The real sense in which culture since Williams's death has become more ordinary has little to do with Dante or Mozart. One of William's key moves was to insost that culture meant not just eminent works of art, but a whole way of life in commonn; and culture in this sence - language, inheritance, identity, religion - has become important enough to kill for. Dante and Mozar may be elitist, but they have never blown the limbs off small children.
These days the conflict between civilization and barbarism has taken an ominous turn. We face a conflict between civilization and culture, which used to be on the same side. Civilisation means rational reflection, material wellbeing, individual autonomy, and ironic self-doubt ; culture means a form life that is customary, collective, passionate, spontaneous, unbreflective and ariational. It is no surprise, then, to find that we have civilisation whereas they have culture. Culture is the new barbarism. The contrast between west and east is being mapped on a new axis.
- Terry Eagleton, "Culture conundrum', 21 may 2008, The guardians'