Culture

Culture

Overview

Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn
Clyde Kluckhohn
Clyde Kluckhohn , was an American anthropologist and social theorist, best known for his long-term ethnographic work among the Navajo and his contributions to the development of theory of culture within American anthropology.-Early life and education:...

 compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. However, the word "culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:
  • Excellence of taste in the fine art
    Fine art
    Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

    s and humanities
    Humanities
    The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

    , also known as high culture
    High culture
    High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group

When the concept first emerged in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it connoted a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 or horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

.
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

Whoever controls the media — the images — controls the culture.

Allen Ginsberg, as quoted in Brain Power : Learn to Improve Your Thinking Skills‎ (1980) by Karl Albrecht, p. 6

When two cultures collide is the only time when true suffering exists

Hermann Hesse, as quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time‎ (1977) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 456

Each form of the sacrosanct was regarded by members of the culture which gave rise to it as a revelation of the Truth.

André Malraux, in Voices of Silence [Les voix du silence] (1951), Pt. IV, Ch. V

Our art culture makes no attempt to search the past for precedents, but transforms the entire past into a sequence of provisional responses to a problem that remains intact.

André Malraux, in Voices of Silence [Les voix du silence] (1951), Pt. IV, Ch. VII

Culture would seem … first and foremost, to be the knowledge of what makes man something other than and accident of the universe be it by deepening his harmony with the world, or by the lucid consciousness of his revolt from it. … Culture is the sum of all the forms of art, of love and of thought, which, in the course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved.

André Malraux, quoted in Malraux : An essay in Political Criticism‎ (1967) by David O. Wilkinson, p. 153

One ought not to hoard culture. It should be adapted and infused into society as a leaven. Liberality of culture does not mean illiberality of its benefits.

Wallace Stevens, in a journal entry (20 June 1899); as published in Souvenirs and Prophecies: the Young Wallace Stevens (1977) edited by Holly Stevens, Ch. 3
Encyclopedia

Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn
Clyde Kluckhohn
Clyde Kluckhohn , was an American anthropologist and social theorist, best known for his long-term ethnographic work among the Navajo and his contributions to the development of theory of culture within American anthropology.-Early life and education:...

 compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. However, the word "culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:
  • Excellence of taste in the fine art
    Fine art
    Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

    s and humanities
    Humanities
    The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

    , also known as high culture
    High culture
    High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group

When the concept first emerged in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it connoted a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 or horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

. In the nineteenth century, it came to refer first to the betterment or refinement of the individual, especially through education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, and then to the fulfillment of national aspirations or ideals
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

. In the mid-nineteenth century, some scientists used the term "culture" to refer to a universal human capacity. For the German nonpositivist sociologist Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel was a major German sociologist, philosopher, and critic.Simmel was one of the first generation of German sociologists: his neo-Kantian approach laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?',...

, culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified
Objectification
Objectification is the process by which an abstract concept is made as objective as possible in the purest sense of the term. It is also treated as if it is a concrete thing or physical object...

 in the course of history".

In the twentieth century, "culture" emerged as a concept central to anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, encompassing all human phenomena that are not purely results of human genetics. Specifically, the term "culture" in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

s, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively. Following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the term became important, albeit with different meanings, in other disciplines such as cultural studies
Cultural studies
Cultural studies is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely distinguished from cultural...

, organizational psychology and management studies.

Etymology


The etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 of the modern term "culture" has a classical origin. In English, the word "culture" is based on a term used by Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, in his Tusculan Disputations, wrote of a cultivation of the soul or "cultura animi", thereby using an agricultural metaphor to describe the development of a philosophical soul, which was understood teleologically
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

 as the one natural highest possible ideal for human development. Samuel Pufendorf took over this metaphor in a modern context, meaning something similar, but no longer assuming that philosophy is man's natural perfection. His use, and that of many writers after him "refers to all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism, and through artifice, become fully human".

As described by Velkley:
The term "culture," which originally meant the cultivation of the soul or mind, acquires most of its later modern meanings in the writings of the eighteenth-century German thinkers, who on various levels developing Rousseau's criticism of modern
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

 liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 and Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

. Thus a contrast between "culture" and "civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

" is usually implied in these authors, even when not expressed as such. Two primary meanings of culture emerge from this period: culture as the folk-spirit having a unique identity, and culture as cultivation of inwardness or free individuality. The first meaning is predominant in our current use of the term "culture," although the second still plays a large role in what we think culture should achieve, namely the full "expression" of the unique of "authentic" self.

German Romanticism




The German philosopher Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

 (1724–1804) formulated an individualist definition of "enlightenment" similar to the concept of bildung: "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity." He argued that this immaturity comes not from a lack of understanding, but from a lack of courage to think independently. Against this intellectual cowardice, Kant urged: Sapere aude, "Dare to be wise!" In reaction to Kant, German scholars such as Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried von Herder was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the periods of Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, and Weimar Classicism.-Biography:...

 (1744–1803) argued that human creativity, which necessarily takes unpredictable and highly diverse forms, is as important as human rationality. Moreover, Herder proposed a collective form of bildung: "For Herder, Bildung was the totality of experiences that provide a coherent identity, and sense of common destiny, to a people."

In 1795, the great linguist and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand Freiherr von Humboldt was a German philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of Humboldt Universität. He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice...

 (1767–1835) called for an anthropology that would synthesize Kant's and Herder's interests. During the Romantic era
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, scholars in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, especially those concerned with nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 movements—such as the nationalist struggle to create a "Germany" out of diverse principalities, and the nationalist struggles by ethnic minorities against the Austro-Hungarian Empire—developed a more inclusive notion of culture as "worldview
World view
A comprehensive world view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and...

." According to this school of thought, each ethnic group has a distinct worldview that is incommensurable with the worldviews of other groups. Although more inclusive than earlier views, this approach to culture still allowed for distinctions between "civilized" and "primitive" or "tribal" cultures.

In 1860, Adolf Bastian
Adolf Bastian
Adolf Bastian was a 19th century polymath best remembered for his contributions to the development of ethnography and the development of anthropology as a discipline...

 (1826–1905) argued for "the psychic unity of mankind". He proposed that a scientific comparison of all human societies would reveal that distinct worldviews consisted of the same basic elements. According to Bastian, all human societies share a set of "elementary ideas" (Elementargedanken); different cultures, or different "folk ideas" (Völkergedanken), are local modifications of the elementary ideas. This view paved the way for the modern understanding of culture. Franz Boas
Franz Boas
Franz Boas was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology." Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did...

 (1858–1942) was trained in this tradition, and he brought it with him when he left Germany for the United States.

English Romanticism




In the nineteenth century, humanists such as English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 poet and essayist Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator...

 (1822–1888) used the word "culture" to refer to an ideal of individual human refinement, of "the best that has been thought and said in the world." This concept of culture is comparable to the German concept of bildung: "...culture being a pursuit of our total perfection
Perfection
Perfection is, broadly, a state of completeness and flawlessness.The term "perfection" is actually used to designate a range of diverse, if often kindred, concepts...

 by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world."

In practice, culture referred to an élite
Elite
Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

 ideal and was associated with such activities as art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

, classical music, and haute cuisine
Haute cuisine
Haute cuisine or grande cuisine was characterised by French cuisine in elaborate preparations and presentations served in small and numerous courses that were produced by large and hierarchical staffs at the grand restaurants and hotels of Europe.The 17th century chef and writer La Varenne...

. As these forms were associated with urban life, "culture" was identified with "civilization" (from lat. civitas, city). Another facet of the Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 movement was an interest in folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, which led to identifying a "culture" among non-elites. This distinction is often characterized as that between "high culture
High culture
High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

", namely that of the ruling
Ruling class
The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political policy - assuming there is one such particular class in the given society....

 social group, and "low culture
Low culture
Low culture is a term for some forms of popular culture. Its opposite is high culture. It has been said by culture theorists that both high culture and low culture are subcultures....

." In other words, the idea of "culture" that developed in Europe during the 18th and early 19th centuries reflected inequalities within European societies.

Matthew Arnold contrasted "culture" with "anarchy;" other Europeans, following philosophers
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

 and Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

, contrasted "culture" with "the state of nature". According to Hobbes and Rousseau, the Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 who were being conquered by Europeans from the 16th centuries on were living in a state of nature; this opposition was expressed through the contrast between "civilized" and "uncivilized." According to this way of thinking, one could classify some countries and nations as more civilized than others and some people as more cultured than others. This contrast led to Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era....

's theory of Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics...

 and Lewis Henry Morgan's theory of cultural evolution. Just as some critics have argued that the distinction between high and low cultures is really an expression of the conflict between European elites and non-elites, some critics have argued that the distinction between civilized and uncivilized people is really an expression of the conflict between European colonial powers and their colonial subjects.

Other 19th century critics, following Rousseau, have accepted this differentiation between higher and lower culture, but have seen the refinement and sophistication
Sophistication
Sophistication is the quality of refinement — displaying good taste, wisdom and subtlety rather than crudeness, stupidity and vulgarity.In the perception of social class, sophistication can link with concepts such as status, privilege and superiority....

 of high culture as corrupting and unnatural developments that obscure and distort people's essential nature. These critics considered folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 (as produced by working-class people) to honestly express a natural way of life, while classical music seemed superficial and decadent. Equally, this view often portrayed indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 as "noble savage
Noble savage
The term noble savage , expresses the concept an idealized indigene, outsider , and refers to the literary stock character of the same...

s" living authentic
Authenticity (philosophy)
Authenticity is a technical term in existentialist philosophy, and is also used in the philosophy of art and psychology. In philosophy, the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces, pressures and influences which are very...

 and unblemished lives, uncomplicated and uncorrupted by the highly stratified capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 systems of the West
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

.

In 1870 Edward Tylor (1832–1917) applied these ideas of higher versus lower culture to propose a theory of the evolution of religion. According to this theory, religion evolves from more polytheistic to more monotheistic forms. In the process, he redefined culture as a diverse set of activities characteristic of all human societies. This view paved the way for the modern understanding of culture.

American anthropology


Although anthropologists worldwide refer to Tylor's definition of culture, in the 20th century "culture" emerged as the central and unifying concept of American anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, where it most commonly refers to the universal human capacity to classify and encode their experiences symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

ically, and communicate symbolically encoded experiences socially. American anthropology is organized into four fields, each of which plays an important role in research on culture: biological anthropology
Biological anthropology
Biological anthropology is that branch of anthropology that studies the physical development of the human species. It plays an important part in paleoanthropology and in forensic anthropology...

, linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

 and archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

. Research in these fields have influenced anthropologists working in other countries to different degrees.

Biological anthropology: the evolution of culture


Discussion concerning culture among biological anthropologists
Biological anthropology
Biological anthropology is that branch of anthropology that studies the physical development of the human species. It plays an important part in paleoanthropology and in forensic anthropology...

  centers around two debates. First, is culture uniquely human or shared by other species (most notably, other primates)? This is an important question, as the theory of evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 holds that humans are descended from (now extinct) non-human primates. Second, how did culture evolve among human beings?

