La dominación cultural – Antonio Gramsci y Pierre Bourdieu

En este escrito Michael Burawoy relaciona las teorías sobre la dominación cultural de dos de los principales pensadores sociales del siglo XX, Antonio Gramsci y Pierre Bourdieu. De todos los marxistas Gramsci es el más cercano a Bourdieu. Ambos trataron temas muy similares, a pesar de que hicieron sus obras en momentos históricos diferentes. Una posible explicación de ese paralelismo teórico es el paralelismo que a su vez presentan sus historias de vida. Sin embargo, como nos muestra Burawoy a lo largo de este escrito, en conceptos de ambos autores que pueden parecer paralelos (dominación simbólica y hegemonía, campo de poder y sociedad civil, intelectual e intelectual orgánico, entre otros) existen diferencias importantes. Pero, más allá de esas diferencias, el diálogo entre sus producciones teóricas promete ser muy fructífero.

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Posted in Bourdieu, Culture, Gramsci | Tagged , ,

La Supervivencia de la Cultura – Pierre Bourdieu

¿Es todavía posible hoy, y por cuánto tiempo todavía, hablar de actividades culturales y de cultura en general? Me parece que la lógica cada vez más empujada por la velocidad y por el beneficio, que se expresa en la lucha por la ganancia máxima en un tiempo mínimo – como en la audiencia en la televisión, las tiradas en librería y en prensa, y las entradas para las nuevas películas – es incompatible con la idea de cultura. Si las condiciones ecológicas del arte de las que hablaba Ernst Gombrich se destruyen, el arte y la cultura las seguirán de cerca.

Recuerdo lo que ocurrió con el cine italiano, hace nada uno de los mejores del mundo y que sobrevive hoy gracias a un puñado de realizadores, del cine alemán o de Europa del este. Recuerdo la larga crisis de la película de autor que desapareció de los circuitos de distribución, así como el destino de la radio cultural, cada vez más sacrificada en nuestros días en nombre de la modernidad, en nombre de la audiencia y en nombre del pacto oculto con el nuevo mundo de los medios de comunicación.

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Posted in Cultural sociology, Culture, Sociology | Tagged , ,

La sociología de la cultura y música en Max Weber

La Sociología de la Cultura de Weber ha quedado desdibujada ante la enorme pluralidad de áreas de estudio que el sociólogo alemán inició. Desde los estudios de metodología que tratan de conciliar la polémica entre las Ciencias ideográficas y las Ciencias nomológicas, hasta el análisis del surgimiento del capitalismo en la relación entre economía/religión, se puede considerar a Weber como el gran sintetizador y clasificador de la temática sociológica.

Sin embargo, ante esa avalancha de temas, aspectos que renuevan la perspectiva global de un fenómeno quedan minusvalorados ante los análisis sobre la racionalidad, la legitimidad y la dominación social o la aparición de un Estado caracterizado por la administración burocrática. Weber, pues, será el gran erudito por excelencia de la Sociología. Erudición que se extiende desde la Sociología del Estado a la Sociología de la Cultura. Precisamente la Sociología de la Cultura tiene que ser entendida como el laboratorio en el que no sólo la metodología de los “tipos ideales” se va a comprobar, sino también, como la garantía de la efectividad que la comprensión significativa tiene.

Parte I     Parte II

Posted in Culture, Music, Sociology | Tagged , ,

Histoires de peintures : La peinture comme pensée non verbale

Ce troisième entretien avec l’historien de l’art Daniel Arasse, s’articule autour d’une période longue qui va du XIVème siècle jusqu’à la fin du XIXème et qui offre « une possibilité, dans l’Histoire à long terme, d’étudier les transformations » notamment les différents systèmes de perspectives.

Qu’est ce qui fascine dans un tableau, qui fait que telle œuvre plutôt qu’une autre nous arrête et qu’on ne peut s’en détacher ? En 2003, l’historien de l’art Daniel Arasse tentait de répondre à ces questions à travers une série de vingt-cinq émissions sur France Culture. Une traversée de l’histoire de la peinture sur six siècles, de l’invention de la perspective jusqu’à la disparition de la figure.

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The Music of the Maya: Mysterious whistles

Music has held a special role in human society for thousands of years. In ancient China, for instance, sets of bronze bells were played for entertainment and ritual purposes at court. The complementary tones produced by the different bells were a reflection of the Confucian ideal of harmony. In ancient Rome, a flute player would be present at sacrifices in order to drown any disturbances from the external surrounding. Music was also central to the rituals and traditions of the Maya, evident in the objects left in the archaeological record.

