By Caroline Andrew, Monica Gattinger, M. Sharon Jeannotte, Will Straw
Accounting for tradition is a distinct selection of essays from top Canadian and overseas students that significantly examines cultural citizenship, cultural signs, and governance within the context of evolving cultural practices and cultural policy-making. it will likely be of significant curiosity to students of cultural coverage, communications, cultural experiences, and public management alike.
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Additional resources for Accounting for Culture: Thinking Through Cultural Citizenship (Governance Series)
How does a culture avoid the fate of the Incas and become sufficiently literate to sustain itself in the face of the constant cultural change flowing into it? In terms of the model in Figure 1, the culture needs a rich and diverse culture (H) which provides it with what Diamond called the "huge body of knowledge about human behaviour and history" and other symbolic resources to "read" and interpret the changes realistically and appropriate them as beneficially or at least as harmlessly as possible into society's historic trajectory.
For example, the cultural interpretation we give to certain markers like skin colour or relative poverty can determine our acceptance of certain groups into the community and the economy, and what we allow them to do. Thinking Through Cultural Citizenship 21 Our interpretations, derived from our traditions, and shaped by our arts, help determine and constrain the place of others in society. In a liberal democracy, it is a fundamental principle that all citizens have an equal right to choose their courses of action for themselves and our understandings of what are appropriate courses of action should be based on as broad a consensus of citizens as possible.
Culture (S) is obtained through "the slow learning of shapes, purposes, and meanings," from society's traditions, which is culture (H), and which is preserved in expert institutions such as libraries, museums and universities. Culture (H) resembles an original computer file, of which culture (S) is a mirror image, made so that each new generation can have its own copy to use, and which can later become updated as the inevitable modifications during use occur. The bulk of culture (H) is held as a collective social memory and is called tradition.