Cultures Of the World


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Introducton to Cross-Cultural Comparison

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  • Cultures Of the World

    1. 1. Introduction Cross-Cultural Comparison
    2. 2. What is Culture? Is it what you. . . <ul><li>Get at the Dorothy Chandler? </li></ul><ul><li>Absorb when you go to the Getty Center or the De Young Museum? </li></ul><ul><li>Or is there more to it than that? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Two Meanings of Culture <ul><li>To some, culture is about the visual and performing arts </li></ul><ul><li>To anthropologists, it carries the same meaning as customs </li></ul><ul><li>That is, the study of how people behave different </li></ul><ul><li>In different parts of the world </li></ul>
    4. 4. Examples of Culture: Making a Living <ul><li>Some peoples forage: </li></ul><ul><li>They hunt game and gather edible plant foods </li></ul><ul><li>These African !Kung foragers are an example </li></ul><ul><li>Others grow their food </li></ul><ul><li>Like this South American Yanomamö woman </li></ul>
    5. 5. Examples of Culture: Economics <ul><li>Some peoples buy and sell on the market </li></ul><ul><li>Like these Guatemalan Maya vendors </li></ul><ul><li>Others make direct trades’ </li></ul><ul><li>Like these Trobriand islanders about to trade </li></ul><ul><li>Valuable kula white armshells for red necklaces </li></ul>
    6. 6. Examples of Culture: Law and War <ul><li>Many tribes negotiate their differences </li></ul><ul><li>As in this bride price haggling in India </li></ul><ul><li>Tribal warfare is widespread </li></ul><ul><li>As in this expedition setting out in Kenya </li></ul>
    7. 7. So What is Culture? <ul><li>Culture is the different ways </li></ul><ul><li>That people deal with common life issues </li></ul><ul><li>How to people make a living? Answers are diverse </li></ul><ul><li>How do people marry—or do they? There are numerous answers </li></ul><ul><li>How do people get along—Or do they? Again, there is no one answer </li></ul>
    8. 8. Defining Culture: Edward Burnett Tylor <ul><li>Edward Burnett Tylor founded anthropology at Oxford University in Britain </li></ul><ul><li>His definition: “That complex whole which includes </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, law, custom </li></ul><ul><li>And any other capabilities and habits </li></ul><ul><li>Acquired by man (meaning both women and men) </li></ul><ul><li>As a member of society” </li></ul>
    9. 9. Concept of Culture <ul><li>All cultures have at least five characteristics in common: </li></ul><ul><li>Learned </li></ul><ul><li>Shared </li></ul><ul><li>Patterned (Integrated) </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptive </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic </li></ul>
    10. 10. Culture is Learned <ul><li>All we do, say, or believe is learned, as these photos show. </li></ul><ul><li>Yanomamö mother is about to teach her daughter gardening </li></ul><ul><li>Yanomamö boys learning to hunt by shooting a lizard </li></ul><ul><li>Enculturation: learning the ways of a culture </li></ul>
    11. 11. So What’s the Big Deal About Learning? <ul><li>Our behavior is not genetically transmitted, unlike ants/bees </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is not just conditioning like trained dogs </li></ul><ul><li>We learn the skills and values of our society </li></ul><ul><li>And apply them to new situations </li></ul>
    12. 12. Culture is Shared <ul><li>A group with common language and custom shares a culture </li></ul><ul><li>Groups may be as small as 50 (African !Kung band, above) </li></ul><ul><li>They may comprise a nation of millions (e.g. Japan, shown by these schoolgirls, below) </li></ul><ul><li>There may be subcultures in a culture (e.g. Amish in Pennsylvania) </li></ul>
    13. 13. 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: Mexico’s Teotihuacan pyramid (above) </li></ul><ul><li>Probably weren’t built by tribesmen (below) </li></ul><ul><li>But pig feasts did fit in with New Guinea tribal culture. How? See PNG Module. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Culture is Generally Adaptive <ul><li>Technology generally reflects features of environment </li></ul><ul><li>Settled communities: usually indicate stable food supply, such as the Aztec chinampas </li></ul><ul><li>Grasslands are best for pastoralism, such as this Mongolian camp </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures can become poorly adapted during rapid change </li></ul>
    15. 15. Culture is Based on Symbolism <ul><li>Definition : Bestowing meaning to a thing or event </li></ul><ul><li>Inherently unrelated to the thing or event itself </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Stop, yield traffic signs (above) </li></ul><ul><li>Language, such as these Maya </li></ul><ul><li>Sign or Signal: Sounds or gestures with self-evident meaning </li></ul><ul><li>(Arrow-shaped traffic sign) </li></ul>
    16. 16. Cross-Cultural Comparison: Basic Course Requirement <ul><li>In this course, you will be comparing selected cultures </li></ul><ul><li>You will be read case studies in The Evolution of Human Societies </li></ul><ul><li>You will watch a series of films on other case studies </li></ul><ul><li>You will write reports on these case studies </li></ul><ul><li>You will also take exams based on your readings and films. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Course Requirements: Nuts and Bolts <ul><li>To be transferable to a CSU </li></ul><ul><li>The course entails all the standard requirements </li></ul><ul><li>For additional details, refer to your syllabus available online </li></ul><ul><li>The entire course will be conducted through ETUDES-NG </li></ul><ul><li>For full instructions, go to the college website </li></ul>
