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  1. 1. Introduction toIntroduction to Cultural AnthropologyCultural Anthropology Culture as a Central ConceptCulture as a Central Concept
  2. 2. Culture: Anthropology’s MainCulture: Anthropology’s Main ConceptConcept • Culture is a social heritage,Culture is a social heritage, transmitted from onetransmitted from one generation to another. Itgeneration to another. It consists of the sum total ofconsists of the sum total of skill, beliefs, knowledge andskill, beliefs, knowledge and products that are commonlyproducts that are commonly shared by a number of peopleshared by a number of people and transmitted to theirand transmitted to their children.children. (Dressler)(Dressler)
  3. 3. CLASSIFICATION OF CULTURECLASSIFICATION OF CULTURE  StaticStatic  emphasize in cultural transmission;emphasize in cultural transmission;  culture is passed on from generation to generation.culture is passed on from generation to generation.  DynamicDynamic  emphasize in cultural change; it goes thru revisionemphasize in cultural change; it goes thru revision with each generation.with each generation.
  4. 4. FORMS OF CULTUREFORMS OF CULTURE  Material cultureMaterial culture – material culture consists of– material culture consists of tangible things like houses, clothing, tools and utensilstangible things like houses, clothing, tools and utensils etc.etc.  Non-material cultureNon-material culture – refers to what is symbolic or– refers to what is symbolic or intangible.intangible.  Folkways – traditional ways of doing thingsFolkways – traditional ways of doing things  Mores – are heavily sanctioned folkways for group survivalMores – are heavily sanctioned folkways for group survival and are accepted without question as they embody moraland are accepted without question as they embody moral views of the group.views of the group.  Customs – means habitual practiceCustoms – means habitual practice  Beliefs – means viewpoint, way of lifeBeliefs – means viewpoint, way of life
  5. 5. Concept of CultureConcept of Culture All cultures have at least five characteristics inAll cultures have at least five characteristics in common:common:  Culture is learnedCulture is learned  Culture is based on symbolsCulture is based on symbols  Culture is sharedCulture is shared  Culture is patterned or integratedCulture is patterned or integrated  Culture is usually adaptiveCulture is usually adaptive
  6. 6. Culture is LearnedCulture is Learned  All we do, say, or believe isAll we do, say, or believe is learned.learned.  Enculturation:Enculturation: learning the wayslearning the ways of a cultureof a culture  Yanomamo boys learning to hunt byYanomamo boys learning to hunt by shooting a lizardshooting a lizard
  7. 7. Culture is Acquired ThroughCulture is Acquired Through SymbolsSymbols  Culture is learned throughCulture is learned through languagelanguage  Babies learn language from birth:Babies learn language from birth:  Through language they acquireThrough language they acquire cultureculture  Language is based onLanguage is based on symbolssymbols  Their capacity for language isTheir capacity for language is inheritedinherited  But not theirBut not their ownown language.language.
  8. 8. What is a Symbol?What is a Symbol?  Object or event that is intrinsically unrelated toObject or event that is intrinsically unrelated to another thing or event to which it refers.another thing or event to which it refers.
  9. 9. Culture is SharedCulture is Shared  A group with commonA group with common language and custom shares alanguage and custom shares a cultureculture  They may comprise nation ofThey may comprise nation of millionsmillions
  10. 10. Culture is Patterned/IntegratedCulture is Patterned/Integrated  One aspect of culture reflectsOne aspect of culture reflects other aspectsother aspects  They all fit into a pattern as aThey all fit into a pattern as a wholewhole  Examples of integrationExamples of integration  Extreme example: Teotihuacan’sExtreme example: Teotihuacan’s pyramid (upper)pyramid (upper)  probably weren’t built byprobably weren’t built by tribesmen like these Kawelkatribesmen like these Kawelka  But pig feasts did fit in withBut pig feasts did fit in with Kawelka tribal culture. How?Kawelka tribal culture. How?
  11. 11. Culture is Generally AdaptiveCulture is Generally Adaptive  Technology generally reflectsTechnology generally reflects features of environmentfeatures of environment  Settled communities: usuallySettled communities: usually indicate stable food supply,indicate stable food supply,  Such as the Aztec chinampasSuch as the Aztec chinampas (raised platforms)(raised platforms)  Grasslands are best forGrasslands are best for pastoralism,pastoralism,  Such as this Mongolian campSuch as this Mongolian camp  Cultures can become poorlyCultures can become poorly adapted during rapid changeadapted during rapid change
  12. 12. FUNCTIONS OF CULTUREFUNCTIONS OF CULTURE  Culture makes communicationCulture makes communication possible by means of a languagepossible by means of a language  Culture provides standards forCulture provides standards for differentiating right and wrong.differentiating right and wrong.  Culture provides the knowledgeCulture provides the knowledge and skills needed for survivaland skills needed for survival  Culture helps people identifyCulture helps people identify with others and make them feel awith others and make them feel a sense of belonging.sense of belonging.
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