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Allusion to the original meaning of the word: Special exhibition "The apple - culture with a stick" in the Hessenpark open-air museum in 2015
The Parthenon in Athens is a classic symbol of ancient European building culture

In the broadest sense, culture denotes everything that humans produce themselves in a creative way - in contrast to nature that they have not created or changed . According to the broader definition, cultural achievements are all formative transformations of a given material, for example in technology , agriculture , food preparation or fine arts , but also spiritual structures (such as the cultura animi "spiritual culture" in Cicero) or " subcultures " such as music , languages , morals , Religion , law , economics and science . The South African medical anthropologist Cecil Helman defined culture in 1984 in terms of human behavior: it is a system of “guidelines” for the individual as a member of a particular society.

In the course of history, the concept of culture has repeatedly been determined from different sides. Depending on the circumstances, the term culture expresses the lively self- image and the zeitgeist of an era , the status or claim to power of certain social classes or also scientific and philosophical-anthropological views. The range of meanings is correspondingly large and ranges from a purely descriptive ( descriptive ) use (“the culture of that time”) to a prescriptive ( normative ) use, if the latter is associated with claims to be met with the concept of culture.

The concept of culture can refer to a social group of people who are assigned a certain culture, or to what all people should have (see the concept of culture in comparative social research ). Similarities of a group of people or of the whole of humanity then serve to distinguish this group from others or between humans and animals .

There are a number of agreements and laws with regard to the protection of cultural property . The UNESCO and its partner organizations to coordinate international protection and local reactions.

Concept history

Word origin

The word "culture" is the Germanization of the Latin word cultura ("development, processing, order, care"), which is derived from the Latin colere ("cultivate, maintain, cultivate, train"). The terms colony and cult have the same origin . “Culture” has been documented in the German language since the end of the 17th century and has been used from the beginning to refer to both soil cultivation (agricultural cultivation) and the “care of spiritual goods” (spiritual culture, i.e. care of the language or a science). In the 19th century, the Nuremberg industrial and cultural association also used the word culture in the sense of "soil culture". Today, the term's agricultural reference is only widespread in terms such as cultivated land for arable land or cultivation for reclamation ; related meanings such as cell and bacterial cultures are also used in biology . In the 20th century, cultural is used as an adjective, but with a clear spiritual focus.

The origin of the Latin word colere is derived from the Indo-European root kuel- for “[to] turn, turn”, so that the original meaning is probably to be sought in the sense of “busy being”.


Pliny the Elder did not yet coined the word “culture” for a term, but did differentiate between terrenus (belonging to the earth) and facticius (artificially produced). In Latin, the term cultura is applied both to the personal culture of individuals and to the culture of certain historical periods. So characterized z. B. Cicero 's philosophy as cultura animi , that is, as care of the spirit. In addition to culture as a material culture with Pliny, there is also culture as a processing of one's own personality.

Modern times

Immanuel Kant's determination of the human being as a creator of culture takes place in relation to nature. For Kant, human beings and culture are the ultimate ends of nature. With this end of nature, the moral ability of the human being to the categorical imperative is connected: “Act only according to the maxim through which you can at the same time want it to become a general law.” To recognize such a general law as “ belongs to the idea of morality nor about culture. ”It is this guiding principle of moral action that separates man from nature on the one hand, and on the other hand stands as the ultimate goal of nature in its service to respect and pursue this goal. Without this moral principle, humans can only develop technologically, which leads to civilization .

The anthropologist Edward Tylor determined culture in 1871 (“Primitive Culture”) taking up Darwin's theory of evolution and thus gave a first definition based on the findings of natural science: “Culture or civilization in the broadest ethnographic sense is the epitome of knowledge, belief, art, morality , Law, custom and all other abilities and habits that man has acquired as a member of society . "

According to Albert Schweitzer, culture ultimately strives for “the spiritual and moral perfection of the individual”: “The struggle for existence is twofold. Man has to assert himself in nature and against nature and also among people and against people. The struggle for existence is diminished by the fact that the rule of reason extends both over nature and over human, stinking nature in the greatest possible and most expedient manner. So culture is essentially twofold. It is realized in the rule of reason over the forces of nature and in the rule of reason over human attitudes. "

The French cultural philosopher Claude Lévi-Strauss compared the concept of language with culture: culture behaves like language: only an outsider can recognize and interpret the rules and structures on which it is based.

Culture and civilization

The contrast between “culture” and “civilization” goes back to Kant

In the German-speaking area in particular, the general understanding of the term has developed a distinction between culture and civilization , while in the English-speaking area, for example, only one word was used for "culture" (civilization) for a long time (compare the title of the book by Samuel P. Huntington Clash of Civilizations , German clash of civilizations ). It is only in the last few decades that culture has also become more common, without, however, referring to any contrast to civilization .

The earliest formulation of this contrast in the German language comes from Immanuel Kant:

“We are highly cultivated through art and science. We are civilized to the point of being overburdened, to all sorts of social politeness and decency. But to consider ourselves already moralized is still very much missing. For the idea of ​​morality still belongs to culture; but the use of this idea, which only comes down to what is morally similar in love of honor and external decency, only constitutes civilization. "

For Kant, “civilization” means that people educate themselves to be with one another, adopt manners and know how to organize their everyday life comfortably and practically, and that perhaps through science and technology they produce vehicles, hospitals and refrigerators. However, all of this is not enough for them to “have culture”, although it could serve culture. Because for Kant the condition for culture is the “idea of ​​morality” (the categorical imperative ), i. This means that people consciously direct their actions towards ends that are in themselves good .

Wilhelm von Humboldt connects with this by referring the contrast to the external and internal of the human being: the formation and development of the personality are moments of culture, while purely practical and technical things belong to the realm of civilization.

For Oswald Spengler , civilization has negative connotations when it denotes the inevitable dissolution of culture. Spengler saw cultures as living organisms which, in analogy to the development of the human individual, go through a youth, a manhood and an old age and then perish. Civilization corresponds to the last of these stages, so civilized man no longer has a future culture. Civilizations “are a degree; they follow becoming as what has become, life as death, development as rigidity [...] They are an end [sc. of culture], irrevocable, but with the utmost necessity they have been achieved again and again. "

Helmuth Plessner even considers the German word “culture” to be almost impossible to translate. He sees a religious function in its "empathic" meaning:

“Culture, the German epitome of intellectual activity and its output in the secular field, is a word that is difficult to translate. It does not coincide with civilization, with sophistication and education or even work. All of these terms are too sober or too flat, too formal, or ›western‹ or tied to another sphere. They lack the heaviness, the pregnant fullness, the soul-like pathos that was associated with this word in the German consciousness of the 19th and 20th centuries and which makes its often empathic use understandable. "

Cultural nation and state nation

The concept of the cultural nation emerged in the 19th century as an expression of an understanding of the nation represented less by politics and military power than by cultural characteristics. The historian Friedrich Meinecke saw in the cultural similarities that hold a nation together, in addition to common “cultural property” (e.g. the Weimar Classic ), above all religious similarities. There is still no talk of nationality in this context.

While at the beginning there was talk of a cultural nation in a critical sense compared to the state nation, since the German national feeling (from language, traditions, culture and religion) was not reflected by political particularism , the term changed under the influence of folk ideas: As a basis a cultural nation was now understood to be a “people” in the sense of a “community of descent”. This concept of a people, in turn, had a critical effect on the political and legal concept of the state people, which represents the entirety of all citizens of a state.

Modern developments

Systems theory approach

For the systems theorist Niklas Luhmann , from a historical perspective, culture only begins when a society succeeds not only in making observations of people and their environment, but also in developing the forms and perspectives of observing the observations . Such a society is not only highly differentiated into experts culturally and in terms of division of labor, but has also trained second-level experts. The latter examine the modes of observation of the former and help to understand them in their contingency; That is, only now are the contents of culture understood as something made and not as an ability given to humans. Culture can thus be deconstructed and reconstructed.

