Anthropology 130 January 20, 2009 Concept of Culture E.B. Taylor: ?that complex whole which includes knowledgeable, belief, art, morals, law, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.? 1871 Culture = Knowledge Barth- promoting culturist knowledge Culture is what we use to interoperate out world, shapes our thoughts, feelings and emotions, also provides us with what we need for a social life, our primary means of adaptation Attributes of culture Culture is learned (via enculturation) Ex: by parents as examples, media (obliquely), observation, religion, learn it ?horizontally? from our peers, imitation, communication Culture is shared Common sense of experience or history These people can learn to interact without trouble Share identities (history?) Just because people share identities it does not mean they all think and act alike Culture is symbolic Verbal and nonverbal, words have culturally derived meanings Culture is an interrelated (integrated) systems Change in one aspect of culture could change another Culture is dynamic Culture can be contested Culture is always changing, can be adaptive or maladaptive Ex: how culture has changed after 911 and how texting has changed our language Some aspects change faster than others Culture is all encompassing Mechanisms of cultural Change Diffusion- spread of cultural traits (objects, ideas, behaviors) from one society to another Direct or indirect Ex: the spreading of fast food, Coke/Pepsi Acculturation- an exchange of culture features between two separated groups One dominant and one smaller one Acuminating- two equal groups Innovation- inventions, could lead to new ideas or technology, widely accepted Ex: electricity, heat, fermentation Ethnocentrism- view that one?s own culture is superior Ex: genocide Xenophobia- fear of things foreign Cultural relativism- the view that all cultural beliefs, values, and practices are equal worth and should be understood in relation to each culture?s own standards Components of Cultural Knowledge Norms- standards for behavior Values- beliefs about a life way, emotionally charged pretenses Symbols Classifications- categories Ex: different types of snow matter up north but not an issue here World Views Interpretations of experiences, etc Human Universals: any features of an institution that are found in all societies and cultures Ex: drink milk as babies, long term dependency on our mothers, smiling, marriage, food, art, music, language, clothes, talking Theories about why universals exist: Humans have a similar set of needs and problems Common biological ancestry
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