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Pelipenko Andrey Anatolievich,
Doctor of Philosophy, Professor,
Chief Researcher Worker, Research center
of Moscow University of Psychology and Social Sciences.


Mythoritual System of Culture

Abstract: The article presents a detailed author's concept of mythoritual system of culture interpreted in the general context of semiogenetic concept of culture. Mythoritual system is defined as the oldest historically cultural system whith a number of specific features: implicativeness, field properties, nonlocal interactions, etc., which are systematically considered in the article.

Key words: mythoritual system of culture, semiogenetic concept of culture, nonlinear evolution, implicativeness, field properties, nonlocal interactions.

[1] Terminological couple Culture / culture is explained by twofold understanding of the latest: holistic and localist one. Many local cultural systems existed through the history. The y were united by a common system of Culture. Combined use of the term is due to the reluctance to get involved in a dispute with supporters of localist and "nominalistic" approach, who are convinced that " culture in general" does not exist. The semiogenetic theory assumes that the existence of local cultural systems does not exclude, but also the necessity anticipates not only a speculative notion of culture in general, but also the objective phenomenon.

[2] Here one can see a correspondence between adopted in modern social philosophy dichotomy of the world of life and the world system. But since the analogy is not so close, then the use of these terms is inappropriate.

[3] The density of these forks, however, is not determined by the length of time only one of the historical experience: in some cases, such forks may be one or two in a millennium, in others - a few per century.

[4] We are talking about different variations of invironmental theories of environmental determinism and any culturogenetic representations associated with Toynbee’s formula of "challenge and response".

[5] Although the evolutionary progressivist paradigm is already distant history of science, it still has its advocates since it has taken roots in the scientific subconscious and subconsciously defines ideological system of scientific discourse.

[6] Additional argumentation of this position which is based on discoveries of contemporary archeology I will deliberately leave aside.

[7] While for philosophy this dichotomy has lost its relevance and heuristicity in the last century, it is still in circulation in the other sciences: archaeology, civilizational analysis, social history, anthropology, etc.

[8] It is not by chance that an approach based n empiricism and immanent development of utilitarian-economic factors is often called evolutionary materialistic.

[9] Steward J. Cultural Casuality and Law: A Trial Formulation  of  the Development  of Early Civilization // American Anthropologist. Vol. 51. 1949. P.2.

[10] White L. A. The Science of Culture. N.-Y.: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy 1949. P.15.

[11] See: Hole F., Heiser R., Prehistoric Archeology. A Brief Introduction. N.-Y.: Holt McDougal, 1977. P. 361.

[12] Gary Marcus. Kluge. The haphazard construction of human mind. N.-Y.: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

[13] Representatives of the "spiritual" pole, of course, do not adhere to this line, but do not offer any reasonable alternatives.

[14] Let me remind that the hierarchy of the validity of direct and circumstantial evidence is not something "objective" and absolute; it's just a conventional installation, the "game rules" which are given by the appropriate type of scientific consciousness. Nothing more.

[15] The use of the term “utilitarianism” itself in this context is not absolutely correct. In the cultural reality of ancient societies ritual, magical, and religious practices were, strictly speaking, very utilitarian. However due to tradition, we are used to consider utilitarian only those aspects of life that are associated with material production and satisfaction of consumer needs. So in what follows we will assume that the term “utilitarianism” has that narrow sense.

[16] "...The satisfaction of the first need (the action of satisfying and the instrument of satisfaction which has been acquired) leads to new needs..." (Marx K., Engels F. Collected Works. 2-nd ed. M.: Politizdat. 1954. V. 3. P. 27). All living beings have this potential of expanding of needs, but these needs are not necessarily expanded from the base to the top.  The difference is that the cultural genesis gives people super-biological needs, the satisfaction of which is carried out by ca completely different way – cultural. As for the basic physical needs, they vary in a relatively narrow range, so we cannot speak of their permanent expansion which would initiate any dynamics of development.

[17] The term since the times of Marx's "German Ideology" the term “rising” came into use, and the term had a clear positive progressivist meaning.

[18] The recognition that Culture builds its relations with Man not in a way which is not based on Kant’s theory seems to trouble the later.

