As a culture, a large-scale settlement area was designated in the humanities earlier, whose population is attributed to the same or at least a similar culture. The term was coined in 1898 by Leo Frobenius. Today this term that comes from the force today as outdated Kulturkreislehre is now law in refusing unanimous in German ethnology for various reasons. Instead, the ideologically biased such term cultural space will be used.


The concept of the Cultural Committee in its reach exceeds most other organizations of social units such as social groups, tribes, societies, nations or "peoples". Thus, for example, speaks of the " Christian West " and the " Islamic Middle East " as two great cultural traditions, which are characterized by each set of common values ​​, social norms, customs and practices. The definition of a cultural group in size is made different and depends on the selection rules, which are to be typical for distinction. So on the one hand speak of a Scandinavian culture, which may also be part of the European civilization on the other. A popular classification is described in " Western culture ", " Far Eastern culture " or " Arab culture ".

The typing of cultures plays in the based on the "Cycle Theory" ideal-typical images of history, as they have already been formulated by Giambattista Vico, a central role. The typing of cultures is still in the 20th century, by historians and cultural scholars such as Christopher Dawson, Reinhold Niebuhr, Rushton Coulborn, Nikolai Danilevsky, Pitirim Sorokin, Henri Pirenne, Othmar Anderle, Karl August Wittfogel, J. De Beus and currently Samuel P. Huntington or Bassam Tibi. When Oswald Spengler and Arnold J. Toynbee, these concepts were constructed in their rigor most consistently.

In particular, the German humanities has excelled especially in Nazi Germany as well as in folk culture and soil research in the typing of cultures. Supporting concepts were there, among others the concepts of " ethnic group " and " people's community ", the " habitat " of " cultural space ", the " customs ", the " civilization " and "foreign infiltration ". The continuities in the methodology, the biographies of scientists and the vocabulary of science can be detected by the Nationalist movement of the interwar period over Nazism until today.


The Kulturkreislehre was introduced in 1898 by Leo Frobenius as a theory of Ethnology. Postulated a progressive chronological development of human culture.

Frobenius himself gave this theory as unconvincing again and instead developed the approach of culture morphology. Taken up and developed it was designed by the German historian Fritz Graebner as a counter- theory to evolutionism, emanating from a common origin of all ethnicities. "His most cited source is a certain Christoph Meiners, German philosophy professor, one of the originators of the cultural valuation of races, which is a cradle of the concept of the master race of Adolf Hitler. "

The Kulturkreislehre was taken up mainly by the Vienna School of Ethnology early 20th century, by Father Wilhelm Schmidt and Father Wilhelm Koppers. They invented the term " Urkulturkreis " who had lived from the beginning monotheistic patriarchal monogamous, and therefore the most valuable ethnological was. The doctrine thus became a racial theory. Schmidt was also supporters of Social Darwinism. Another Viennese representative was Paul Schebesta, who worked as a missionary in Mozambique.

The Vienna School used the terms " primitive culture ", " primary culture " and " secondary culture ", where the primitive culture is the most valuable; "civilized nations " were considered in the comparison, as degenerate.

" The Vienna School of Kulturkreislehre dominated the German -speaking Ethnology well into the 1930s, maybe 1940s, although it was exposed in the later years of increasingly massive criticism, which [ ... ] especially against the schematic approach and the increasingly perceived as untimely fixation turned on pseudo-historical reconstructions. "