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Anth1 Culture

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anthropology, concepts of culture

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Anth1 Culture

  1. 1. The Concept of Culture Traditional Potter Caste Work in Rural Nepal, 1989. J. Fortier
  2. 2. If you wish to access the on-line materials, go to: <ul><li>http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dd58d6nz_439fg5468hk </li></ul><ul><li>Copies of powerpoints </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion Board for students </li></ul><ul><li>Extra reading materials </li></ul><ul><li>Study Tips </li></ul><ul><li>Study materials </li></ul><ul><li>Not required to visit the site </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Concept of Culture <ul><li>What Is Culture? </li></ul><ul><li>Theories of Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Universality, Generality, and Particularity </li></ul><ul><li>Me chanisms of Cultural Change </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization </li></ul>
  4. 4. What Is Culture? <ul><li>Culture is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, custom...” p. 43 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Culture Is Learned <ul><li>Cultural learning unique to humans </li></ul>
  6. 6. Culture Is Shared Culture located and transmitted in groups
  7. 7. Culture can be shared through Diffusion <ul><li>Cultural practices and artifacts are transmitted through diffusion </li></ul>Courtesy www.globaled.org/.../lesson_64_image01.jpg
  8. 8. Culture Is Symbolic <ul><li>Symbolic though unique and crucial to cultural learning </li></ul>Performing a Hindu Ritual
  9. 9. Culture and Nature <ul><li>Humans interact with cultural constructions of nature rather than directly with nature itself </li></ul><ul><li>Culture:Nature </li></ul><ul><li>Male:Female </li></ul>
  10. 10. Culture Is All-Encompassing <ul><ul><li>Everyone is cultured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To understand North American culture, one must consider both traditional & popular cultures: movies, fast-food restaurants, sports and games </li></ul></ul>The Bourne Ultimatum ; courtesy www.wiw.org/.../category/popular-culture/
  11. 11. Culture Is Integrated <ul><ul><li>Changes in one aspect will likely generate changes in other aspects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Core values – sets of ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that are basic in that they provide an organizational logic for the rest of the culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Culture is a system </li></ul>
  12. 12. Culture Can Be Adaptive and Maladaptive <ul><ul><li>What’s good for individual isn’t necessarily good for group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determining whether cultural practice is adaptive or maladaptive frequently requires viewing results of that practice from several perspectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Humans have biological and cultural ways of coping with environmental stress </li></ul>
  13. 13. Theories of Culture <ul><li>Cultural Materialists </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic Theories of Culture </li></ul>
  14. 14. Materialist principles <ul><ul><ul><li>Cultures adapt humans to environment. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Environment shapes cultures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Culture change is a process of adaptation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultures change towards equilibrium </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology & economy are central elements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary cultural elements - religion, ritual, world view, myth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marvin Harris, Julian Steward, Elman Service </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Materialist views of cannibalism <ul><li>Brings protein to population </li></ul><ul><li>Endo vs Exo cannibalism </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptive strategy to starvation </li></ul><ul><li>Created protection from radical prions </li></ul><ul><li>Strikes fear into enemies </li></ul><ul><li>Allows political control & expansion </li></ul>www.abc.net.au
  16. 16. Symbolic principles of The Culture Concept <ul><li>Culture is a system of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>etic/emic knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>rules of appropriate behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Competence & performance </li></ul><ul><li>Ideologies & practices </li></ul><ul><li>Universals of human cognition </li></ul><ul><li>Binary oppositions </li></ul><ul><li>Claude Levi-Strauss: “Universal structures of the human mind” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Claude L évi-Strauss & Binary Oppositions <ul><li>Universal structures of human mind use binary coding </li></ul><ul><li>Binary codes use marked, mediating features </li></ul><ul><li>Knowing cultures involves knowing those structures particular to a given culture </li></ul>www.tricksterbook.com
  18. 18. Cultures as Symbolic Systems <ul><li>Culture is a system of shared meanings and symbols </li></ul><ul><li>“ Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” </li></ul><ul><li>Clifford & Hildred Geertz - Interpretive Anthropology </li></ul>