Gerald Weiss noted that although Tylor's classic definition of culture was restricted to humans, many anthropologists take this for granted and thus elide that important qualification from later definitions, merely equating culture with any learned behavior. This slippage is a problem because during the formative years of modern primatology, some primatologists were trained in anthropology (and understood that culture refers to learned behavior among humans), and others were not. Notable non-anthropologists, like Robert Yerkes
Robert Yerkes
Robert Mearns Yerkes was an American psychologist, ethologist, and primatologist best known for his work in intelligence testing and in the field of comparative psychology....

 and Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall
Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE , is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National...

 thus argued that since chimpanzees have learned behaviors, they have culture. Today, anthropological primatologists are divided, several arguing that non-human primates have culture, others arguing that they do not.

This scientific debate is complicated by ethical concerns. The subjects of primatology are non-human primates, and whatever culture these primates have is threatened by human activity. After reviewing the research on primate culture, W.C. McGrew concluded, "[a] discipline requires subjects, and most species of nonhuman primates are endangered by their human cousins. Ultimately, whatever its merit, cultural primatology must be committed to cultural survival [i.e. to the survival of primate cultures]."

McGrew suggests a definition of culture that he finds scientifically useful for studying primate culture. He points out that scientists do not have access to the subjective thoughts or knowledge of non-human primates. Thus, if culture is defined in terms of knowledge, then scientists are severely limited in their attempts to study primate culture. Instead of defining culture as a kind of knowledge, McGrew suggests that we view culture as a process. He lists six steps in the process:
  1. A new pattern of behavior is invented, or an existing one is modified.
  2. The innovator transmits this pattern to another.
  3. The form of the pattern is consistent within and across performers, perhaps even in terms of recognizable stylistic features.
  4. The one who acquires the pattern retains the ability to perform it long after having acquired it.
  5. The pattern spreads across social units in a population. These social units may be families, clans, troops, or bands.
  6. The pattern endures across generations.

McGrew admits that all six criteria may be strict, given the difficulties in observing primate behavior in the wild. But he also insists on the need to be as inclusive as possible, on the need for a definition of culture that "casts the net widely":
Culture is considered to be group-specific behavior that is acquired, at least in part, from social influences. Here, group is considered to be the species-typical unit, whether it be a troop, lineage, subgroup, or so on. Prima facie evidence of culture comes from within-species but across-group variation in behavior, as when a pattern is persistent in one community of chimpanzees but is absent from another, or when different communities perform different versions of the same pattern. The suggestion of culture in action is stronger when the difference across the groups cannot be explained solely by ecological factors ....

As Charles Frederick Voegelin pointed out, if "culture" is reduced to "learned behavior," then all animals have culture. Certainly all specialists agree that all primate species evidence common cognitive skills: knowledge of object-permanence, cognitive mapping, the ability to categorize objects, and creative problem solving. Moreover, all primate species show evidence of shared social skills: they recognize members of their social group; they form direct relationships based on degrees of kinship and rank; they recognize third-party social relationships; they predict future behavior; and they cooperate in problem-solving.



Nevertheless, the term "culture" applies to non-human animals only if we define culture as any or all learned behavior. Within mainstream physical anthropology, scholars tend to think that a more restrictive definition is necessary. These researchers are concerned with how human beings evolved to be different from other species. A more precise definition of culture, which excludes non-human social behavior, would allow physical anthropologists to study how humans evolved their unique capacity for "culture".

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes and Pan paniscus) are humans' (Homo sapiens) closest living relative; both are descended from a common ancestor which lived around five or six million years ago. This is the same amount of time it took for horses and zebras, lions and tigers to diverge from their respective common ancestors. The evolution of modern humans is rapid: Australopithicenes evolved four million years ago and modern humans in past several hundred thousand years. During this time humanity evolved three distinctive features: the creation and use of conventional symbols, including linguistic symbols and their derivatives, such as written language and mathematical symbols and notations; (b) the creation and use of complex tools and other instrumental technologies; and (c) the creation and participation in complex social organization and institutions.
According to developmental psychologist
Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology, also known as human development, is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to...

 Michael Tomasello
Michael Tomasello
Michael Tomasello is an American developmentalpsychologist. He is a co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.-Life:...

, "where these complex and species-unique behavioral practices, and the cognitive skills that underlie them, came from" is a fundamental anthropological question. Given that contemporary humans and chimpanzees are far more different than horses and zebras, or rats and mice, and that the evolution of this great difference occurred in such a short period of time, "our search must be for some small difference that made a big difference – some adaptation, or small set of adaptations, that changed the process of primate cognitive evolution in fundamental ways." According to Tomasello, the answer to this question must form the basis of a scientific definition of "human culture."

In a recent review of the major research on human and primate tool-use, communication, and learning strategies, Tomasello argues that the key human advances over primates (language, complex technologies, complex social organization) are all the results of humans pooling cognitive resources. This is called "the ratchet effect
Ratchet effect
A metaphorical ratchet effect is an instance of the restrained ability of human processes to be reversed once a specific thing has happened, analogous with the mechanical ratchet that holds the spring tight as a clock is wound up...

:" innovations spread and are shared by a group, and mastered "by youngsters, which enables them to remain in their new and improved form within the group until something better comes along." The key point is that children are born good at a particular kind of social learning; this creates a favored environment for social innovations, making them more likely to be maintained and transmitted to new generations than individual innovations. For Tomasello, human social learning—the kind of learning that distinguishes humans from other primates and that played a decisive role in human evolution—is based on two elements: first, what he calls "imitative learning," (as opposed to "emulative learning
Emulation (observational learning)
-General:In emulation learning, subjects learn about parts of their environment and use this to achieve their own goals. First coined by child psychologist David Wood , in 1990 “emulation” was taken up by Michael Tomasello to explain the findings of an earlier study on ape social learning...

" characteristic of other primates) and second, the fact that humans represent their experiences symbolically (rather than iconically, as is characteristic of other primates). Together, these elements enable humans to be both inventive, and to preserve useful inventions. It is this combination that produces the ratchet effect.




The kind of learning found among other primates is "emulation learning," which "focuses on the environmental events involved – results or changes of state in the environment that the other produced – rather than on the actions that produced those results." Tomasello emphasizes that emulation learning is a highly adaptive strategy for apes because it focuses on the effects of an act. In laboratory experiments, chimpanzees were shown two different ways for using a rake-like tool to obtain an out-of-reach-object. Both methods were effective, but one was more efficient than the other. Chimpanzees consistently emulated the more efficient method.

Examples of emulation learning are well documented among primates. Notable examples include Japanese macaque
Macaque
The macaques constitute a genus of Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. - Description :Aside from humans , the macaques are the most widespread primate genus, ranging from Japan to Afghanistan and, in the case of the barbary macaque, to North Africa...

 potato washing, Chimpanzee tool use, and Chimpanzee gestural communication. In 1953, an 18-month-old female macaque monkey was observed taking sandy pieces of sweet potato (given to the monkeys by observers) to a stream (and later, to the ocean) to wash off the sand. After three months, the same behavior was observed in her mother and two playmates, and then the playmates' mothers. Over the next two years seven other young macaques were observed washing their potatoes, and by the end of the third year 40% of the troop had adopted the practice. Although this story is popularly represented as a straightforward example of human-like learning, evidence suggests that it is not. Many monkeys naturally brush sand off of food; this behavior had been observed in the macaque troop prior to the first observed washing. Moreover, potato washing was observed in four other separate macaque troops, suggesting that at least four other individual monkeys had learned to wash off sand on their own. Other monkey species in captivity quickly learn to wash off their food. Finally, the spread of learning among the Japanese macaques was fairly slow, and the rate at which new members of the troop learned did not keep pace with the growth of the troop. If the form of learning were imitation, the rate of learning should have been exponential. It is more likely that the monkeys' washing behavior is based on the common behavior of cleaning off food, and that monkeys that spent time by the water independently learned to wash, rather than wipe their food. This explains both why those monkeys that kept company with the original washer, and who thus spent a good deal of time by the water, also figured out how to wash their potatoes. It also explains why the rate at which this behavior spread was slow.

Chimpanzees exhibit a variety of population-specific tool use: termite-fishing, ant-fishing, ant-dipping, nut-cracking, and leaf-sponging. Gombe chimpanzees fish for termites using small, thin sticks, but chimpanzees in Western Africa use large sticks to break holes in mounds and use their hands to scoop up termites. Some of this variation may be the result of "environmental shaping" (there is more rainfall in western Africa, softening termite mounds and making them easier to break apart, than in the Gombe reserve in eastern Africa. Nevertheless it is clear that chimpanzees are good at emulation learning. Chimpanzee children independently know how to roll over logs, and know how to eat insects. When children see their mothers rolling over logs to eat the insects beneath, they quickly learn to do the same. In other words, this form of learning builds on activities the children already know.






The kind of learning characteristic of human children is "Imitative learning," which "means reproducing an instrumental act understood intentionally." Human infants begin to display some evidence of this form of learning between the ages of nine and twelve months, when infants fix their attention not only on an object, but on the gaze of an adult which enables them to use adults as points of reference and thus "act on objects in the way adults are acting on them." This dynamic is well documented and has also been termed "joint engagement" or "joint attention." Essential to this dynamic is the infant's growing capacity to recognize others as "intentional agents:" people "with the power to control their spontaneous behavior" and who "have goals and make active choices among behavioral means for attaining those goals."

The development of skills in joint attention by the end of a human child's first year of life provides the basis for the development of imitative learning in the second year. In one study 14-month old children imitated an adult's over-complex method of turning on a light, even when they could have used an easier and more natural motion to the same effect. In another study, 16-month old children interacted with adults who alternated between a complex series of motions that appeared intentional and a comparable set of motions that appeared accidental; they imitated only those motions that appeared intentional. Another study of 18-month old children revealed that children imitate actions that adults intend, yet in some way fail, to perform.
Tomasello emphasizes that this kind of imitative learning "relies fundamentally on infants' tendency to identify with adults, and on their ability to distinguish in the actions of others the underlying goal and the different means that might be used to achieve it." He calls this kind of imitative learning "cultural learning because the child is not just learning about things from other persons, she is also learning things through them — in the sense that she must know something of the adult's perspective on a situation to learn the active use of this same intentional act." He concludes that the key feature of cultural learning is that it occurs only when an individual "understands others as intentional agents, like the self, who have a perspective on the world that can be followed into, directed and shared."

Emulation learning and imitative learning are two different adaptations that can only be assessed in their larger environmental and evolutionary contexts. In one experiment, chimpanzees and two-year-old children were separately presented with a rake-like-tool and an out-of-reach object. Adult humans then demonstrated two different ways to use the tool, one more efficient, one less efficient. Chimpanzees used the same efficient method following both demonstrations. Most of the human children, however, imitated whichever method the adult was demonstrating. Were chimps and humans to be compared on the basis of these results, one might think that Chimpanzees are more intelligent. From an evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

ary perspective they are equally intelligent, but with different kinds of intelligence adapted to different environments. Chimpanzee learning strategies are well-suited to a stable physical environment that requires little social cooperation (compared to humans). Human learning strategies are well-suited to a complex social environment in which understanding the intentions of others may be more important than success at a specific task. Tomasello argues that this strategy has made possible the "ratchet effect" that enabled humans to evolve complex social systems that have enabled humans to adapt to virtually every physical environment on the surface of the earth.

