ANTH 100 What is Culture.docx

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23 Apr 2012

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What is Culture?
January 11th, 2012
The work of Culture vs. the work of biology
- Culture builds upon a biological foundation but is distinct from biology in that it is learned
Culture is a CONCEPT
- The usefulness of models and maps but remember the map is not the territory!
The Challenge of Defining “Culture”
- Codere: to cultivate
- An early definition: “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law,
custom, and other capabilities/habits acquired by man as a member of socitiey
Culture is shared socially learned knowledge and patterns of behavior
E.B. Taylor Primitive Culture 1871: He was referring to all of humanity, but about 50 years we began to
realize various “cultures” and began to compare them
1. Culture is shared
* social patterns reveal social conformity
* the range of individual variation
* culture exists within social environments
** MUST be learned together different from personal psychology!
2. Culture is social learned
* what is the basis of social conformity?
* enculture
* levels of learning
- social vs. individual learning (ex. Gender roles)
** different from biology these social aspects are LEARNED! = done very young age
*we learn culture so well, it seems like second nature
= common sense but we all learn different cultures
the reason too “culture shock”
culture does not equal natural therefore must realize different culture different from “common
3. Knowledge
* culture reflects our ability to create, communicate, store and pass on knowledge
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