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Chapter 2

ANT 252 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Cultural Anthropology, Datu, Cultural Determinism

Course Code
ANT 252
Molly Mullin

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ANT 252: Cultural Anthropology Chapter 2 Notes
Culture has been defined many ways by anthropologists
Sir Edward B. Tylor was a founding figure of cultural anthropology
oHe defined culture as "the complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law,
morals, custom, and any other capabilities acquired by man as a member of society."
Culture is not innate, but is learned by those around you
oEnculturation: the process of learning the social rules and cultural logic of society
Happens both explicitly and implicitly
Explicit enculturation: one example is being taught by teachers in school
Implicit enculturation: occurs without being told but is instead learned; one
example is obedience to authority
Culture uses symbols
oSomething – an object, idea, image, figure, or character – that represents something else
oA symbol has to be associated with something in order for it to stand for something
oThis attempting to understand symbols is associated with the interpretive theory of
Proposed by Clifford Geertz
A theory that culture is embodied and transmitted through symbols
Helps anthropologists clarify the symbolic basis of culture
Culture is dynamic, meaning that it is always changing
oSocial groups are not uniform or homogenous because not everyone interprets life events
the same way
Anthropologists stress cross-cultural perspective
oAnalyzing human social phenomenon by comparing that phenomenon in different
oAnthropologists say that this is necessary to appreciate how “artificial” our beliefs and
actions are
Anthropologists say that culture is comprehended by individuals based on what the group defines
as proper and improper
oThis is referred to as cultural construction
The meanings, concepts, and practices that people build out of their shared and
collective experiences
Cultural determinism - the idea that all human actions are the product of culture, which denies the
influence of other factors like physical environment and human biology on human behavior
Values - symbolic expressions of intrinsically desirable principles or qualities
Norms - typical patterns of actual behavior as well as the rules about how things should be done
Social sanction - a reaction or measure intended to enforce norms and punish their violation
Customs - long established norms that have a codified and law-like aspect
oThe result of long established norms
Tradition - practices and customs that have become most ritualized and enduring
Social institutions - organized sets of social relationships that link individuals to each other in a
structured way in a particular society
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