Chapter

Culture and the Cultural

S.N. Balagangadhara

in Reconceptualizing India Studies

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082965
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081936 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198082965.003.0002
Culture and the Cultural

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Today, it is almost sacrilegious to ‘Other the other’ while doing anthropology. Because the notion of culture itself has become suspect, apparently, one cannot even suggest that cultures different from one’s own are these ‘others’. This chapter begins by showing that most arguments that advocate jettisoning the concept of culture are cognitively inadmissible: none of these arguments establishes the need to reject the concept of culture or show its undesirability. Subsequently, it examines the suggestion to look at the adjectival uses of the word ‘cultural’. Here, an answer to the following question is formulated: what makes some difference, any difference, a cultural difference and not a social, biological or psychological difference? Instead of a wholesale rejection of the notion of culture, this chapter shows that it is possible to explore the nature of cultural difference in new ways provided we come up with interesting hypotheses about its nature.

Keywords: Culture; cultural difference; the other; anthropology; the Other

Chapter.  8146 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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