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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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8 Constructing Social Values: Cultural Approach / 123


chapter 8 Constructing Social Values: Cultural Approach Voices of scholars who claim the urgent need for sociology to strengthen the intimate relationship with the humanities and philosophy ( Bellah 1986: 297–307) may provide an important reason to consider Florian Znaniecki’s humanistic approach to sociology ( Ha∏as 1991a). He placed sociology in the complex of cultural sciences (Znaniecki 1952a) and grounded this concept in the philosophy of culturalism (Znaniecki 1919). The projection of sociology as a cultural science remains a fecund formulation. To be more exact, sociology in Znaniecki’s view was a science about social systems as a particular kind of cultural system. Znaniecki has markedly advanced the culturalistic analysis of the composition and structure of social systems: social actions and interactions, social relations, social persons, social groups as well as societies in the analytical sense of complexes of groups institutionalized by one dominant political, national or eccle- siastical group (Znaniecki 1934a: 105–136; 1965: 18–20). The culturalistic approach to social systems is grounded in his idea of social value as the core element of social systems. Social values are supposed to form a particular class distinct from other cul- tural values and social systems would only be one class of cultural systems in general. To properly understand this exclusive concept of the object-matter of sociology one needs to investigate the basic premises of Znaniecki’s philosophy of culture, especially relations between notions of culture, person and society. * First published as ‘Social Values as the Object-Matter of Florian Znaniecki’s Culturalistic Sociology’...

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