Tomasello further argues that cultural learning is essential for language-acquisition. Most children in any society, and all children in some, do not learn all words through the direct efforts of adults. "In general, for the vast majority of words in their language, children must find a way to learn in the ongoing flow of social interaction, sometimes from speech not even addressed to them." This finding has been confirmed by a variety of experiments in which children learned words even when the referent was not present, multiple referents were possible, and the adult was not directly trying to teach the word to the child. Tomasello concludes that "a linguistic symbol is nothing other than a marker for an intersubjectively shared understanding of a situation."

Tomasello's 1999 review of the research contrasting human and non-human primate learning strategies confirms biological anthropologist
Biological anthropology
Biological anthropology is that branch of anthropology that studies the physical development of the human species. It plays an important part in paleoanthropology and in forensic anthropology...

 Ralph Holloway
Ralph Holloway
Ralph Leslie Holloway, Jr. is a physical anthropologist at Columbia University and research associate with the American Museum of Natural History. Since obtaining his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkley in 1964, Holloway has served as a professor of anthropology at Columbia...

's 1969 argument that a specific kind of sociality linked to symbolic cognition were the keys to human evolution, and constitute the nature of culture. According to Holloway, the key issue in the evolution of H. sapiens, and the key to understanding "culture," "is how man organizes his experience." Culture is "the imposition of arbitrary form upon the environment." This fact, Holloway argued, is primary to and explains what is distinctive about human learning strategies, tool-use, and language. Human tool-making and language express "similar, if not identical, cognitive processes" and provide important evidence for how humankind evolved.

In other words, whereas McGrew argues that anthropologists must focus on behaviors like communication and tool-use because they have no access to the mind, Holloway argues that human language and tool-use, including the earliest stone tools in the fossil record, are highly suggestive of cognitive differences between humans and non-humans, and that such cognitive differences in turn explain human evolution. For Holloway, the question is not whether other primates communicate, learn or make tools, but the way they do these things. "Washing potatoes in the ocean … stripping branches of leaves to get termites," and other examples of primate tool-use and learning "are iconic, and there is no feedback from the environment to the animal ." Human tools, however, express an independence from natural form that manifests symbolic thinking. "In the preparation of the stick for termite-eating, the relation between product and raw material is iconic. In the making of a stone tool, in contrast, there is no necessary relation between the form of the final product and the original material."

In Holloway's view, our non-human ancestors, like those of modern chimpanzees and other primates, shared motor and sensory skills, curiosity, memory, and intelligence, with perhaps differences in degree. "It is when these are integrated with the unique attributes of arbitrary production (symbolization) and imposition that man qua cultural man appears."
I have suggested above that whatever culture may be, it includes "the imposition of arbitrary forms upon the environment." This phrase has two components. One is a recognition that the relationship between the coding process and the phenomenon (be it a tool, social network, or abstract principle) is non-iconic. The other is an idea of man as a creature who can make delusional systems work—who imposes his fantasies, his non-iconic constructs (and constructions) , upon the environment. The altered environment shapes his perceptions, and these are again forced back on the environment, are incorporated into the environment, and press for further adaptation.


This is comparable to the "ratcheting" aspect suggested by Tomasello and others that enabled human evolution to accelerate. Holloway concludes that the first instance of symbolic thought among humans provided a "kick-start" for brain development, tool complexity, social structure, and language to evolve through a constant dynamic of positive feedback. "This interaction between the propensity to structure the environment arbitrarily and the feedback from the environment to the organism is an emergent process, a process different in kind from anything that preceded it ."







Linguists Charles Hockett and R. Ascher have identified thirteen design-features of language, some shared by other forms of animal communication. One feature that distinguishes human language is its tremendous productivity; in other words, competent speakers of a language are capable of producing an exponential number of original utterances. This productivity seems to be made possible by a few critical features unique to human language. One is "duality of patterning," meaning that human language consists of the articulation of several distinct processes, each with its own set of rules: combining phonemes to produce morphemes, combining morphemes to produce words, and combining words to produce sentences. This means that a person can master a relatively limited number of signals and sets of rules, to create infinite combinations. Another crucial element is that human language is symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

ic: the sound of words (or their shape, when written) typically bear no relation to what they represent. In other words, their meaning is arbitrary. That words have meaning is a matter of convention. Since the meaning of words are arbitrary, any word may have several meanings, and any object may be referred to using a variety of words; the actual word used to describe a particular object depends on the context, the intention of the speaker, and the ability of the listener to judge these appropriately. As Tomasello notes,
An individual language user looks at a tree and, before drawing the attention of her interlocutor to that tree, must decide, based on her assessment of the listener's current knowledge and expectations, whether to say "that tree over there," "it," "the oak," "that hundred-year-oak," "the tree," "the bagswing tree," "that thing in the front yard," "the ornament," "the embarrassment," or any of a number of other expressions. … And these decisions are not made on the basis of the speaker's direct goal with respect to the object or activity involved, but rather that they are made on the basis of her goal with respect to the listener's interest and attention to that object or activity.

This is why symbolic cognition and communication and imitative learning go hand-in-hand.

Holloway argues that the stone-tools associated with genus Homo have the same features of human language:
Returning to matter of syntax, rules, and concatenated activity mentioned above, almost any model which describes a language process can also be used to describe tool-making. This is hardly surprising. Both activities are concatenated, both have rigid rules about the serialization of unit activities (the grammar, syntax), both are hierarchical systems of activity (as is any motor activity), and both produce arbitrary configurations which thence become part of the environment, either temporarily or permanently.
Productivity can be seen in the facts that basic types were probably used for multiple purposes, that tool industries tend to expand with time, and that a slight variation on a basic pattern may be made to met some new functional requisite. Elements of a basic "vocabulary" of motor operations—flakes, detachment, rotation, preparation of striking platform, etc.—are used in different combinations to produce dissimilar tools, with different forms, and supposedly, different uses. . . . Taking each motor event alone, no one action is complete; each action depends on the prior one and requires a further one, and each is dependent on another ax on the original plan. In other words, at each point of the action except the last, the piece is not "satisfactory" in structure. Each unit action is meaningless by itself in the sense of the use of the tool; it is meaningful only in the context of the whole completed set of actions culminating in the final product. This exactly parallels language.


As Tomasello has demonstrated, symbolic thought can operate only in a particular social environment:
Arbitrary symbols enforce consensus of perceptions, which not only allows members to communicate about the same objects in terms of space and time (as in hunting) but it also makes it possible for social relationships to be standardized and manipulated through symbols. It means that idiosyncrasies are smoothed out and perceived within classes of behavior. By enforcing perceptual invariance, symbols also enforce social behavioral constancy, and enforcing social behavioral constancy is a prerequisite to differential task-role sectors in a differentiated social group adapting not only to the outside environment but to its own membership.


Biological anthropologist
Biological anthropology
Biological anthropology is that branch of anthropology that studies the physical development of the human species. It plays an important part in paleoanthropology and in forensic anthropology...

 Terrence Deacon, in a synthesis of over twenty years of research on human evolution, human neurology, and primatology, describes this "ratcheting effect" as a form of "Baldwinian Evolution." Named after psychologist
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 James Baldwin
James Mark Baldwin
James Mark Baldwin was an American philosopher and psychologist who was educated at Princeton under the supervision of Scottish philosopher James McCosh and who was one of the founders of the Department of Psychology at the university...

, this describes a situation in which an animal's behavior has evolutionary consequences when it changes the natural environment and thus the selective forces acting on the animal.
Once some useful behavior spreads within a population and becomes more important for subsistence, it will generate selection pressures on genetic traits that support its propagation ... Stone and symbolic tools, which were initially acquired with the aid of flexible ape-learning abilities, ultimately turned the tables on their users and forced them to adapt to a new niche opened by these technologies. Rather than being just useful tricks, these behavioral prostheses for obtaining food and organizing social behaviors became indispensable elements in a new adaptive complex. The origin of "humanness" can be defined as that point in our evolution where these tools became the source of selection on our bodies and brains. It is the diagnostic of Homo symbolicus.

According to Deacon, this occurred between 2 and 2.5 million years ago, when we have the first fossil evidence of stone tool use and the beginning of a trend in an increase in brain size. But it is the evolution of symbolic language which is the cause—and not the effect—of these trends. More specifically, Deacon is suggesting that Australopithecines, like contemporary apes, used tools; it is possible that over the millions of years of Australopithecine history, many troops developed symbolic communication systems. All that was necessary was that one of these groups so altered their environment that "it introduced selection for very different learning abilities than affected prior species." This troop or population kick-started the Baldwinian process (the "ratchet effect") that led to their evolution to genus Homo.

The question for Deacon is, what behavioral-environmental changes could have made the development of symbolic thinking adaptive? Here he emphasizes the importance of distinguishing humans from all other species, not to privilege human intelligence but to problematize it. Given that the evolution of H. sapiens began with ancestors who did not yet have "culture," what led them to move away from cognitive, learning, communication, and tool-making strategies that were and continued to be adaptive for most other primates (and, some have suggested, most other species of animals)? Learning symbol systems is more time consuming than other forms of communication, so symbolic thought made possible a different communication strategy, but not a more efficient one than other primates. Nevertheless, it must have offered some selective advantage to H. sapiens to have evolved. Deacon starts by looking at two key determinants in evolutionary history: foraging behavior, and patterns of sexual relations. As he observes competition for sexual access limits the possibilities for social cooperation in many species; yet, Deacon observes, there are three consistent patterns in human reproduction that distinguish them from other species:
  1. Both males and females usually contribute effort towards the rearing of their offspring, though often to differing extents and in very different ways.
  2. In all societies, the great majority of adult males and females are bound by long-term, exclusive sexual access rights and prohibitions to particular individuals of the opposite sex.
  3. They maintain these exclusive sexual relations while living in modest to large-sized, multi-male, multi-female, cooperative social groups.

Moreover, there is one feature common to all known human foraging societies (all humans prior to ten or fifteen thousand years ago), and markedly different from other primates: "the use of meat. . . . The appearance of the first stone tools nearly 2.5 million years ago almost certainly correlates with a radical shift in foraging behavior to gain access to meat." Deacon does not believe that symbolic thought was necessary for hunting or tool-making (although tool-making may be a reliable index of symbolic thought); rather, it was necessary for the success of distinctive social relations.

The key is that while men and women are equally effective foragers, mothers carrying dependent children are not effective hunters. They must thus depend on male hunters. This favors a system in which males have exclusive sexual access to females, and females can predict that their sexual partner will provide food for them and their children. In most mammalian species the result is a system of rank or sexual competition that results in either polygyny, or life-long pair-bonding between two individuals who live relatively independent of other adults of their species; in both cases male aggression plays an important role in maintaining sexual access to mate(s). What is unique about humans?
Human reliance on resources that are relatively unavailable to females with infants selects not only for cooperation between a child's father and mother but also for the cooperation of other relatives and friends, including elderly individuals and juveniles, who can be relied upon for assistance. The special demands of acquiring meat and caring for infants in our own evolution together contribute to the underlying impetus for the third characteristic feature of human reproductive patterns: cooperative group living.

What is uniquely characteristic about human societies is what required symbolic cognition, which consequently leads to the evolution of culture: "cooperative, mixed-sex social groups, with significant male care and provisioning of offspring, and relatively stable patterns of reproductive exclusion." This combination is relatively rare in other species because it is "highly susceptible to disintegration." Language and culture provide the glue that holds it together.

