In view of our modern highly specialised system of knowledge with its millions of books preserved in highly valued libraries, further with all the specialised disciplines and subdisciplines of our modern humanities, it seems absurd to speak of a 'theory of culture'. But, everyone familiar with this huge system of knowledge will also know about its weaknesses.
History? The Middle Ages had a world view based strictly on written history. Today this world-view competes with a tremendous amount of contradictive scientific facts and to many it is quite questionable as to whether the written history really earns the reliability attributed by others. History necessarily excludes a lot. If suddenly this formerly excluded enters into view it can question fundamentally what was believed because it was written.
Other specialists who are confronted with dominantly traditional non-European cultures (-> Ethnology) or non-Western high-cultures (-> Sinology, Japanology, Indology) realise that they have difficulties in understanding what they are confronted with. Too large are the discrepancies between what can be handled as something particular and the cultural totality. Consequently there are always surprising things happening. We are content therefore with a knowledge 'from day to day' which articulates itself in the dramatical hectics of the media.
Man and culture! Eternally oscillating theories! (Mühlmann) Paradoxically the nebulous situation is produced exactly by that which is used to pardon the ever changing results: the facetted disciplinary views and the analytically differentiating method. They legitimate an endless pluralism, which, theoretically should be excluded apriori if we speak of man and his culture. Might it be possible, on the other hand, to escape the endless troubles created by the absurd reference to an illimitedly variable and in fact empty term 'culture' by basing cultural research on a new and well defined basic term? -> Settlement
The Western system profits from its centuries of intercultural dominance. Other cultures were forced to identify with the Western system of values though this was vehemently contradictory with their own values. Centuries of conflicts on all levels, from subjective individuals to international politics!
What the European system of cultural research and knowledge calls science particularly in the humanities is widely just a European value system based on European history, philosophy, religion, arts etc. The globalisation of cultural exchange will doubtless expose this Western-European interpretation of culture to intercultural comparison. It risks revealing its widely fictive character.
It is exactly this insight into a series of Eurocentric fictions within the humanities, which stands at the basis of the courage of 'habitat research' to speak of a 'theory of culture'. For instance, let us assume we have found a settlement structure which could be considered like a 'basic' cell of culture, but this structure would show itself of a very complex nature. We would then realise that the humanities with their Euro-facetted conventional views split up into disciplines and subdisciplines apriori dissect this complexity. Further, if such a non-European complex is based on relational conditions, the Eurocentric analytical thought system would cut all these relational facts into pieces. Thus it could be said that eventually Western humanities have accumulated a lot of knowledge about other cultures, but, it might be greatly distorted by its own optics.
In short, habitat research provides us with an inductively gained complex nucleus of settlement which can be organised into an sequential typology based on changing parameters. It applies to very different cultures - today and in history - and provides new explanations. But most importantly, it teaches us just the opposite of what the humanities maintain. Beneath the tremendous formal differences among various cultures, there is a surprising continuity in the ways man structures his habitat. -> Settlement genetic core complex
The most convincing aspect of this 'habitat theory of culture' primarily reconstructed in non-European cultures consists in the fact that it opens also new insights if applied to the Euromediterranean cultural history. The plusridisciplinary glossary will show that many established terms of this Western cultural history gain remarkable new meanings if they are interpreted in the context of 'habitat theory of culture'.
Last but not least habitat theory of culture is a new and highly objective type of anthropology. It provides us with cultural traits common to all humans. It thus pierces the basis of conventional humanities assuming a great variety of cultures with - above the merely physical - only a few common traits. In contrast to this the structural differentiations of various types of human habitats are remarkably few. What is most striking with this habitat theory of culture is the fact that it provides reasonable explanations for what is described as endlessly differentiated manifold by the conventional humanities. Habitat Theory of Culture: maybe the anthropology of the future!
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