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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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10 The Civilization Process in Florian Znaniecki’s Views / 161


chapter 10 The Civilization Process in Florian Znaniecki’s Views The Study of Civilization The interaction of cultures on a global scale and processes of globalization in social sciences bring about the return to a tradition of studies that take into account pro- cesses which are more universal than the integration within national societies and states ( Featherstone 1990: 3). Above all, it is the question of studying civilization. Samuel Huntington’s view of conflicts in the modern, multipolar world of many civilizations is a characteristic example of the recent revival of interest in these prob- lems ( Huntington 1998: 15). This is why analyses of the representment of the processes of civilization by thinkers of the West are indispensable for a critical evaluation of instruments employed by social sciences, including sociology. At the same time one should remember that ways of analyzing and representing the social world aVect its arrangement. The terms ‘civilization’ and ‘culture’ in Florian Znaniecki’s theory are not separate but this does not justify the hasty claim that he does not distinguish them ( Burakowski 1986: 51) or that he uses them like Marcel Mauss qui pro quo ( Mirek 1948: 198). Znaniecki accepts neither Alfred Weber’s and Robert M. MacIver’s ( MacIver 1946: 272V.) division between autotelic values (culture) and instrumental ones (civilization) nor the division between ideal values (culture) and material-social ones (civilization). However, in con- trast to Thomas S. Eliot ( Eliot 1949: 95) or Jacques Maritain ( Maritain 1968: 10), he does not give up the distinction of these terms....

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