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Anth. What is Culture?

by: Chanah Fallin

Anth. What is Culture? anth 1000

Chanah Fallin


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Notes covering lecture 3 in Dr. Berk's class on Culture, Cultural dimensions etc.
Class Notes
Anthropology, Culture, berk
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chanah Fallin on Friday January 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to anth 1000 at a university taught by Berk in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views.

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Date Created: 01/29/16
Anthropology lecture 3. What is culture? kottack 2, CC 2,5 1. features 2. levels and scales 3. cross cultural misunderstanding 4. ethnocentrism and cultural relativism 5. cultural dimensions 6. cultural change EB Tyler culture def: “culture or civilization taken in its wide ethnographic sense is 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” singular synonymous w civilization culture is something we gain, civilization is an advancement ^cultures are plural, modern anthro. human culture is dependent on 1. symbolic communication use symbols that do not have natural connection to what is signifies ex: pink and blue, boys and girls— its an arbitrary connection. grow up in US, we recognize these connections 2. learning not biological not inherent learned, directly but mostly indirectly consciously and unconsciously acquired. we pick it up without reflecting on it or thinking about it 3. ability to live in groups interpersonal and multipersonal one ind. person cannot have a culture culture involves mult. people *human biology cannot explain how human cultures function, or interact, or change over time. distinctive features of culture 1. learned (direct v. indirect) ex. people walking down the street, sides you walk on/drive on 2. shared (things we all recognize) meaning will vary though. ideal culture v. real culture (ex. speed limits) 3. symbolic (different languages, different labels, different symbols) *local examples: grocery store vs. super market, buggy vs. cart (regional) 4. shapes and channels nature (impact physical form) 5. all encompassing (culture shock/reverse culture shock) 6. integrated (similar to all encompassing, but its a unified pattern system. ex: american society-strong ethos of individual and work ethic. 7. adaptive and mal-adaptive 8. changing 9. inclusive and exclusive (define culture by how many people feel like they belong) oppositional: alabama vs. auburn, gender, race etc. cultural levels and scales *recognize cultural systems that are larger and smaller than nation-states 1. national culture (democracy, separation of church and state, football - uniquely american, etc.) 2. international cultural (extend beyond boundaries of national borders…ex: western dress. part of international culture. pop culture: cinema, music, etc) 3. subcultures (different symbol based patterns associated w larger culture…ethnicity/job based cultures/highschool: cliques) cross cultural misunderstanding Lee: basis of misunderstanding when he gave an ox or the christmas feast? picks out biggest, fattest one he can find -said it wouldn't feed everyone: old, thin, scrawny, bag of bones -this one is okay, we’ll see how it is -there is enough for everyone for 2+ days. why do you think the kung ridicule and degenerate people who have been successful hunters or who have provided them with a christmas ox? why do americans expect people to be grateful to receive gifts? **they said it: they do it to all the hunter. discourage arrogance, promote humility. maintaining equality. Bohannan: in what ways does Bohannan’s attempt to tell the story of Hamlet to the Tiv illustrate the concept of naive realism? assumes everyone views things the same way she does. tells Tiv, expecting the same interpretation as western audiences serious concerns and questions about the stories. what are the most important parts of Hamlet that the Tiv found it necessary to reinterpret? uncle should have married widow: is responsibility of brother to marry deceased widow.. -don’t believe in ghosts- uncle poisons father, and hamlet knows bc he is told by ghost… omen sent by witch? *naive realism on both sides. Tiv thinks everyone thinks the way they do Ethnocentrism vs. cultural relativism *ethnocentrism is similar to naive realism. the tendency to view one’s culture as superior and apply their own cultural values in judging the behavior and believes of peoples raised in other cultures -PNG ex.: sexual activity valued btwn men over men and women. judging another culture by your own standards. *in order to counteract such ethnocentrism anthropologists employ cultural relativism: the viewpoint that behavior in one culture show not be judged by the standards of another. it should be understood relative to its own system of meaning *cultural relativism is and analytical tool to help one engage with and think about different cultures. (not moral statement) cultural dimensions - universality: all cultures have language, kinship, year round constant sexuality…but not every culture has the same lang. not every thinks of kinship in the same way - generality: more common patterns. common types of marriage, monogamy, heterosexual marriage, trans-regional lang. - particularity: less common, but still have patterns. types of preferred marriage. cross cousin marriage? related to systems of descent. (still marriage, still kinship) culture change -Diffusion: no culture has ever been isolated. doesn't have to be first hand contact. can be, but can also be indirect -Acculturation: continuous first hand contact results in change in culture -Independent Intervention: not the result of interaction. process of innovation. certain patterns emerge independent of one another *globalization and mass mediation: often understood as being homogenizing, making everyone the same around the world. tech accentuates differences AND similarities.


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