Understanding Culture The anthropological perspective Chapter Objectives Understand the defining attributes of culture. In particular, you need to understand what it means that culture is learned, shared, symbolic, all-encompassing, and integrated.
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The anthropological perspective
3. Understand the mechanisms of cultural change.
4. Distinguish between culture and race
patterns of behavior
a. Edward B. Tylor, Primitive Culture (1871).
"Culture... 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."
b. Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (1973).
”It denotes an historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.”
c. Marvin Harris, Cultural Materialism (1979)
"Culture...refers to the learned repertory of thoughts and actions exhibited by the members of social groups--repertories transmissible independently of genetic heredity from one generation to the next.
d. Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (1977)
"Are we to understand 'culture' as 'the arts', as 'system of meanings and values', or as a 'whole way of life', and how are these to be related to 'society' and 'the economy'?"
Culture as Symbol:
Image from Varanasi, India
Reprimanding in Honduras
Examples in anthropological debate:
Margaret Mead and Derrick Freeman
Robert Redfield and Oscar Lewis
Examples in everyday life
Religion & …
Politics & …
Bunzel - Japan
Appadurai - Indian transnationals
A sociocultural construct