The cultural morphology is an outdated theory of ethnology (ethnology). The name comes from the German ethnologist Leo Frobenius (1873-1938), who used it to describe his doctrine of the external and internal design of culture. It is about the description of forms, about ethnography (description of peoples). The morphology of culture "based on the assumption that cultures analogous to the individual development of man, the phases of youth, flowering time, old age and death go through and indeed for a inherent program to which man can take only a very limited impact." Culture is thus viewed as something superior to people, not something created by them.
Frobenius divided each culture in three phases: emotion (early phase), expression (maturation phase) and application (final stage). “The emotion / youth is the phase of the creative creation of cultural goods; In the phase of expression / maturity, cultural goods are fully effective, while in use / in old age they are ultimately increasingly worn out and meaningless: Culture is approaching its decline. "
In addition to Frobenius, representatives of cultural morphology were also the German educator Eduard Spranger (1882–1963), the German cultural historian Oswald Spengler (1880–1936) and the British cultural theorist Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975).
The expression “morphology” (from ancient Greek morphé “shape, form” and logic ) goes back to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and found its way into botany (plant science) and biology ( morphology ). From the 19th century, the term was also taken up by humanities scholars , in the 20th century, for example, with conscious reference to Goethe's terminology by the Russian literary scholar Michail Aleksandrovič Petrovskij on the morphology of the novella ( morfologija novelly 1927) and by the Russian-German folklorist Vladimir Jakowlewitsch Propp on the morphology of fairy tales ( Morfologija skazki 1928).
- Culture group theory (by Leo Frobenius)
- Hermann Aubin (author), Franz Petri (ed.): Basics and perspectives of historical cultural space research and cultural morphology. Röhrscheid, Bonn 1965.
- Frederik Adama van Schellenberg: The spiritual center. Outlines of an occidental cultural morphology. Oldenbourg, Munich 1950.
- Eduard Spranger : Problems of cultural morphology. Academy of Sciences, Berlin 1936.
- Oswald Spengler : The Fall of the West. Outlines of a morphology of world history . Vienna / Munich 1918–1922.
- Lexicon entry: Culture. In: Microsoft Encarta . 1993-2009.
- Martin Rössler: The German-speaking ethnology up to approx. 1960: A historical outline. In: Cologne working papers on ethnology. No. 1, Institute for Ethnology, University of Cologne, April 2007, pp. 3–29, here p. 16 ( PDF download possible ).
- Compare Reinhard Breymayer : Vladimir Jakovlevič Propp (1895–1970). Life, work and importance. In: Linguistica Biblica. Volume 15-16, 1972, pp. 36-77 (with bibliography).
- Compare, for example, Hans Honti: Märchenmorphologie und Märchotypologie. In: Folk-Liv. Volume 3, 1939, pp. 307-318.