Chapter 2 - Chapter 2 Culture WHAT IS CULTURE? Sir Edward...

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Chapter 2 – Culture WHAT IS CULTURE? Sir Edward Tylor – proposed that cultures obey natural laws and therefore can be studied scientifically Enculturation is the process by which a child learns their culture. Culture is learned : Social learning particularly important among monkeys and apes, our closest biological relatives. Cultural learning depends on the uniquely developed human capacity to use symbols , signs that have no necessary or natural connection to the things they signify or for which they stand. Culture is transmitted through observation Clifford Geertz defines culture as ideas based on cultural learning and symbols. Culture is Symbolic: A symbol is something verbal or nonverbal, within a particular language or culture that comes to stand for something else. Language is one of the distinct possessions of Homo sapiens Symbols are usually linguistic, but are also nonverbal (flags, McDonald’s sign) Leslie White defined culture as dependent upon symbolling… consisting of tools, utensils, clothing, ornaments, customs, institutions, beliefs, rituals, games, works of art, language, etc. Culture is Shared: Culture is transmitted in society Culture is passed down from generation, although it is constantly changing Culture and Nature: Culture teaches us when, where, what and how to eat “Bathroom habits” are different around the world
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Culture is All-Encompassing : Culture includes much more than refinement, taste, sophistication, education, and appreciation of the fine arts. Culture encompasses features that are sometimes regarded as trivial or unworthy of serious study, such as “popular” culture Culture is Integrated: If one part of the system changes (the economy) the other part changes as well (spending habits) Culture can be Adaptive and Maladaptive : Use “cultural adaptive kits” , which contain customary activities and tools Cultural traits, patterns, and inventions can be maladaptive, threatening the group’s continued existence (survival and reproduction). Ethnocentrism is the tendency to view one’s culture as superior and to apply one’s own cultural values in judging the behavior and beliefs of people from other cultures. CULTURE’S EVOLUTIONARY BASIS: Hominid : Member of the hominid family; any fossil or living human, chimp, or gorilla. Hominins : Hominids excluding the African apes; all the human species that have ever existed Monkeys, apes, and humans store an array of images in their memories, which permits them to lean more Apes, monkeys, and humans learn throughout their lives. The ability to benefit from experience confers a tremendous adaptive advantage,
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This note was uploaded on 06/20/2011 for the course ANT 220 taught by Professor Merle during the Fall '09 term at Wayne State University.

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Chapter 2 - Chapter 2 Culture WHAT IS CULTURE? Sir Edward...

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