Chimpanzees also, on occasion, hunt meat; in most cases, however, males consume the meat immediately, and only on occasion share with females who happen to be nearby. Among chimpanzees, hunting for meat increases when other sources of food become scarce, but under these conditions, sharing decreases. The first forms of symbolic thinking made stone-tools possible, which in turn made hunting for meat a more dependable source of food for our nonhuman ancestors while making possible forms of social communication that make sharing—between males and females, but also among males, decreasing sexual competition:
So the socio-ecological problem posed by the transition to a meat-supplemented subsistence strategy is that it cannot be utilized without a social structure which guarantees unambiguous and exclusive mating and is sufficiently egalitarian to sustain cooperation via shared or parallel reproductive interests. This problem can be solved symbolically.

Symbols and symbolic thinking thus make possible a central feature of social relations in every human population: reciprocity. Evolutionary scientists have developed a model
Inclusive fitness
In evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology, the inclusive fitness of an organism is the sum of its classical fitness and the number of equivalents of its own offspring it can add to the population by supporting others...

 to explain reciprocal altruism
Reciprocal altruism
In evolutionary biology, reciprocal altruism is a behaviour whereby an organism acts in a manner that temporarily reduces its fitness while increasing another organism's fitness, with the expectation that the other organism will act in a similar manner at a later time...

 among closely related individuals. Symbolic thought makes possible reciprocity between distantly related individuals.

Archeological approaches to culture: matter and meaning








In the 19th century archeology was often a supplement to history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, and the goal of archeologists was to identify artifacts according to their typology
Typology
Typology is the study of types. More specifically, it may refer to:*Typology , division of culture by races*Typology , classification of things according to their characteristics...

 and stratigraphy
Stratigraphy
Stratigraphy, a branch of geology, studies rock layers and layering . It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks....

, thus marking their location in time and space. Franz Boas established that archeology be one of American anthropology's four fields, and debates among archeologists have often paralleled debates among cultural anthropologists. In the 1920s and 1930s, Australian-British archeologist V. Gordon Childe and American archeologist W. C. McKern independently began moving from asking about the date of an artifact, to asking about the people who produced it — when archeologists work alongside historians, historical materials generally help answer these questions, but when historical materials are unavailable, archeologists had to develop new methods. Childe and McKern focused on analyzing the relationships among objects found together; their work established the foundation for a three-tiered model:
  1. An individual artifact, which has surface, shape, and technological attributes (e.g. an arrowhead)
  2. A sub-assemblage, consisting of artifacts that are found, and were likely used, together (e.g. an arrowhead, bow and knife)
  3. An assemblage of sub-assemblages that together constitute the archeological site (e.g. the arrowhead, bow and knife; a pot and the remains of a hearth; a shelter)

Childe argued that a "constantly recurring assemblage of artifacts" to be an "archaeological culture
Archaeological culture
An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place, which are thought to constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and...

." Childe and others viewed "each archeological culture ... the manifestation in material terms of a specific people."

In 1948 Walter Taylor systematized the methods and concepts that archeologists had developed and proposed a general model for the archeological contribution to knowledge of cultures. He began with the mainstream understanding of culture as the product of human cognitive activity, and the Boasian emphasis on the subjective meanings of objects as dependent on their cultural context. He defined culture as "a mental phenomenon, consisting of the contents of minds, not of material objects or observable behavior." He then devised a three-tiered model linking cultural anthropology to archeology, which he called conjunctive archeology
Conjunctive archaeology
Conjunctive archaeology is a method of studying of the past developed by Walter Taylor in the 1940s that combined elements of both the traditional archaeology and the allied field of anthropology...

:
  1. Culture, which is unobservable and nonmaterial
  2. Behaviors resulting from culture, which are observable and nonmaterial
  3. Objectifications, such as artifacts and architecture, which are the result of behavior and material

That is, material artifacts were the material residue of culture, but not culture itself. Taylor's point was that the archeological record could contribute to anthropological knowledge, but only if archeologists reconceived their work not just as digging up artifacts and recording their location in time and space, but as inferring from material remains the behaviors through which they were produced and used, and inferring from these behaviors the mental activities of people. Although many archeologists agreed that their research was integral to anthropology, Taylor's program was never fully implemented. One reason was that his three-tier model of inferences required too much fieldwork and laboratory analysis to be practical. Moreover, his view that material remains were not themselves cultural, and in fact twice-removed from culture, in fact left archeology marginal to cultural anthropology.

In 1962 Leslie White's former student Lewis Binford
Lewis Binford
Lewis Roberts Binford was an American archaeologist known for his influential work in archaeological theory, ethnoarchaeology and the Paleolithic period...

 proposed a new model for anthropological archeology, called "the New Archeology" or "Processual Archeology
Processual archaeology
Processual archaeology is a form of archaeological theory that had its genesis in 1958 with Willey and Phillips' work Method and Theory in American Archeology, in which the pair stated that "American archaeology is anthropology or it is nothing" , a rephrasing of Frederic William Maitland's...

," based on White's definition of culture as "the extra-somatic means of adaptation for the human organism." This definition allowed Binford to establish archeology as a crucial field for the pursuit of the methodology of Julian Steward's cultural ecology:
The comparative study of cultural systems with variable technologies in a similar environmental range or similar technologies in differing environments is a major methodology of what Steward (1955: 36–42) has called "cultural ecology," and certainly is a valuable means of increasing our understanding of cultural processes. Such a methodology is also useful in elucidating the structural relationships between major cultural sub-systems such as the social and ideological sub-systems.


In other words, Binford proposed an archeology that would be central to the dominant project of cultural anthropologists at the time (culture as non-genetic adaptations to the environment); the "new archeology" was the cultural anthropology (in the form of cultural ecology or ecological anthropology) of the past.

In the 1980s, there was a movement in the United Kingdom and Europe against the view of archeology as a field of anthropology, echoing Radcliffe-Brown's earlier rejection of cultural anthropology. During this same period, then-Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 archeologist Ian Hodder
Ian Hodder
Ian Hodder FBA is a British archaeologist and pioneer of postprocessualist theory in archaeology that first took root among his students and in his own work between 1980-1990...

 developed "post-processual archeology"
Post-processual archaeology
Post-processual archaeology, which is sometimes alternately referred to as the interpretative archaeologies by its adherents, is a movement in archaeological theory that emphasizes the subjectivity of archaeological interpretations...

 as an alternative. Like Binford (and unlike Taylor) Hodder views artifacts not as objectifications of culture but as culture itself. Unlike Binford, however, Hodder does not view culture as an environmental adaptation. Instead, he "is committed to a fluid semiotic version of the traditional culture concept in which material items, artifacts, are full participants in the creation, deployment, alteration, and fading away of symbolic complexes." His 1982 book, Symbols in Action, evokes the symbolic anthropology of Geertz, Schneider, with their focus on the context dependent meanings of cultural things, as an alternative to White and Steward's materialist view of culture. In his 1991 textbook, Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology Hodder argued that archeology is more closely aligned to history than to anthropology.

Language and culture


The connection between culture and language has been noted as far back as the classical period and probably long before. The ancient Greeks, for example, distinguished between civilized peoples and bárbaros
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 "those who babble", i.e. those who speak unintelligible languages. The fact that different groups speak different, unintelligible languages is often considered more tangible evidence for cultural differences than other less obvious cultural traits.

The German romanticists of the 19th century such as Herder, Wundt and Humbolt, often saw language not just as one cultural trait among many but rather as the direct expression of a people's national character, and as such as culture in a kind of condensed form. Herder for example suggests, "Denn jedes Volk ist Volk; es hat seine National Bildung wie seine Sprache" (Since every people is a People, it has its own national culture expressed through its own language).

Franz Boas, founder of American anthropology, like his German forerunners, maintained that the shared language of a community is the most essential carrier of their common culture. Boas was the first anthropologist who considered it unimaginable to study the culture of a foreign people without also becoming acquainted with their language. For Boas, the fact that the intellectual culture of a people was largely constructed, shared and maintained through the use of language, meant that understanding the language of a cultural group was the key to understanding its culture. At the same time, though, Boas and his students were aware that culture and language are not directly dependent on one another. That is, groups with widely different cultures may share a common language, and speakers of completely unrelated languages may share the same fundamental cultural traits. Numerous other scholars have suggested that the form of language determines specific cultural traits. This is similar to the notion of Linguistic determinism
Linguistic determinism
Linguistic determinism is the idea that language and its structures limit and determine human knowledge or thought. Determinism itself refers to the viewpoint that all events are caused by previous events, and linguistic determinism can be used broadly to refer to a number of specific views.For...

, which states that the form of language determines individual thought. While Boas himself rejected a causal link between language and culture, some of his intellectual heirs entertained the idea that habitual patterns of speaking and thinking in a particular language may influence the culture of the linguistic group. Such belief is related to the theory of Linguistic relativity
Linguistic relativity
The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects the ways in which its speakers are able to conceptualize their world, i.e. their world view...

. Boas, like most modern anthropologists, however, was more inclined to relate the interconnectedness between language and culture to the fact that, as B.L. Whorf put it, "they have grown up together".

Indeed, the origin of language
Origin of language
The origin of language is the emergence of language in the human species. This is a highly controversial topic. Empirical evidence is so limited that many regard it as unsuitable for serious scholars. In 1866, the Linguistic Society of Paris went so far as to ban debates on the subject...

, understood as the human capacity of complex symbolic communication, and the origin of complex culture is often thought to stem from the same evolutionary process in early man. Evolutionary anthropologists suppose that language evolved as early humans began to live in large communities which required the use of complex communication to maintain social coherence. Language and culture then both emerged as a means of using symbols to construct social identity and maintain coherence within a social group too large to rely exclusively on pre-human ways of building community such as for example grooming
Social grooming
In social animals, including humans, social grooming or allogrooming is an activity in which individuals in a group clean or maintain one another's body or appearance. It is a major social activity, and a means by which animals who live in proximity can bond and reinforce social structures, family...

. Since language and culture are both in essence symbolic systems, twentieth century cultural theorists have applied the methods of analyzing language developed in the science of linguistics to also analyze culture. Particularly the structural
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 theory of Ferdinand de Saussure
Ferdinand de Saussure
Ferdinand de Saussure was a Swiss linguist whose ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments in linguistics in the 20th century. He is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics...

, which describes symbolic systems as consisting of signs (a pairing of a particular form with a particular meaning), has come to be applied widely in the study of culture. But also post-structuralist theories, that nonetheless still rely on the parallel between language and culture as systems of symbolic communication, have been applied in the field of semiotics
Semiotics
Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

. The parallel between language and culture can then be understood as analog to the parallel between a linguistic sign, consisting for example of the sound [kau] and the meaning "cow", and a cultural sign, consisting for example of the cultural form of "wearing a crown" and the cultural meaning of "being king". In this way it can be argued that culture is itself a kind of language. Another parallel between cultural and linguistic systems is that they are both systems of practice, that is they are a set of special ways of doing things that is constructed and perpetuated through social interactions. Children, for example, acquire language in the same way as they acquire the basic cultural norms of the society they grow up in – through interaction with older members of their cultural group.