"Historical Anthropology"

A current field of work, which could be described as "historically oriented anthropology ", examines the determinations of "human nature" made in the course of history. The order of the senses , for example, shows that their number cannot be clearly defined at five, that they appear partly hierarchically and partly equally. This means that the senses also have a story if they are culturally coded. For example, a preference for the sense of sight over other senses is evident for Western culture. Further fields of historical anthropology are:

  • A history of the soul and feelings emerges from the relationship between the spatial-material external world and the interiority of the human subject without expansion . It is precisely in this context that views can develop which feelings should not be understood as inner states of the individual, but rather spatially extended atmospheres.
  • The historical relationship between “the” health and “the” diseases can be used to investigate how what is considered healthy and what is viewed as pathological is shifting again and again without a fixed boundary being recognizable here. Rather, every definition is culture-dependent, which is particularly evident in the case of mental illnesses, as evidenced by the variable and indefinite use of the terms "nervousness", "hysteria" and "hypochondria" in the period from the 18th to the 20th century.
  • The gender relationship is now being investigated in a large number of scientific disciplines, with gender studies in particular devoting itself to it . The coming of the Anglo-Saxon distinction between biological sex (Engl. Sex ) and gender role (Engl. Gender ) has prevailed in the German-speaking area. Above all, Judith Butler pointed out that the biological gender is subject to cultural interpretation and thus “typically male” or “typically female” characteristics cannot be defined: gender roles and “gender” are constructed .

Variants and limits of the concept of culture

The Germanist and professor for intercultural business communication Jürgen Bolten differentiates compositions with the root word cult in terms of their meaning in four clearly distinguishable groups. He encompasses two of them under a broad concept of culture: (1.) Culture as living environment or ethnicity, in the sense of: to live or to be resident; (2.) Culture as biological cultures, in the sense of: cultivating, practicing agriculture. He includes two more under a narrow cultural term: (3.) Culture as "high" culture, in the sense of: to maintain, adorn, revere, and (4.) Culture as a cult or cult, in the sense of: to worship, adore, to celebrate. Bolten attributes the narrow concept of culture to the separation of culture and civilization, which was mainly represented by Immanuel Kant and later by Oswald Spengler (see also the section on “Culture and Civilization” ).

Other authors refer to Cicero , Herder , von Humboldt with regard to the development of the concept of culture in German-speaking countries .

Given the large number of different uses of the word "culture" and the variety of competing scientific definitions, it seems sensible, instead of a better understanding of culture of many cultural concept en speaking. As early as 1952, 170 different definitions were counted. To a certain extent, culture is a variable that depends on the various framework conditions of various subject areas and their perspectives. The cultural philosopher Egon Friedell advocated the following provocative thesis:

"Culture is a wealth of problems"

Contrasting culture and nature

The Hubble Telescope

The concept that makes the emergence of culture understandable and clearly delimits the term contrasts culture with nature. This defines everything as a culture that humans change and produce on their own initiative, while the term nature encompasses that which is by itself as it is.

However, with "natural" something can mean always that by culture techniques such as art and science described was. The limits of what “nature” designates are being expanded more and more through human research: the electron microscope , for example, makes the smallest particles visible, while the Hubble telescope shows the large cosmic scales. However, if nature can only be perceived through cultural technology, it ultimately seems that “everything is culture”. This makes the idea that culture is always dealing with the other , the new and the alien, increasingly implausible , because if everything is culture, then it is unclear what is actually meant by the term.

If culture is still to be understood as coping with the other, nature, then nature must not be thought of as spatially opposing humans, but the other is inscribed in culture itself . The other does not simply exist alongside or outside of the culture, but clings to it like a downside. “Nature” would then be a borderline term that encompasses “something” that is described and worked on by humans, but which at the same time means that this “something” is never directly accessible. There is no such thing as “nature in itself”, only descriptions of nature. The exact mathematical physics is only one possible form of the representation of nature, although the mathematical description of nature can gradually approach the essence of “nature” within its given logic. Ernst Cassirer described this changed conception of nature as the transition from substance to function in his 1910 treatise Substance Concept and Function Concept.

The concept of culture outside of Western thought

In principle, the juxtaposition of nature and culture is a typical European order pattern. Ethnology has shown that there is no world view that is understood by all people as it were. The dichotomy nature ↔ culture, which is taken for granted in the “modern world” , does not exist in all peoples. For example, Amazon indigenous people also regard animals, plants, natural phenomena and nature spirits as human beings . According to their imagination, they exist temporarily in a different form, but are also full-fledged "cultural beings".

Normative use of the term

Various questions are raised when the term “culture” is used not only descriptively (descriptively) but also normatively (prescriptively). In this sense, “culture” means not only what is actually found, but also what should be , for example non- violence .

A normative use of the term culture is not uncommon in everyday language, as one hears, for example, that a “culture of violence” is only talked about in a pejorative way - such a culture would be an “unculture”. So often moral standards are connected with the concept of culture. However, this creates the difficulty of determining what can be understood by “violence” and when it can be avoided. Not only do different cultures have different understandings of when an act is violent, but also of what is injured by the violence in the first place.

The concept of culture in biology

However much an organism adapts to its environment: an inheritance by learning or physical adaptation of acquired characteristics is considered impossible because the in genome -scale innate characteristics - apart from a few epigenetic factors whose influence width but was already enshrined in the genome - are not changed by environmental influences. Nevertheless, it is possible that an animal passes on characteristics acquired by its parents through imprinting or learning to its own offspring. “The non-genetic transmission of information from one generation to the next is commonly referred to as a cultural tradition .” In behavioral biology , such cultural traditions are often referred to as culture .

There are cultural traditions for birds, for example, in which the young animals take over the typical song from their parents by way of imprinting. The use of tools in animals also often corresponds to the definition of cultural tradition . The most far-reaching examples are found in apes and the crows and ravens .

Emergence of culture

Biological prerequisites in humans and environmental conditions

The self-confidence of the psychic acts opens up the changeability of oneself and the world to man: Things are not given immutable, but an understanding of the possible develops . The symbolic representation allows possibilities to be played out and things to be combined. Man has an open relationship to his environment, which does not linearly determine him and his actions (pre-determined), but can react freely to them. The favorable climatic conditions of the last 10,000 years (geological section of the Holocene ) have made it possible for civilizations to develop since the last ice age. Through agriculture, division of labor and population growth (see Neolithic Revolution ), the societies that produced science and the arts were able to differentiate themselves.

Culture as coping

The question of the basic needs

In relation to the natural environment, humans are faced with many challenges and dangers and, like every living being, are dependent on satisfying their biological-physiological needs from their natural environment. For example, Bronisław Malinowski tried , in historical retrospect, to reveal the challenges posed to people as “ basic human needs ”. On the basis of historical comparisons, he tried to uncover a finite number of such basic needs, from which all human activities could then be explained. Also functionalist - evolutionary theories of culture as seen in the various culture techniques alone means that serve the purpose of survival. Culture would then be the satisfaction of the same human needs.

However, it cannot simply be assumed that cultural products merely satisfy basic human needs. This becomes clear, for example, in the modern transport system: New technical means of transport not only make it possible to cover greater distances, but they also make it socially necessary to cover ever greater distances. Therefore, it cannot simply be said that the airplane, for example, satisfies a basic need for intercontinental flights. Cultural institutions are therefore not only a response to demands from nature or natural needs, but also a response to structures that they themselves have created; they require new institutions (Malinowski), which is why they are essentially self-referential. The modern cultural industry , for example, does not serve any vital needs with music , cinema and television , but rather represents a world of its own that creates certain needs in the first place.

