Culture as Ecosystem: Interdisciplinarity in an Era of Deterritorialization
This conversation across disciplinary borders seeks to elucidate assumptions regarding the rapid pace of cultural change in the contemporary world. Although there is much debate between modern and postmodern perspectives on this phenomenon, they both assume that cultures are essentially static entities, which must respond to forces emanating from without. When culture is construed as a living organism, however, change can more easily be understood because natural systems freely exchange information with other systems while maintaining their internal coherence. Taking the widespread cultural disturbances in Japan over the past 150 years as its point of departure, this interdisciplinary model helps shed light on how global forces are interacting with the long-held practices, beliefs, and values of an ancient society. The picture thus emerging is one of decay and growth in which indigenous cultural forms and imported signs and symbols vie for hegemonic ascendancy.
Keywords: Culture, Ecosystem, Interdisciplinarity, Deterritorialization, Japan
Dr. John Esposito
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Language, Communication, and Culture/ Language Education and Research Center, Kwansei Gakuin University