However, languages, now understood as the particular set of speech norms of a particular community, are also a part of the larger culture of the community that speak them. Humans use language as a way of signalling identity with one cultural group and difference from others. Even among speakers of one language several different ways of using the language exist, and each is used to signal affiliation with particular subgroups within a larger culture. In linguistics such different ways of using the same language are called "varieties
Variety (linguistics)
In sociolinguistics a variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, accents, registers, styles or other sociolinguistic variation, as well as the standard variety itself...

". For example, the English language is spoken differently in the USA, the UK and Australia, and even within English-speaking countries there are hundreds of dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s of English that each signal a belonging to a particular region and/or subculture. For example, in the UK the cockney
Cockney
The term Cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End...

 dialect signals its speakers' belonging to the group of lower class workers of east London. Differences between varieties of the same language often consist in different pronunciations and vocabulary, but also sometimes of different grammatical systems and very often in using different styles
Stylistics
Stylistics might apply to:* The Stylistics, a Philadelphia soul group* Stylistics , the study of language and its context...

 (e.g. cockney Rhyming slang or Lawyers' jargon). Linguists and anthropologists, particularly sociolinguists
Sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society...

, ethnolinguists
Anthropological linguistics
Anthropological linguistics is the study of the relations between language and culture and the relations between human biology, cognition and language...

 and linguistic anthropologists
Linguistic anthropology
Linguistic anthropology is the interdisciplinary study of how language influences social life. It is a branch of anthropology that originated from the endeavor to document endangered languages, and has grown over the past 100 years to encompass almost any aspect of language structure and...

 have specialized in studying how ways of speaking vary between speech communities.

A community's ways of speaking or signing are a part of the community's culture, just as other shared practices are. Language use is a way of establishing and displaying group identity. Ways of speaking function not only to facilitate communication, but also to identify the social position of the speaker. Linguists call different ways of speaking language varieties
Variety (linguistics)
In sociolinguistics a variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, accents, registers, styles or other sociolinguistic variation, as well as the standard variety itself...

, a term that encompasses geographically or socioculturally defined dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s as well as the jargons
Register (sociolinguistics)
In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting an English speaker may be more likely to adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending in -ing with a velar nasal...

 or styles of subculture
Subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

s. Linguistic anthropologists and sociologists of language define communicative style as the ways that language is used and understood within a particular culture.

The differences between languages does not consist only in differences in pronunciation, vocabulary or grammar, but also in different "cultures of speaking". Some cultures for example have elaborate systems of "social deixis", systems of signalling social distance through linguistic means. In English, social deixis is shown mostly though distinguishing between addressing some people by first name and others by surname, but also in titles such as "Mrs.", "boy", "Doctor" or "Your Honor", but in other languages such systems may be highly complex and codified in the entire grammar and vocabulary of the language. In several languages of east Asia, for example Thai
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

, Burmese
Burmese language
The Burmese language is the official language of Burma. Although the constitution officially recognizes it as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar and related sub-ethnic groups of the Bamar, as well as...

 and Javanese, different words are used according to whether a speaker is addressing someone of higher or lower rank than oneself in a ranking system with animals and children ranking the lowest and gods and members of royalty as the highest. Other languages may use different forms of address when speaking to speakers of the opposite gender or in-law relatives and many languages have special ways of speaking to infants and children
Baby talk
Baby talk, also referred to as caretaker speech, infant-directed speech or child-directed speech and informally as "motherese", "parentese", "mommy talk", or "daddy talk" is a nonstandard form of speech used by adults in talking to toddlers and infants.It is usually delivered with a "cooing"...

. Among other groups, the culture of speaking may entail not speaking to particular people, for example many indigenous cultures of Australia have a taboo
Taboo
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

 against talking to one's in-law relatives, and in some cultures speech is not addressed directly to children. Some languages also require different ways of speaking for different social classes of speakers, and often such a system is based on gender differences, as in Japanese
Gender differences in spoken Japanese
The Japanese language is unusual among major languages in the high degree to which the speech of women collectively differs from that of men. Differences in the ways that girls and boys use language have been detected in children as young as three years old ....

 and Koasati.
1899–1946: Universal versus particular

The modern anthropological understanding of culture has its origins in the 19th century with German anthropologist Adolf Bastian
Adolf Bastian
Adolf Bastian was a 19th century polymath best remembered for his contributions to the development of ethnography and the development of anthropology as a discipline...

's theory of the "psychic unity of mankind," which, influenced by Herder and von Humboldt, challenged the identification of "culture" with the way of life of European elites, and British anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor
Edward Burnett Tylor
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor , was an English anthropologist.Tylor is representative of cultural evolutionism. In his works Primitive Culture and Anthropology, he defined the context of the scientific study of anthropology, based on the evolutionary theories of Charles Lyell...

's attempt to define culture as inclusively as possible. Tylor in 1874 described culture in the following way: "Culture or civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." Although Tylor was not aiming to propose a general theory of culture (he explained his understanding of culture in the course of a larger argument about the nature of religion), American anthropologists have generally presented their various definitions of culture as refinements of Tylor's. Franz Boas's student Alfred Kroeber (1876–1970) identified culture with the "superorganic," that is, a domain with ordering principles and laws that could not be explained by or reduced to biology. In 1973, Gerald Weiss reviewed various definitions of culture and debates as to their parsimony and power, and proposed as the most scientifically useful definition that "culture" be defined "as our generic term for all human nongenetic, or metabiological, phenomena" (italics in the original).
Franz Boas
Franz Boas
Franz Boas was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology." Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did...

, founded modern American anthropology with the establishment of the first graduate program in anthropology at Columbia University in 1896. At the time the dominant model of culture was that of cultural evolution, which posited that human societies progressed through stages of savagery to barbarism to civilization; thus, societies that for example are based on horticulture and Iroquois kinship
Iroquois kinship
Iroquois kinship is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Iroquois system is one of the six major kinship systems .-Kinship system:The system has both classificatory and...

 terminology are less evolved than societies based on agriculture and Eskimo kinship
Eskimo kinship
Eskimo kinship is a concept of kinship used to define family in anthropology. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Eskimo system was one of six major kinship systems .-Kinship system:The Eskimo system places no...

 terminology. One of Boas's greatest accomplishments was to demonstrate convincingly that this model is fundamentally flawed, empirically, methodologically, and theoretically. Moreover, he felt that our knowledge of different cultures was so incomplete, and often based on unsystematic or unscientific research, that it was impossible to develop any scientifically valid general model of human cultures. Instead, he established the principle of cultural relativism
Cultural relativism
Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and...

 and trained students to conduct rigorous participant observation
Participant observation
Participant observation is a type of research strategy. It is a widely used methodology in many disciplines, particularly, cultural anthropology, but also sociology, communication studies, and social psychology...

 field research in different societies. Boas understood the capacity for culture to involve symbolic thought and social learning, and considered the evolution of a capacity for culture to coincide with the evolution of other, biological, features defining genus Homo
Homo (genus)
Homo is the genus that includes modern humans and species closely related to them. The genus is estimated to be about 2.3 to 2.4 million years old, evolving from australopithecine ancestors with the appearance of Homo habilis....

. Nevertheless, he argued that culture could not be reduced to biology or other expressions of symbolic thought, such as language. Boas and his students understood culture inclusively and resisted developing a general definition of culture. Indeed, they resisted identifying "culture" as a thing, instead using culture as an adjective rather than a noun. Boas argued that cultural "types" or "forms" are always in a state of flux. His student Alfred Kroeber argued that the "unlimited receptivity and assimilativeness of culture" made it practically impossible to think of cultures as discrete things.






Boas's students dominated cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

 through World War II, and continued to have great influence through the 1960s. They were especially interested in two phenomena: the great variety of forms culture took around the world, and the many ways individuals were shaped by and acted creatively through their own cultures. This led his students to focus on the history of cultural traits: how they spread from one society to another, and how their meanings changed over time—and the life histories of members of other societies. Others, such as Ruth Benedict
Ruth Benedict
Ruth Benedict was an American anthropologist, cultural relativist, and folklorist....

 (1887–1948) and Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s....

 (1901–1978), produced monographs or comparative studies analyzing the forms of creativity possible to individuals within specific cultural configurations. Essential to their research was the concept of "context": culture provided a context that made the behavior of individuals understandable; geography and history provided a context for understanding the differences between cultures. Thus, although Boasians were committed to the belief in the psychic unity of humankind and the universality of culture, their emphasis on local context and cultural diversity led them away from proposing cultural universal
Cultural universal
A cultural universal , as discussed by George Murdock, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Donald Brown and others, is an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all human cultures worldwide. Taken together, the whole body of cultural universals is known as the human condition...

s or universal theories of culture.

There is a tension in cultural anthropology between the claim that culture is a universal (the fact that all human societies have culture), and that it is also particular (culture takes a tremendous variety of forms around the world). Since Boas, two debates have dominated cultural anthropology. The first has to do with ways of modeling particular cultures. Specifically, anthropologists have argued as to whether "culture" can be thought of as a bounded and integrated thing, or as a quality of a diverse collection of things, the numbers and meanings of which are in constant flux. Boas's student Ruth Benedict suggested that in any given society cultural traits may be more or less "integrated," that is, constituting a pattern of action and thought that gives purpose to people's lives, and provides them with a basis from which to evaluate new actions and thoughts, although she implies that there are various degrees of integration; indeed, she observes that some cultures fail to integrate. Boas, however, argued that complete integration is rare and that a given culture only appears to be integrated because of observer bias. For Boas, the appearance of such patterns—a national culture, for example—was the effect of a particular point of view.

The first debate was effectively suspended in 1934 when Ruth Benedict published Patterns of Culture, which has continuously been in print. Although this book is well known for popularizing the Boasian principle of cultural relativism
Cultural relativism
Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and...

, among anthropologists it constituted both an important summary of the discoveries of Boasians, and a decisive break from Boas's emphasis on the mobility of diverse cultural traits. "Anthropological work has been overwhelmingly devoted to the analysis of cultural traits," she wrote "rather than to the study of cultures as articulated wholes." Influenced by Polish-British social anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, however, she argued that "The first essential, so it seems today, is to study the living culture, to know its habits of thought and the functions of its institutions" and that "the only way in which we can know the significance of the selected detail of behavior is against the background of the motives and emotions and values that are institutionalized in that culture." Influenced by German historians Wilhelm Dilthey
Wilhelm Dilthey
Wilhelm Dilthey was a German historian, psychologist, sociologist and hermeneutic philosopher, who held Hegel's Chair in Philosophy at the University of Berlin. As a polymathic philosopher, working in a modern research university, Dilthey's research interests revolved around questions of...

 and Oswald Spengler
Oswald Spengler
Oswald Manuel Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher whose interests also included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West , published in 1918, which puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations...

, as well as by gestalt psychology
Gestalt psychology
Gestalt psychology or gestaltism is a theory of mind and brain of the Berlin School; the operational principle of gestalt psychology is that the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies...

