By Eliot, Thomas Stearns
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Extra resources for Christianity and culture : the idea of a Christian society and Notes towards the definition of culture
Mannheim's discussion, which seems to me true. " Yet he says quite clearly: We have no clear idea how the selection of elites would work in an open mass society in which only the principle of achievement mattered. ' This raises a problem of the first importance to my present discussion, with which I do not think Dr. Mannheim has dealt in any detail: that of the transmission of culture. When we are concerned with the history of certain parts of culture, such as the history of art, or of literature, or of philosophy, we naturally isolate a particular class of phenomena; though there has been a movement, which has produced books of interest and value, to relate these subjects more closely to a general social history.
As I have said before, he may be only a highly valued contributor to it. Yet group culture, as observable in the past, has never been co-extensive with class, whether an aristocracy or an upper middle class. " I think that in the past the repository of this culture has been the elite, the major part of which was drawn from the dominant class of the time, constituting the primary consumers of the work of thought and art produced by the minority members, who will have originated from various classes, including that class itself.
The kind of unity with which I am concerned Notes towards the Definition of Culture is not expressible as a common enthusiasm or a common purpose: enthusiasms and purposes are always transient. The unity with which I am concerned must be largely unconscious, and therefore can perhaps be best approached through a consideration of the useful diversities. Here I have to do with diversity of region. It is important that a man should feel himself to be, not merely a citizen of a particular nation, but a citizen of a particular part of his country, with local loyalties.