July 19, 2017

Cultural history as a branch of natural science

In the history of cultural science this fact has been neglected. This period is considered only a brief historical overview as predecessor of modern cultural studies. In fact, the focus should be on two lines, or ways of shaping science of culture, natural lines and line running from understanding the culture as fundamentally forms of human life, even opposed to nature, born not by adapting and overcoming it.

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The first of these lines, natural sciences, called us so not because of the fact that it was developed by the science. Though really, among the representatives of this trend were many scientists of this kind. If confine XIX century. It should be called such names as Alexander von Humboldt, E. Reclus, Karl Ritter, Friedrich Ratzel, A. Hettner. This is only a small group of scientists working in the field of science that have made important contributions to the development of ideas theory of culture. Interestingly, many of them were geographers, specialists. They all tend been living ideas about communication and culture depending on the nature of the environment and landscape, soil properties and other natural factors affecting the originality of life, folklore, material culture inhabited the features of their people. More significant for determining how natural this tradition is, firstly, that the culture and its origin were seen as natural or nature and occurred significantly depends on its material properties form of human existence. Habitual, for example, was understanding it as a medium through which people adapted to the natural conditions of existence using their laws and especially their needs. Cultural history in this case is understood as part of a natural historical process of rational domination of nature and improvement to adapt to its challenges.

Second, the members of this line in the study of culture using the same theoretical and methodological approach that is characteristic of science. Whom we described above. In the XIX – early XX century. it shared a huge number of ethnographers, folklorists, religious studies, anthropology. From these positions studied tribes living explorers like B. Malinowski, Boas F., N. Maclay. Its essential elements characteristic of those who studied the original culture: E. Taylor, LR Morgan, Engels. Their work marked the beginning of this humanitarian and cultural sciences as ethnology, ethnography and historical anthropology, cultural anthropology, etc. But the strategic objective of this line of research was to give a general theory of culture as strict empirical science. This problem saw before him. Although scientific creativity, no matter how important was his theory, it still was an episode of his scientific biography, but in the overall perspective of science understanding of the concept of culture is quite natural. It is crowned by a serious tradition that science some extent their capabilities. An attempt to revive the natural science interpretation of culture, introducing its new concept sociological context and origin was, in fact, failed. You cannot mix the use of scientific methodology to comprehend the culture, not coarsened its essence with the interpretation of the phenomenon of the natural world, thereby abolishing this qualitative features.

Consider several fundamental issues raised. The core and logically first in his theory is the assertion of the need for a new science of culture, its functioning mechanisms and distribution. It is not, it would seem naturally to mark the general science of culture, cultural studies, and introduces the concept. The term “cultural” is not present in theory. In general, science first half of XX century. material relating to the present general theory of culture, was distributed among the various humanitarian and social sciences, as reflected in our academic positions. Creating interdisciplinary science, in this case combines ethnographic approach to culture and geographical point of view on it, already beaten and left in a sense, methodologically necessary means. By the beginning of the XX century. in all fields of knowledge as natural and humanitarian felt exhausted research methodology confined to a narrow and rigid isolation subject. Gradually growing conviction of the need for a common approach, overcoming fragmentation Sciences. Unity knowledge must match the understanding of unity of subject knowledge. Increasing importance acquired interdisciplinary methodology, emerging science that combine different approaches to their subject, biophysics, biochemistry, geophysics, Chemical physics.

Similar research syntheses were characteristic of the humanities, including the ones linguistics, geography, anthropology. Example from which it came Friedrich Ratzel. But science does not suit him for the reason that remained within natural science, understanding person not socially, not cultural, and generic sense only biologically, that is a part of nature: “The term a natural scientific nature. The human race, a man considered as part of the physical shell globe. Ethno geography term goes on. it emphasizes the further development of the kind of “man”, its division into races, peoples, nations, and includes the totality of culture created man on the earth in its historical and geographical diversity. To understand the cultural processes in terms of development ( “mutations”) culture, and their global distribution, requires the synthesis of other sciences. These act for him ethnography and geography. Leaving the same geography as the basic natural-scientific basis of the new doctrine, it attracts synthesis, understanding this as the science of culture.

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