Cultural

The lower left quadrant is represented by part of a fresco by Raphael in the Vatican, Rome. It illustrates a group of classical philosophers debating and contending within a glorified version of St Peter’s Basilica. This is a powerful image of cultural authority. The head of a Greek god has also been included to indicate how earlier societies invented these entities as part of the authority structure of that time. Such cultural foundations affect our present world in countless, often invisible ways, not least through language and religion. The two works behind this quadrant are Luckmann & Berger’s classic account of The Social Construction of Reality and a more recent book, Saviano’s powerful work Gomorra, detailing the human and cultural costs of generations of Mafia activity in southern Italy. Cultures may appear amorphous and difficult to grasp but, at the same time, they are very powerful.