Summary of the book Culture Matters in the History of Western Civilization class.

Essay by polish00A, April 2005

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Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress

This book was created as a culmination of some of the most influential minds pertaining to the topic of culture. As a milestone for progress in the new millennium, this controversial debate of the constantly intertwined views. Culture, politics, economics, and democratization takes a subjective view on the achievement or failure of various countries in an ever shifting society.

The author states that culture is, " The values, attitudes, beliefs, orientations and underlying assumptions prevalent among people in a society" (Harrison, XV). The idea that the success of society depends on culture and not politics is a concept that is instilled throughout the book as well as the idea that politics can change a culture and save it from falling apart. For example the dependence on culture as opposed to politics is centered to the republican view in our United States government system.

Republicans believe that cultural values are paramount to the advancement of society in that, the republicans are opposed to social reform such as gays in the military and gun laws and generally the values that our nation and more importantly our culture has instilled in us since the nation's founding. On the other end of the spectrum there is the democratic perspective that states politics can change a culture and save it from falling apart. For instance, democratic ideology in the United States takes a liberal stance in


politics saying that the more laws that are created to challenge the mainstream culture the more acceptance we will have towards their views therefore the more progress towards a changed culture for the better. For example, if they make a law about gays in the military saying it is ok to integrate them into the mainstream of society then over time...