The fact that cultural achievements are accompanied by a joy in discovering, in inventing and creating something new, which is not aimed at direct benefit, can be clearly seen in the work of the cultural philosopher Ernst Cassirers and his examination of the Renaissance . It should be borne in mind that technical innovations in the Renaissance did not only serve to better process nature and thus satisfy basic needs, but were also used to a large extent in art.

Shaping and ordering of what is random and unstructured

Functionalist theories, which interpret everything that humans do for their survival, ignore the meaningful character of human cultural activity. Culture also creates structures of meaning and systems of order that create a place in the human world for what is given by chance ( contingents ) and in disorder. This means that in the process of culture, people try to give the random and disordered a structure, to make them recognizable, symbolically communicable or usable. At the same time, culture is always behind in the demands and challenges that people face; it is a retrospective overcoming of contingency.

Integration into already existing structures of meaning and form relationships

If extraordinary events are culturally processed by the individual or a group, this does not take place in a vacuum. Traditional relationships of meaning and form, ways of thinking and practices are used to cope with this, but these in turn are contingent, i. That is , they did not necessarily have to come into being in exactly this form for all human cultures. This means that no general cultural development that is the same for all human communities can be traced or predicted. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that even symbol systems with universal claims such as mathematics have experienced different forms in different cultures (see also the history of mathematics ).

Culture as a symbolic generation of meaning

Buddhist statues
Culture as a symbolic reference to the world

When people refer to themselves or to their environment, they do so not only through their bodily senses, but above all through symbols . In contrast to animals, whose behavior patterns and reactions are instinctively prescribed or conditioned , humans can relate to things in the world with the help of symbols, for example words. Symbols make things manageable while keeping them in certain respects represent . Man can describe nature through mathematical symbols or sing about it through poetic words, he can paint or dance, carve it in stone or describe it in text. Individual things appear to him from a religious, scientific, ideological, aesthetic, rational or political point of view, so they are always integrated into a larger whole in which they have a meaning . This is what defines the human cultural world .

Symbolization as shaping

The earliest and most important works that highlight the importance of signs and symbols for human language and thought are the works of Charles S. Peirce , who developed a theory of signs as an expanded logic , and Ferdinand de Saussure , who established semiotics as a general linguistics . It was then Ernst Cassirer who developed a cultural philosophy in the 1920s that understands people as symbolic beings . In contrast to Peirce and Saussure, Cassirer did not start with the thoughts and consciousness of people, but with their practical relation to the world. So the human being does not relate to the world merely theoretically, but has a physical relationship to it. Human cultural activity is therefore always a shaping, shaping and forming of things.

The elementary form of the design is the delimitation or perspective. Since every perception only captures part of reality, every perception is formative: when seeing, for example, the background is dimmed and the focus is directed to the object in front of it. Only through this delimitation (formation of conciseness) can the object be symbolically recognized as this or that. The person does not behave passively. Rather, it is his actions and actions that produce that world of symbolic figures that defines his culture. Nothing in the world is therefore given in itself, the world is not a hodgepodge of simply existing things, but all things familiar to us arise only from the cultural activity of man, his actions:

“The fundamental qualities of the sense of touch - qualities like 'hard', 'rough' and 'smooth' - [arise] only by virtue of movement […], so that if we let the tactile sensation be limited to a single moment, they are within it Moment when data can no longer be found. "

For Cassirer, design always takes place in connection with a sensual content. Every form takes place in a medium: language needs the sound, music the sound, the painter the canvas, the sculptor the stone, the carpenter the wood. Cassirer's formulation of symbolic conciseness sums up this central idea : In one medium, a concise form is worked out, which can then symbolically relate to another.

“By 'symbolic conciseness' should be understood the way in which a perceptual experience, as a 'sensual' experience, at the same time includes a certain non-visual 'meaning' and brings it to an immediate concrete representation."

If the formation of conciseness always takes place immanently in a medium, then one can speak of an immanent structure : The properties of the medium determine at the same time the possibilities for form and meaning. The symbol is therefore not entirely arbitrary, but develops in constant relation to the resistance of the world on which man works: Wood cannot be poured into shape, but requires a certain approach to it, words do not last for minutes, but are of a brevity that makes it usable in everyday life. Warning signals are loud and glaring, whispers of love are soft and gentle, so that they flatter the ear. Regarding the sense of sight, Cassirer speaks of the fact that shape develops “ in seeing and for seeing”, because every visual process is always preceded by a design that also determines what is newly grasped. (See Sect. Spatial perception .) The inherent structure of the sensory content is a prerequisite for this is that the world does not come across as formless-indeterminate mass: form by compression and extraction solution, forms, shapes, contrasts that by fixing an identity pass over other perceptual content . Only then does the world not “dissolve”. In order for the forms and shapes to become permanent and to stand out “from the stream of consciousness certain constant basic shapes, partly of a conceptual, partly purely visual nature” , a subsequent representation is required. This means that "instead of the flowing content [...] a self-contained and self-contained form."

Not everything that a person encounters is immediately presented by him. So that a symbol that can be used by people can be created through conciseness:

  • Recognition (recognition): Only that which can be recorded repeatedly can become a symbol.
  • Presentation: Presence of the physical and sensual; Symbolization needs a material medium.
  • Retention: The experience remains in consciousness for a certain period of time and does not immediately disappear again.
  • Representation: The relationship that connects what is represented and what is represented: For Cassirer it is a fundamental achievement of consciousness and takes place as a constant movement between the two.
Universality of symbols

Symbols are universal carriers of meaning. This means that on the one hand anything shaped in any way can become a symbol, and on the other hand symbols can be shifted from one meaning to another at will. While animals also have warning cries through which they draw the attention of their fellow species to danger, these are always tied to the specific situation . Animal signals always lead to the same reaction of the conspecifics or, if they are uttered outside the usual context, remain incomprehensible to others. Human symbols, on the other hand, such as the word, are universally applicable and can be transferred to different things or situations.

Embedding the symbols in a whole

If something develops in the form that is then of importance for the human being, any meaning is not simply added to the perceptual content, but what is perceived is embedded in a whole:

“Rather, it is perception itself that, by virtue of its own immanent structure, gains a kind of mental 'articulation' - which, as a self-contained, also belongs to a certain sense of meaning. [...] This ideal interweaving, this relationship of the individual, here and now given perception phenomenon to a characteristic whole of meaning, is what the expression 'conciseness' is intended to denote. "

Although every form depends on this human ability, there is historically no “absolute zero” of symbolic conciseness, no state of complete formlessness, because the starting point is the “physiognomic” world perception of mythical consciousness. For the mythical consciousness, the world shows itself in mimetic moments of expression. These are affectively effective and, according to their origin, still protrude into the animal world. They offer starting points for any further shaping.

By means of symbols, individual sensual contents are formed into carriers of a general spiritual meaning. The shaping thus takes place at the same time as the sensory perception.

“A 'symbolic form' should be understood as any energy of the spirit through which a spiritual meaning content is linked to a concrete sensual sign and is internally assigned to this sign."

At the same time, the shaping is accompanied by a sense of meaning; only shapes reveal references and structures in the world. Symbolic forms are thus basic forms of understanding, which are universally and intersubjectively valid, and with which people shape their reality. Culture is the way in which humans create meaning through symbols . So symbols always arise in connection with sensuality, but have a meaning that refers beyond this :

“No matter how 'elementary' sensual content is, it is [...] never simply, as isolated and detached content 'there'; rather, in this very existence he points beyond himself; it forms a concrete unit of 'presence' and 'representation'. "

Culture as a network of symbolic relationships: "Culture as text"

The embedding of individual symbols in a superordinate whole can be particularly vividly described if culture is described metaphorically as “text”. Just as a single word in a sentence only gets its exact meaning, gestures, images, clothing and other things only get their meaning in the overall context of a culture. As early as 1904, Max Weber defined culture as a fabric of signs:

"'Culture' is a finite excerpt from the senseless infinity of world events that is given meaning and meaning from the point of view of humans."

