Molly Kaiser Queer Customs, by Clyde Kluckhohn Kluckhohns article on “Queer Customs” served as a great definition of culture using different definitions and examples to explain his views on what culture is. Culture, according to Kluckhohn, is a “design for living”. Culture is the part of the human environment that man has created. All humans are the same biologically, but depending on culture and how we are raised, we are all very different. Kluckhohn uses the example of the American boy who was raised in China. Although he had blue eyes and light colored hair, he carried himself as a person of Chinese descent. Though his biological heritage was American, he had been trained culturally as a Chinese person. He eventually returned to China after spending time in America. Each culture dissects nature and has their own reasons why and ways of dealing with nature. As an animal, human beings are interesting because they try to understand themselves and their behaviors. Although we all have different cultures, it does not mean that there is no such thing as raw human nature. Many societies and cultures have similar ideas, beliefs, and practices.
firstname.lastname@example.org by If I understood today's class discussion correctly, we decided to comment on the Ferraro article this time instead of taking a quiz Wed. So, here are my comments: Kluckhohn correctly pointed out that human beings are unique in that we try to understand our own behavior. This is probably a core concept that people would argue makes us more intelligent, civilized, and above lesser mammalian species. He uses the examples of &quot;queer customs&quot; as it applies to his own culture that he grew up in. What is &quot;queer&quot; to one culture may be normal to another. This applies to everything from sexual practices, food consumption, religious beliefs, etc. I especially liked the example of the white teacher who couldn't understand why her Navajo pupils were so upset about a dance. It was her misunderstanding of a long-standing Navajo cultural precept that led to the misunderstanding, and just verifies the preceding statement.
Chapter 4 The Idea of Culture A Preview/Review of Theories in Anthropology
I began with physical anthropology. I was taught how to measure the size of the brain of a human being who had been dead a long time, who was all dried out. I bored a hole in his skull, and I filled it with grains of polished rice. Then I emptied the rice into a graduated cylinder. I found this tedious.
I switched to archaeology, and I learned something I already knew: that man had been a maker and smasher of crockery since the dawn of time. And I went to my faculty adviser, and I confessed that science did not charm me, that I longed for poetry instead. I was depressed. I knew my wife and my father would want to kill me, if I went into poetry.
My adviser smiled. "How would you like to study poetry which pretends to be scientific?" he asked me.
"Is such a thing possible?" I said.
He shook my hand. "Welcome to the field of social or cultural anthropology," he said. He told me that Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead were already in it—and some sensitive gentlemen as well.
-Kurt Vonnegut, Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons (Opinions) , p. 176.
There is not much assurance or sense of closure, not even much sense of knowing what it is one precisely is after, in so indefinite a quest, amid such various people, over such a diversity of times. But it is an excellent way, interesting, dismaying, useful, and amusing, to expend a life.
Just as the individual is not alone in the group, nor any one society alone among the others, so man is not alone in the universe.
When the spectrum or rainbow of human cultures has finally sunk into the void created by our frenzy….in the contemplation of a mineral more beautiful than all our creations; in the scent that can be smelt at the heart of a lily and is more imbued with learning than all our books; or in the brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat.
-Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques , pp. 414-415.
Anthropological Understandings of Culture 19 th century evolutionism A universal human culture is shared by all societies. Turn of the century sociology Groups share sets of symbols and practices that bind them into societies. American historical particularism Cultures are the result of the specific histories of the people who share them. Functionalism Social practices support society's structure or fill the needs of individuals.
Anthropological Understandings of Culture Sociobiology Culture is the visible expression of underlying genetic coding. Cultural ecology and neo-evolutionism Culture is the way humans adapt to the environment and make their lives secure. Ecological materialism Physical and economic causes give rise to cultures and explain changes in them. Ethnoscience and cognitive anthropology Culture is a mental template that determines how members of a society understand their world.
Anthropological Understandings of Culture Anthropology and gender Roles of women and ways societies understand sexuality are central to understanding culture. Symbolic and interpretive anthropology Culture is the way members of a society understand themselves and what gives their lives meaning. Postmodernism Cultural understanding reflects the observer’s biases and can never be completely or accurately described.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of trying to understand the beliefs and practices of another culture is determining the meaning of what the anthropologist has observed or experienced for members of the culture .
Anthropologists who examine the theoretical perspective that focuses on culture as the principal force in shaping the personality of a society as well as on the role of personality in the maintenance of cultural institutions.
Theoretical perspective concerned with applying the insights of Marxist thought to anthropology; neo-Marxists modify Marxist analysis to make it appropriate to the investigation of small-scale, non-Western societies.
Anthropologists who are primarily concerned with human behavior, especially subsistence technology and its relationship to other aspects of culture, generally adhere to all except which one of the following theoretical orientations?
Anthropologists who are primarily concerned with human behavior, especially subsistence technology and its relationship to other aspects of culture, generally don’t adhere to the cognitive anthropology theoretical orientation
2. Anthropologists often choose to focus on communities or groups who are significantly different from those of the larger, dominant culture within the same society, such as Amish, Hmong, and people who share a similar occupation e.g., firefighters or age e.g., elderly. These groups are referred to as
Anthropologists often choose to focus on communities or groups who are significantly different from those of the larger, dominant culture within the same society, such as Amish, Hmong, and people who share a similar occupation e.g., firefighters or age e.g., elderly. These groups are referred to as subcultures .