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Normative & Empirical Political Theory

The variations of meaning and reference, in the use of culture as a term, must be seen . . . not simply as a disadvantage, which prevents any kind of neat and exclusive definition, but as a genuine complexity, corresponding to real elements in experience. There is a significant reference in each of the three main kinds of definition, and, if this is so, it is the relations between them that should claim our attention. It seems to me that any adequate theory of culture must include the three areas of fact to which the definitions point, and conversely that any particular definition, within any of the categories, which would exclude reference to the others, is inadequate. Thus an ‘ideal’ definition which attempts to abstract the process it describes from its detailed embodiment and shaping by particular societies – regarding man’s ideal development as something separate from and even opposed to his ‘animal nature’ or the satisfaction of material needs – seems to me unacceptable.