, she argued that "the whole determines its parts, not only their relation but their very nature," and that "cultures, likewise, are more than the sum of their traits." Just as each spoken language draws very selectively from an extensive, but finite, set of sounds any human mouth (free from defect) can make, she concluded that in each society people, over time and through both conscious and unconscious processes, selected from an extensive but finite set of cultural traits which then combine to form a unique and distinctive pattern."
The significance of cultural behavior is not exhausted when we have clearly understood that it is local and man-made and hugely variable. It tends to be integrated. A culture, like an individual, is a more or less consistent pattern of thought and action. Within each culture there come into being characteristic purposes not necessarily shared by other types of society. In obedience to their purposes, each people further and further consolidates its experience, and in proportion to the urgency of these drives the heterogeneous items of behavior take more and more congruous shape. Taken up by a well-integrated culture, the most ill-assorted acts become characteristic of its particular goals, often by the most unlikely metamorphoses.

Although Benedict felt that virtually all cultures are patterned, she argued that these patterns change over time as a consequence of human creativity, and therefore different societies around the world had distinct characters. Patterns of Culture contrasts Zuňi, Dobu
DOBU
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-butylamphetamine is a lesser-known psychedelic drug and a substituted Amphetamine. DOBU was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin. In his book PiHKAL , only low dosages of 2-3mg were tested, with the duration simply listed as "very long". DOBU produces paresthesia and difficulty...

 and Kwakiutl
Kwakiutl
The term Kwakiutl, historically applied to the entire Kwakwaka'wakw ethno-linguistic group of originally 28 tribes, comes from one of the Kwakwaka'wakw tribes, the Kwagu'ł or Kwagyeulth, at Fort Rupert, with whom Franz Boas did most of his anthropological work and whose Indian Act Band government...

 cultures as a way of highlighting different ways of being human. Benedict observed that many Westerners felt that this view forced them to abandon their "dreams of permanence and ideality and with the individual's illusions of autonomy" and that for many, this made existence "empty." She argued however that once people accepted the results of scientific research, people would "arrive then at a more realistic social faith, accepting as grounds of hope and as new bases for tolerance the coexisting and equally valid patterns of life which mankind has created for itself from the raw materials of existence."

This view of culture has had a tremendous impact outside of anthropology, and dominated American anthropology until the Cold War, when anthropologists like Sidney Mintz
Sidney Mintz
Sidney Wilfred Mintz is an anthropologist best known for his studies of Latin America and the Caribbean. Mintz studied at Brooklyn College earning his B.A in 1943. He got his doctoral degree from Columbia University under the supervision of Julian Steward and Ruth Benedict...

 and Eric Wolf
Eric Wolf
Eric Robert Wolf was an anthropologist, best known for his studies of peasants, Latin America, and his advocacy of Marxian perspectives within anthropology.-Early life:...

 rejected the validity and value of approaching "each culture" as "a world in itself" and "relatively stable." They felt that, too often, this approach ignored the impact of imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

, colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

, and the world capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 economy on the peoples Benedict and her followers studied (and thus re-opened the debate on the relationship between the universal and the particular, in the form of the relationship between the global and the local). In the meantime, its emphasis on metamorphosing patterns influenced French structuralism
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 and made American anthropologists receptive to British structural-functionalism.





The second debate has been over the ability to make universal claims about all cultures. Although Boas argued that anthropologists had yet to collect enough solid evidence from a diverse sample of societies to make any valid general or universal claims about culture, by the 1940s some felt ready. Whereas Kroeber and Benedict had argued that "culture"—which could refer to local, regional, or trans-regional scales—was in some way "patterned" or "configured," some anthropologists now felt that enough data had been collected to demonstrate that it often took highly structured forms. The question these anthropologists debated was, were these structures statistical artifacts, or where they expressions of mental models? This debate emerged full-fledged in 1949, with the publication of George Murdock
George Murdock
George Peter Murdock was a notable American anthropologist. He is remembered for his empirical approach to ethnological studies and his landmark works on Old World populations.-Early life:...

's Social Structure, and Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist and ethnologist, and has been called, along with James George Frazer, the "father of modern anthropology"....

's Les Structures Élémentaires de la Parenté.

Opposing Boas and his students was Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 anthropologist George Murdock
George Murdock
George Peter Murdock was a notable American anthropologist. He is remembered for his empirical approach to ethnological studies and his landmark works on Old World populations.-Early life:...

, who compiled the Human Relations Area Files
Human Relations Area Files
The Human Relations Area Files, Inc. , located in New Haven, Connecticut is a nonprofit international membership organization with over 300 member institutions in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries...

. These files code cultural variables found in different societies, so that anthropologists can use statistical methods
Statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

 to study correlations among different variables. The ultimate aim of this project is to develop generalizations that apply to increasingly larger numbers of individual cultures. Later, Murdock and Douglas R. White
Douglas R. White
Douglas R. White is an American complexity researcher , social anthropologist, sociologist, and social network researcher at the University of California, Irvine.-Biography:...

 developed the standard cross-cultural sample
Standard cross-cultural sample
The standard cross-cultural sample is a sample of 186 cultures, used by scholars engaged in cross-cultural studies.-Origin:Cross-cultural research entails a particular statistical problem, known as Galton's problem: tests of functional relationships can be confounded because the...

 as a way to refine this method.

French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss
Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist and ethnologist, and has been called, along with James George Frazer, the "father of modern anthropology"....

's structuralist anthropology
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 brought together ideas of Boas (especially Boas's belief in the mutability of cultural forms, and Bastian's belief in the psychic unity of humankind) and French sociologist's Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

's focus on social structures (institutionalized relationships among persons and groups of persons). Instead of making generalizations that applied to large numbers of societies, Lévi-Strauss sought to derive from concrete cases increasingly abstract models of human nature. His method begins with the supposition that culture exists in two different forms: the many distinct structures that could be inferred from observing members of the same society interact (and of which members of a society are themselves aware), and abstract structures developed by analyzing shared ways (such as myths and ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

s) members of a society represent their social life (and of which members of a society are not only not consciously aware, but which moreover typically stand in opposition to, or negate, the social structures of which people are aware). He then sought to develop one universal mental structure that could only be inferred through the systematic comparison of particular social and cultural structures. He argued that just as there are laws through which a finite and relatively small number of chemical elements could be combined to create a seemingly infinite variety of things, there were a finite and relatively small number of cultural elements which people combine to create the great variety of cultures anthropologists observe. The systematic comparison of societies would enable an anthropologist to develop this cultural "table of elements," and once completed, this table of cultural elements would enable an anthropologist to analyze specific cultures and achieve insights hidden to the very people who produced and lived through these cultures. Structuralism came to dominate French anthropology and, in the late 1960s and 1970s, came to have great influence on American and British anthropology.

Murdock's HRAF and Lévi-Strauss's structuralism provide two ambitious ways to seek the universal in the particular, and both approaches continue to appeal to different anthropologists. However, the differences between them reveal a tension implicit in the heritage of Tylor and Bastian. Is culture to be found in empirically
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 observed behaviors that may form the basis of generalizations? Or does it consist of universal mental processes, which must be inferred and abstracted from observed behavior? This question has driven debates among biological anthropologists
Biological anthropology
Biological anthropology is that branch of anthropology that studies the physical development of the human species. It plays an important part in paleoanthropology and in forensic anthropology...

 and archeologists as well.
Structural-Functionalist challenge: Society versus culture

In the 1940s the Boasian understanding of culture was challenged by a new paradigm for anthropological and social science research called Structural functionalism
Structural functionalism
Structural functionalism is a broad perspective in sociology and anthropology which sets out to interpret society as a structure with interrelated parts. Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions and institutions...

. This paradigm developed independently but in parallel in both the United Kingdom and in the United States (In both cases it is sui generis: it has no direct relationship to "structuralism" except that both French structuralism and Anglo-American Structural-Functionalism were all influenced by Durkheim. It is also analogous, but unrelated to, other forms of "functionalism"). Whereas the Boasians viewed anthropology as that natural science dedicated to the study of humankind, structural functionalists viewed anthropology as one social science among many, dedicated to the study of one specific facet of humanity. This led structural-functionalists to redefine and minimize the scope of "culture."

In the United Kingdom, the creation of structural functionalism was anticipated by Raymond Firth
Raymond Firth
Sir Raymond William Firth, CNZM, FBA, was an ethnologist from New Zealand. As a result of Firth's ethnographic work, actual behaviour of societies is separated from the idealized rules of behaviour within the particular society...

's (1901–2002) We the Tikopia, published in 1936, and marked by the publication of African Political Systems, edited by Meyer Fortes
Meyer Fortes
Meyer Fortes was a South African-born anthropologist, best known for his work among the Tallensi and Ashanti in Ghana.Originally trained in psychology, Fortes employed the notion of the "person" into his structural-functional analyses of kinship, the family, and ancestor worship setting a standard...

 (1906–1983) and E.E. Evans-Pritchard (1902–1973) in 1940. In these works these anthropologists forwarded a synthesis of the ideas of their mentor, Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1942), and his rival, A. R. Radcliffe-Brown (1881–1955). Both Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown viewed anthropology—what they call "social anthropology
Social anthropology
Social Anthropology is one of the four or five branches of anthropology that studies how contemporary human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology investigate, often through long-term, intensive field studies , the social organization of a particular person: customs,...

"—as that branch of sociology that studied so-called primitive societies. According to Malinowski's theory of functionalism
Structural functionalism
Structural functionalism is a broad perspective in sociology and anthropology which sets out to interpret society as a structure with interrelated parts. Functionalism addresses society as a whole in terms of the function of its constituent elements; namely norms, customs, traditions and institutions...

, all human beings have certain biological needs, such as the need for food and shelter, and humankind has the biological need to reproduce. Every society develops its own institutions, which function to fulfill these needs. In order for these institutions to function, individuals take on particular social roles that regulate how they act and interact. Although members of any given society may not understand the ultimate functions of their roles and institutions, an ethnographer can develop a model of these functions through the careful observation of social life. Radcliffe-Brown rejected Malinowski's notion of function, and believed that a general theory of primitive social life could only be built up through the careful comparison of different societies. Influenced by the work of French sociologist Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

 (1858–1917), who argued that primitive and modern societies are distinguished by distinct social structures, Radcliffe-Brown argued that anthropologists first had to map out the social structure of any given society before comparing the structures of different societies. Firth, Fortes, and Evans-Pritchard found it easy to combine Malinowski's attention to social roles and institutions with Radcliffe-Brown's concern with social structures. They distinguished between "social organization" (observable social interactions) and "social structure" (rule-governed patterns of social interaction), and shifted their attention from biological functions to social functions. For example, how different institutions are functionally integrated, and the extent to, and ways in, which institutions function to promote social solidarity and stability. In short, instead of culture (understood as all human non-genetic or extra-somatic phenomena) they made "sociality" (interactions and relationships among persons and groups of people) their object of study. (Indeed, Radcliffe-Brown once wrote "I should like to invoke a taboo on the word culture.")

Coincidentally, in 1946 sociologist
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist who served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973....

 (1902–1979) founded the Department of Social Relations
Harvard Department of Social Relations
The Department of Social Relations for Interdisciplinary Social Science Studies, more commonly known as the "Department of Social Relations" was an interdisciplinary collaboration among three of the social science departments at Harvard University beginning in 1946...

