Concepts of Culture Lecture Notes Anthropology 130
Concepts of Culture Lecture Notes Anthropology 130 Anthropology 130
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Melodi Harfouche on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anthropology 130 at University of Tennessee - Knoxville taught by De Pendry in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views.
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Date Created: 02/01/16
Culture At least “365” different definitions Old definition from an evolutionary theorist: “Complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Tylor 1871). Key words are underlined. Characteristics of Culture Learned: there are things that we learn consciously, and then there are things we learn unconsciously Systems of Symbolic Meanings: can go down to our language systems (Letters are a symbol that make up words, another symbol. Also there are symbols such as a cross that symbolized Christianity). Culture teaches us how to express biological or natural “urges” in particular ways. – Example: What, when and how to eat (Everyone needs to eat, but what we eat and when [time of day] we eat can depend on culture. How to eat: ex. Chopsticks) AllEncompassing In other words, not restricted to “high culture, fine arts, great literature, etc.” All that relates to everyday life. (Including the way people use the restroom) Integrated (Idea that culture is complex and has a lot of different systems) – Different aspects of culture are interrelated, patterned systems. (Social scientists focus a lot of attention on trying to determine various patterns and relationships.) – Changes in one aspect of culture usually entails changes in other aspects. (If you make a change in one area of culture, you’re probably going to see changes in other areas of culture as well because they’re all interrelated). – Example: Increasing numbers of women in the United States (and elsewhere) working outside the home from the 1950s and on it can change child rearing (they might not want to have as many kids), gender roles of women can start to disappear, gender roles of men may start to change as well People Use Culture Actively and Creatively Culture as a “process” vs. a “thing.” if you think of culture as a process, that means it is constantly changing Various forms of knowledge and practices. People Using Culture Actively and Creatively People raised with certain rules and norms (norms and rules may vary based on social class), BUT Rules and norms vary according to subject positions of individuals (e.g., gender, age, etc.) They are subject to interpretation. (Individuals can decide to contest certain rules and norms and change them. Ex. Civil Rights Movement) They can be contested and changed. There are struggles within cultures (and among different groups of people) over the meanings of symbols, ideas, values, and practices. Ideals: what people say they do or should do. (Ex. American ideal could be opportunities, but opportunities are limited for members of certain social groups) Practices observed by members of that society (as well as anthropologists). Culture can be adaptive or maladaptive with respect to the (natural and/or cultural) environment. – (Cultural Ecology) Example: Cars. – Maladaptive part is the gasoline being used but the adaptive part is how fast we can get from Point A to Point B. Levels of Culture Many cultures have origins before nationstates were ever created. However, today: International or transnational (across two nations) cultures Ex. International cultures: some aspects of Western culture are starting to become international Transnational example: Immigrants who have part of their family in one nation, another part of their family in another nation Tongans are living a transnational lifestyle (going back and forth from Tonga) National cultures Subcultures (within nations) Tongan immigrants bring back culture with them to the U.S. For a lot of immigrants, they bring culture into their home (Ethnic subcultures) Religion can be a subculture Languages can be subcultures Regional subculture International or Transnational Cultures Spread of global capitalism, commercialism Many struggles over values and meanings National Cultures Some shared beliefs, symbols, experiences, and values, BUT Process of historical struggles among various groups. Changes over time. SubCultures (within nations) Region Ethnicity Language Class Religion Age Etc. Cultural Relativism Practices in one culture should not be judged the standards of another culture. vs. Ethnocentrism Human Rights Cultural Rights Analyzing Cultures Universalities (the ability to speak a language) Generalities – common in many different cultures Particularities
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