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Summary Of The Book Culture Matters In The History Of Western Civilization Class.

1966 words - 8 pages

Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress This book was created as a culmination of some of the most influential minds pertaining to the topic of culture. As a milestone for progress in the new millennium, this controversial debate of the constantly intertwined views. Culture, politics, economics, and democratization takes a subjective view on the achievement or failure of various countries in an ever shifting society. The author states that culture is, " The values, attitudes, beliefs, orientations and underlying assumptions prevalent among people in a society" (Harrison, XV). The idea that the success of society depends on culture and not politics is a concept that is instilled throughout the book as well as the idea that politics can change a culture and save it from falling apart. For example the dependence on culture as opposed to politics is centered to the republican view in our United States government system. Republicans believe that cultural values are paramount to the advancement of society in that, the republicans are opposed to social reform such as gays in the military and gun laws and generally the values that our nation and more importantly our culture has instilled in us since the nation's founding. On the other end of the spectrum there is the democratic perspective that states politics can change a culture and save it from falling apart. For instance, democratic ideology in the United States takes a liberal stance in2politics saying that the more laws that are created to challenge the mainstream culture the more acceptance we will have towards their views therefore the more progress towards a changed culture for the better. For example, if they make a law about gays in the military saying it is ok to integrate them into the mainstream of society then over time culture will adapt to the liberal's view of how society should progress thus making politics the stage for cultural advancement. This argument, politics vs. culture is exemplified in Pye's article on Asian Values. In Asian culture and past history the values instilled by their society were Confucianism and mostly traditional beliefs. Before industrialization swept the nation, it complemented their rural way of life. After WWII and the rebuilding of industrialization for Japan, the cultural values of Asian life stayed the same yet produced different results for the Japanese because of the ability to adapt to the changing environment and changing culture as a result of political reform. After being under Monarchial rule with the Emperor and religion as the utmost importance in their cultural beliefs, the rise of westernization and a democratic capitalist society influenced Japan to become westernized. While this is an example of politics affecting Japanese development, " In this book, however, we are interested in how culture affects societal development" (p. xiv). A perfect example of this is the comparison of the GNP of Ghana, vs....

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