IN a beautiful book, Finite and Infinite games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, Carse J.P defines culture as whatever we do with each other by undirected choice. He goes further to write that culture is “the realm of the variable, free, not necessarily universal, of all that cannot lay claim to compulsive authority”.

HE goes on to write culture  is designed to serve societal interests in every case-like the socialist realism of Soviet art. Society we are told is the sum of those relations that are under some form of public constraint.

Carse continues to write that culture has no boundaries. Anyone can be a participant in a culture anywhere
and at any time. The life of culture, he tells us

Deviancy, however, is the very essence of culture. Whoever merely follows the script, merely repeating the past, is culturally impoverished.

Elsewhere, that is wikipedia, culture is defined as the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively or the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society,

Do we have a rape culture? What societal interests would be served by rape?

IS the definition of culture by Carse or from wiki narrow?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

19 thoughts on “culture

  1. johnfaupel says:

    I haven’t read this book but your summary suggests J. P. Carse conflates two quite distinct elements that make up what is commonly thought to be ‘culture’. One overriding element is that which, as you suggest is ‘under some form of public constraint’ and that which Carse refers to as “the realm of the variable [that which] … cannot lay claim to compulsive authority”. And I suggest these elements correspond to quite distinct forms of neurological processing – sometimes categorised loosely as inductive and deductive processing, or even more loosely as body and mind processing. The irony about the evolution of cultural history is that, since the Neolithic, it has become increasingly ‘rule-based’ by the imposition of a master morality, in its perverted attempt to make those that conform to it become a slave-orientated morality. Perhaps we’ve become so mind-bent by this ‘master morality’ that we now call it ‘progress’.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. john zande says:

    I think you could debate this subject for 100 years and still not get a consensus.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. renudepride says:

    I have always thought of culture as being a shared set of values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors between people. It can include customs and traditions but those two aspects aren’t always necessary. That’s just my opinion and it isn’t supported by any concrete data of which I am aware.

    I suppose there is a “rape culture.” Of course, that also depends on how one views rape. Is it the physical violation of one person by another? Is it the cultural violation of one group by another? Is it the financial violation of one individual or individuals by others? The questions can go on ad infinitum.

    As to the interests served by rape, that, again goes back to how one views and defines rape. The party that is violated will see it one way and the parties engaged in preforming the perceived violation will see it differently.

    Good topic for discussion, my Kenyan brother! Thank you. Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t say I’ve ever thought about this much. Now I’ll have to.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. nasimolo says:

    To assume culture is “all that cannot claim compulsive authority” misses the fact that not all are willing participants (at least consiously). In a dominant society, those at the helm always attempt to impose a culture that serves them, and not necessarily the whole society. So we can say culture is beneficial to those who create it. So yes, there is rape culture which serves to strike fear, and cause psychological destabilization with a view of gaining mental control over the victim. I think what he has in mind in creation of culture by individuals


    • makagutu says:

      Is culture created consciously or how does it happen? And what happens if a particular manifestation of culture threatens the survival of society?


      • nasimolo says:

        Through the education system where rules are to be obeyed, we are primed to a culture of submission to heirachy. We are to be watchful of our cultures and any that threatens society should be changed as culture is dynamicChange can be seamless when consensus is built, and if not, others can establish a counterculture.


        • makagutu says:

          Carse argues, as I briefly mentioned, defiance is the lifeline of culture. What do you think about this?


          • nasimolo says:

            I wouldn’t say that exactly, but I would say it is the lifeline of life/society. How Carse puts it sounds as if mans purpose is to serve culture rather than culture serving man/society.


            • makagutu says:

              Does society exist without culture? Since society and culture are interrelated, I see no contradiction in the claim of Carse


              • nasimolo says:

                Yes, society can be without culture, but culture can not exist without society. Government is a culture, it cant exist without people/society, but people/society can exist without government


      • johnfaupel says:

        There’s sensual consciousness – that derives from feelings, so preempts judgement and validation, and there’s conceptual consciousness – that derives from thoughts about feelings, so is premised on judgement and validation. Both feelings and thoughts contribute to all ‘cultures’ but, in pre-linguistic times, they were composed only of people’s a posteriroi feelings and didn’t need to be validated. Like singing and dance routines, and socialising in a communally egalitarian way, they were practised because they were enjoyed non-judgmentally. Since then though, in an attempt to define them more rationally, they have become increasingly interfered with by a priori thoughts, and we’ve been arguing about the validity of our judgements ever since.


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