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The Continuous Model of Culture: Modernity Decline—a Eurocentric Bias? An Attempt to Introduce an Absolute Value into a Model of Culture

Abstract

This paper means to demonstrate the theoretical-and-methodological potential of a particular pattern of thought about culture. Employing an end-means and absolute value plus concept of reality approach, the continuous model of culture aims to embrace from one holistic standpoint various concepts and debates of the modern human, social, and political sciences. The paper revisits the fact versus value, nature versus culture, culture versus structure, agency versus structure, and economics versus politics debates and offers the concepts of the rule of law, state capitalism, a dialectical model of progress, and interpretative qualitative research, as well as of cultural diffusion, autonomy, alienation, and individuality. This model distinguishes between the ideal-symbolical and the instrumental functions of culture, sees culture as being sewn from universal binaries, and provides a certain understanding of the cognitive function of a value judgment, with positivism so far vague about the topic. It, too, suggests an extra method for investigating culture(s): the comparative literature study of culture(s) enables social science to view literature as its potential in-depth interviewee—a case for arguing for a certain conception of interdisciplinarity as well. In addition, it predicts that cultural particularism or individuality remains an essential factor of human existence. Analyzing the issue of Eurocentrism in social science, the model finds modernity’s concept of reality to be involved in “methodological” intellectualistic reductionism, characterizing it since the empiricism/rationalism origination. Systematically confusing the universal oppositions in a Eurocentric manner, intellectualism becomes a contributing factor in unfolding post-modernity.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Leah Kankava, my wife, for too many things to list. I would like to dedicate the paper to the memory of Pridon Gogadze, my grandfather; Giorgi Natadze, my teacher and friend; Vaja Pshavela, a Georgian poet of the 19th century; and Max Weber and Samuel Huntington. I would also thank Thomas de Brett for his help in stylistic and grammatical corrections of this article, as well as Human Studies’ reviewers whose comments and suggestions were extremely useful for me to improve the paper.

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Correspondence to Giorgi Kankava.

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Kankava, G. The Continuous Model of Culture: Modernity Decline—a Eurocentric Bias? An Attempt to Introduce an Absolute Value into a Model of Culture. Hum Stud 36, 411–433 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10746-013-9274-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10746-013-9274-0

Keywords

  • Epistemology
  • Theory
  • Culture, society (structure), and agency
  • Eurocentrism
  • Interpretative qualitative research
  • Interdisciplinarity