Instructions

Read the following passages carefully to answer these questions given at the end of each passage:

Passage II :

Definitions of ‘culture’ are contested. In anthropological usage, the word refers to a system of shared meanings through which collective existence becomes possible. However, aS many recent critiques of this position point out, this sense of culture gives no place to the idea of judgement, and hence to the relations of power by which the dominance of ideas and tastesis established. As Said says about Matthew Arnold's view of culture:

"What is at stake in society is not merely the cultivation of individuals, or the development of a class of finely tuned sensibilities, or the renaissance of interests in the classics, but rather the assertively achieved and won hegemonyof an identifiable set of ideas, which Arnold honorifically colls, culture, over all other ideas in society.”

The implications of Arnold's view of culture are profound; they lead us towards a position in which culture must be seen in terms of that which it eliminates as much as that which it establishes. Said argues that when culture is consecrated by the state, it becomes a system of discriminations and evaluations through which a series of exclusions can be legislated from above. By the enactment of such legislation, the state comes to be the primary giver of values. Anarchy, disorder, irrationality, inferiority, bad taste and immorality are, in this way, defined and then located outside culture and civilisation by the state and its institutions. This exclusion of alterity is an important device by which the hegemony of the state is established; either certain ‘others’ are defined as being outside culture, as are ‘mad' people; or they are domesticated, as with penal servitude—Foucault’s monumental studies on the asylum and the prison demonstrate this.

It is this context which we must understand in order to fully appreciate the challenge posed by the community to the hegemony of the state, especially to the notion that the state is the sole giver of values. At the same time, the dangeris that we may in the process he tempted to valourise the community as somehow representing a more organic mode, and therefore a more authentic method of organising culture. Many scholars feel that culture is more organically related to the traditions of groups, whereastraditions are falsely invented by the hands of state. The issues are by no meansas simple, for culture and tradition are not instituted in society once and forever, but are subject to the constant change and flux which are an essential feature of every society. Indeed, the very attempt to freeze and fix cultural traditions may be inimical to their survival. Finally, in the contests between state, communities and collectivities of different kinds on one hand and the individual on the other, we can see the double life of culture: its potential to give radical recognition to the humanity of its subjects as well as its potential to keep the individual within such tightly defined bounds that the capacity to experiment with selfhood—which is also a mark of
humanity—may be jeopardised.

So, we arrive at this double definition of culture. By this | mean that the word ‘culture’ refers to both a system of shared meanings which defines the individual's collective life, as well as a system for the formulation of judgements which are used to exclude alterities, and which thus keep the individual strictly within the bounds defined by the society. It is in view of this that the question of cultural rights seems to me to be placed squarely with in the question of passions rather than interests. It is time now to define passion. After the classical work of Hirschman on political passions, if was usual to think of passions as obstructions in the path of reason. Passions had to be overcome for enlightened interest to emerge. This view of passions is extremely limited. Indeed, certain kinds of revelations, including the recognition of oneself as human, become possible only through passion. If the self is constituted only through the Other—so that desire, cognition, memory
and imagination become possible through the play of passion—then the revelatory role of passion must be acknowledgednot only in the life of the individual but also in the life of the collective. Passion then mustplaya role in politics.

As we hove seen, the demandfor cultural rights at this historical momentis in a context, where cultural symbols have been appropriated by the state, which tries to establish a monopoly over ethical pronouncements. The state is thus experienced as a threat by smaller units, who feel that their ways of life are penetrated, if not engulfed, by this larger unit. The situation is quite the opposite of the relation between the part and the whole in hierarchical systems, a relation seen as the characteristics mark of traditional politics in South Asia. In a hierarchical system, differences between constitutional units were essential for the ‘whole’ to be constituted.

In other words, small units came to be defined by being bearer of special marks in a hierarchical entity. And although by definition they could not be equal in such a system, the very logic of hierarchy assured that they could not be simply engulfed into the higher totality. This was both a source of their oppression as well as a guarantee of their acceptance (though not a radical acceptance) of their place in the world, My argument is not an appeal for a return to hierarchy as a principle of organisation. Rather, it is an effort to locate the special nature of the threat which smaller groups feel.

Question 88

Which of the following is true?


Create a FREE account and get:

  • All Quant Formulas and shortcuts PDF
  • 40+ previous papers with solutions PDF
  • Top 500 MBA exam Solved Questions for Free

cracku

Boost your Prep!

Download App