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					Islamic Thought and the
Development of Cultural Values
ABDUL KADIR RIYADI




   IAIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya 2009
                      Definitions

Clyde Kluckhohn, an anthropologist, defined cultural
values as follows: (1) the total way of life of a people; (2)
the social legacy the individual acquires from his group;
(3) a way of thinking, feeling, and believing; (4) an
abstraction from behavior; (5) a store-house of pooled
learning; (6) a set of standardized orientation to
recurrent problems; (7) learned behavior; (8) a
mechanism for the normative regulation of behavior; (9)
a set of techniques for adjusting both to the external
environment and to other men; and (10) a precipitate of
history (Kluckhohn 1968; cited by Geertz 1973: 4).
Clifford Geertz, agreeing with Max Weber
believed that man is an animal suspended in
webs of significance he himself has spun,
advocated cultural values ‘to be those webs,
and the analysis of them to be therefore not an
experimental science in search of law but an
interpretative one in search of meaning’
(Geertz 1973: 5).
Anthony Giddens defines culture as
consisting of ‘values the members of a
given group hold, the norms they follow, and
the material goods they create’ (Giddens
1993: 31). He elaborated that the concept of
culture refers to the way of life of the
members of a society, or of groups within a
society, which includes art, literature, music,
painting, dress, marriage customs and
family life, patterns of work, religious
ceremonies, leisure pursuits, and goods
produced (Giddens 1993: 5).
In short, the values of a culture refers
 to the way of life of a society, which
   include codes of manners, dress,
    language, arts, rituals, norms of
   behavior, religion, food, ideology,
     world view, philosophy of life,
   manufacturing and products etc.
Essentially cultural values of a society
 or a group reflect its own identity or
                ethnicity.
  Patterns of the Development of
  Cultural Values
 In Indonesia, cultural values were
  developed peacefully through trade,
  religious activities and migrations,
  without unduly civilizational confrontation
  as propounded by Huntington. The
  incoming alien cultures were adapted,
  localized and transformed into a new
  syncretized culture/religion.
- There are dynamics, processes and
  mechanisms –such as globalization- in the
  process of the development of cultural values.
- The development of cultural values also
  involves the complexity of socio-political and
  territorial situation. The attitude of the ruling
  class appears to be important in determining
  cultural values. If the ruling elite accepts
  certain value its spread will be easier.
- Religious thought and cultural values in
  Indonesia is not the result of a single event or
  work of an individual. The sources of religious
  thought and cultural values were also diverse.
European centric theories generally tend to
underestimate the vitality of the indigenous
cultures whenever there is a contact with a
foreign culture. Arnold Toynbee aptly states that
‘in the past the impact of culture change has been
softened by a persistent survival of the old, side
by side with the new. Each successive new type
of culture has been embraced whole-heartedly
and thoroughly by no more than a minority, and,
even within this minority, ancient cultural habits
have held their own’ (Toynbee 1964: 151).
►Multidisciplinary     Approach and
 Models of the Development of
 Cultural Values
►In regard to theoretical model on the
 development of cultural values, it is
 difficult to find a specific one that could be
 followed exactly. However, general
 theories/concepts of culture developed by
 various anthropologists and sociologists
 are useful.
• Robert Berkhofer suggests that historians
  should use a multidisciplinary approach
  for historical analysis. History needs to
  be enriched by borrowing from other
  disciplines such as psychology, sociology
  and anthropology (Berkhofer 1969: 5).
  Historical and
  anthropological/sociological approaches
  are appropriate for this kind of study.
• Peter Wells’ models of culture are most
 inspiring. Wells is of the opinion that religion
 and its dogma has been an important factor in
 culture change throughout man’s existence.
 The results of interaction between religion and
 society account for many profound changes in
 all culture contexts. Besides introducing new
 elements, interaction brings about cultural
 changes in a society. In order for new elements
 brought in from outside to be adopted and
 integrated into a societal system, changes have
 to occur in that system to accommodate the
 new features (Wells 1980: 143).
 Wells has also developed models
 for the mechanism and processes
 of culture change. He explains
 that models are the patterns we
 impose upon the real world,
 consciously or unconsciously, in
 order to make sense of various
 phenomena (Wells: 4).
 Wells uses a general systems and models
 to represent culture as a whole.
 According to him, culture in a broader
 sense can be viewed as a system
 comprising a theoretical infinite number
 of subsystems interrelated in such a way
 that any change in one subsystem
 necessitates systematic readjustment of
 all other subsystems so that the
 equilibrium of the system is maintained
 (Wells 1980: 4).
   A cultural system consists of four interrelated
    subsystems (social, settlement, manufacturing
    and circulation). A change in one subsystem
    will bring about changes in the others. This
    model shows close connection between
    economic processes (manufacturing and
    circulation) and social behavior in a traditional
    society. The patterns of circulation are
    determined by the social structure of a society,
    and the acts of giving, receiving, and
    exchanging all have their social as well as
    economic functions. Circulation of materials
    serves to maintain and to reaffirm social
    relationships, both within and between
    communities (Wells 1980: 6-7).

				
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posted:8/13/2012
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