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This presentation introduces students to the anthropological definition and use of the concept of culture. It focuses on all of the aspects of culture.

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Presentation on theme: "This presentation introduces students to the anthropological definition and use of the concept of culture. It focuses on all of the aspects of culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 This presentation introduces students to the anthropological definition and use of the concept of culture. It focuses on all of the aspects of culture and concludes with a discussion of culture change. Culture

2 Introduction Tylor's definition of culture:
complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. Lassiter’s definition of culture: A shared and negotiated system of meaning informed by knowledge that people learn and put into practice by interpreting experience and generating behavior

3 Culture Is Learned Cultural learning is unique to humans.
Cultural learning is the accumulation of knowledge about experiences and information not perceived directly by the organism, but transmitted to it through symbols. Culture is learned through both direct instruction and observation (both conscious and unconscious).

4 Culture Is Shared Culture is located and transmitted in groups.
The social transmission of culture tends to unify people by providing us with a common experience. The commonalty of experience in turn tends to generate a common understanding of future events.

5 Culture Is Symbolic The human ability to use symbols is the basis of culture A symbol is anything that is used to represent any other thing, when the relationship between the two is arbitrary (e.g., a flag). Only humans have elaborated cultural abilities – to learn, to communicate, to store, to process, and to use symbols.

6 Culture and Nature Humans interact with cultural constructions of nature, rather than directly with nature itself. Culture converts natural urges and acts into cultural customs.

7 Culture Is All-Encompassing
The anthropological concept of culture is a model that includes all aspects of human group behavior. Everyone is cultured, not just wealthy people with an elite education.

8 Culture Is Integrated A culture is a system: changes in one aspect will likely generate changes in other aspects. Core values are sets of ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that are basic in that they provide an organizational logic for the rest of the culture.

9 People Use Culture Creatively
“Ideal culture” normative descriptions of a culture given by its natives “Real culture” “actual behavior as observed by an anthropologist”

10 Culture Is Adaptive and Maladaptive
Culture is an adaptive strategy employed by hominids. Because cultural behavior is motivated by cultural factors, and not by environmental constraints, cultural behavior can be maladaptive.

11 Levels of Culture International culture refers to cultural practices that are common to an identifiable group extending beyond the boundaries of one culture. Subcultures identifiable cultural patterns existing within a larger culture. Cultural practices and artifacts are transmitted through diffusion.

12 Ethnocentrism, Cultural Relativism, and Human Rights
Ethnocentrism is the use of values, ideals, and mores from one’s own culture to judge the behavior of someone from another culture. Cultural relativism asserts that cultural values are arbitrary, and therefore the values of one culture should not be used as standards to evaluate the behavior of persons from outside that culture. Cultural rights are vested in groups and include a group’s ability to preserve its cultural tradition.

13 Universality, Particularity, and Generality
Cultural universals are features that are found in every culture. Color Words? Cultural generalities include features that are common to several, but not all, human groups. Cultural particularities are features that are unique to certain cultural traditions.

14 Cultural Universality
Some biological universals include a long period of infant dependency, year-round sexuality, and a complex brain that enables us to use symbols, languages, and tools. Some psychological universals include the common ways in which humans think, feel, and process information. Some social universals include incest taboos, life in groups, families (of some kind), and food sharing.

15 Cultural Generality Certain practices, beliefs, and the like may be held commonly by more than one culture, but not be universal; these are called “generalities.” Diffusion and independent invention are two main sources of cultural generalities. The nuclear family is a cultural generality since it is present in most, but not all, societies.

16 Cultural Particularity
Cultural practices that are unique to any one culture are “cultural particulars.” That these particulars may be of fundamental importance to the population is indicative of the need to study the sources of cultural diversity.

17 Diffusion Diffusion--defined as the spread of culture traits through borrowing from one culture to another--has been a source of culture change throughout human history. Diffusion can be direct or indirect. Diffusion can be forced or unforced.

18 Acculturation Acculturation is the exchange of features that results when groups come into continuous firsthand contact. Acculturation may occur in any or all groups engaged in such contact.

19 Independent Invention
the creative innovation of new solutions to old and new problems Cultural generalities are partly explained by the independent invention of similar responses to similar cultural and environmental circumstances.

20 Cultural Convergence or Convergent Cultural Evolution
Cultural convergence is the development of similar traits, institutions, and behavior patterns by separate groups as a result of adaptation to similar environments.

21 Globalization Globalization encompasses a series of processes that work to make modern nations and people increasingly interlinked and mutually dependent. Economic and political forces take advantage of modern systems of communication and transportation to promote globalization.

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