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Towards the World Culture Society

Florian Znaniecki’s Culturalism


Elzbieta Halas

If the new cultural sociology is to gain firm grounds, it should rediscover the classic studies on cultural dynamics and cultural systems. This book contributes to a better understanding of Florian Znaniecki as an eminent culturologist and the lasting relevance of his theory of cultural becoming. Znaniecki opted for a humanistic approach that he called culturalism. Culturalism, founded on the principle of the humanistic coefficient, is applied also to the cultural person. The concept of social values makes this cultural approach an original one. The cultural logic and cultural ethos of Znaniecki’s thought is inherent in the very principle of a creative evolution of culture, augmenting his vision of a new civilization of the future and a world culture society.


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1 Cultural Sociology: Tradition and New Perspectives / 17


chapter 1 Cultural Sociology: Tradition and New Perspectives The notion of culture has lost the charm of novelty since it has been associated more frequently with popular culture, and according to a populist view, everyone has their own culture. Culture has thus become something so obvious that theoretical aspirations are often limited to the theory of banality of culture.1 At the same time the terms ‘culture’ and ‘cultural’ have been spread in the areas where they used to appear quite rarely, e.g., in the sphere of economy. There have also been experiments with culturally given categorizations of the world, already expressed in the term ‘counter-culture’, used to describe social movements for change of the dominating codes of meaning, values and norms. This way, culture acquired a political dimension and the majority of contemporary conflicts take place in the cultural field of meanings. The omnipresence of problematics of culture and diVerent cultural interests are not accompanied by suYciently deepened knowledge of culture. The notion of culture introduced by Samuel Coleridge, Matthew Arnold and Thomas Carlyle was at first used in a critical sense. It emphasized creative human action as the opposite to mass production. This opposition preceded the distinction between culture and nature2 (which was characteristic for the European modernity) in the sense of the diVerence between civilized people and people living on the lower level of civilization, i.e., between Kulturvölker and Naturvölker ( Vierkandt 1896). With the development of historical and ethnological research, a more abstract problem of...

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