The task of this chapter is to delineate the role of culture in transformations. First, two conceptualizations of culture are introduced: socio-psychological (syndrome of attitudes) and semiotic (web of meanings). Second, the problem of prime movers of transformations is discussed: are they material-economic or cultural? Or perhaps both, in a complex interaction? Third, the significance of agency is highlighted. The point is not to study abstract cultural (ideational) ‘forces’ to determine their relative impact, but rather to reconstruct specific meaning-creating actions of concrete agents and try to gauge their influence on people’s attitudes. Fourth, the different role of culture in three stages of transformation (breakdown, power transfer, and consolidation of a new system) is examined. Both conceptualizations of culture are utilized. Finally, a theory of cultural trauma and a theory of delayed cultural countertransformation are briefly introduced.
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