K ulturwissenschaftliches Institut für Europaforschung
Culture Science and its relevance for understanding the European semiosphere
Culture Science is the science of the living culture.
It defines culture as a synthetic body which has to be explained analytically.
It interprets the cultural expression forms to uncode the meanings and messages of time transcribed in them.
Culture Science analyses the strong tension and relation between the inner logic of the different expression forms and the outer social reality.
Culture Science has a bi-directional research perspective: a synchronical and a diachronical. For this double-orientation it uses static - such as axioms - as well as dynamic terms which are needed to analyse the individuality of cultural expressions like style, communication forms etc. Culture Science reveals the specificity of expression media like economy, art, history, public space, politics etc. and explains them as structuring modes of a cultural community.
Europe as a union of different cultures can be experienced and developed on the meta-level of cultural overlapping. All scientific and intellectual efforts to explain them through a single cultural perspective can merely present an overview of the own cultural scheme; for the construction of an authentic European cultural texture we need spaces of mutual experience.
The project European Semiospheres started with the aim of creating a European academic space, not primarily for the exchange of ideas but for the dialectical emergence of the participating cultural structure. Through articulation, presentation and experience the participants explored the cultural and academic landscapes of the other field. The starting common interest was followed by the chock of alterity, which in a third step resulted to the discovery of common cultural features.
With this unique experience we continue our polysemic project to widen the European cultural sphere and to deepen its anchors through the scientific research.
The cultural texture
Culture Science uncodes the various meaning production layers
a- The expressive layer of culture
The most basic and primitive type of cultural meaning is its expressive meaning, the product of the expressive function of thought, which is concerned with the experience of events in the world around us related with affective and emotional significance.
On this expressive level we can have no distinction between appearance and reality. The emotional world does not consist of stable and enduring substances that manifest themselves from various points of view and on various occasions, but rather in a fleeting complex of experiences bound together by their affective and emotional "physiognomic" characters. Here, there is no essential difference in efficacy between the semiotic differentiation of the name of an object and the object itself.
b- The representative layer of culture
The representative meaning, a product of the representative function of thought, has the task of precipitating out of the original emotional flux of physiognomic characters a world of stable and enduring substances, distinguishable and reidentifiable as such.
Working together with the fundamentally pragmatic orientation towards the world exhibited in the technical and instrumental use of tools and artifacts, it is in natural language that the representative function of thought is then most clearly visible in a unified spatio-temporal order. Within this order each designated object has a determinate relation to the speakers potential range of pragmatic activities. Here, we are able to distinguish between appearance and reality.
c- The signifikative layer of culture
The distinction between appearance and reality leads to a new layer of analysis of systematic inquiry into the realm of relations. Here we encounter the third layer of cultural meaning, the significative, which is exhibited most clearly in categories of relation.
For it is precisely here, in the scientific view of the world, that the pure relational concepts characteristic of culture such as the categories of space, time, substance and causality are freed from the bounds of sensible intuition.
The result of this analytical approach is the work of culture science in which the intuitive concept of substantial thing has finally been replaced by the relational-functional concept of universal law of culture.
Unesco convention about cultural heritage