Some things people do seem based on individual learning and response to rewards or punishments.
Other behaviors stem from social learning and are traits that are common to certain groups of people but not others.
High status individuals convert their dominance into higher genetic contribution.
Thus all individuals should be designed by natural selection to desire high status and make efforts to achieve it.
Higher ranked groups often gang up to keep lower ranked groups from moving up the dominance hierarchy
Everyone born with equal access to resources, power, status.Most hunter-gather and small tribal agriculturalists are egalitarian.
Social learning in animals mainly leads to the spread of behaviors that could be learned individually. There is evidence that culture of animals includes socially learned information but less evidence of a cultural component due to enforced norms of behavior.
The socially learned information becomes part of the environment. But it is an environment created by enforced rules rather than being composed of physical and non-human biological elements
Human children have a propensity to copy. Imitate adult behaviors when they have no idea what they are for, and when no rewards follow the behavior.
Unmotivated imitation– Young kids pick up toothbrushes and pretend to brush non-existent teeth. Pretend to shift gears while driving imaginary vehicle
AFFINAL relations (relations by marriage)
Affinal relations are weak until children are produced, and can become quickly strained.
Double and or ambilineal descent = also possible
(Central Brazilian Indians often inherit clan from mother, ceremony group from father– individuals in many tribes gain territory use rights through both mother’s and father’s side).
Avunculocal (“Uncle” location)
-- 4% of societies
-- Americas, Micronesia and Africa
-- New couples move in with the husband’s mother’s brother after marriage.
--emphasizes the importance of the maternal kin line but taking into allowing on older male to be the household leader.-- Societies where matrilineal descent determines property ownership, but men are political leaders.
Bilateral kinship is a situation when both father’s and mother’s kin are equally (un-) important for most functions (modern USA).
– common when one set of parents are likely to be dead, & when property rights are not strongly inherited through paternal or maternal lines.
When economic opportunities vary from family to family bilocal residence allows individuals to move to the best opportunity.
Endogamy or low levels of violence allow for bilocal residence.
Groups of lineages who are descended from some unspecified common ancestor far back in time.
Often clans are land holding groups defined in terms of a common ancestor.
Scottish clans were ambilineal descent groups that held a piece of territory called a glen.
The clan may be identified through association with mythical animal or plant ancestor called a TOTEM.
-- Publicly recognized social entities
-- Membership from relation to a common ancestor or along a specific genealogical line.
– (15% of recent societies)
-- many in South America, North America, Africa.
-- Daughters stay with their parents, and co-reside with female kin (sisters, aunts, female parallel cousins). Men may move into a matrilocal house in the same village in which their kin reside. Men rarely move very far -- see their male kin regularly
-- rare (about 5%)
-- mainly restricted to post-industrial economies.
New couples live somewhat distant from both spouses’ parents and are economically independent as soon as they marry.
(about 70% of recent societies).
Sons stay with their fathers and co-reside with male kin (brothers, uncles, male parallel cousins) and their spouses.
Women move residence at marriage and may sometimes live far away and never see their consaguineal kin again. -- Asia, India, the Middle East, Australia and much of traditional European society (before the industrial revolution). Chimpanzee social organization = male kin remain together; adolescent females leave the group.
-- groups of clans,
-- real common ancestor for a phratry may not be identified. (sometimes a totem or mythic ancestor instead)-- Phratries may be exogamous. Example: Hopi phratries.
These societies tend to have human-like (anthropomorphic) gods and goddesses.
Even gods and goddesses of natural phenomena have human qualities.
Examples: Greek gods Apollo & Poseidon
Nature is animated by all kinds of spirits: plants and animal species, rocks, trees, mountains, springs, and other geographical features may be inhabited by specific spirits.
Religious specialist (sometimes only performs religious ceremonies)
First defined by EB Tylor in 1871 as: “that complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”.
This definition emphasized the fact that culture is learned and is inherent in the values, beliefs and techniques used by humans.However, culture may not really exist as an “integrated whole”. (Some behaviors can change quickly & not affect others)
For this class we develop a similar definition of culture that contains two components: (R. Boyd)
* Culture is information acquired by individuals through social learning that leads to regular behavioral patterns.
