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The causal structure of cultural domination

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Jacob Stegenga.

Cultural domination, while ostensibly a species of the genus ‘domination’, has features which apparently separate it from other forms of domination. In particular, it has often been claimed that cultural domination does not require the presence of an active dominating agent or group. An example of this non-agential domination is the ‘colonisation of the mind’ by an alien culture which is purported to persist in post-colonial societies. I attempt to investigate the explanatory role that the concept of ‘cultural domination’ may play in social science by identifying a causal structure that is standardly considered characteristic of domination, and describing conditions under which that structure can be found in archetypical cases of cultural domination. It turns out that the presence of the relevant structure in particular cases depends on the notion of ‘culture’ one adopts. As a consequence, different anthropological accounts of culture will differ on when one can describe a social system as instantiating cultural domination.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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