Ch. 2 Characteristics of Culture by D8uIxYW


									       Ch. 2 Characteristics of
•   The Concept of Culture
•   Culture is Learned
•   Culture is Shared
•   Culture is Based on Symbols
•   Culture Gives Meaning to Reality
•   Functions of Culture
•   Culture and Change
•   Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism
               What is Culture?
• The beliefs and behaviors of a society
   – Culture consists of abstract ideas, values, and perceptions of
     the world that inform and are reflected in people’s behavior
• Culture is the lens through which we view our world, it “invents”
  our reality
    – Ex: What is a tree?
    – Ex: Constellations?

• Iceberg example…
Culture is like an
            Culture is Learned
• Rather than inherited biologically
• Enculturation: The transmission of culture from one generation
  to the next
• Mammals in general display cultural behavior (I.e. we all have
  the urge to eat/sleep, but when we do/with whom/in what order
  is determined by our social relationships). With humans, our
  social rules are more varied and complex.
   – Ex: Social animals…Lions, dogs, chimpanzees…
     If animals display cultural behavior as do we, should we also
        view animals through an Anthropological perspective? Sub
       disciplines of Primate Behavior and Animal Communication deal
                               with this question.
              Culture is Shared
• By members of a society and produces behavior that
  is intelligible (able to be understood) to other
  members of that society
• Society vs. Culture
   – Society: An organized group or groups of interdependent
     people who generally share a common territory, language,
     and culture and who act together for collective survival and
       • There can be no culture without a society, there are no known
         human societies that do not exhibit culture.
       • Cultural Anthropologists focus on the Cultural aspect of society.
         The study of society itself is Sociology (very closely related
         discipline to Cultural Anthro).
•   Cultural variation between subgroups in societies that share an
    overarching culture.
     – Ex: Ethnic group (A type of subculture).
          • People who collectively and publicly identify themselves as a
            distinct group based on various cultural features such as
            shared ancestry and common origin, language customs and
            traditional beliefs.
                – Ethnicity: The expression of the set of cultural ideas held
                  by an ethnic group
•   Pluralistic Society: A society in which two or more ethnic groups or
    nationalities are politically organized into one territorial state but
    maintain their cultural differences
     Sometimes can lead to some pretty nasty misunderstandings…
     – Ex: Yearning for Zion Ranch Texas, Warren Jeffs, Polygamy
     – Ex: Branch Davidians, Waco Texas
     – Ex (book): Shetland pony seller Salt Lake City/Tongan B-day party
 Culture is Based on Symbols
• What are some symbols of U.S. pop culture? What
  do they mean?
            Cultures Change
• In response to environmental or societal
  – Ex: North American apparel
     • Capitalism, need market growth = fashion changes
       constantly. Ideas about what is “proper” always evolving.
         – Compare to ancient Egypt: ~3,000 years style of dress
           pretty much the same. No capitalism, instead a
           Theocracy. Balance, harmony, emphasis on sameness
           and repetition of cycles.
  – Ex: New symbols emerge or are invented to
    convey changed cultural meanings
     • Ex: Religion Osiris + Zeus = Sarapis
               For Tuesday
• Write a 1 paragraph response each for
  DeVita chapters 4, 15, & 22.
  – Ideas for writing:
     • Use your Features of Culture list (What
       features of culture do we see of the groups
       encountered by the anthropologists?)
     • How do these stories reflect the ideas and
       concepts we are learning that week?
     • How do these stories relate to your own life, or
       to the lives of those you know?

To top