[19] Word utility hereinafter is used constrainedly. In the mythoritual system there is almost nothing utilitarian in the strict sense of the word. All that is seen by modern consciousness as utilitarian, had a sacral foundation and sanction in the mythoritual system. And all the sacred, in its turn, was nothing but utilitarian.

[20] See, eg.: Mumford L. Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development. M.: Logos, 2004.

[21] This refers primarily to "eidetism" of platonistic theories in the broadest sense.

[22] "...In potency, or nonexistence, everything exists already, and man is intended only to identify and guess what that is" (Kurdiumov S.P., Knyazeva E.N. Foundations of Synergetics. St. Petersburg.: Aletheia, 2002. P. 226 - 227).

[23] The term individual is used here not in the usual psychological or common anthropological sense, but as a symbol of historically specific cultural and anthropological type. Man is generally referred to herein as an individual.

[24] Demographic factor is a special case. The later can be interpreted as a predominantly natural or as a predominantly cultural factor depending on researcher’s position.

[25] See: Kulpin E.S. Man and Nature in China. M.: Eastern literature. 1990; Kulpin E.S. Socionatural History: Object, Method, Concept. M.: Moscow Lyceum. 1992; Kulpin E.S. Russia's Fate. M.: Moscow Lyceum. 1995; Kulpin E.S., Pantin V.I. Decisive Experience. M.: Moscow Lyceum. 1993.

[26] Prusakov D.B. Social and Natural Crisis and the Formation of the State in Ancient Egypt // M.: East. 1994. № 3. P. 21-33; Prusakov D.B. Nature and Man in Ancient Egypt. M.: Moscow Lyceum. 1999. P. 71-85.

[27] A "visiting card" of this approach is the ideas of ​​a New York attorney L.G. Morgan, which were – to say the least – borrowed later by Marx. In his book "Ancient Society" Morgan outlined seven stages of cultural evolution, each of which is caused by some technical innovation: mastering of fire, invention of a bow, domestication of animals, etc.

[28] These arguments should not be perceived as a repetition of postmodernist criticism of meta-narrative.

[29] Analysis of linear and non-linear approaches in modern civilization analysis, see, eg.: Korotaev A.V. Social Evolution. Factors, Patterns, Trends. M.: Eastern Literature, 2003.

[30] These substrates in the manner of Kant's things in itself are inaccessible to direct perception and manifest themselves only through the prism of mental percepts, not to mention the "filters" of apperceptions of consciousness.

[31] This effect lies in the fact that any social action leads to a chain of unpredictable consequences which are completely unrelated to the original intentions. It is well known and modern sociology, but it is noteworthy how reluctant to recognize it the supporters of the “right” rationalist mind are, the mind that is strictly oriented on the once established rational subordinations that are not subject to change.

[32] See, eg.: Levy-Bruhl L. Primitive Mythology: The Mythic World of the Australian and Papuan Natives. M.: URSS. 2010.

[33] Being-toward-death (German).

[34] So in Chinese culture the dichotomy yang/yin can be interpreted in a variety of parallel and equal in value of semantic modi. Between the designation of the light and the dark principals (originally the dark and the illuminated slopes) and the direct designation of male and female sexual organs there is no subordination in meanings, and the category of tao, which is usually interpreted in the philosophical and metaphysical way as a natural way of development of all things, is at the same time the formula of universal intercourse rhythm which has cosmological significance. The articulation of a single semantic construct actualizes its whole connotative field with contextual variables semantic dominants.

[35] As to the Neolithic Age  the inadequacy of the term "Stone" is particularly evident. Since the Neolithic Age is least connected with stone working.

[36] Stadiality is understood here out of alignment with linear progressive concepts: either with Marxist theory five formations or three-stage (Antiquity - Middle Ages - New Time) theory of liberal historiography. It is determined by common evolutionary context of semio- and culturogenesis.




ISSN 2311-3723

OOO «Soglasie» publisher

Scientific Association of Culture Researchers

Official registration № ЭЛ № ФС 77 – 56414 от 11.12.2013

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Issued quarterly in electronic form only


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T. Glazkova

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A. Lukyanov


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