The Mayas had numerous wind and percussion instruments, including flutes, whistles, trumpets, rattles, bone and gourd rasps and drums. These instruments have been described in texts and depicted in Maya art. One of the most intriguing instruments to have been found is the Maya whistle.

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Voluntary taxation: a lesson from the Ancient Greeks

I imagine a progressive tax – in other words, a tax that falls on those most able to pay; a tax that results in the rich paying – quite voluntarily – more than they are obliged, instead of trying to avoid it; a tax that’s spent according to the wishes of the person who paid it; a tax that involves little bureaucracy. We have a great deal to thank the Ancient Greeks for: to mathematics, science, drama and philosophy, add their taxation system – or rather, lack of – to the list.

The Greeks put taxation in the field of ethics: the liberty or despotism of a society could be measured by its system of taxes. We should admire them not so much for the way that they taxed, but the way that they didn’t. There was no tax on income. Taxes were not the way by which the wealth of the rich was shared with the people. Instead, this was achieved by a voluntary alternative: liturgy.

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How Agriculture was Invented During the Stone Age

It is believed that women were the “inventors” of agriculture, as they began applying observations to their gathering in order to maximize their returns. Plant varieties were chosen for their nutritional value and ease of production, and locations were chosen based on their favorable growing conditions. During this same period, men began domesticating animals, either becoming nomadic herdsmen, or stationary husbandmen. The change from the nomadic to agrarian lifestyle was facilitated by climate and driven by population. As the earth warmed after the zenith of the ice age, the land was especially fertile. When the nomadic lifestyle became threatened by population increase, this change is climate aided our ancestors in making the change to an agrarian lifestyle. These important lifestyle changes mark the beginning of the Neolithic or New Stone Age. Women began to make textiles that provided warmth and clothing with sewing needles were fashioned out of animal bones.

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Posted in Agriculture, Ancient, Cultural evolution | Tagged , ,

The Neolithic Revolution in the Near East: Transforming the Human Landscape

One of humanity’s most important milestones was the transition from hunting and gathering to food production and permanent village life. This Neolithic Revolution first occurred in the Near East, changing the way humans interacted with their environment and each other, setting the stage, ultimately, for the modern world.

Based on more than thirty years of fieldwork, this timely volume examines the Neolithic Revolution in the Levantine Near East and the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Alan H. Simmons explores recent research regarding the emergence of Neolithic populations, using both environmental and theoretical contexts, and incorporates specific case studies based on his own excavations. In clear and graceful prose, Simmons traces chronological and regional differences within this land of immense environmental contrasts—woodland, steppe, and desert. He argues that the Neolithic Revolution can be seen in a variety of economic, demographic, and social guises and that it lacked a single common stimulus.

Each chapter includes sections on history, terminology, geographic range, specific domesticated species, the composition of early villages and households, and the development of social, symbolic, and religious behavior. Most chapters include at least one case study and conclude with a concise summary. In addition, Simmons presents a unique chapter on the island of Cyprus, where intriguing new research challenges assumptions about the impact and extent of the Neolithic.

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Posted in Cultural evolution, Evolution, Farmers | Tagged , ,

First farmers had diverse origins

Analysis of DNA from some of the world’s first farmers shows that they had surprisingly diverse origins. Researchers compared the genomes of ancient Neolithic skeletons from across the Near East, where farming began. The results shed light on a debate over whether farming spread out from a single source in the region, or whether multiple farmer groups spread their technology across Eurasia. The switch from mobile hunting and gathering to the sedentary lifestyle of farming first occurred about 10,000 years ago in southwestern Asia. After the last Ice Age, this new way of life spread rapidly across Eurasia, in one of the most important behavioral transitions in human history. Analysis of DNA from ancient remains in Europe has established that farming spread via the mass migration of people, rather than the adoption of new ideas by indigenous populations.

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Understanding the Past: Archaeological and Paleoanthropological Methods

A portion of a pig’s tusk, a small sample of volcanic sediment, a battered cobble, a primate’s molar tooth: What do these seemingly unremarkable remains have in common, and more to the point, why are they of interest to paleoanthropologists and archaeologists? First of all, if they are all discovered at certain sites in Africa or Eurasia, they may be quite ancient—perhaps millions of years old. Further, some of these materials actually inform scientists directly of the accurate and precise dating of the finds. Last, and most exciting, some of these finds may have been modified, used, and discarded by creatures who looked and behaved in some ways like us, but were, in other respects, very different. And what of that molar tooth? Is it a fossilized remnant of an ancient hominin? These are the kinds of questions asked by paleoanthropologists and archaeologists, and to answer them, these researchers travel to remote locales in the Old World.

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Posted in Anthropology, Archaeology, Paleoanthropology | Tagged , ,