Webster's World of Cultural Democracy

community arts
the label given to activities which employ the materials, approaches, and techniques of the arts to engage people in community cultural development

cultural action
programs or activities undertaken to advance the development of a particular community's cultural life, such as continuing education programs or oral history projects

cultural development
the name given the overall enterprise which aims to help people understand and intervene in the thematic universe through local cultural action. Cultural development encompasses all the initiatives undertaken by public and private agencies, organizations, and individuals to improve the cultural climate, in terms of communication, understanding and interaction.

cultural democracy
pluralism, participation, and equity in cultural life and cultural policy

cultural life
the entire complex of events, activities, and opportunities a community offers its residents who wish to engage in creative or communicative endeavors, or who want to take part in the audience for such endeavors

cultural policy
the values which guide decisions, both major and minor, that affect the quality of our cultural lives, from the individual on up to the global level, informing initiatives undertaken by government or other institutional forces to support, preserve, or extend certain elements of culture

all the human creations that form the matrix within which it is possible for individuals to find shared meaning and to experience some sense of belonging, to communicate and cooperate. Culture comprises language, values, belief systems, the built environment and the objects with which we fill and adorn it, religious and spiritual observances, forms of political participation and action, customs, dietary practices, holidays and commemorations, work, kinship, friendship, games, spectacles, gatherings, costumes and personal adornments, art, and so on.

the condition of society in which various ethnic or other cultural groups coexist harmoniously, with a generally-recognized right to maintain distinct practices or identities

thematic universe
according to Paulo Freire, every epoch is characterized by "a complex of ideas, concepts, hopes, doubts, values and challenges in dialectical interaction with their opposites." This is its "thematic universe."

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Webster's World of Cultural Democracy
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© copyright The Institute for Cultural Democracy 1995, 1998