 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. Influenced by such European sociologists as Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

 and Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

, Parsons developed a theory of social action that was closer to British social anthropology
Social anthropology
Social Anthropology is one of the four or five branches of anthropology that studies how contemporary human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology investigate, often through long-term, intensive field studies , the social organization of a particular person: customs,...

 than to Boas's American anthropology, and which he also called "structural functionalism." Parson's intention was to develop a total theory of social action (why people act as they do), and to develop at Harvard and inter-disciplinary program that would direct research according to this theory. His model explained human action as the result of four systems:
  1. the "behavioral system" of biological needs
  2. the "personality system" of an individual's characteristics affecting their functioning in the social world
  3. the "social system" of patterns of units of social interaction, especially social status and role
  4. the "cultural system" of norms and values that regulate social action symbolically


According to this theory, the second system was the proper object of study for psychologists; the third system for sociologists, and the fourth system for cultural anthropologists. Whereas the Boasians considered all of these systems to be objects of study by anthropologists, and "personality" and "status and role" to be as much a part of "culture" as "norms and values," Parsons envisioned a much narrower role for anthropology and a much narrower definition of culture.

Although Boasian cultural anthropologists were interested in norms and values, among many other things, it was only with the rise of structural functionalism that people came to identify "culture" with "norms and values." Many American anthropologists rejected this view of culture (and by implication, anthropology). In 1980, anthropologist Eric Wolf
Eric Wolf
Eric Robert Wolf was an anthropologist, best known for his studies of peasants, Latin America, and his advocacy of Marxian perspectives within anthropology.-Early life:...

 wrote,
As the social sciences transformed themselves into "behavioral" science, explanations for behavior were no longer traced to culture: behavior was to be understood in terms of psychological encounters, strategies of economic choice, strivings for payoffs in games of power. Culture, once extended to all acts and ideas employed in social life, was now relegated to the margins as "world view" or "values."

Nevertheless, several of Talcott Parsons' students emerged as leading American anthropologists. At the same time, many American anthropologists had a high regard for the research produced by social anthropologists in the 1940s and 1950s, and found structural-functionalism to provide a very useful model for conducting ethnographic research.

The combination of American cultural anthropology theory with British social anthropology methods has led to some confusion between the concepts of "society" and "culture." For most anthropologists, these are distinct concepts. Society refers to a group of people; culture refers to a pan-human capacity and the totality of non-genetic human phenomena. Societies are often clearly bounded; cultural traits are often mobile, and cultural boundaries, such as they are, can be typically porous, permeable, and plural. During the 1950s and 1960s anthropologists often worked in places where social and cultural boundaries coincided, thus obscuring the distinction. When disjunctures between these boundaries become highly salient, for example during the period of European de-colonization of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, or during the post-Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods system
The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states in the mid 20th century...

 realignment of globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

, however, the difference often becomes central to anthropological debates.
1946–1968: Symbolic versus adaptive







Parsons' students Clifford Geertz
Clifford Geertz
Clifford James Geertz was an American anthropologist who is remembered mostly for his strong support for and influence on the practice of symbolic anthropology, and who was considered "for three decades...the single most influential cultural anthropologist in the United States." He served until...

 and David M. Schneider
David M. Schneider
David Murray Schneider was an American cultural anthropologist, best known for his studies of kinship and as a major proponent of the symbolic anthropology approach to cultural anthropology. He received his B.S. in 1940 and his M.S. from Cornell University in 1941...

, and Schneider's student Roy Wagner
Roy Wagner
Roy Wagner is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in symbolic anthropology. He received a B.A. in Medieval History from Harvard University , and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago , where he studied under David M. Schneider...

, went on to important careers as cultural anthropologists and developed a school within American cultural anthropology called "symbolic anthropology," the study of the social construction and social effects of symbols. Since symbolic anthropology easily complemented social anthropologists' studies of social life and social structure, many British structural-functionalists (who rejected or were uninterested in Boasian cultural anthropology) accepted the Parsonian definition of "culture" and "cultural anthropology." British anthropologist Victor Turner
Victor Turner
Victor Witter Turner was a British cultural anthropologist best known for his work on symbols, rituals and rites of passage...

 (who eventually left the United Kingdom to teach in the United States) was an important bridge between American and British symbolic anthropology.

Attention to symbols, the meaning of which depended almost entirely on their historical and social context, appealed to many Boasians. Leslie White
Leslie White
Leslie Alvin White was an American anthropologist known for his advocacy of theories of cultural evolution, sociocultural evolution, and especially neoevolutionism, and for his role in creating the department of anthropology at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor...

 asked of cultural things, "What sort of objects are they? Are they physical objects? Mental objects? Both? Metaphors? Symbols? Reifications?" In Science of Culture (1949), he concluded that they are objects "sui generis
Sui generis
Sui generis is a Latin expression, literally meaning of its own kind/genus or unique in its characteristics. The expression is often used in analytic philosophy to indicate an idea, an entity, or a reality which cannot be included in a wider concept....

"; that is, of their own kind. In trying to define that kind, he hit upon a previously unrealized aspect of symbolization, which he called "the symbolate"—an object created by the act of symbolization. He thus defined culture as "symbolates understood in an extra-somatic context."

Nevertheless, by the 1930s White began turning away from the Boasian approach. He wrote,
In order to live man, like all other species, must come to terms with the external world.... Man employs his sense organs, nerves, glands, and muscles in adjusting himself to the external world. But in addition to this he has another means of adjustment and control.... This mechanism is culture.

Although this view echoes that of Malinowski, the key concept for White was not "function" but "adaptation." Whereas the Boasians were interested in the history of specific traits, White was interested in the cultural history of the human species, which he felt should be studied from an evolutionary perspective. Thus, the task of anthropology is to study "not only how culture evolves, but why as well.... In the case of man ... the power to invent and to discover, the ability to select and use the better of two tools or ways of doing something— these are the factors of cultural evolution." Unlike 19th century evolutionists, who were concerned with how civilized societies rose above primitive societies, White was interested in documenting how, over time, humankind as a whole has through cultural means discovered more and more ways for capturing and harnessing energy from the environment, in the process transforming culture.

At the same time that White was developing his theory of cultural evolution, Kroeber's student Julian Steward
Julian Steward
Julian Haynes Steward was an American anthropologist best known for his role in developing "the concept and method" of cultural ecology, as well as a scientific theory of culture change.-Early life and education:...

 was developing his theory of cultural ecology
Cultural ecology
Cultural ecology studies the relationship between a given society and its natural environment as well as the life-forms and ecosystems that support its lifeways . This may be carried out diachronically , or synchronically...

. In 1938 he published Basin-Plateau Aboriginal Socio-Political Groups in which he argued that diverse societies—for example the indigenous Shoshone
Shoshone
The Shoshone or Shoshoni are a Native American tribe in the United States with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern....

 or White farmers on the Great Plains—were not less or more evolved; rather, they had adapted differently to different environments. Whereas Leslie White was interested in culture understood holistically as a property of the human species, Julian Steward was interested in culture as the property of distinct societies. Like White he viewed culture as a means of adapting to the environment, but he criticized Whites "unilineal" (one direction) theory of cultural evolution and instead proposed a model of "multilineal" evolution in which (in the Boasian tradition) each society has its own cultural history.

When Julian Steward left a teaching position at the University of Michigan to work in Utah in 1930, Leslie White took his place; in 1946 Julian Steward was made Chair of the Columbia University Anthropology Department. In the 1940s and 1950s their students, most notably Marvin Harris
Marvin Harris
Marvin Harris was an American anthropologist. He was born in Brooklyn, New York. A prolific writer, he was highly influential in the development of cultural materialism...

, Sidney Mintz
Sidney Mintz
Sidney Wilfred Mintz is an anthropologist best known for his studies of Latin America and the Caribbean. Mintz studied at Brooklyn College earning his B.A in 1943. He got his doctoral degree from Columbia University under the supervision of Julian Steward and Ruth Benedict...

, Robert Murphy
Robert Murphy
Robert Murphy or Bob Murphy is the name of:In sports:*Irish Bob Murphy , American light heavyweight boxer*Bob Murphy , American sports announcer...

, Roy Rappaport
Roy Rappaport
Roy A. Rappaport was a distinguished anthropologist known for his contributions to the anthropological study of ritual and to ecological anthropology.-Biography:...

, Marshall Sahlins
Marshall Sahlins
Marshall David Sahlins is a prominent American anthropologist. He received both a Bachelors and Masters degree at the University of Michigan where he studied with Leslie White, and earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1954 where his main intellectual influences included Karl Polanyi and...

, Elman Service
Elman Service
Elman Rogers Service was an American cultural anthropologist.- Biography :He was born on May 18, 1915 in Tecumseh, Michigan and died on November 14, 1996 in Santa Barbara, California. He earned a Bachelors Degree in 1941 from the University of Michigan. He earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from...

, Andrew P. Vayda
Andrew P. Vayda
Andrew P. Vayda is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Ecology at Rutgers University and Senior Research Associate of the in Bogor, Indonesia. Formerly a professor at Columbia University, he has taught also at the University of Indonesia and other Indonesian universities and at the University...

 and Eric Wolf
Eric Wolf
Eric Robert Wolf was an anthropologist, best known for his studies of peasants, Latin America, and his advocacy of Marxian perspectives within anthropology.-Early life:...

 dominated American anthropology. Most promoted materialist understandings of culture in opposition to the symbolic approaches of Geertz and Schneider. Harris, Rappaport, and Vayda were especially important for their contributions to cultural materialism
Cultural materialism (anthropology)
Cultural materialism is an anthropological research orientation first introduced by Marvin Harris in his 1968 book The Rise of Anthropological Theory, as a theoretical paradigm and research strategy. Indeed it is said to be the most enduring achievement of that work. Harris subsequently developed a...

 and ecological anthropology
Ecological anthropology
Ecological anthropology is a subfield of anthropology that deals with relationships between humans and their environment, or between nature and culture, over time and space. It investigates the ways that a population shapes its environment and may be shaped by it, and the subsequent manners in...

, both of which argued that "culture" constituted an extra-somatic (or non-biological) means through which human beings could adapt to life in drastically differing physical environments.

The debate between symbolic and materialist approaches to culture dominated American Anthropologists in the 1960s and 1970s. The Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 and the publication of Dell Hymes
Dell Hymes
Dell Hathaway Hymes was a sociolinguist, anthropologist, and folklorist whose work dealt primarily with languages of the Pacific Northwest. He was one of the first to call the fourth subfield of anthropology "linguistic anthropology" instead of "anthropological linguistics"...

' Reinventing Anthropology, however, marked a growing dissatisfaction with the then dominant approaches to culture. Hymes argued that fundamental elements of the Boasian project such as holism and an interest in diversity were still worth pursuing: "interest in other peoples and their ways of life, and concern to explain them within a frame of reference that includes ourselves." Moreover, he argued that cultural anthropologists are singularly well-equipped to lead this study (with an indirect rebuke to sociologists like Parsons who sought to subsume anthropology to their own project):
In the practice there is a traditional place for openness to phenomena in ways not predefined by theory or design – attentiveness to complex phenomena, to phenomena of interest, perhaps aesthetic, for their own sake, to the sensory as well as intellectual, aspects of the subject. These comparative and practical perspectives, though not unique to formal anthropology, are specially husbanded there, and might well be impaired, if the study of man were to be united under the guidance of others who lose touch with experience in concern for methodology, who forget the ends of social knowledge in elaborating its means, or who are unwittingly or unconcernedly culture-bound.

It is these elements, Hymes argued, that justify a "general study of man," that is, "anthropology".

