Culture: a rough and ready definition
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Culture: a rough and ready definition. Culture = whatever we acquire through social learning, social transmission. A few properties of culture 1. It is abstract/immaterial -- a learnable form that produces perceptible objects in the world (like dance steps or sounds or clothes or gestures).

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Culture: a rough and ready definition

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Culture a rough and ready definition

Culture: a rough and ready definition

Culture = whatever we acquire through social learning, social transmission.


Culture a rough and ready definition

A few properties of culture

1. It is abstract/immaterial -- a learnable form that produces perceptible objects in the world (like dance steps or sounds or clothes or gestures).

2. It moves through space and time by passing from individual to individual, group to group.

3. It tends to undergo some change in the course of its transmission.


Culture a rough and ready definition

Categorization schemes (including race) are part of culture

• they are learnable forms -- employing words like “white,” “black,” etc.

• they travel through space and time

• they undergo change in the course of their journey

EXAMPLE: U.S. census questions


Culture a rough and ready definition

Questions from the 1930 Census

Place of Abode

1. Street, avenue, road, etc.

2. House number (in cities or towns)

3. Number of dwelling house in order of visitation

4. Number of family in order of visitation

Name

5. Name of each person whose place of abode on April 1, 1930, was in this family.

Relation

6. Relationship of this person to the head of the family.

Home Data

7. Home owned or rented.

8. Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented.

9. Radio set.

10. Does this family live on a farm?

Personal Description

11. Sex.

12. Color or race [White (W), Negro (Neg), Mexican (Mex), Indian (In), Chinese (Ch), Japanese (Jp), Filipino (Fil), Hindu (Hin), Korean (Kor), other races spelled out in full.]

13. Age at last birthday.


Culture a rough and ready definition

Questions from the 1890 Census

HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD

Full name (SURNAME, first middle):

Date born (month-day-year)

Relationship (Head, Wife, S-Son, D-Daughter, etc)

Sex

Race (W=White, C=Colored, I=Indian, A=Asian)

Age in 1890

Place born (town-county-state or country)

SPOUSE:

Full name (SURNAME, first middle. Include maiden name if known.):

Date born (month-day-year)

Relationship (Head, Wife, S-Son, D-Daughter, etc)

Sex

Race (W=White, C=Colored, I=Indian, A=Asian)

Age in 1890

Place born (town-county-state or country)


Culture a rough and ready definition

Questions from the 1790 Census

Name of Head of Household

Number of free white males 16 & over

Number of free white males under 16

Number of free white females (age not specified)

Number of all other free persons

Number of slaves


Culture a rough and ready definition

Social function of the categorization scheme

• Censuses provide information for administrators as to how to manage a population (for example, taxation).

• Social groupings (race, ethnicity, gender, caste, etc.) represent culturally recognized groupings within the society.

• The cultural recognized groupings are potential political interest groups.


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