chapter  17
10 Pages

Teaching and Talking: A Seminar on Cultural Theory

ByAaron Wildavsky

The approach to political culture taken in the seminar is based on the premise that preferences emerge from social interaction in defending or opposing different ways of life. People choose their preferences as part and parcel of the process of constructing, building, modifying, rejecting, their institutions. In this way the values people prefer and their beliefs about the world (the facts they stipulate) are woven together in their ways of life. Though the estrangement between the humanities and the social sciences has many causes, the dominant cause lies in the dichotomy between values and facts. Egalitarian regimes blame "the system," the established authority that introduces unnatural inequality into society. Hierarchies blame deviants who harm the collective by failing to follow its rules. Market regimes fault the individual for failing to be productive or for restricting transactions.