  19. 19. Cannibalism as part of a Symbolic System <ul><li>For é people of New Guinea </li></ul><ul><li>Sorcerers cause illness (Kuru) </li></ul><ul><li>Endo-cannibalism incorporates kin </li></ul><ul><li>~ Mad Cow Disease </li></ul><ul><li>Shirley Lindembaum </li></ul><ul><li>Cannibalism part of a belief system </li></ul>
  20. 20. Culture and the Individual: Agency and Practice <ul><li>People use their culture actively and creatively, rather than blindly following its dictates </li></ul>Courtesy: www.winterhouse.com/.../10-magazine-rack.jpg
  21. 21. Culture and the Individual: Agency and Practice <ul><ul><li>Practice Theory – recognizes that individuals within a society or culture have diverse motives and intentions and different degrees of power and influence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Culture is both public and individual </li></ul>Pierre Bourdieu 1930-2002; courtesy www.rainer-rilling.de/.../uploads/bourdieu.JPG
  22. 22. “ Distinctions” in Cultural Practice <ul><li>Cultural Capital </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic Capital </li></ul><ul><li>Social Capital </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Capital </li></ul><ul><li>Vendor </li></ul><ul><li>Plumber </li></ul><ul><li>Daycare worker </li></ul><ul><li>Violinist </li></ul><ul><li>Driver </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Engineer </li></ul><ul><li>Business owner </li></ul><ul><li>House painter </li></ul><ul><li>Public mural artist </li></ul>Fruit vendor (selling aciote ) in South America
  23. 23. Distinctions: Examples of Different Types of Capital <ul><li>cultural capital : went to grad school, got a degree in Public Health </li></ul><ul><li>social capital : get a good job after friends give you tips on new openings/networks </li></ul><ul><li>econ capital - make 100K </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic capital : bought a mercedes benz </li></ul><ul><li>Where do class “distinctions” place you in the “field” of society? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Problems w/ Culture Concept <ul><li>Overgeneralizations </li></ul><ul><li>Bicultural oscillations </li></ul><ul><li>Intersections of race, class, gender </li></ul><ul><li>Borders </li></ul>
  25. 25. Levels of Culture <ul><li>International culture – practices common to identifiable group extending beyond boundaries of one culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subcultures – identifiable cultural patterns existing within a larger culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National culture – experiences, beliefs, learned behavior patterns, and values shared by citizens of the same nation </li></ul>
  26. 26. Levels of Culture, with Examples from Sports and Foods
  27. 27. Ethnocentrism & Cultural Relativism <ul><li>Viewing your own culture as superior </li></ul><ul><li>Applying your own values to other cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Contributes to social solidarity </li></ul><ul><li>Universal </li></ul><ul><li>Each culture’s behavior is judged oni ts own merits </li></ul><ul><li>Universal human rights exist which supercede cultural morals </li></ul><ul><li>Not moral position, a methodological position </li></ul>
  28. 28. Human & Cultural Rights <ul><li>Cultural rights –a group’s ability to preserve its cultural tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Human rights – vested in individuals; the right to speak freely, </li></ul><ul><li>hold religious beliefs without persecution </li></ul><ul><li>not be murdered, injured, enslaved, or imprisoned without charge. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Universality, Generality, and Particularity <ul><ul><li>traits that distinguish Homo sapiens from other species </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cultural Universals </li></ul>People build towns such as Nainatal, India
  30. 30. Cultural Generalizations and Cultural Particulars <ul><ul><li>Regularities that occur in different times and places but not all cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Particularities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traits or features of culture not generalized or widespread </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Generalities </li></ul>Nukak of Columbia, S. Amer. eats monkey
  31. 31. Mechanisms of Cultural Change <ul><ul><li>Borrowing of traits between cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Direct – between two adjacent cultures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Indirect – across one or more intervening cultures or through some long-distance medium </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Forced – through warfare, colonization, or some other kind of domination </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unforced – intermarriage, trade, and the like </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Diffusion </li></ul>
  32. 32. Mechanisms of Cultural Change <ul><ul><li>Exchange of features that results when groups come into continuous firsthand contact </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Acculturation </li></ul>Khanty are a reindeer-herding people of western Siberia Photo: www.survival-international.org/lib/img/galler...
  33. 33. Globalization <ul><li>Processes that make modern nations and people increasingly interlinked and mutually dependent </li></ul>Sweatshops in Saipan: $3.50/hr wage; pay ~7k to come work; never get out of debt; Photo: www.msmagazine.com/ spring2006

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