ANTHR101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Melville J. Herskovits, Franz Boas, Qwerty

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Published on 14 Mar 2014
School
University of Alberta
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTHR101
ANTHROPOLOGY CHAPTER 9: CULTURE AND CULTURE CHANGE
SOCIETY and CULTURE are not synonymous.
SOCIETY refers to a group of people
CULTURE refers to the learned and shared behaviours,
ideas, and charateristics of those people.
CULTURE IS COMMONLY SHARED
- not outside of time, but within. culture can change
over time. the culture of one people group today may
not be the same for the exact same people group in a
past or future setting.
- if only one person thinks or does a certain thing,
that is a personal habit, not a pattern of culture.
- but individuals do not necessarily all think and act
the same. individual variation is in face at major
source of new culture.
- when everyone in a society shares these learned
traits, we call it culture. when it is a smaller group
within a larger society sharing learned traits, it is
called a SUB-CULTURE.
CULTURE IS LEARNED
- although much is learned by trial and error and
imitation (like monkeys and apes do), most human ideas
are learned from others.
- symbolic language aids this immeasurably
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SO: SOMETHING IS CULTURAL IF IT IS A LEARNED BEHAVIOUR
OR IDEA (BELIE, ATTITUDE, VALUE, IDEAL) THAT MEMBERS OF
A SOCIETY OR OTHER SOCIAL GROUP GENERALLY SHARE.
Both ETHNOCENTRISM and it's opposite, GLORIFICATION, of
other cultures, hinder effective anthropological study.
CULTURAL RELATIVISM
- Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, Melville Herskovits, and
Margarent Mead all challendged the attitude that
western cultures were obviously superior.
Cultural Relativism: society's customs and ideas should be described
objectively and understood in the context of that society's problems and
opportunities.
- does not mean that anthropologists should not try to
bring about positive change. tolerance should be the
basic mode unless there is strong reason to behave
otherwise. Judgements should not preclude accurate
description and explanation.
DESCRIBING A CULTURE
understanding what is cultural as opposed to individual
involves two parts:
1. separating what is shared from what is very
individually variable
2. and understanding whether common behaviours and
ideas are learned.
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INDIVIDUAL VARIATION
- although individual variations are theoretically
limitless, they tend to fall within easily recognizable
limits.
- variations of behaviour are confined within socially
acceptable limits.
- some limitations are practical, some traditional.
- anthropologists try to distinguish between actual
behaviour and the ideas about how people in particular
situations ought to feel and behave.
IDEAL CULTURAL TRAITS - differ from actual behaviour
because the ideal is based on the way society used to
be / or based on what people would like to see as
correct behaviour. "equality before the law" "free
enterprise"
(this is called IDEAL CULTURE in Sociology too)
CULTURAL CONSTRAINTS
NORMS - importance of a norm can be judged by how
members of a sociely respond when the norm is violated.
2 basic types of cultural constraints:
1. DIRECT, the more obvious of the two. mores.
2. INDIRECT, folkways. no less effective.
HOW TO DISCOVER CULTURAL PATTERNS
- Two ways to discover cultural patterns:
1. Direct observation and interviews.
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Document Summary

Culture refers to the learned and shared behaviours, ideas, and charateristics of those people. Not outside of time, but within. culture can change over time. the culture of one people group today may not be the same for the exact same people group in a past or future setting. If only one person thinks or does a certain thing, that is a personal habit, not a pattern of culture. But individuals do not necessarily all think and act the same. individual variation is in face at major source of new culture. When everyone in a society shares these learned traits, we call it culture. when it is a smaller group within a larger society sharing learned traits, it is called a sub-culture. Although much is learned by trial and error and imitation (like monkeys and apes do), most human ideas are learned from others. So: something is cultural if it is a learned behaviour.

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