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Lecture 2

ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Clifford Geertz, Nacirema, Cultural Relativism

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Bianca Dahl

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Tuesday, January 10th 2017
Lecture II
Part I Exploring Culture
Definitions of Culture: norm, values and beliefs that make a certain group of people
unique, upbringing, rituals, music, celebrations, elements of interpersonal relationships
- First emerged as the product of enlightenment in European thinking that was moving away
from a purely Religious aspect of the world moving to rational thinking (ideal aims of
civilizations), as a measurement of how well developed a civilization may have been.
- Notions of old ideas of culture: High culture (opera / symphony), which assumes that there
is low culture. Anthropology does not like this because everyone practices culture
- Traditional foods, crafts, objects . Stereotype notion of culture
- Old anthropologists believed that certain cultures were more civilized than others. Tyler’s
definition does not encompass the culture in relation to how we live / organize our daily
- Clifford Geertz: Focused on symbols and communication patterns and thought about how
we think psychologically during cultural events but does not include how we live our daily
- Bates and Plog (closest to the current definitions). “To cope with the world” implies that
people are coping with our flawed world. The adaptation we make to our environment (to
the people we encounter). Emphasizes that culture is something that is learned and
acquired and that culture evolves. [Culture changes] 
Horace Miner article: The Nacirema
- Had a special relationship with the mouth.
- Was satire (describes what an outsider might describe American Culture).
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