Presentation on theme: "On the Concept of Culture and the Nature of Cultural Systems."— Presentation transcript:
On the Concept of Culture and the Nature of Cultural Systems
Definitions of Culture
“Culture, or civilization... is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” ---Sir Edward Tylor, 1871 Man Civilization Complex whole
Other Definitions of Culture “A culture is the total socially acquired life-way or life-style of a group of people. It consists of the patterned, repetitive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are characteristic of the members of a particular society or segment of society” (Harris 1975, 144).
For our purposes, culture is shared and learned behavior and beliefs.
Characteristics of Culture
Culture is not the same as nature Universal human functions to survive: Eating Drinking Sleeping Eliminating
Culture is not the same as nature
Culture is based on symbols A symbol is an object, word, or action with a culturally defined meaning that stands for something else with which it has no necessary or natural relationship.
Culture is learned: through direct instruction, participating, observation
Cultures are Integrated
Cultural Interaction and Change Clash of civilizations McDonaldization Hybridization Localization
Multiple Cultural Worlds Class “Race” Ethnicity and indigeneity Gender and sexuality Age Institutions
Guiding Goals and Concepts of Cultural Anthropology Ethnography and ethnology Cultural relativism Valuing and sustaining diversity
Biological determinism vs. cultural constructionism Are the disturbances that vex adolescents in the US due to the nature of adolescence itself or to our culture? Under different cultural conditions, does adolescence vary?
Interpretive anthropology vs. cultural materialism