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Lecture 2

Week 2 Lecture

Course Code
Victor Barac

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Culture: Overview
1.The Etymology of Culture
The study of word origins gives you the history of words
2.Three domains of Culture
3.Culture is Adaptive
4.The Concept of Culture
5.Culture is Shared
6.Culture is Learned
7.Culture is Based on Symbols
8.Culture is Integrated
The Etymology of Culture
1.From Middle English, via Middle French, via Latin cultura, via Latin colere.
2.Four basic meanings of culture:
1.Colonia (colony) = Inhabitation
2.Cultivare (to till) = To farm
Culture and growing things ultimately go together
3.Cultus (cult) = Honour & worship
Linked to land ownership
4.Cultura (tending something) = Tending
Looking after something
Luring of minds the mind is something looked after
Cultura is a guide to human nature
Three Domains of Culture (a source of data that counts as culture)
1.Material E.g., tools, containers, furniture, architecture, clothing, art,
Everything that humans make
Has a long duration
2.Behavioural E.g., NVC (non verbal communication gesturing, facial
expression), speaking, eating, working, playing, ritual, emoting
Observe people
Non-tangible, its observable but it disappears, has a shorter duration
3.Cognitive E.g., rules, language, classifications, value systems, schemas,
mythologies, laws
Mental, internal, largely unobservable phenomenon, psychological
phenomenon, (clusters of) ideas
Cannot observe it but can invert ideas on the basis of material and
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Construct mental structures for material and behaviour
Culture is Adaptive culture allows us to adapt
1.Independent of genotypic change
E.g. if there is a sudden ice age, we dont have to wait to grow fur, you
hunt and make skin, you move, you make fire
Adaptations are transferable
When you consider the way we adapt, adaptation of humans are really
a biological culture
Culture requires the brain and the right kind of society to shape the
2.More responsive to environmental change
People can experience culture
Unlike other species, adaptation radiation refers to the phenomenon
(increasing species)
Because of our unique biological make up, we just become one species
and didnt undergo an adaptive radiation
Culture allows one species to adapt
We had a narrow range of species and all the other ones are gone
3.Allows for imitation of other species adaptations
E.g. Wings, teeth, etc.
Duplicate the fermentation observed and copy other species and make
it better
In copying other species adaptations, it allows humans to develop
general capacity for model building, make super models
4.Requires observation, imitation, experimentation, pedagogy, imagination (the
development of the minds)
Requires the development of mental skills prominent in humans
Pedagogy = unique to the human form, a type of learning, teaching is
based on relationship with students
Teacher modifies teaching behavior based on learning behavior
5.Allows for adaptations to be transmitted to others, learned, stored, revised
Can be put down for other generations or other culture for use
People use their memories for a depository culture (songs, stories)
The Concept of Culture
that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom,
and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.
Edward B. Tylor (1871)
Culture is a complex whole
Has to do with capabilities and habits (what people actually do)
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