A property of culture is that it is cumulative.
It is possible to build more and more complex culture on top of a simpler foundation.
Important distinction between:
1)Behavior (observed activities, material products or traces of behavior) and
2) Culture ( an “abstract” set of values beliefs & techniques that people use to interpret experience and generate behavior related to survival and reproduction.Haviland’s definition of culture: “a set of rules that when acted upon by the members of a society, produces human behavior that falls within the range of variation that the members find successful.”
1)Proposed that ban on pork in Middle Eastern countries was due to the fact that pigs need water in hot weather and would foul the water supply.
2)Harris suggests that a public goods problem is solved through social institutions. All would like pig for themselves but if everyone has one we may all get sick and die. Thus, all pigs should be banned for the public good.
However it is also unlike the genetic system in several ways:
1) Culture doesn’t pass only from parent to child, but “laterally” through a process of learning and imitation.2) Cultural traits are acquired during the lifetime (the learning rules that produce culture are like Lamarckian inheritance).
a) 39 different behavioral patterns including tool use, grooming and courtship patterns are customary or habitual in some communities but are absent in others.
b) the combined repertoire of these behavioral patterns in each chimp community is highly distinctive. These are “cultural groups”.
This kind of “culture” is common among other animals but cumulative cultural change is rare.
Social learning in animals mainly leads to the spread of behaviors that could be learned individually.There is evidence that culture of animals includes socially learned information but less evidence of a cultural component due to enforced norms of behavior.
Human culture is promoted by an evolved propensity to copy.
a) social facilitation– the activity of older animals makes it more likely that younger animals will learn the behavior. If adults use tools to crack nuts, juveniles will be exposed to nuts and rocks and will figure it out through trial and error.
b) observational learning (copying)– juveniles learn a behavior by directly observing others so the behavior.
c) human children have a propensity to copy. Imitate adult behaviors when they have no idea what they are for, and when no rewards follow the behavior.
Unmotivated imitation– (eg. Young kids pick up toothbrushes and pretend to brush non-existent teeth. Pretend to shift gears while driving imaginary vehicle).
d) although cumulative culture provides a huge adaptive advantage to human, even the most intelligent animals do little observational learning.
a) most individuals are already doing the adaptive thing
b) costly to do trial and error learning
1) might get killed or injured trying
2) takes a lot of time to learn best way
c) difficult to assess best behavior option
1) should tapirs be hunted?2) should you behave as if you will be punished if you sin?
2. Who to copy?
a) most successful individuals
b) older individuals
c) close kin
d) individuals phenotypically like you
The tendency to do social copying:
a) can produce local variation
b) can lead to maladaptive behavior
Membership in a descent group = rights to live in certain regions, or use specific resource patches.Membership also defines priority rights to certain women, and even defines rights to carry out certain activities in specialized economies (like a union).
Wealth differentials almost always lead to power and status differentials (after time), but power and status may show long historical lag even when wealth disappears
--Society is divided up into two descent groups ( ‘moieties’)-- Many Australian tribes are divided into exogamous moieties
Hawaiian -- only kinship system in which all first cousins are unmarriageable since they all take the same kin term as siblings.
Hawaiian system implies that all close relatives in both own and parental generations are just like nuclear family members
all of the siblings of parents, are called mothers and fathers, all of the children are called brothers and sisters.
Sudanese system imply that no relatives outside the nuclear family take the same role as family members.
every kin member gets a different kinship term , specific
1) Explains the unexplainable
2) Relieves anxiety about the future
3) Promotes cooperation
4) Relieves anxiety from uncertainty about what to do
5) Justifies behavior
6) Passes on behavioral advice (that might be questioned)7) Social control
- SHAMAN = part-time religious specialist
More complex societies (especially States)
- Stratified / Class society
- PRIEST = religious specialist
(sometimes only performs religious ceremonies)
2.Defending unique land/resource rights
3/8.Define legitimacy of specified activities~trade unions/Claim unique legitimacy.
4.Violent conflict alliance-expected to support descent group members
7.Sharing religious duties-ancestor worship, symbolic totemic worship common
Crow matrilineal inheritance. Crow can marry the descendants of mothers brother
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