“Culture” is everything for Weber : “Prostitution is a cultural phenomenon as good as religion or money.” In recent times, Clifford Geertz has linked his concept of culture to Weber:

“The concept of culture that I represent and whose usefulness I would like to show in the following essays is essentially a semiotic one. By Max Weber I mean that man is a being that is entangled in self-spun web of meaning, and I see culture as this web. Your investigation is therefore not an experimental science that searches for laws, but an interpretative one that searches for meanings. "

Humans can therefore be described as that being who, through shaping, gives things a meaning by classifying them in an overall context. The view that culture is a system of signs therefore determines most modern anthropological, sociological, literary and philosophical cultural theories. In this context, the standing term of “culture as text” has established itself. However, while Cassirer ties his concept of culture to the practical activity of people and their dealings with the world, the pointed metaphor of “culture as text” , on the other hand, harbors the risk of narrowing the concept of culture and leads to cultural phenomena only from their linguistic side be looked at.

Tradition and cultural memory

Human societies depend on their cultural abilities for their survival and the satisfaction of their needs. For these generations also are available, a generation its practices, standards, works, language, institutions need to the next generation deliver . This formation of traditions can be found as an anthropological basic law in all human societies.

This cultural memory is one of the primary goals in many wars and armed conflicts and is therefore threatened with destruction. Often it is precisely the cultural heritage of the enemy that is deliberately intended to be permanently damaged or even destroyed. National and international coordination with regard to military and civil structures for the protection of the cultural identities of a society or the global community is carried out by the International Blue Shield Committee as a partner organization of UNESCO .

Anthropological prerequisites for tradition formation

From an anthropological point of view, Michael Tomasello has recently described the process of enriching knowledge through the formation of tradition as the “ jacking effect ”: With each generation, some knowledge and cultural skills are added. For Tomasello, the formation of tradition shows one of the main distinguishing features between humans and animals, which do not know how to pass on knowledge through imitation. For example, monkeys can imitate their conspecifics, but they are not able to recognize them as intentional beings. H. as beings who have a specific purpose in mind in their actions. They therefore fail to understand the meaning behind an action and to carry it out themselves in the manner necessary for success. Instead, they only mirror the movements of their conspecifics and thus only achieve accidental successes.

Language as a medium of cultural memory

In order for the transmission of the cultural contents to succeed, what is to be transmitted must be regularly repeated , for example a certain ritual at a certain time of the year . An essential form of repetition is not only the actual exercise of what is passed on, but also the fixation in the language , i.e. the embedding in a system of symbols . Language is therefore a primary medium of transmission, which also accompanies any non-linguistic transmission of knowledge.

Consequences of the written culture
Only the written record of events enables them to be compared with the oral tradition even after a few generations.

Oral language is the only medium in which cultural memory is inscribed, then tradition is always threatened with falsification. Because if legends, myths and lineages are only passed on orally ( oral tradition ), the stories told can change imperceptibly over time or be consciously changed. In most early cultures, for example, the stories about lineages and rulers justify the current social conditions. Now it can happen that, for example, due to the sudden death of the ruler, another family occupies this place. With the intention of justifying these new conditions, cultures that rely solely on oral tradition can adapt the narratives that justify domination to the new conditions. This then leads to a stabilization of the new order. This process can be described as the “homeostatic organization of cultural tradition”. Only with the font is a culture, a medium is available, which the verifiability allows the traditional content. In disputes, for example, it is possible to read which family is attributed to the descent from the gods. With this, writing brings the greatest break in human cultural development, it represents a revolution that - apart from the invention of printing with movable type - is no longer achieved by the following writing systems such as gramophone , film and computer .

Overarching moments of cultural life

The comparison of the following cultural elements has led to various attempts to define geographical areas in which similar, delimitable cultures can be established. The resulting cultural areas are controversial for various reasons, but they provide an opportunity to structure the cultural diversity of the world in order to obtain a rough overview.


Identity and tradition

The formation of a group's identity is strongly linked to the tradition that lives within it . The social group thereby also shapes the culture. Many lines of tradition in the religions also determine the identity of the members belonging to them through joint ceremonies and rituals. Therefore "tradition [...] can be defined as a permanent cultural construction of identity."

Relationship to other traditions

Often a claim to truth goes hand in hand with one's own tradition, which is why other traditions are perceived as incomprehensible and strange. While one's own tradition does not need to be justified, the other is not considered to be justifiable. Such a meeting can either lead to isolation from the foreign, to the adoption of individual foreign elements ( syncretism ) or to the first approaches of a traditional criticism which calls into question one's own rites, customs, customs and norms. A more drastic situation arises when a common basis of validity is sought in dialogue with the other tradition. Since every tradition claims the age of its origin, this cannot serve as a benchmark. For the first time, however, tradition itself becomes a topic and subject of conscious discussion. With that tradition can be called into doubt because it is only tradition.

Criticism of tradition

The historically earliest critique of tradition in the West takes place in the beginnings of Greek philosophy , namely when, in the Platonic dialogues , the advocates of tradition fail to establish their own position philosophically. In the period from the 16th to the 18th century, too, philosophy assumed the leading role in traditional criticism, especially in the Age of Enlightenment . The Enlightenmentists criticize the flawed transmission of the holy scriptures and oppose it with the eternally valid laws of reason. In natural law looks for natural laws, traditional law can be criticized on the basis thereof. With the French Revolution it was recognized for the first time that societies are fundamentally changeable, revolutionizable. In art there is a rage between the old and the new (French querelle des anciens et des modern ) from which the opposing pair of tradition and modernity arises. However, this contrast also blinded the fact that modern society for its part has a tradition of purposeful rationality and value rationality , its commitment to change instead of stability, as in traditional societies.

Tradition theories
Herder was one of the first to see the principle of tradition

In addition to approaches from Giambattista Vico , a first theory of tradition is provided by Gottfried Herder in 1784 in his ideas on the philosophy of the history of mankind :

“Here then lies the principle of the history of mankind, without which there would be no such history. If man received everything out of himself and developed it separately from external objects, a history of man would be possible, but not of man, not of their entire sex. But since our specific character lies in the fact that we, born almost without instinct, are only formed into humanity through a lifelong exercise, and both the perfectibility and the corruptibility of our sex are based on this, the history of humanity becomes necessary with it a whole, d. i. a chain of conviviality and educational tradition from the first to the last link. "

A reshaping of man takes place through tradition and culture, which Herder calls a “second genesis of man” and with Lessing an “education of the human race”. By allowing the chain of tradition to reach back to its beginnings, Herder also enhances it:

“If we want to call this second genesis of man, which runs through his entire life, of the cultivation of the field, culture or of the image of light, the Enlightenment, then we are free to use the name; the chain of culture and enlightenment then extends to the end of the earth. The Californian and Tierra del Fuego also learned to make bows and arrows and to use them; he has language and concepts, exercises and arts that he learned as we learn them; so far he was really cultivated and enlightened, albeit in the lowest degree. The difference between enlightened and unenlightened, between cultivated and uncultivated peoples is therefore not specific, but only in degrees. "

For Herder, the concept of tradition is not based on the faithful preservation of an original wisdom, but on the gradual accumulation of valuable knowledge that the inhuman is gradually being eliminated over the entire history of mankind. Sigmund Freud pointed out in his study The Man Moses and the Monotheistic Religion that the formation of traditions can also be based on irrational fears and violent constraints . Freud's reconstruction of the content of the traditional events through unconscious compulsions and archaic fears met with broad rejection, but despite everything he deserves the merit of seeing the reasons for tradition and tradition not only from the optimistic point of view of a progressive improvement and thus looking at pathological moments of the tradition to open.

