Culture as Grammar

Structural anthropologists have been investigating the grammar of culture for the past few decades. Prominent among these is the name of Claude Levi-Strauss whose work on the universal grammar of culture is well known. (Nicholas B. Dirks, Geoff Eley, Sherry B. Ortner, Culture/power/history: A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory (Princeton University Press, 1993) p.380)

Some philosophers have recently been trying to interpret culture as grammar. For instance, Chengyang Li in Philosophy East and West proposed an interpretation of Li in Confucius’ Analects as “cultural grammar”, metaphorically speaking. He writes, “a culture is analogous to a language, a person in general observance of li in a culture is analogous to someone who follows the grammar of a language that he or she speaks....” (Li, Chenyang. “Li as Cultural Grammar: On the Relation between Li and Ren in Confucius' ‘Analects.’” Philosophy East and West, vol. 57, no. 3, 2007, pp. 317. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Kristijan Krkač and and Josip Lukin have tried to prove that Wittgenstein's "forms of life" can be interpreted as "forms of culture". (Forms of Life as Forms of Culture. (2007) Papers of the 30th IWS (eds. H. Hrachovec, A. Pichler, J. Wang)

See Also:
Religion and Culture: Differences