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Greg Urban. Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

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View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis It is one thing to comprehend how culture makes its way through the world in those cases where something old is reproduced in the same physical shape-where, for example, a song is sung or a story retold. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title.

Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. Metaculture Format: Paperback Greg Urban. Published by University of Chicago press. Seller Rating:. New Paperback Quantity Available: 1. Metaculture Greg Urban. Published by University Of Minnesota Press New Quantity Available: 1. For this reason, incidentally, a theory of cultural motion is incompatible with a complete linguistic relativism.

The movement of a cultural element across linguistic boundaries, though admittedly through translation, is evidence that something—even if not everything—can and does carry over. There must be something about that object that recommends or demands its translation. Look at one of the Greek legends—about Pygmalion, for example— written down some two thousand years ago by the Roman poet Ovid. The story tells of a sculptor and king of Cyprus named Pygmalion who sculpted his ideal woman, with whom he then fell in love. And it was even adapted and retold in W.

Indeed, it would be a corollary of the principle of accelerative culture that a language will tend to spread in proportion to the number of linguistically encoded expressions within it that are of interest for speakers of other languages. But after a point, it becomes more expedient for the language itself to spread. For Bourdieu, people differ in their tastes because of the differing life circumstances in which they happened to grow up. They acquired the tastes they did because those tastes were there to be acquired.

People acquire something because it is already there. However, Bourdieu is also concerned with acceleration and its relationship to habitual inertia. These dispositions condition the response an individual will have to any new cultural element with which he or she happens to come into contact. At the same time, if only inertia were at work, people would be locked into their positions in a larger social space, condemned by the tastes they acquired as children. In fact, however, they are not so condemned. It is the fact that tastes— as evidence of embodied habitual inertial culture—can change.

The acquisition of cultural capital, or, in present terms, the transformation of habitual inertial culture, is illustrated—to continue the earlier theme—in the twentieth century refraction of the Greek myth of Pygmalion. As Bourdieu suggests is possible, Higgins is in fact successful. Higgins is, so to speak, the social sculptor, and Eliza his statue.

Such a scenario is evidence for the acceleration of culture. How else than through a change in the course of her inertially acquired culture could Eliza have come to pass for an upper-class British lady? This is a topic on which I will have more to say in chapter 6, but it should already be apparent, from the preceding discussion of Anderson, that I consider this conclusion inescapable. While Bourdieu himself seems to attribute considerable solidity to social space—and there is in fact considerable solidity to it—the possibilities for its transformation, whether gradual or radical, are implicit in his concern with accelerative processes.

That is, leadership is not simply determined by the inertial character of social space. This kind of understanding focuses attention on the possibly shifting character of space through time. Mouffe , views this process as one of articulation. To unpack this in present terms, Mouffe is talking about a social space that is constituted inertially via the movement of cultural elements through individuals.

Hierarchy is a result of differential movement through a nonhomogeneous space. In this regard, the model is similar to that proposed by Bourdieu. However, crucial to the Gramsci-Mouffe scheme is the idea that, for some individuals to exercise leadership, there must be active consensus. That is, there must be a shared understanding that, despite the different positions individuals are occupying, they do, in fact, occupy the same space.

Hence, there must be cultural elements that communicate this sense of participation in a single space, and those elements themselves must be widely circulated; they must form part of the inertial culture of leaders and led, alike. Of course those values, that culture, that way of life are good ones— nay, even superior ones, the story assures us.

Yet there is something in it also for the led—the great American hope that everyone can ascend the social ladder, that they can acquire the accents, the manners—in short, the culture—of the elites. This is a dream or a myth into which they can buy. Here is a bit of hegemony at work. Complete consensus—probably never obtained in fact—would be achieved when some set of elements capturing an agreed-upon participation in a single space was in fact universally shared. Such a social space, however, could still be inertial if all of the elements in question were simply reproduced over time.

The accelerative aspect of the Gramsci-Mouffe framework is to be found in the process of achieving new articulations. At the same time, this struggle seems to have, at least for Gramsci, an end.

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The end is the realignment whose parameters are already set by a Marxist theory of class. In Laclau and Mouffe , the process of disarticulation-rearticulation appears to become perpetual and is intimately linked to their idea of a democratic politics.

I will be arguing later that something like this is already happening under a metaculture of modernity, but that the result is not, and perhaps is necessarily not, social equality. For the story does not end with Schell and myself. However, here I wish to pick up the story in the mids, when it occurred to me to look at the writings of someone working for the U. A logical candidate was Caspar Weinberger, then secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan.

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Defense Strategy. Just as in the other studies, patterns quickly emerged. However, the patterns here were quite distinct from those I found in the other studies. I summarize the results in Table 3. Table 3. Reagan administration 29 13 3. Ambiguous 28 13 4.


Department of Defense 8 4 5. Within quotations 7 3 6. President and I 5 2 7. Human species 1 0 Totals Again, I do not expect that you, the reader, would come up with exactly the same statistical results, were you to do this study.

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What to make of this? The answer, I propose, is that such differences are characteristic of cultural boundaries. But of what are those boundaries made? The inertial character of these elements is in fact of the second type mentioned above—habitual inertia. If you try to pronounce new words in a language you are learning as an adult, you tend to pronounce them with an accent. It is not that you could not ever learn to pronounce the words as a native speaker does; it is that the path of least resistance is to do what you have always done.

Inertia sets in; to change patterns requires effort.

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Change of inertially guided patterns is always possible. It is rather that to make the change requires effort. The inertia of habituation is at work. I sampled some of his commentaries in Forbes, and picked one out at random from June 15, To change that pattern would require the expenditure of effort. I have no direct evidence of this, for obvious reasons. However, I ran across a fascinating interview with Weinberger that originally aired on television C-Span on July 15, Here is an excerpt from the interview: Caspar Weinberger, secretary of defense for seven years for this country and author of the new book, Fighting for Peace.

He told us, told my brother and me, the story of the Constitution, how the Constitution was formed and the various compromises that had to go into the creation of the House and the Senate, and this was not the sort of story that you would ordinarily think would hold the attention of anyone of fairly tender years—I guess I was maybe seven or eight, nine, something like that—and yet he told it in such a fascinating fashion.

He was an attorney, but a very broad-gauge man and a great father, and I just became thoroughly fascinated with not only the Constitution and its formation, but the legislative procedure, and, indeed, everything connected with government. L A M B You obviously remember the details of it—how, you say, it went on for weeks? It was. What intrigues me is the suggestion that the inertial pattern may have been present in childhood.