Ignorant armies clash by night:globalisation and cultural disrientation
Raymond Williams, while defining his 'keywords' finds 'culture' as 'one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language' . 1 And Stuart Hall concedes that there is 'no single unproblematic definition of culture .... The concept remains a complex one-a site of convergent interests, rather than a logically or conceptually clarified idea'. 2 Culture is at once an abstraction and an overwhelming reality that we perceive within us and all around us. And hence, despite the complexity of the concept of culture there is no way we can avoid coming to terms with it. There is no such thing as a human nature independent of culture. It is that which warms the spirit in the sense that it addresses the essential human desire for mental and emotional sustenance and enrichment, the desire which makes it possible to create a whole world of arts and products which further mobilize the human spirit setting on a dynamic interaction with our environment. But the idea of culture is also fraught with a host of anxieties, ifwe consider it in the sense that it is a privatised and limited preserve, the possession of certain nations, classes or elite groups, and hence requires their membership to qualify for a cultural status. Unfortunately, the history of Western intellectual thought seeks to provide a gradual vindication of this exclusivity associated with the concept of culture.