History of Science of Culture
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Beginning in the Age of the Enlightenment and then through the 19th and 20th centuries, investigators have expressed greatly diverse points of view about the development of cultures, the interaction of mass and elite culture, the reasons why cultures flourish or experience spiritual crises, and the significance of cultural values. Svetlana Ikonnikova’s book offers a wide panorama of concepts of culture and of ethnology as a discipline at the beginning of its journey. In surveying the history of culturological teachings, the author defines the theoretical basis of the discipline and portrays various views and concepts of culture in the history of social thought. In undertaking this, she pursues several goals. First of all, she states her conviction that knowledge must begin with the study of the classic works that form the foundation of the discipline, since the culturological approach already has an old tradition in European human science. Secondly, she argues that an investigator must work out his own position and attitude toward existing theories, using older writers as merely an inspiration and a basis for further study, and that this approach can provide a compass in the vast sea of ethnological knowledge.
Thirdly, she seeks to emphasize the individuality of each author’s literary style and manner, his perception, and his forebodings of social and spiritual catastrophes, crises and conflicts.
Her book thus falls into three logical parts. The first is devoted to the basis of the culturological (ethnological) science. The second deals with the classics of culturology and philosophy. The third provides a gallery of historical scientific portraits of Russian and foreign classics. Ikonnikova expounds even the most complex philosophical concepts in simple and lucid literary prose.
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