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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Textbook Notes

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ANTH 1150
Susan Chuang

Chapter 2: The Nature of Culture Cultures have one thing in common: each are a collection of people cooperating to ensure their collective survival and well-being  Culture sets the limits of behavior and guides it along predictable paths Culture: the shared ideals, values, and beliefs that people use to interpret experience and generate behaviour and that are reflected by their behaviour  Enables people to adapt to a wide range of environments and circumstances  Provides means for production and distribution of goods and services considered necessary for life  Biological continuity through reproduction  Teaches children appropriate behaviour to become adults  Maintains order, motivates members to survive and engage and find meaning in life Culture must be able to change if it is to remain adaptive. Culture Shock: the shock, confusion and insecurity that many people feel when living in an unfamiliar culture  Reverse culture shock occurs when anthropologists or others returning to their native culture must put aside all they have learned and readjust to their home culture  Occurs to many people immigrating to Canada – many feel uncomfortable until they learn the new culture’s ideals Society: a group of people who live in the same region, speak the same language and are interdependent, may include more than one cultural group  Members of a society are held together by a sense of common identity  Social Structure: the relationships of groups within a society that hold it together A specific culture is shared by its members, but it is not entirely uniform:  No member has the same version of his/her culture as another  Variation could exist within the roles of men and women – different anatomy, reproductive roles – each culture gives meaning to these differences and how the sexes should relate to each other and the world at large  The process of aging is also influenced by culture – the meaning of growing old, the power of the elderly  Cultural variation also includes: ethnicity, occupation, social class, sexual orientation, geographical distribution, physical/mental challenges, special-interest groups Subculture: a group of people within a larger society who have distinctive standards and patterns of behaviour  ie. Chinese Buddhist community in Toronto, all Buddhists but from many different areas of Asia  ie. Hutteries (similar to Amish) – a pacifist, agrarian people who revolve around religious beliefs, hard work, simplicity, and a close-knit communal lifestyle o Colonies are based on gender and age, men have authority, young people are valued but have no power until baptized in their 20s o They do contribute to Canadian society – participating in urban life, are accepted and respected for their successful agricultural enterprise o Live in peace, isolated from and yet a part of Canadian society  Ie. the Acadians – managed to retain their language, customs and beliefs despite political and economic challenges o Were forced to sign allegiance to the crown or be deported – when they returned their lands were in the hands of new settlers, forcing them to settle into small, scattered settlements in remote regions o Economic problems (poor lands, little fishing grounds) are forcing them to leave their communities in search for work in larger Canadian cities Subcultures may develop in different ways:  Hutterite subculture emerged as a product of their communications and interactions in pursuit of their common goals within the wider society  Acadians underwent assimilation owing to their economic realities that forced many to leave their communities  Aboriginal subcultures are the result of independent cultures having been forcibly brought under the control of the federal government  Punk subcultures stemmed from a feeling of alienation from mainstream adolescent culture and a need to be part of a meaningful group outside the norm – predominantly male, but females join to put a stop to the conforming gender roles Pluralistic Societies: societies that contain several distinct cultures and subcultures (ie. Canada)  May present problems such as members of one cultural group having difficulty understanding the needs/concerns of another (ie. separatist movement in Quebec) Ethnicity: a group of people who take their identity from a common place of origin, history and sense of belonging Ethnic Boundary Markers: those indicators or characteristics, such as dress and language, that identify individuals as belonging to a particular ethnic group The Canadian government has endeavored to accommodate the needs of subcultures as much as possible to build peaceful relations between subcultures. Enculturation: the process that transmits a society’s culture from one generation to the next  Culture is learned, not biologically inherited  Through enculturation, we learned the socially appropriate way to satisfy our biologically determined needs (ie. eating at specific times, using food for nutrition and celebration, sleep, safety and sexual gratification)  Encultura
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