‘Culture’ is a strange and capacious category. It is one of those concepts, perhaps the best example, that we simply cannot do without- it is used everywhere- but which isalso very unsatisfactory and cries out for betterment. No one can define it exactly, say what it ‘really means. That’s partly why it’s so useful of course, because we can always say later we meantsomething slightly different whilst getting on for now saying something nearly right of great importance. So many things are contained in the word.
At an everyday and human level, cultural interests,persuits and identities have never been more important. This has to be broadly considered, of course, as individuals and groups bearing a felt responsibility for and wanting a hand in the making of theself as something more than a passive or unconscious acceptance of a historically/socially prescribed identity (simply being working class, black or white, young or old, etc.). Everyone wants to have,or make, or be considered as possessing cultural significance. No one knows what the social maps are any more, so it is more important not be left out, overlooked or misrepresented. Everyone wants astake in the action, though no one is quite sure where the party is.
At the same time and in a connected way, 'culture’ has become an important and much used theoretical and substantive category ofconnection and relation. Both in academic and popular writing and commentary we see countless references to ‘cultures of … schools, organizations, pubs, regions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, etc.’You name it and you can add, ‘culture of …’ All those evoked domains of ‘culture’ are seen as containing a multiplicity of human forms and relations: from micro-interpersonal interactions to groupnorms proccess and values to communicative forms, provided texts and images; wider out to institutional forms and constraints, to social representations and social imagery; wider out still to economic,...