Chapter 2 The Concept of Culture
What We Will Learn • What do anthropologists mean by the term culture? • How do we acquire our culture? • Despite the enormous variation in different cultures, are some common features found in all cultures of the world?
Culture Defined • Everything people have • material possessions • Everything people think • ideas, values, and attitudes • Everything people do • behavior patterns
Culture and Civilization • All civilizations are cultures, not all cultures are civilizations. • Civilizations are cultures that have developed cities. • Civilizations are characterized by • monumental architecture • centralized (hierarchical) governments • fully efficient food production systems • writing
Symbols • The ability to symbolize is the most fundamental aspect of culture. • Symbols help people identify, sort,and classify things, ideas, and behaviors. • When people symbolize using language, they can express experiences that took place earlier or suggest events that may happen.
Culture Is Shared • For something to be cultural, it must have a meaning shared by most people in a society. • When people share a culture, they can predict how others will behave. • When we step outside our culture, misunderstandings can occur.
Culture Is Learned • A male child born in Kansas: • Watch television often. • Be educated in a school. • Learn to drive a car. • Grow up to marry one wife at a time.
Culture Is Learned • A male child born among the Jie of Uganda. • Will play with cows. • Learn from peers and elders. • Be initiated into adulthood with a ceremony that includes being anointed with undigested stomach contents of an ox. • Grow up to have 3 or 4 wives at one time.
Culture Is Taken for Granted • Culture is deeply embedded in our psyche. • How we act and what we think are often habitual.
Cultural Change: Two Processes • Internal changes (innovations) - can spread to other cultures and occur in societies with the greatest number of cultural elements. • External changes (cultural diffusion) - spreading of cultural elements from one culture to another. Responsible for the greatest amount of change in any society.
Cultural Universals • Societies share common features because they solve problems shared by all human societies: • Economic system • Systems of marriage and family • Educational system • Social control system • System of supernatural belief • Systems of communication
Culture: Adaptive And Maladaptive • Culture is the major way humans adapt to their environments so they can survive. • Due to the adaptive nature of culture, people are able to live in previously uninhabitable places, such as deserts, the polar region, under the sea, and outer space. • Some features of a culture may be maladaptive: • The use of automobiles coupled with industrial pollutants is destroying the air.
Small-scale Societies • A small-scale society is a society: • with a small population • that is technologically simple • is usually preliterate • has little labor specialization • is not stratified.
Small-scale Societies • A distinction between small-scale and more complex societies does not imply that societies can be pigeonholed into one or the other category. • All societies can be viewed along a continuum from small-scale to complex.
1. For this text, culture is defined as • a mental map which guides us in our relations to our surroundings and to other people. • 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. • everything that people have, think, and do as members of society. • the finer things in life.
Answer: c • For this text, culture is defined as everything that people have, think, and do as members of society.
2. One of two basic processes of change, ________ refers to internal changes, the ultimate source of all cultural changes. • diffusion • biology • enculturation • innovation
Answer: d • One of two basic processes of change, innovation refers to internal changes, the ultimate source of all cultural changes.
3. A second source of cultural change is ________, or the spread of ideas from one culture to another. • innovation • enculturation • diffusion • biology
Answer: c • A second source of cultural change is diffusion or the spread of ideas from one culture to another.
4. Despite many differences, all cultures share a number of common features called ________, because they have all worked out a series of solutions to a whole range of problems facing all human societies. • cultural universals • polytypical features • symbols • innovations
Answer: a • Despite many differences, all cultures share a number of common features called cultural universals, because they have all worked out a series of solutions to a whole range of problems facing all human societies.
5. Small-scale societies refer to those societies that have small populations. • True • False
Answer: False • Small-scale societies do not refer to those societies that have small populations.