When the institutionalized humanities and historical sciences in the 20th century made it seem that one could approach the past completely objectively and free of theory, Hans-Georg Gadamer pointed out how formative the relationship to tradition is for us today too: the content of Tradition can never be completely objectified by scientific methods and become the mere object of a knowledge removed from tradition. For this, Gadamer coined the concept of the historical consciousness that reflects on tradition and is at the same time aware of its determinateness through tradition.


An essential system of order through which coping and communication processes take place is language. Language is a symbolic medium that no single person invents out of himself, but which is handed down to him. Therefore, man can always have always been just the language as a given behavior . As a system of signs, language creates a public space from which people draw when speaking and into which they always speak back. If its cultural meaning is to be understood, language must not only be viewed as a means of communication, but it also fundamentally structures human understanding of the world.

If the meaning of language for humans as a cultural being is to be understood, then it cannot be a question of examining individual concrete languages ​​for their individual characteristics, but rather it must be understood what actually defines language as language . In this case, could essentialist theories of language not prevail, as in ancient times by Democritus (v 460-371. Chr.) Held view a note were that language sounds purely emotional character, or of Charles Darwin followed (1809-1882) language research, which language would like to trace back to evolutionary needs. The more sophisticated holistic language genesis theory proposed by Otto Jespersen (1860–1943) has remained meaningless for the cultural-scientific understanding of language. What these language theories have in common is that they only consider language in terms of its affective and emotional traits. However, this ignores the propositional content of simple statements such as “The sky is blue”, because this statement neither calls for immediate action, nor does it have an emotional object, but symbolically indicates something that may be in the overall context of a culture of importance is.

Language as a system of signs
Ferdinand de Saussure

It was the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure who developed a theory of signs of language, semiotics , from the Greek semeion for signs, and who suggested that it be used for the general study of culture. According to Saussure, linguistic signs are characterized by two properties:

  • they are arbitrary, d. h., which shows what the character is only by appointment and Convention set
  • Characters are linear; That is, the significant word expires in time and therefore cannot be uttered all at once.

When examining existing languages, Saussure differentiates between the synchronic (simultaneous) and the diachronic (changing over time) approach. For Saussure, the first form is the more important. This means that he did not work on the history of language, but tried to use a given language to reveal its internal structure , which is why Saussure is also known as the founder of structuralism . Saussure comes to the conclusion that language does not work because a sound or an idea denoted by it is given in itself. Rather, individual intelligible sounds (form phonemes ) only in distinction from other ". In the language there are only differences" The fact that phonetic sounds are not simply given, shows, for example, the fact that Japanese and Chinese the difference between "L" and Do not hear the "R" because this difference has not been culturally pronounced. So a word is not chained like an anchor to an object which it designates from now on, but from the network of sounds built up by differences, several sounds can be put together to form a new structure that can be distinguished from the others . This word can then be used within the set of ideas. which also develop through demarcation from one another, designate such an idea.

By proposing that this model of language be applied to everything culturally produced, Saussure opens the view to understanding culture as a connection between signs and symbols:

“One can therefore say that completely arbitrary signs realize the ideal of the semeological procedure better than others; therefore language, the richest and most widespread system of expression, is at the same time the most characteristic of all; In this sense, linguistics can become a prime example and main representative of the whole of semeology, although language is only one system among others. "

With the iconic turn (from ancient Greek ikon "sign"; English iconic turn ), culture has since been understood mainly under the aspect of the theory of signs, whereby now not only abstract signs, but also images based on perceptions are understood as signs. This removes the sharp boundary between text and image and culture shows itself as a universe of symbols of references and references that make up the human environment. Juri Michailowitsch Lotman therefore also speaks of the "semiosphere" in analogy to the biosphere . When "text" or "discourse" is used in modern cultural theories, these two terms are no longer limited to written records, but are used for symbolisms of all kinds: body, things, clothing, lifestyle, gestures, all of these are Parts of the universe of signs, culture.

Following Saussure, Jacques Derrida coined a literary method with his concept of différance , which conceives a text not characterized by unambiguous statements, but as a network in which meanings develop only through differences. The deconstruction tries to investigate the secondary meanings and to call back into consciousness the references that have been dimmed at the "edges" of a text and thus remain unthematic. For Derrida, culture is a text that is read.

Non-proportional language

Martin Heidegger pointed out that linguistic utterances cannot simply be understood as propositional statements in the sense of “A is B”. The structure of language is always branched out in so many ways that individual terms can never be clearly delimited, but only make understanding possible through their secondary meanings and hints . In a statement of the form “A is B”, for example, A is interpreted as B. Heidegger describes this concatenation of A and B with the "As" with the title " apophantic As". It is this form according to which most linguistic statements were interpreted in the philosophical tradition. On the other hand, Heidegger points out that the meaning of A and B is not just torn off at the edges, but is always to be understood in a larger overall context. Even a statement of the scheme “A is B” can only be understood and classified with a larger horizon of understanding. For Heidegger, poetry represents a form of linguistic quality that does not result in statements of the scheme “A is B”, but rather allows the entire richness of a language that has evolved through cultural history to emerge. In poetry, individual moments of meaning stand out, while others become apparent deliberately shaded. So that the seal does not narrows to unique findings, but leaves room for the unsaid, unconscious and unthematic our culturally influenced world and self-reference, which only carried it comes up .

Heidegger also rejected theories of language that see language only as a means of communication, so that statements such as “A is B” can be communicated with it. This functionalist conception sees language only as an aid to jointly coping with practical needs. For Heidegger, such language theories go back to the economic and technical exploitation of the world that began in the modern era. Language is then understood as a tool for communication that can be improved through logical structuring, as Gottlob Frege , Bertrand Russell and Rudolf Carnap strived for in the project of the standard language . Heidegger made poetry strong against such a narrow concept of language and points out that no practical attitude prevails in poetic singing about the world (see, for example, Holderlin's hymn Der Ister ). On the other hand, Heidegger saw it as a mistake to assume that language communicates a single statement within a world . Rather , language is the world in which a person lives, since all knowledge, thinking and understanding takes place in linguistic structures. Heidegger coined the expression that language is "the house of being".


Training institutions

Culture consists not only of linguistically fixed structures of understanding and objectivity, but also of historically acting and suffering people. But not all human activity is already a cultural practice . In order for this to arise, a group of people is required who jointly and regularly carries out important actions for them. If they consolidate activities in this way into events that are regularly repeated or places where the practices are carried out together, one also speaks of institutions . Institutions are places of human activity, for example in the form of work, rule, law, technology, religion, science and art. The differentiation of these practices takes place in institutions, at the same time they develop their own values ​​independently of other institutions.

Culture as practice and culture as a context of meaning

If culture is viewed from the point of view of practical actions and cultural events, this also represents a certain counterbalance to views of which culture primarily (or exclusively; culturalism ) understand as a system of meaning of symbolic codes and see in it a readable text. Culture is not just a fabric of meanings, but these meanings need to be exercised. to maintain and continue. In doing so, however, new contexts of meaning can arise or old ones can be worn down, perceived as inappropriate or insignificant. In resorting to cultural symbols, contexts of meaning and action, which can never be fully realized in practice, there is an interplay that keeps the culture in lively motion: New things also arise from the accidental and unwanted.


Things that in some way claim to have a meaning for the way people think and act have a certain validity . In interpersonal dealings, such demands and challenges to individuals or groups can be accepted or rejected. Views, laws, and meanings can therefore be controversial. The question which addresses this issue is the validity of

  • symbolic,
  • practical,
  • cognitive,
  • narrative and
  • aesthetic

Validity claims.


People mostly meet as individuals based on their gender, physicality, psychological drive structures and biographical uniqueness. These characteristics can have an identity-forming effect for the individual or for the group and, in the case of groups, raise questions of belonging and membership. In this way, social groups in cultural life give people an answer to the question of who they are in comparison to the rest, they determine their identity. Through the formation of groups and the form of action in them, communities or societies are formed which close themselves off from other groups, accept or exclude members. These processes determine the identity of the group and the individual regardless of the specific content.


