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Civilization and Culture

Author(s): Ruan Wei

Journal: Globality Studies Journal : Global History, Society, Civilization
ISSN 1557-0266

Volume: 2011;
Issue: 24/May 28;
Start page: 35;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Bagby | Braudel | Civilization | Culture | Globalization | Hybridization | Religion

This article discusses the historical usages of “civilization” and “culture” and various definitions advanced by thinkers such as Oswald Spengler, Fernand Braudel, and Philip Bagby, while also suggesting a new way of dealing with these two terms. The argument is that “civilization” is the key term to denote groups and peoples who share a large and common geographic locus, values and social institutions, and that “culture” refers to a particular set of values or beliefs within the larger historico-cultural entity that is a civilization. If we treat “civilization” as the largest and highest socio-historical unit and “culture” as something smaller, lower, and subsumed under “civilization,” we will better understand the ubiquitous phenomenon of cultural appropriation and civilizational hybridization. To further elucidate how these two terms should be understood and to disentangle them from each other, the essay provides an historical account of the context in which each term arose.
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