Explanation on Cultural Materialism and Historicism

Society’s ideas about what creates our drive to live have not only been simplified over the years but also been overwhelmingly pragmatized. What are you working your day job for? The answer is simple – money. The fact that millions of people are just mulling over how they hate doing what they do for a living but are doing it nonetheless speaks volumes about the societal norms.

It’s has been hardcoded into the minds of each generation as they’re brought up that financial well being and assets should be their prime concern and not the factors like relationships and social issues -that make us human. Success of an individual is measured in these terms. If they fail to fulfill the set standards for an income versus age graph, they are deemed  “unsuccessful”.  This same drill is applied to the study of society and history. It has brought to light a new regime – Cultural Materialism.

This new approach is Marxist in its base. It prescribes taking into account all the material proof for any given idea. It can be technological, ideological (with strong evidence), structural or economical. This regime is known for forming theories and visions based on the tangibly present elements. It has given life to the very spirit of the tendency to misplace trust into what we can see rather than intuitive proceeding. This particular method of analysis insinuates that cultural is an ever-evolving idea rather than a determined set of beliefs. Self-proclaimed areas of interest are more likely to be salvaged for cultural purposed than those holding sentimentality over culture under this practice. Notions of mutuality between the infrastructure and structure of a population and culture are best described by this regimen. Contrary to what other approaches proclaim, it insists that they’re interrelated and interdependent in the culture of a particular population.

Cultural Materialism is being argued as the certifiable scientific aspect of the research. The practicality of methods and ways are what characterize it. Trial and error occur in society and what works best stays within the framework while the non-beneficial elements are eliminated.

Despite its merits, this method has it’s flawed as well. It favors the most obvious of things. It refuses to acknowledge the spiritual and intuitive elements on the basis of their intangibility. Humans are beings that have been known to explore their spiritual side since the beginning of the civilization. Not counting these facts seems ignorant. This method also rejects genetics and the theories derived from it. These downfalls make the simplicity of this approach questionable and unreliable.

Historicism in the new age studies of society and culture is using cultural materialism widely and wisely. This regime is explicitly political in interpreting history and simultaneously influencing social order. It’s shift to assess the situation with the marginalized sections of society are on an agreement with the conscious political agendas. It’s leaning towards identifying the observable patterns in the growth of human civilization and the shaping of the modern methods of production.

The repetitive pattern here is human interaction with nature to produce enough products for first –  the survival of it’s kind, and second – the prosperity of its society and social hierarchy. Every stage presents evidence to solidify our dependence on these patterns that have been repeated at numerous stages to give the same, reoccurring results. The economic side of the history has been seen to rely on the social aspects and furthermore provides a base for the culture and mortality possessed by certain groups. Social hierarchy is based on these principles. This hierarchical system divides labor between different social classes and more often than not, the division isn’t into equal parts. New stages bring forth the fall of the previously dominant class by the emerging social class. The instability of this structure confers to the stability of the legal structure as well as the assurance of the smooth running of historical patterns.

This leads us to conclude that the underlying faults or the smallest of changes in the economic structure will within reason inflict changes in the vast but loosely knit superstructure. As Karl Marx believed ” Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.” These relationships establish the catalysis of culture and development. The supernatant in some cases may be the changed aspects of how we view the system and the checkpoints we choose to place on the system in light of historical proofs regarding where it failed to serve its purpose. Marx also believed that the drive for progress in a society comes from all things that are considered materialistic – technology, capital goods, labor etc. Upon the occasion when these elements and their relationships no longer drive progress ahead, the revolution must take place in one form or another.

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