Human culture is preserved by being passed on. This moment of tradition is closely related to the historical development of cultures. On the one hand, history can be retrospectively divided into epochs based on various criteria , on the other hand, every culture has a historically grown zeitgeist inherent in it.


Spatial perception is not neutral mathematical: large halls look impressive, cellars cozy or oppressive. The sensation that rooms evoke is also influenced by culture, i. H. not determined by evolution.
Spatial perception

Rooms are not simply perceived as three-dimensional structures like mathematical Euclidean space and only then and under certain circumstances are given meaning or interpretations: It always makes a difference whether you look five meters straight ahead or five meters below. The view five meters down may be more uncomfortable for the north German coastal dweller than for the alpine dweller. The perception of space is never a neutral mathematical one, but is subject to cultural influences.


In this way, relationships in the room are primarily discovered which enable physical orientation in it: paths, obstacles, seating and dangers. Orientation in urban space requires understanding the network of streets, intersections and traffic lights and being able to correctly assess the distances based on houses of known size, while indigenous peoples find their way in the jungle without roads and paths, but use trees, rivers and the like . Both times, culturally learned skills and viewing habits structure the perception of space. The house is also a space that is determined by a “meaningful” structure, as the German philosopher Martin Heidegger describes it: everyday objects have their “place”, they belong in an “area” of other similarly useful objects. Things are not simply “above” or “below” in three-dimensional space, but “on the ceiling” or “on the floor”. Not insignificant objects in physical space are seen first, but something is “in the wrong place” or “stands in the way”, there “where it doesn't belong”. However, these regulations are not absolute, but depend on the culture and the environment in which the person grew up.

the atmosphere

Already in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe one can find the distinction between neutral space and meaningful place: “The field and the forest and the rock and the gardens were always to me, and you make them, beloved, a place” ( Vier Jahreszeiten ) .

Such atmospheric qualities also determine the perception of the room. Gernot Böhme examines how representative rooms or halls are furnished with objects that actually have no practical value or whose value lies precisely in creating atmosphere. Luc Ciompi was able to show the extent to which what is perceived as pleasantly atmospheric is culture-dependent. While Italians feel comfortable in high, cool and dark rooms, northerners prefer low, bright and warm rooms, which can be attributed to the different climatic conditions and the living atmosphere familiar from childhood.

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin : Place of remembrance for the murdered Jews of Europe under the rule of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists
The common space

Cultural life takes place in rooms. These spaces are not simply the three-dimensional space of physics that encloses the cultural goods like a container. Rather, culture itself creates space, i. In other words, it creates symbolic and figurative spaces for itself. These rooms are primarily not determined by their property as a container, but by a meaningful context, for example the hearth of the house forms a place of assembly, where the members of rural house communities come together after the day's work is done. The temple or the church are places where the sacred gives a measure of human life and where different laws and behavior apply than in the profane sphere of the kitchen . Boundaries are also propagated politically, which are not based on geographic, but rather cultural spaces, or rather prescribe them, when George W. Bush , for example, combines America and Europe into the " Western World " and opposes them with the " axis of evil ".

Cultural spaces can be fixed arrangements in an excellent place , such as in a monastery, or they can appear as moving arrangements , for example when mobile radio subscribers bridge space-time gaps.

Early emergence of cultural space: sacred places

One of the earliest divisions in the world divides profane and sacred places . Sacred places are those where the divine appears through special events. For people who think mythically, gods or spirits remain bound to this place, it is that stone or that oak in which the sacred manifests itself. This results in a division of the living space that is no longer based solely on physiological needs (water, food), as is the case with animals, but is based on a symbolic content .

Social space

Different places can be merged into new places based on ethnicity, class or gender. This can lead to demarcations between those who are included and those who are excluded, and certain spatial arrangements can reflect or establish social inequalities. While VIP rooms deliberately separate “important” from “less important” people, spatial-social demarcations usually take place over a longer period of time. Houses, apartments and districts are selected according to the corresponding income and class relationships are reproduced, which are then also physically inscribed in the space. Pierre Bourdieu sums up this inscription in the room in the words that the habitus defines the habitat . The urban space thus reflects the social and gender-specific conditions: Young workers spend more time in public places and street corners, boys more than girls.

While a corresponding ability enables the appropriation and structural redesign of public space according to their own needs, this is not easily possible for the lower social strata of a society. Even children and adolescents cannot materially create their own rooms and are therefore dependent on occupying them with their physical presence: The tolerated smoking area behind the gym provides a place of retreat for the students opposite the authoritarian room on the school grounds. However, this place is not physically inscribed, but is created solely through frequent visits and the presence of the students. Here it becomes particularly clear that cultural space is not simply given, but is created by referring to it individually and collectively in action.

The global capitalist economy also creates a new social space that is now for the first time expanding across the globe. However, this space, whose connecting lines are held together by airplanes, expressways and train routes, cannot be used by everyone. For example, only five percent of the world's population have ever sat in an airplane, and air traffic only connects the “islands of wealth” on the planet. Peter Sloterdijk has dedicated himself to this “interior” of the planet, to which only those who can pay enough have access.

Gender-specific spaces

Gender-specific rooms have become rarer in modern western societies and are limited to changing rooms, saunas and toilets. The Herbertstraße continue but in the Hamburg red light district marks a gender space to which women and young people, access is denied.

Protection of culture

With regard to the protection of culture and cultural heritage, there are a number of international agreements and national laws. The UNESCO and its partner organizations such as Blue Shield International co-ordinate international protection and the local implementations.

Basically, the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Diversity deal with the protection of culture. Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights deals with cultural heritage in two ways: it gives people the right to participate in cultural life on the one hand and the right to the protection of their contributions to cultural life on the other.

The protection of culture and cultural goods is increasingly taking up a large area nationally and internationally. Under international law, the UN and UNESCO try to set up and enforce rules for this. The aim is not to protect a person's property, but rather to preserve the cultural heritage of mankind, especially in the event of war and armed conflict. According to Karl von Habsburg, President of Blue Shield International, the destruction of cultural assets is also part of psychological warfare. The target is the identity of the opponent, which is why symbolic cultural assets become a main target. It is also intended to affect the particularly sensitive cultural memory, the growing cultural diversity and the economic basis (such as tourism) of a state, region or municipality.

Cultural criticism

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is one of the most important cultural critics ( pastel painting by Maurice Quentin de La Tour , 1753)

In cultural criticism, individual cultural achievements are critically questioned in terms of their unwanted, destructive, immoral and nonsensical consequences. This can expand into an overall view of human history, which then appears overall as a history of decline. The core message of many cultural-critical approaches is that they assume a naturally given state in relation to human (co-) life - a natural state that corresponds to the nature of the human being. This original state is then adjusted and distorted through artificiality as cultural development progresses . It is superimposed by artificial social relationships and forms of rule ( Jean-Jacques Rousseau ) or, through the invention of new relations of production, leads to the alienation of people from themselves, as Karl Marx believes. Friedrich Nietzsche sees the pre-Socratic antiquity as an age in which the will to power was lived unchecked, while with the “scientifically” thinking Socrates and the morality of Christianity, a disintegration set in, which reaches its climax in the age of decadence . Martin Heidegger also sees an open and reflexive relationship between people and philosophical views and considerations among the pre-Socratics , while in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle these insights are set absolutely for the first time and thus force people's thinking into categories for centuries from which it cannot free himself easily. Sigmund Freud's morality-critical approach assumes fixed natural needs with regard to the mental constitution of the human being, which are denied him by artificial moral regulations and thus urge the human being to compulsive compensatory actions.

Many works critical of culture played an important role in understanding what constitutes culture. It is only through critical distancing and possible condemnation of the existing conditions that culture does not show itself today as something that cannot be changed, but as an event that could also have taken a different course. They reveal culture as the contingency of what has become .

