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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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9 Affective Society: Sentiments and Symbolic Interactions / 137


chapter 9 Affective Society: Sentiments and Symbolic Interactions DiVerence in Values and the Problem of Communication The social system of late capitalism, defined – not without a strongly critical tone – as permissive,1 into which the post-communist societies are being transformed, also reveals another side of this liberal preoccupation with the individual’s concern about himself, free from restrictive social rules. This second aspect is sensitivity to violence. It was John Dewey who turned our attention to the moral significance and humani- tarian commitment of liberalism ( Dewey 1977: 197–198). Violence – aggression – has become one of the leading topics in public, civic and scholarly discussions. This is the case whether it be in the macro institutional dimension of state terrorism, e.g., terrorism on the part of national minorities, or in the micro social dimension, e.g., violence in a family and various forms of abuses in interpersonal relationships with children and women. Even the greatest skeptics, who question the idea of a common human nature and universal moral principles, like Richard Rorty, agree that cruelty is the greatest evil done to human beings. If, following the pragmatist William James, we take man as a threefold self: material, social and spiritual, then we shall see that cruelty may be committed not only towards someone’s body or economic property, but also towards social position and dignity, as well as towards human beliefs and hu- 1 Not without reservation: there are some who point out that what is called permissive morality is a sort...

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