Idealism, by Oxford’s definition, is ‘the practice of forming, pursuing or believing in ideals’ (“Idealism,” Oxford’s Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English). The idealist approach in the anthropological study of culture lays its prominence on the ‘informing spirit’ which informs the interests and values of the people by the higher society, the educated minority through language, styles of art and kinds of intellectual work (Williams, 1981). This view was first developed by Arnold’s theory of high culture and later Leavis’ theory of mass society in the determining what integrates ‘culture’ hence discriminating between ‘the best and the worst of culture’ (Barker, 2009:41).
Arnold, as famously quoted, referred culture as ‘the best that has been thought and said in the world’ (Arnold, 1960:6) where moral perfection and social greatness can be achieved through ‘reading, observing and thinking’ (...
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...dvanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (p. 295, 5th edn). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Idealism. (1995). In J. Crowther (Ed.), Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (p. 635, 5th edn). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Marx, K. “The Materialist Conception of History”, in T.B. Bottomore & M. Rubels (eds), Karl Marx; Seleted Writings in Sociology & Social Philosophy, Penguin, Ringwood, 1973, pp. 67-80.
Materialism. (1995). In J. Crowther (Ed.), Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (p. 788, 5th edn). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schiach, M. “TV: Technology and Cultural Decline”, Discourse on Popular Culture, Polity Press, 4 pages.
Swingewood, A. “The Theory of Mass Society”, The Myth of Mass Culture, London, 1977, pp. 8-10.
Williams, R. “Towards A Sociology of Culture”, Culture, Fontana, Glasgow, 1981, pp. 9-14.
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