See also

Portal: Art and Culture  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of art and culture


Culture philosophy:

Edited volumes on cultural theories:

  • Hubertus Busche: What is culture? The four basic historical meanings. In: Dialectic. Zeitschrift für Kulturphilosophie, 2000/1, pp. 69–90.
  • Martin Ludwig Hofmann, Tobias F. Korta, Sibylle Niekisch (eds.): Culture Club: Classics of cultural theory . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2004, ISBN 3-518-29268-4 .
  • Martin Ludwig Hofmann, Tobias F. Korta, Sibylle Niekisch (eds.): Culture Club II: Classics of cultural theory. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2006, ISBN 3-518-29398-2 .
  • Stephan Moebius , Dirk Quadflieg (ed.): Culture. Present theories. VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14519-3 .
  • Stephan Moebius (Ed.): Culture, from cultural studies to visual studies, an introduction. Transcript, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-8376-2194-5 (= Edition Kulturwissenschaft , Volume 21).
  • Gerhart Schröder, Helga Breuninger (Hrsg.): Cultural theories of the present. Approaches and positions. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-593-36866-8 .

Important studies:


  • Kunz Dittmar: General ethnology. Forms and development of culture. Braunschweig 1954.
  • Kaj Birket-Smith : History of Culture. A general ethnology. 3. Edition. Zurich 1956.

