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  1. 1. Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Culture as a Central Concept
  2. 2. Culture: Anthropology’s Main Concept <ul><li>Culture is a social heritage, transmitted from one generation to another. It consists of the sum total of skill, beliefs, knowledge and products that are commonly shared by a number of people and transmitted to their children. (Dressler) </li></ul>
  3. 3. CLASSIFICATION OF CULTURE <ul><li>Static </li></ul><ul><ul><li>emphasize in cultural transmission; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>culture is passed on from generation to generation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dynamic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>emphasize in cultural change; it goes thru revision with each generation. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. FORMS OF CULTURE <ul><li>Material culture – material culture consists of tangible things like houses, clothing, tools and utensils etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-material culture – refers to what is symbolic or intangible. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Folkways – traditional ways of doing things </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mores – are heavily sanctioned folkways for group survival and are accepted without question as they embody moral views of the group. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customs – means habitual practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beliefs – means viewpoint, way of life </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Concept of Culture <ul><li>All cultures have at least five characteristics in common: </li></ul><ul><li>Culture is learned </li></ul><ul><li>Culture is based on symbols </li></ul><ul><li>Culture is shared </li></ul><ul><li>Culture is patterned or integrated </li></ul><ul><li>Culture is usually adaptive </li></ul>
  6. 6. Culture is Learned <ul><li>All we do, say, or believe is learned. </li></ul><ul><li>Enculturation: learning the ways of a culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yanomamo boys learning to hunt by shooting a lizard </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Culture is Acquired Through Symbols <ul><li>Culture is learned through language </li></ul><ul><li>Babies learn language from birth: </li></ul><ul><li>Through language they acquire culture </li></ul><ul><li>Language is based on symbols </li></ul><ul><li>Their capacity for language is inherited </li></ul><ul><li>But not their own language. </li></ul>
  8. 8. What is a Symbol? <ul><li>Object or event that is intrinsically unrelated to another thing or event to which it refers. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Culture is Shared <ul><li>A group with common language and custom shares a culture </li></ul><ul><li>They may comprise nation of millions </li></ul>
  10. 10. Culture is Patterned/Integrated <ul><li>One aspect of culture reflects other aspects </li></ul><ul><li>They all fit into a pattern as a whole </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of integration </li></ul><ul><li>Extreme example: Teotihuacan’s pyramid (upper) </li></ul><ul><li>probably weren’t built by tribesmen like these Kawelka </li></ul><ul><li>But pig feasts did fit in with Kawelka tribal culture. How? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Culture is Generally Adaptive <ul><li>Technology generally reflects features of environment </li></ul><ul><li>Settled communities: usually indicate stable food supply, </li></ul><ul><li>Such as the Aztec chinampas (raised platforms) </li></ul><ul><li>Grasslands are best for pastoralism, </li></ul><ul><li>Such as this Mongolian camp </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures can become poorly adapted during rapid change </li></ul>
  12. 12. FUNCTIONS OF CULTURE <ul><li>Culture makes communication possible by means of a language </li></ul><ul><li>Culture provides standards for differentiating right and wrong. </li></ul><ul><li>Culture provides the knowledge and skills needed for survival </li></ul><ul><li>Culture helps people identify with others and make them feel a sense of belonging. </li></ul>
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