    18. 18. Course: Levels of Sociocultural Integration <ul><li>Some cultures are more complex than others. </li></ul><ul><li>Level of Sociocultural Integration gives a structure for comparison </li></ul><ul><li>We will compare cultures that are similar in complexity </li></ul><ul><li>There are four basic levels: </li></ul><ul><li>Band, tribes, chiefdom, and state </li></ul>
    19. 19. Levels of Sociocultural Integration: Bands <ul><li>Bands comprise groups of related families </li></ul><ul><li>They are usually simple foragers: </li></ul><ul><li>They hunt game and gather plant foods </li></ul><ul><li>Because their resources are uncertain, they are nomadic </li></ul><ul><li>They have little or no formal leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Their population is small: 25-100 </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Inuit (Eskimo), Australian Aborigines, !Kung San of Southern Africa </li></ul>
    20. 20. Levels of Sociocultural Integration: Tribes <ul><li>Tribes comprise several extended families </li></ul><ul><li>These are connected by some other organization </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: marriage ties, age grades, secret or warrior societies </li></ul><ul><li>They are pastoralists (herdsmen) or horticulturalists (hand cultivators) </li></ul><ul><li>They lack political offices and central government </li></ul><ul><li>They are often warlike </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Yanomamö and Kayapo of Central Asia; </li></ul><ul><li>Masai and Turkana of East Africa </li></ul>
    21. 21. Levels of Sociocultural Integration: Chiefdoms <ul><li>Chiefdoms have—a chief </li></ul><ul><li>They comprise permanent offices with rules of succession </li></ul><ul><li>There is a centralized government </li></ul><ul><li>But there is no police or army that exercises absolute rule </li></ul><ul><li>People are ranked: there are fewer positions of power than people able to fill them </li></ul><ul><li>Usually associated with horticulture, pastoralism, and complex foraging </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Kirghiz of Central Asia, Kwakiutl of Northwest Coast, </li></ul>
    22. 22. Level of Sociocultural Integration: States <ul><li>States have a monopoly over legitimate power </li></ul><ul><li>Agencies are army and police </li></ul><ul><li>They are stratified: a minority controls life-sustaining resources (land, water, capital) </li></ul><ul><li>They are complex, with bureaucracies (public and private) </li></ul><ul><li>They incorporate both redistribution (taxation) and markets </li></ul><ul><li>They rely on a system of codified law </li></ul>
    23. 23. Examples of States <ul><li>Theocratic States: Tibet is a classic example </li></ul><ul><li>Aztecs, Maya, and Inca also focused on their gods </li></ul><ul><li>Feudal States; Japan, China </li></ul>
    24. 24. Peasant Society <ul><li>Peasants are part of a stratified system within a state </li></ul><ul><li>Both peasants and horticulturalists produce food by cultivation and provide other necessities. </li></ul><ul><li>They both have to provide for next year’s crops </li></ul><ul><li>They both observe special occasions, such as a wedding, funeral, or celebrations </li></ul>
    25. 25. Defining the Peasant: Rent Fund <ul><li>The peasant, not the independent horticulturalist has to provide for a fund of rent </li></ul><ul><li>In other words: pay taxes with crops or money or labor </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Mexico, Guatemala, China, and all others where states exist </li></ul>
    26. 26. Comparing Cultures <ul><li>In this course, you will compare two case studies each week </li></ul><ul><li>They will involve videos from Netflix or Blockbuster; Where possible, we will use downloadable sources </li></ul><ul><li>You may find others from YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>They will involve readings from case studies in The Evolution of Human Societies </li></ul><ul><li>We will not cover the authors’ theories </li></ul>
    27. 27. Source of Cultural Studies: Fieldwork <ul><li>The source of all cultural studies is fieldwork </li></ul><ul><li>The ethnographer must gather original data firsthand </li></ul><ul><li>You can get some idea about a culture from reading a book </li></ul><ul><li>But in the end, you cannot talk authoritatively about a culture without having been there </li></ul><ul><li>The description of a culture is known as an ethnography </li></ul><ul><li>There are several techniques involved in fieldwork: Observation, participant observation and interviews </li></ul>
    28. 28. Ethnographic Techniques <ul><li>Observation: Watching and listening for important clues to understanding a culture </li></ul><ul><li>Participant Observation: Taking part in a ritual at a Obo court in Ghana </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews: Here, an economic anthropologist interviews a market woman in Ghana </li></ul><ul><li>Other techniques vary according to : </li></ul><ul><li>The topic of research </li></ul><ul><li>Audiovisual technology </li></ul><ul><li>The willingness of informants to participate—or not </li></ul>
    29. 29. The Question of Ethics <ul><li>There is one last question: How do different peoples react to us? </li></ul><ul><li>The YouTube presentations raise that very issue </li></ul><ul><li>The first video is of an ethnographic tourist operation: is that ethical </li></ul><ul><li>The other two videos reflect the invasion of Western cultures on three different cultures </li></ul><ul><li>This is a longstanding question, and corporate enterprises, as you can see, do what they bloody well please </li></ul><ul><li>Like it or not, we are part of this system and the problems they cause </li></ul>
    30. 30. Putting it All Together <ul><li>The primary aim is to acquaint you with the cultures around the world </li></ul><ul><li>The level of integration framework will give you some perspective </li></ul><ul><li>For example, cultures survived for centuries without government or markets or even high tech </li></ul><ul><li>I hope these you may see the implications of the culture you study. . . </li></ul><ul><li>On your own. Enjoy the course! </li></ul>