Culture culture: overview culture etymology The concept of culture




ИмеCulture culture: overview culture etymology The concept of culture
Дата на преобразуване21.01.2013
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източникhttp://www.utm.utoronto.ca/~w3ant204/Culture.rtf

CULTURE

CULTURE: OVERVIEW

  • Culture etymology

  • The concept of culture

  • Culture is shared

  • Culture is learned

  • Culture is based on symbols

  • Culture is integrated

  • Studying culture in the field

  • Culture and adaptation

  • The evaluation of culture

  • The universal pattern

Culture: etymology

  • From Middle English, via Middle French, via Latin cultura, via Latin colere.

  • Four basic meanings of “culture”:

  • Inhabitation (colonia ~ colony)

  • To till (cultivare ~ to farm)

  • Honour & worship (cultus ~ cult)

  • Tending (cultura ~ tending something)

The concept of culture

“… that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”

Edward B. Tylor (1871)

Culture is …

  • Shared

  • Learned

  • Based on symbols

  • Integrated

  • Adaptive

Culture is shared

  • Allows for behaviour to be intelligible & predictable

  • Not uniformly distributed in society, especially in pluralistic societies

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Ethnicity

  • Occupation

  • Social class

  • Subcultures

  • Other criteria (e.g., physical, mental, geographic, aesthetic, moral)

Culture is learned

  • Formal

  • Systems of classification: semantic domains

  • Laws: binding rules of conduct

  • Cosmologies: theories of the universe

  • Informal

  • Collective understandings: tacit knowledge

  • Norms: non-binding rules of conduct

  • Values: the good things in life

  • Technical

  • Specialized, practical knowledge based on pedagogy

Culture is based on symbols

  • Comprised of many symbol systems

E.g., words, writing, numbers, money, attire

  • Language is the most important symbol system

  • Arbitrary, conventional, architectonic, productive

  • Narrative & rhetoric shape thought formation and behaviour

  • Culture as discourse

E.g., religion, philosophy, ideology, art, play

Culture is integrated

The tendency of all aspects of a culture to function as an integrated whole.”


Ethnographic Example: Kapauku Papuans

  • Pigs are the key to political influence for men in a context of endemic warfare

  • Pigs eat sweet potatoes, grown in gardens tended by wives

  • Bride-price (in pigs) gets wives > promotes polygyny, patrilocality, patrilineality > male dominance

Studying culture in the field

  • Three types of data

  • The way things should be, i.e., cultural ideals

  • Discourse on one’s own behaviour

  • Observed behaviour

  • Interfering factors

  • Gender bias

E.g., Annette Weiner’s restudy of the Trobriand Islanders

  • Other biases

E.g., language, ethnicity, religion, politics, social class

Three domains of culture

  • Cognitive

E.g., language, value systems, mythologies, laws, rules, emotions

  • Behavioural

E.g., speech, NVC, eating, work, play, ritual

  • Material

E.g., tools, furniture, architecture, clothing, art, writing

Cultural vs. biological adaptation

  • Independent of genotypic change.

  • Allows for more rapid adaptation to environmental change, often during individuals’ lifetimes.

  • Allows for modelling of other species’ adaptations
    (e.g. claws, wool, horns, teeth, wings, gills).

  • Requires observation, imitation, experimentation, pedagogy, imagination.

  • Allows for adaptations to be learned, transmitted, stored, revised, etc.

  • Bio-cultural interaction: culture requires enhanced brain power.

Culture and adaptation

  • Adaptation is relative to context and time

  • E.g. forager toilet & sanitation habits

  • E.g. Mesopotamian agriculture

  • E.g. U.S. agriculture

  • Functions of Culture

  • Economic, reproductive, political, psychological

  • Culture and Change

  • E.g., Sex in North America: the new permissiveness

  • E.g., Sub-Saharan pastoralism: sedentism & overgrazing

  • E.g., Canadian First Nations: ethnocide & regeneration

Evaluation of culture

  • Ethnocentrism

  • Belief in cultural “superiority”

  • A cross-culturally normal attitude

  • Cultural relativism

  • Cultures must be understood on their own terms

  • Premature judgements must be suspended to overcome ethnocentrism

  • Cognitive and moral dimensions

E.g., Aztec human sacrifice vs. U.S. capital punishment

E.g., perspective varies: from top, bottom, or middle?

The universal pattern

A heuristic concept developed by anthropologist Marvin Harris (1927-2002) via Clark Wissler (1870-1947) to organize a great variety of ethnographic data into intelligible, cross-cultural patterns of relationship. An organizational concept and learning tool.

  • Infrastructure

  • Mode of reproduction
  • Mode of production
  • Structure

  • Domestic economy
  • Political economy
  • Superstructure

  • Forms of thought
  • Forms of communication

Universal pattern 1: Infrastructure

  • Mode of reproduction

  • Demographics

  • Sex & mating patterns

  • Nurturance of infants

  • Methods of population control

  • Mode of production

  • Technology

  • Resources

  • Organization of work

Universal pattern 2: Structure

  • Domestic economy

  • Family & household organization

  • Domestic division of labour / age & sex roles

  • Domestic authority, discipline, sanctions

  • Political economy

  • Inter-household organization

  • Associations, corporations, organizations

  • Social division of labour by region, occupation, social class

  • Social control via laws, police, judiciary, military, schools

Universal pattern 3: Superstructure

  • Systems of thought

E.g., cosmologies, classification systems, religion, science, aesthetics

  • The arts

E.g., plastic, performing, literary

  • Entertainments

E.g., games, sports, gambling

  • Public & private rituals & ceremonies

E.g., religious, civic, political


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