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Culturology or science of culture is a branch of social sciences concerned with the scientific understanding, description, analysis, and prediction of cultures as a whole. While different cultural practices were studied by ethnology and anthropology, these studies included diverse aspects: sociological, psychological, etc. and the need was recognized in a discipline focused exclusively on cultural aspects.
The notion of culturology (Russian: Культурология in the Russian Empire may be traced to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and associated with Mikhail Bakhtin, Aleksei Losev, Sergey Averintsev, Georgy Gachev, Yuri Lotman, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Vladimir Toporov, and others. During the Stalinist era this kind of research was superseded by Marxist social studies. Culturology re-emerged in the Soviet Union as an interdisciplinary field in the late 1960s.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, culturology was reintroduced into the Higher Attestation Commission's list of specialties for which scientific degrees may be awarded in the Russian Federation and is now a compulsory object of study during the first year at institutions of higher education and in secondary schools. Defined as the study of human cultures, their integral systems, and their influence on human behavior, it may be formally compared to the Western discipline of cultural studies, although it has a number of important distinctions.
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