Culture as process. On the dynamics of negotiating meaning
Wimmer conceptualizes culture as a result of a negotiation process of meanings between culturally shaped and moulded individuals who are, however, able to reflect, to question things, and to innovate. He assumes that cultural rules of meaning and action have to make sense from the perspectives of all concerned in order to give these rules the character of general validity. In this respect Wimmer opposes Foucault whom he cites as claiming cultural rules being implanted in the heads of people by ’powerful institutions´. Instead, a precondition for the enforcement of cultural rules, Wimmer oppines, is a ’concordance of interests´ and that societal power relations allow these rules to be in practice. Each individual and each group interprets these general rules (the cultural compromise) according to their own views and interests and tries to carry them through public debates and private interaction.
Keywords: negotiation, dynamics of negotiation, culture as process, processual culture, meaning negotiation, power and culture