The resonance of "Culture": Framing a problem in global concept-history

Andrew Sartori

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    In the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, "culture" achieved the status of a truly global concept. We find discourses of "culture" emerging to prominence in the German-speaking world during the second half of the eighteenth century (with the closely associated linguistic arenas of the Netherlandsand Scandinavia rapidly following suit); in the English-speaking world starting in the first half of the nineteenth century; in Eastern Europe, East Asia, and South Asia starting in the second half of the nineteenth century; and just about everywhere else in the course of the twentieth century. "Culture" began to circulate far beyond the European sites of its modern genesis, sometimes through the direct transfer of lexical items from Western European languages (e.g., Russian kulHtura; the use of kalcar in various South Asian languages); and more often through the construction of new translative equivalencies with preexisting words or concepts most often signifying purification, refinement, or improvement (e.g., Japanese bun-ka; Chinese wen-hua; Bangla and Hindi sanskriti; Urdu tamaddun).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)676-699
    Number of pages24
    JournalComparative Studies in Society and History
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Oct 2005

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Sociology and Political Science


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