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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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4 Semiotic Interpretation of the Humanistic CoeYcient / 65


chapter 4 Semiotic Interpretation of the Humanistic Coeûcient The Basic Question The foundation of intellectual tradition is composed of classic works that are subject to interpretation in which their application to current problems is an important element. It seems that such a sense can be ascribed to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s statement ( Gadamer 1970) that we create tradition to the extent that we understand it and participate in its development through interpretation. The ‘humanistic challenge’, started in the 1970s, reintroduced the problem of the humanistic tradition of sociology. The ‘humanistic challenge’ was posed by such trends as ethnomethodology ( Garfinkel), symbolic neointeractionism ( GoVman), sociology of absurd ( Lyman, Scott), sociology of everyday life ( Douglas), social construction of reality ( Berger, Luckmann), phenomenological sociology ( Psathas) and existential so- ciology ( Tiryakian). The practitioners of these fields sought the theoretical foundation for their views in the classics of humanistic sociology, such as Weber, Mead, Schütz and Znaniecki ( Staude 1972: 262–263). However, the humanistic orientation in sociology is characterized by a good degree of heterogeneity, which is visible in both its contemporary and classic version. But its fundamental postulate ( Zaner 1977: 337): taking into account the viewpoint of social life actors, i.e., considering the meaning of social acts of those who perform them and who live in reality interpreted by them, is formulated in diVerent ways and leads to diYcul- ties in interpretation. It is most often formulated in the language of Weber’s theory as the postulate of understanding (Verstehen) subjective meanings ( Staude 1972: 263)...

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