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10-04_Culture_Exists_2_-_6

10-04_Culture_Exists_2_-_6 - Culture exists Some believe...

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9/15/2011 1 Culture exists Three sources of variation Much variation is not environmental Much variation not due to institutions Cultures re-emerge after long absence Variation within groups is sometimes hard to explain with institutions Technology is not environment Much variation is not genetic Much variation is not evoked Some believe stable institutions create variation Institutions = stable self-perpetuating patterns of behavior Driving on the left or the right Using Windows or Linux Primogenitor or partible inheritance British social anthropologists and sociologists believe that institutions not culture explains “cultural” differences Two forms of the argument: Strong form: behavior itself, not beliefs create variation Weak form: beliefs about institutions are stable Only the strong form concerns us here Thought experiment that distinguishes cultural and institutional variation Suppose that all of the members of a culture were prevented from doing what they usually do for one generation Then, the prohibitions are removed Institutional variation little similarity between behavior before and after behavior during intervening period should dominate Cultural variation strong similarity between behavior before and after because beliefs and values are transmitted Re-emergence of cultures after fall of Soviet Empire indicates not all variation is institutional Re-emergence of cultures after fall of Soviet Empire indicates not all variation is institutional Much cultural variation within the Russian empire when Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 Soviets attempted to suppress local ethnic, linguistic, and religious practices Russian imposed through education system Religious expression discouraged Non Russian ethnicities were discriminated against With fall of the Soviet Union much of this cultural variation re-emerged Institutional variation has difficulty explaining within group variation One community, “Prairie Gem,” studied by Salamon was settled by a mix of Germans and Yankees Small town and Germans and Yankees interact regularly, both socially and economically Nonetheless, Germans and Yankees show same behavior patterns as in communities dominated by only one group Hard (but not impossible) to reconcile with idea that behavior begets behavior
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9/15/2011 2 Culture exists Three sources of variation Much variation is not environmental Much variation not due to institutions Technology is not environment Much variation is not genetic
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