Multicultural, pluricultural, intercultural, transcultural, in English also often crosscultural – and: hypercultural. What does this still rather young word mean? Culture, culturally: This word occurs in all the terms just mentioned. What does culture actually mean? Culture comes from the Indo-Germanic word kuel „to turn, to turn“ and from the Latin word colere, cultura „to cultivate, to cultivate“. It is therefore a term that originally had something to do with agriculture.
What does culture mean today?
According to Dutch cultural scientist Geert Hofstede, culture means the following: „Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes one group of people from another.“
According to American anthropologist Clifford Geertz, „Culture is the way in which people communicate, transmit, and develop their attitudes toward life. Culture is the pattern of meaning-making within which people (…) direct their actions.“
Alexander Thomas, professor of intercultural psychology, on the other hand, states: „Culture influences the perception, thinking, values and actions of all members of the respective society. On the one hand, it creates opportunities and incentives for action, but on the other hand, it also creates conditions for action and sets limits to action.“
In summary, we are talking about the mind, attitudes toward life, sense-making, perception, thinking, values and action. All this is defined as culture.
A few examples
– What do people believe in and how important is their belief to them?
– How do people behave? What norms do they use as a guide? For example, how do they deal with emotions, love issues or conflicts?
– What are the role models of children, women and men? Until when can a child still be a child? What about women who love women and what about the man who does not feel like a man?
All these are examples of what is understood by culture. It can be stated that there is both a great diversity and a high potential for conflict.
What does the term hyper mean?
Hyper comes from the Greek and means „over, above, more than, or super.“ Hypercultural, then, can be described as overcultural, supercultural, or super. Rousseau’s famous exclamation is, „Nature, nature!“ In the sense of hypercultural, this could be transformed to culture, culture!
The term hypercultural was coined by South Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han, who has lived in Germany for 30 years and teaches philosophy in Berlin.
Hypercultural expresses a respectful, curious, cosmopolitan attitude, a perspective of peace and cultural richness, and the goal of a shared future. The term means that something new emerges from different cultures – a new culture. It is about dissolution of boundaries, rapprochement and networking, i.e. a form of natural heterogeneity without cultural boundaries. To put it bluntly, it could be said that this is a human superculture that is shared by everyone. But on what values can this culture be founded?
Han, Byung-Chul (2005): Hyperculturality: culture and globalization. Leipzig, Berlin: Merve.