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SOC 111 
Introduction to Anthropology 
ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE
RECAP OF LAST CLASS 
• What is anthropology? 
• Culture 
• The subfields of anthropology 
• Two dimensions of anthropology
WHAT IS CULTURE? 
• Edward Tylor: ‘Systems of human behavior 
and thought.’ 
• Culture- Not through biological inheritance 
but by growing up in a particular society. 
• Enculturation: The process by which a child 
learns his or her culture.
Culture is Learned 
• Human cultural learning depends on the 
uniquely developed human capacity to use 
symbols. 
Symbols: signs that have no necessary or natural 
connection to the things they signify or stand for
Culture is Learned 
• Clifford Geertz: ‘Culture is ideas based on 
cultural learning and symbols.’ 
• Culture- ‘set of control mechanisms’ – plans, 
recipes, rules, instructions for governing 
behavior 
• Culture is transmitted through observation. 
• Culture is absorbed unconsciously.
• All humans have culture. 
• Anthropologists in the 19th century argued on 
a doctrine: ‘psychic unity of man’ 
Acknowledgment that individuals vary in 
emotional and intellectual tendencies and 
capacities, but still, all human populations have 
equivalent capacities for culture.
Culture is Symbolic 
• Symbolic thought is unique and crucial to humans 
and to cultural learning. 
• A symbol is something verbal or non-verbal 
within a particular language or culture that 
comes to stand for something else. 
• No obvious, natural or necessary connection 
between the symbol and what it symbolizes. 
• Symbols are usually linguistic. 
• Non-verbal symbols: flags,logos,religious symbols
Culture is Shared 
• Shared beliefs, values, memories and 
expectations link people who grow up in the 
same culture. 
• Enculturation unifies people by providing 
common experiences.
Culture and Nature 
• Culture takes natural biological urges and 
teaches us how to express them in particular 
ways. 
• How natural acts are converted into cultural 
habits- eating and bathroom examples.
Culture is Integrated 
• Cultures are integrated, patterned systems. 
• If one part of the system (the economy) 
changes, other parts (family structure) change 
as well.
Culture can be both Adaptive and 
Maladaptive 
• Humans have biological and cultural ways of 
coping with environmental stress 
• Adaptive behavior that offers short term 
benefits to particular individuals may harm 
the environment and threaten the group’s 
long term survival. 
• Overconsumption and pollution.
CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS 
• Similarities between humans and apes are 
evident in anatomy, brain structure, genetics 
and biochemistry.
CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS 
Many human traits showed that our 
primate ancestors lived in trees. 
Human primates have common with some 
other animal primates that; 1. they can 
modify learned behavior and social 
patterns. 2.Tool making and Hunting
CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS 
• How we differ from other primates? 
Cooperation and sharing are much more 
developed among humans 
Marriage: Humans have rules of exogamy and 
kinship. 
Exogamy: Marriage outside one’s group
CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS 
• Universality 
Same for all cultural groups. 
A long period of infant dependency 
Year-round sexuality 
Complex Brain 
Common ways in which humans think, feel and 
process information. 
Life in groups, family, food sharing 
Exogamy and Incest Taboo
CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS 
• Generality 
Regularities that occur in different times and 
places but not in all cultures. 
Diffusion 
Colonization 
Invention 
Nuclear Family
CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS 
• Particularity 
Traits or features if culture not generalized or 
widespread 
Diffusion 
Independent Invention 
When cultural traits are borrowed, the traits 
are modified to fit the culture that adopts 
them.
Anthropology 
• By focusing on and trying to explain 
the various and diverse cultures and 
alternative customs, anthropology 
forces us to reappraise our familiar 
ways of thinking. 
• Making strange familiar and familiar 
strange.

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Culture1

  • 1. SOC 111 Introduction to Anthropology ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE
  • 2. RECAP OF LAST CLASS • What is anthropology? • Culture • The subfields of anthropology • Two dimensions of anthropology
  • 3. WHAT IS CULTURE? • Edward Tylor: ‘Systems of human behavior and thought.’ • Culture- Not through biological inheritance but by growing up in a particular society. • Enculturation: The process by which a child learns his or her culture.
  • 4. Culture is Learned • Human cultural learning depends on the uniquely developed human capacity to use symbols. Symbols: signs that have no necessary or natural connection to the things they signify or stand for
  • 5. Culture is Learned • Clifford Geertz: ‘Culture is ideas based on cultural learning and symbols.’ • Culture- ‘set of control mechanisms’ – plans, recipes, rules, instructions for governing behavior • Culture is transmitted through observation. • Culture is absorbed unconsciously.
  • 6. • All humans have culture. • Anthropologists in the 19th century argued on a doctrine: ‘psychic unity of man’ Acknowledgment that individuals vary in emotional and intellectual tendencies and capacities, but still, all human populations have equivalent capacities for culture.
  • 7. Culture is Symbolic • Symbolic thought is unique and crucial to humans and to cultural learning. • A symbol is something verbal or non-verbal within a particular language or culture that comes to stand for something else. • No obvious, natural or necessary connection between the symbol and what it symbolizes. • Symbols are usually linguistic. • Non-verbal symbols: flags,logos,religious symbols
  • 8. Culture is Shared • Shared beliefs, values, memories and expectations link people who grow up in the same culture. • Enculturation unifies people by providing common experiences.
  • 9. Culture and Nature • Culture takes natural biological urges and teaches us how to express them in particular ways. • How natural acts are converted into cultural habits- eating and bathroom examples.
  • 10. Culture is Integrated • Cultures are integrated, patterned systems. • If one part of the system (the economy) changes, other parts (family structure) change as well.
  • 11. Culture can be both Adaptive and Maladaptive • Humans have biological and cultural ways of coping with environmental stress • Adaptive behavior that offers short term benefits to particular individuals may harm the environment and threaten the group’s long term survival. • Overconsumption and pollution.
  • 12. CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS • Similarities between humans and apes are evident in anatomy, brain structure, genetics and biochemistry.
  • 13. CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS Many human traits showed that our primate ancestors lived in trees. Human primates have common with some other animal primates that; 1. they can modify learned behavior and social patterns. 2.Tool making and Hunting
  • 14. CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS • How we differ from other primates? Cooperation and sharing are much more developed among humans Marriage: Humans have rules of exogamy and kinship. Exogamy: Marriage outside one’s group
  • 15. CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS • Universality Same for all cultural groups. A long period of infant dependency Year-round sexuality Complex Brain Common ways in which humans think, feel and process information. Life in groups, family, food sharing Exogamy and Incest Taboo
  • 16. CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS • Generality Regularities that occur in different times and places but not in all cultures. Diffusion Colonization Invention Nuclear Family
  • 17. CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS • Particularity Traits or features if culture not generalized or widespread Diffusion Independent Invention When cultural traits are borrowed, the traits are modified to fit the culture that adopts them.
  • 18. Anthropology • By focusing on and trying to explain the various and diverse cultures and alternative customs, anthropology forces us to reappraise our familiar ways of thinking. • Making strange familiar and familiar strange.