

Recent events and now this thread have have steered me towards thinking about the psychohistorian Hari Seldon in the sci-fi Foundation Series.  In the story Hari Seldon develops a theory of mathematical sociology and uses it to predict the collapse of a centralized Galactic Empire followed by a 30,000 year interregnum. He crafts a plan to shorten that to a 1000 years based on using his theory to predict the future of large populations[sic].

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A key feature of Seldon's theory, which has proved influential in real-world social science,[3] is an uncertainty or incompleteness principle: if a population gains knowledge of its predicted behavior, its self-aware collective actions become unpredictable.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_series
   
Sort of like a particle that can't be pinned down.

Technological development and how it shapes society is as big a feature in the Foundation story as it is in this thread but will the bigger influence on what shapes cultural forms in our future be technological or sociological?  The latter I think.

Quote
4)  If we can/can't sustain it... how will our mental model for all of this change to accommodate this ?  ie. How will we live in a community with no centre ? 
We'll live in several communities that are changing according to us not the other way around. Technology will be a key feature in each communities cultural and physical sustainability and especially with regards to the natural biophysical environment they occupy but ultimately what people do will be the determining factor and predicting what that will be is the rub. In any case the future is ahead of us not in the rear-view mirror.

Offline eyeball

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Re: Culture Culture
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2020, 02:35:08 pm »

There will be a "centre".  I do think it will be language based, which is an odd dichotomy maybe.

Hoe about a center that's technological and based on science? Science is probably closer to a universal language, which probably holds true right across the universe come to think of it. We should be able to communicate with anyone technically speaking, or speaking technically if it happens to be with intelligent cephalopods.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2020, 02:48:32 pm by eyeball »