Web links

Commons : Culture  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
File category Files: Culture  - local collection of images and media files
 Wikinews: Culture  - In The News
Wikiquote: Culture  - Quotes
Wiktionary: Culture  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Winfried Effelsberg: Intercultural Conflicts in Medicine. Medical anthropological considerations. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 3, 1985, pp. 29-40, here pp. 30-31.
  2. ^ Cecil Helman: Culture, Health and Illness: An Introduction for Health Professionals. Bristol 1984, p. 2 (English; 5th edition 2007: ISBN 978-0-340-91450-2 , page preview in the Google book search); Quote: "[...] culture is a set of guidelines (both explicit and implicit) which an individual inherits as a member of a particular society, and which tells him how to view the world, and how to behave in it in relation to other people, to supernatural forces or gods, and to the natural environment. "
  3. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th edition, ed. by Walther Mitzka . De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p. 411.
  4. ^ Max Döllner : History of the development of the city of Neustadt an der Aisch until 1933. Ph. CW Schmidt, Neustadt ad Aisch 1950, p. 439 with note 7.
  5. Duden editorial team: Culture. In: The Great Duden. Etymology. Dudenverlag, Mannheim 1963, p. ??.
  6. Duden editorial team: Colony. In: The Great Duden. Etymology. Dudenverlag, Mannheim 1963, p. ?? ..
  7. Nat. hist XII, 75 u. ö.
  8. Tusc. II, 5, 13.
  9. Immanuel Kant : Critique of Judgment . § 83 Of the ultimate end of nature as a teleological system . Academy edition vol. 10, p. 387.
  10. Immanuel Kant: Idea for a general story with cosmopolitan intent . (1784). Academy edition Volume 8, p. 26.
  11. Edward Burnett Tylor: The Beginnings of Culture. Leipzig 1873, printed in: CA Schmitz Kultur. Frankfurt 1963, p. 32.
  12. ^ Albert Schweitzer: Culture and Ethics. P. 35.
  13. Immanuel Kant: Idea for a general story with cosmopolitan intent . (1784). Academy edition, vol. 8, p. 26.
  14. Wilhelm von Humboldt : About the differences in the human language structure and their influence on the spiritual development of the human race . (1830–1835) Ges. Werke 7, p. 30.
  15. Oswald Spengler: The fall of the occident . Introduction, section 12.
  16. Helmuth Plessner: The belated nation. In: Collected Writings. Volume 6, Frankfurt, p. 84.
  17. Compare Niklas Luhmann : Culture as a historical concept. In: Same: Social Structure and Semantics. Studies on the sociology of science in modern society. Volume 4, Frankfurt 1985, pp. 31-54.
  18. Böhme, Matusek, Müller: Orientation cultural studies. What she can do and what she wants. Reinbek 2000, p. 131 f.
  19. Böhme, Matusek, Müller: Orientation cultural studies. What she can do and what she wants. Reinbek 2000, p. 143 f.
  20. Hinrich Fink-Eitel, Georg Lohmann (Ed.): To the philosophy of feelings. Frankfurt 1993, p. 33.
  21. ^ Byung-Chul Han: Heidegger's Heart. Martin Heidegger's concept of mood. Munich 1996, I. Introduction: Circumcision of the Heart .
  22. Judith Butler: The discomfort of the sexes. Frankfurt 1991, p. ??.
  23. Jürgen Bolten: Intercultural Competence. (PDF) State Center for Civic Education Thuringia, 2007, accessed on April 26, 2017 . ISBN 978-3-937967-07-3 . P. 11.
  24. Jürgen Bolten: Intercultural Competence. (PDF) State Center for Civic Education Thuringia, 2007, accessed on April 26, 2017 . ISBN 978-3-937967-07-3 . P. 12.
  25. Culture- oriented education: Basics for dealing with interculturality in schools, Springer, 2017, ISBN 978-3-658-16678-6 , p. 93 .
  26. Ludger Kühnhardt: Bonner Enzyklopädie der Globalität Springer, 2017, ISBN 978-3-658-13819-6 , p. 900 ff.
  27. Culture is a wealth of problems. Extract of a life , Haffmans Verlag, Zurich 1990.
  28. Compare Burkhard Liebsch: Culture under the sign of the other or The hospitality of human forms of life. In: Friedrich Jaeger, Burkhard Liebsch (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. Stuttgart 2004, pp. 1-23.
  29. Burkhard Liebsch: Culture under the sign of the other or the hospitality of human forms of life. In: Friedrich Jaeger, Burkhard Liebsch (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. Stuttgart 2004, p. 3.
  30. Hannah Arendt: Between the past and the future . Piper, Munich 1994, p. 55.
  31. ^ Dieter Haller (text), Bernd Rodekohr (illustrations): Dtv-Atlas Ethnologie. 2nd Edition. dtv, Munich 2010.
  32. Burkhard Liebsch: Culture under the sign of the other or the hospitality of human forms of life. In: Friedrich Jaeger, Burkhard Liebsch (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. Stuttgart 2004, p. 7.
  33. David McFarland: Biology of Behavior. Evolution, physiology, psychobiology. Heidelberg, Berlin: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 1999, p. 457.
  34. According to the Zurich anthropologist Peter Schmid: “For us, of course, the biological concept of culture is decisive. These are innovations that are passed on, i.e. inventions that are then passed on in a group. And we not only find that in humans, we can also find it in monkeys. ”On Deutschlandfunk.
  35. Marvin Harris: Cultural Anthropology - A Textbook. From the American by Sylvia M. Schomburg-Scherff, Campus, Frankfurt / New York 1989, ISBN 3-593-33976-5 . Pp. 35-38.
  36. Burkhard Liebsch: Culture under the sign of the other or the hospitality of human forms of life. In: Friedrich Jaeger, Burkhard Liebsch (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. Stuttgart 2004, pp. 11-12.
  37. ^ Hans Jonas: Technology, Medicine, Ethics. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1987, pp. 20 and 29. This is also followed by Liebsch 2004, p. 13.
  38. Likewise the section culture industry. Enlightenment as mass fraud. In: Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno: Dialectic of Enlightenment . Amsterdam 1947.
  39. Compare Oswald Schwemmer: Ernst Cassirer. A philosopher of European modernism. Berlin 1997, pp. 221-242.
  40. Friedrich Jaeger , Burkhard Liebsch (Ed.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. S. X-XI.
  41. ^ Oswald Schwemmer: Ernst Cassirer. A philosopher of European modernism. Berlin 1997, p. 30.
  42. Ernst Cassirer: Philosophy of symbolic forms . Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1964, Volume 3, p. 207.
  43. ^ A b Ernst Cassirer: Philosophy of symbolic forms. Volume 3, Darmstadt 1982, p. 235.
  44. Ernst Cassirer: Philosophy of symbolic forms. Volume I, p. 22.
  45. ^ Oswald Schwemmer: Ernst Cassirer. A philosopher of European modernism. Berlin, 1997, p. 89 ff.
  46. Compare Ernst Cassirer's distinction between "animal reaction" and "human response" in: Experiment about humans. Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 2007, p. 52 ff.
  47. Ernst Cassirer: Experiment about people. Hamburg 2007, p. 123.
  48. ^ Oswald Schwemmer: Ernst Cassirer. A philosopher of European modernism. Berlin 1997, pp. 50-51.
  49. ^ Ernst Cassirer: Concept of substance and concept of function. 1910. Works edition, Volume 6. Hamburg 2000, p. 161.
  50. Ernst Cassirer: Philosophy of symbolic forms. Volume 3. Darmstadt 1982, p. 149.
  51. Max Weber: The "objectivity" of sociological and sociopolitical knowledge. In: Collected essays on science. Tübingen 1968, p. 180.
  52. Weber 1968, p. 181.
  53. ^ Clifford Geertz: Density description. Contributions to understanding of cultural systems. Frankfurt 1983, p. 9.
  54. Compare Roland Posner : Culture as a system of signs. For the semiotic explication of basic concepts in cultural studies. In: Aleida Assmann , Dietrich Harth (Hrsg.): Culture as lifeworld and monument . Fischer, Frankfurt 1991, pp. ?? - ??.
  55. Mainly through the essay collection of the same name by Doris Bachmann-Medick : Culture as Text. The anthropological turn in literary studies . UTB, Berlin 2004.
  56. “The metaphor leads to the privilege of linguistic access to meanings […], which appears to be the ideal way to decipher all other crystallization forms of cultural practice. [...] The specific potentials of meaning of the individual arts or cultural practices are no longer perceived. ”Böhme, Matusek, Müller: Orientation Kulturwissenschaft. What she can do and what she wants. Reinbek 2000, pp. 136-137.
  57. cf. Isabelle-Constance v. Opalinski: Shots on civilization - in FAZ from August 20, 2014; Hans Haider: Misuse of cultural goods is punishable - in Wiener Zeitung on June 29, 2012; Peter Stone: Inquiry: Monuments Men. Apollo - The International Art Magazine, February 2, 2015; Mehroz Baig: When War Destroys Identity. Worldpost of May 12, 2014; Fabian von Posser: World Heritage sites bombed, cultural treasures hawked. Die Welt from November 5, 2013; Rüdiger Heimlich: Desert City Palmyra: Protect cultural heritage before it is destroyed. Berliner Zeitung from March 28, 2016.
  58. Michael Tomasello: The cultural development of human thought. On the evolution of cognition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2002, pp. ??.
  59. Jack Goody, Ian Watt: Consequences of literarity. In: Same, Kathleen Gough: Origin and Consequences of the Writing Culture. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1986, p. 68.
  60. Aleida Assmann : Time and Tradition. Böhlau, Cologne 1999, p. 90.
  61. Gottfried Herder : Ideas for the philosophy of the history of mankind. Volume 1, 1784, pp. 335 and 337, respectively.
  62. Gottfried Herder: Ideas for the philosophy of the history of mankind. Volume 1, 1784, pp. 338 and 340, respectively.
  63. Compare Hans-Georg Gadamer: Truth and Method. Part 2; also the study by Bernd Auerochs: Gadamer on tradition. In: Journal for Philosophical Research. Volume 49, 1995, pp. 294-311.
  64. Compare to the criticism here: Ernst Cassirer: Attempt over the people. Meiner, Hamburg 2007, pp. 171–211.
  65. Ferdinand de Saussure: Fundamentals of general linguistics. De Gruyter, Berlin 1967, p. 143.
  66. Ferdinand de Saussure: Fundamentals of general linguistics. De Gruyter, Berlin 1967, p. 80.
  67. ^ Yuri M. Lotman: Universe of the Mind. A Semiotic Theory of Culture. Tauris, London / New York 2001, pp. ??.
  68. For an overview of this expansion of the terms see Michael Krois: Culture as a system of signs. In: Friedrich Jaeger, Burkhard Liebsch (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. Stuttgart 2004, pp. 106-118.
  69. “What I call text is everything, is practically everything. It's everything, that is, there is a text as soon as there is a track, a differential reference from one track to the other. And these references never stop. There are no limits to the differential reference of one trace to the other. ”Derrida quotes from Peter Engelmann: Postmoderne und Dekonstruktion: Texts by French philosophers of the present . Reclam, Stuttgart 2004, p. 20 f.
  70. Compare Martin Heidegger: Being and Time. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1927, §§ 31–34.
  71. ^ Martin Heidegger: Holzwege . ( GA 5), p. 311.
  72. ^ Martin Heidegger: Holzwege . ( GA 5), p. 310.
  73. ^ Compare Karl H. Hörning: Culture as Practice. In: Friedrich Jaeger, Burkhard Liebsch (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. Stuttgart 2004, pp. 137-151.
  74. Martin Heidegger was one of the first to describe this: Being and Time ( GA 2) §§ 14–24, Niemeyer, Tübingen 1927.
  75. Compare the study by Gernot Böhme: Atmosphere . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1995.
  76. Luc Ciompi: outer world - inner world. On the creation of time, space and psychological structures . Vandenhoeck Collection, Göttingen 1988, p. 235 f.
  77. Compare the Axis of Evil Speech. White House press release, USA 2002.
  78. Pierre Bourdieu: Physical, social and appropriated physical space. In: Martin Wentz (Ed.): City spaces. The future of the urban. Campus, Frankfurt / New York 1991, p. 32.
  79. Helmuth Becker, Michael May: They just hang around there anyway. Spatial orientation of interests of lower-class youth and their realization in public spaces. In: Walter Specht (Ed.): The dangerous road. Youth conflicts and neighborhood work. KT, Bielefeld 1987, p. 41.
  80. Compare the German Youth Institute: What do children do in the afternoon? Results of an empirical study on middle childhood. Juventa, Munich 1992.
  81. Compare the similar example by Martina Löw: Raum. The topological dimensions of culture. In: Friedrich Jaeger, Burkhard Liebsch (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften. Stuttgart 2004, pp. 49-53.
  82. Compare Dietrich Brockhagen, Christoph Bals : How we fly: Air traffic between consumption and climate damage. In: Worldwatch Institute (ed.), In collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Germanwatch : Zur Lage der Welt 2004: Die Welt des Konsums. Westfälisches Dampfboot, Münster 2004, ISBN 3-89691-570-3 , Chapter 1 ( PDF: 69 kB, 18 pages on ( Memento from November 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive )).
  83. Peter Sloterdijk: In the inner space of capital. A philosophical history of terrestrial globalization . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2005, p. ??.
  84. Cf. Gerold Keusch "Cultural Protection in the Era of Identity Wars" in Troop Service - Magazine of the Austrian Armed Forces of October 24, 2018.
  85. Compare also Karl von Habsburg on a mission in Lebanon. Retrieved July 19, 2019 .
  86. ^ Compare for example Corine Wegener, Marjan Otter: Cultural Property at War: Protecting Heritage during Armed Conflict. In: The Getty Conservation Institute, Newsletter 23.1, Spring 2008; Eden Stiffman: Cultural Preservation in Disasters, War Zones. Presents Big Challenges. In: The Chronicle Of Philanthropy, May 11, 2015; Hans Haider in an interview with Karl Habsburg: Abuse of cultural goods is a criminal offense. In: Wiener Zeitung, June 29, 2012.