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Lecture 2

Week 2 Notes.docx


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
AN101
Professor
Tristan Long
Lecture
2

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WEEK 2
Cultural Anthropology: Chapter 2: The Nature of Culture
WHAT IS CULTURE?
Culture: consists of the abstract values, beliefs, perceptions of the world that lie behind people’s
behaviour and that are reflected in that behaviour (MOST IMPORTANT THING ASSOCIATED WITH
HUMANS)
-shared ideals, values that people use to interpret experience and generate behaviour
- elements shared by members of a cultural group and when acted upon, others can understand
that behaviour
- Cultured is LEARNED greatly through medium of language and not biologically
- parts of a culture: econ, kinship, spirituality and marriage system function together
WHY DO CULTURES EXIST?
- to survive, culture must satisfy basic needs of society and deals with problems that society has
- must be a balance of self interests of individuals and the needs of a whole society
- culture must be able to change and adapt
HOW ARE CULTURES EVALUTATED?
-anthropologists believe all are equally valid and must not be judged
- However many controversies with human rights in cultures
THE CONCEPT OF CULTURE
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor: defined culture as “complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law,
morals, custom and other things needed by man as member of society”
CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE: 1culture is shared. 2culture is learned 3. culture based on symbols 4. culture is integrated
1. CULTURE IS SHARED
- people share culture, when you move to a new culture, you leave behind familiarity and move
into world with new rules
Culture Shock: antrhopologists or ppl. Not used to the new culture
Reverse Culture Shock: what anthropologists experience after returning from new culture. Weird
to readjust to home
-culture shock affects immigrants
Society: group of people living in same area, speak same language, and interdependent
- contains more than one cultural group
Social Structure: Relationships of groups within a society that hold it together
-although culture shared by its members, NOT UNIFORM
-no member has same version of culture as another. Is seen in difference of gender roles (women
give birth, men don’t)
-gender roles taught from birth not given right away, roles taught differently within each culture

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subculture: a cultural subgroup differentiated by status, ethnic background, residence, religion or
other factors that functionally unify the group and act collectively on each member. (group
functions according to own standards of behaviour but at same time share some common
standards)
Ex: hutterites-ethnic subgroup in Canada and US, dress in modest clothes, deep religious
Beliefs but different than amish.
Hutterites, men =authority, women=cant vote/sit on council but can express opinions
to husbands. Young people highly regarded, but cant do anything till baptized in early 20s.
-practice many of values that Canadian citizens do
ex: Acadians of NB and NS are subculture who sought a new life in Canada. Managed to
retain lang, customs and beliefs.
Subcultures may develop in different ways
o Hutterites: emerged as the result of how they communicated and interacted in pursuit
of common goals within wider society
o Acadians: quite distinct, undergone some assimilation owing to economic realities that
have forced many to leave communities
o Aboriginal subcultures are result of once independent cultures having been forcibly
brought under control of Canadian gov. remained a distinct culture than Canadian
immigrant subcultures
Ex: subcultures outside mainstream: example: goth, punk. PUNk subcultures usually male
Dominated. When females join, they feel independent, don’t need to take on normal
Gender roles.
Pluralistic societies: societies w/ many subcultures and cultures, refer to ethnic subcultures
Ethnicity: group of people who take identity from common place of origin history and sense of
Belonging
Ethnic Boundary Markers (cultural traits)
- which include history, beliefs, values, language, dress, tradition and religion, which sets
ethnic subcultures apart from other groups
- Ex: Sikh + Indians: Sikhs of India have own religious beliefs which are separate from other
Indians
- Roma and Ukranian
- places of origin and history can also provide groups with distinctive identity (on pg36)
- language is one of the most powerful boundary markers, seen in Quebecois and Acadians of
Canada
-before, Chinese immigrants forced to pay head tax.
-Japs were put in camps
- symbols that are associated with particular ethnic subcultures, identification isn’t always clear
- sometimes ethnic differences important but sometimes not
- in Canada, now not so many problems
- most subcultures in Canadian society have found ways to adapt to pluralistic nature of Canada, most
have embraced Canadian society
- Canadian gov has endeavoured to accommodate needs of subcultures to build peaceful relations
amongst them Sharia Law was almost put in place in Canada. Muslim way of law, but Ontario decided
religion should not be brought in.
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