During this time notable anthropologists such as Mintz, Murphy, Sahlins, and Wolf eventually broke away, experimenting with structuralist
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 and Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 approaches to culture, they continued to promote cultural anthropology against structural functionalism.
1940–present: Local versus global




Boas and Malinowski established ethnographic research as a highly localized method for studying culture. Yet Boas emphasized that culture is dynamic, moving from one group of people to another, and that specific cultural forms have to be analyzed in a larger context. This has led anthropologists to explore different ways of understanding the global dimensions of culture.

In the 1940s and 1950s, several key studies focused on how trade between indigenous peoples and the Europeans who had conquered and colonized the Americas influenced indigenous culture, either through change in the organization of labor, or change in critical technologies. Bernard Mishkin studied the effect of the introduction of horses on Kiowa
Kiowa
The Kiowa are a nation of American Indians and indigenous people of the Great Plains. They migrated from the northern plains to the southern plains in the late 17th century. In 1867, the Kiowa moved to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma...

 political organization and warfare. Oscar Lewis
Oscar Lewis
Oscar Lewis was an American anthropologist who is best known for his vivid depictions of the lives of slum dwellers and for postulating that there was a cross-generational culture of poverty among poor people that transcended national boundaries...

 explored the influence of the fur trade on Blackfoot culture (relying heavily on historical sources). Joseph Jablow documented how Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

 social organization and subsistence strategy between 1795 and 1840 were determined by their position in trade networks linking Whites and other Indians. Frank Secoy argued that Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 Indians' social organization and military tactics changed as horses, introduced by the Spanish in the south, diffused north, and guns, introduced by the British and French in the east, diffused west.

In the 1950s Robert Redfield
Robert Redfield
Robert Redfield was an American anthropologist and ethnolinguist. Redfield graduated from the University of Chicago, eventually with a J.D. from its law school and then a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, which he began to teach in 1927...

 and students of Julian Steward
Julian Steward
Julian Haynes Steward was an American anthropologist best known for his role in developing "the concept and method" of cultural ecology, as well as a scientific theory of culture change.-Early life and education:...

 pioneered "community studies," namely, the study of distinct communities (whether identified by race, ethnicity, or economic class) in Western or "Westernized" societies, especially cities. They thus encountered the antagonisms 19th century critics described using the terms "high culture" and "low culture." These 20th century anthropologists struggled to describe people who were politically and economically inferior but not, they believed, culturally inferior. Oscar Lewis
Oscar Lewis
Oscar Lewis was an American anthropologist who is best known for his vivid depictions of the lives of slum dwellers and for postulating that there was a cross-generational culture of poverty among poor people that transcended national boundaries...

 proposed the concept of a "culture of poverty" to describe the cultural mechanisms through which people adapted to a life of economic poverty. Other anthropologists and sociologists began using the term "sub-culture" to describe culturally distinct communities that were part of larger societies.

One important kind of subculture is that formed by an immigrant community. In dealing with immigrant groups and their cultures, there are various approaches:
  • Leitkultur
    Leitkultur
    The German language term Leitkultur is a politically controversial concept, first introduced in 1998 by the German-Arab sociologist Bassam Tibi. It can be translated as 'guiding culture' or 'leading culture', less literally as 'common culture', 'core culture' or 'basic culture'...

     (core culture): A model developed in Germany by Bassam Tibi
    Bassam Tibi
    Bassam Tibi , born 1944 in Damascus, lives in Germany since 1962 and, since 1976, he is a German citizen. He is a political scientist and Professor of International Relations. In academia, he is known for his analysis of international relations and the introduction of Islam to the study of...

    . The idea is that minorities can have an identity of their own, but they should at least support the core concepts of the culture on which the society is based.
  • Melting Pot
    Melting pot
    The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture...

    : In the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , the traditional view has been one of a melting pot where all the immigrant cultures are mixed and amalgamated without state intervention.
  • Monoculturalism: In some European states, culture is very closely linked to nationalism
    Nationalism
    Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

    , thus government policy is to assimilate immigrants, although recent increases in migration have led many European states to experiment with forms of multiculturalism.
  • Multiculturalism
    Multiculturalism
    Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

    : A policy that immigrants and others should preserve their cultures with the different cultures interacting peacefully within one nation.


The way nation states treat immigrant cultures rarely falls neatly into one or another of the above approaches. The degree of difference with the host culture (i.e., "foreignness"), the number of immigrants, attitudes of the resident population, the type of government policies that are enacted, and the effectiveness of those policies all make it difficult to generalize about the effects. Similarly with other subcultures within a society, attitudes of the mainstream population and communications between various cultural groups play a major role in determining outcomes. The study of cultures within a society is complex and research must take into account a myriad of variables.

Cultural studies


In the United Kingdom, sociologists and other scholars influenced by Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, such as Stuart Hall
Stuart Hall (cultural theorist)
Stuart Hall is a cultural theorist and sociologist who has lived and worked in the United Kingdom since 1951. Hall, along with Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies or The Birmingham School of...

 and Raymond Williams
Raymond Williams
Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

, developed Cultural Studies
Cultural studies
Cultural studies is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely distinguished from cultural...

. Following nineteenth century Romantics, they identified "culture" with consumption goods and leisure activities (such as art, music, film, food, sports, and clothing). Nevertheless, they understood patterns of consumption and leisure to be determined by relations of production, which led them to focus on class relations and the organization of production. In the United States, "Cultural Studies" focuses largely on the study of popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

, that is, the social meanings of mass-produced consumer and leisure goods. The term was coined by Richard Hoggart
Richard Hoggart
Herbert Richard Hoggart is a British academic and public figure, whose career has covered the fields of sociology, English literature and cultural studies, with a special concern for British popular culture.-Career:...

 in 1964 when he founded the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies was a research centre at the University of Birmingham, England. It was founded in 1964 by Richard Hoggart, its first director...

 or CCCS. It has since become strongly associated with Stuart Hall
Stuart Hall (cultural theorist)
Stuart Hall is a cultural theorist and sociologist who has lived and worked in the United Kingdom since 1951. Hall, along with Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies or The Birmingham School of...

, who succeeded Hoggart as Director.

From the 1970s onward, Stuart Hall's pioneering work, along with his colleagues Paul Willis
Paul Willis (cultural theorist)
Paul Willis is a leading British cultural theorist.He was born in Wolverhampton and received his education at the University of Cambridge and at the University of Birmingham. He worked at Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and subsequently at the University of Wolverhampton. He was a...

, Dick Hebdige
Dick Hebdige
Richard "Dick" Hebdige is an expatriate British media theorist and sociologist most commonly associated with the study of subcultures, and its resistance against the mainstream of society.-Life and career:...

, Tony Jefferson, and Angela McRobbie
Angela McRobbie
Angela McRobbie is a British cultural theorist, feminist and commentator. She combines the study of different dimensions of youth culture with a commentary on development in cultural theory and politics.-Biography:...

, created an international intellectual movement. As the field developed it began to combine political economy
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

, communication
Communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, social theory
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

, literary theory
Literary theory
Literary theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature. However, literary scholarship since the 19th century often includes—in addition to, or even instead of literary theory in the strict sense—considerations of...

, media theory
Media influence
Media influence or media effects are used in media studies, psychology, communication theory and sociology to refer to the theories about the ways in which mass media affect how their audiences think and behave....

, film/video studies
Film theory
Film theory is an academic discipline that aims to explore the essence of the cinema and provides conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at large...

, cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, museum studies and art history
Art history
Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and style...

 to study cultural phenomena or cultural texts. In this field researchers often concentrate on how particular phenomena relate to matters of ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

, nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

, ethnicity, social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

, and/or gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

. Cultural studies is concerned with the meaning
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

 and practices of everyday life. These practices comprise the ways people do particular things (such as watching television, or eating out) in a given culture. This field studies the meanings and uses people attribute to various objects and practices. Recently, as capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 has spread throughout the world (a process called globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

), cultural studies has begun to analyse local and global forms of resistance to Western hegemony.

In the context of cultural studies, the idea of a text not only includes written language
Written language
A written language is the representation of a language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it must be taught to children, who will instinctively learn or create spoken or gestural languages....

, but also film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s, photograph
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

s, fashion
Fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

 or hairstyle
Hairstyle
A hairstyle, hairdo, or haircut refers to the styling of hair, usually on the human head. The fashioning of hair can be considered an aspect of personal grooming, fashion, and cosmetics, although practical, cultural, and popular considerations also influence some hairstyles.-History of...

s: the texts of cultural studies comprise all the meaningful artifacts of culture. Similarly, the discipline widens the concept of "culture". "Culture" for a cultural studies researcher not only includes traditional high culture
High culture
High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

 (the culture of ruling
Ruling class
The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political policy - assuming there is one such particular class in the given society....

 social groups) and popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

, but also everyday meanings and practices. The last two, in fact, have become the main focus of cultural studies. A further and recent approach is comparative cultural studies
Comparative cultural studies
Comparative cultural studies is a contextual approach to the study of culture in a global and intercultural context. The focus of the studies is placed on the theory, method, and application of the study process rather than on the "what" of the object of study.In comparative cultural studies,...

, based on the discipline of comparative literature
Comparative literature
Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the literature of two or more different linguistic, cultural or national groups...

 and cultural studies.

Scholars in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 developed somewhat different versions of cultural studies after the field's inception in the late 1970s. The British version of cultural studies was developed in the 1950s and 1960s mainly under the influence first of Richard Hoggart, E. P. Thompson
E. P. Thompson
Edward Palmer Thompson was a British historian, writer, socialist and peace campaigner. He is probably best known today for his historical work on the British radical movements in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in particular The Making of the English Working Class...

, and Raymond Williams
Raymond Williams
Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

, and later Stuart Hall and others at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

. This included overtly political, left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 views, and criticisms of popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 as 'capitalist' mass culture; it absorbed some of the ideas of the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 critique of the "culture industry
Culture industry
Culture industry is a term coined by critical theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer , who argued in the chapter of their book Dialectic of Enlightenment, 'The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception' ; that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods...

" (i.e. mass culture). This emerges in the writings of early British cultural-studies scholars and their influences: see the work of (for example) Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Paul Willis, and Paul Gilroy
Paul Gilroy
-Biography:Born in the East End of London to Guyanese and English parents , he was educated at University College School and obtained his bachelor's degree at Sussex University in 1978. He moved from there to Birmingham University where he completed his Ph.D...

.

Whereas in the United States Lindlof & Taylor say that "cultural studies was grounded in a pragmatic, liberal-pluralist tradition". The American version of cultural studies initially concerned itself more with understanding the subjective and appropriative side of audience reactions to, and uses of, mass culture; for example, American cultural-studies advocates wrote about the liberatory aspects of fandom
Fandom
Fandom is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest...

. The distinction between American and British strands, however, has faded. Some researchers, especially in early British cultural studies, apply a Marxist model to the field. This strain of thinking has some influence from the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

, but especially from the structuralist
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 Marxism of Louis Althusser
Louis Althusser
Louis Pierre Althusser was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy....

 and others. The main focus of an orthodox Marxist approach concentrates on the production of meaning
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

. This model assumes a mass production of culture and identifies power as residing with those producing cultural artifact
Cultural artifact
A cultural artifact is a term used in the social sciences, particularly anthropology, ethnology, and sociology for anything created by humans which gives information about the culture of its creator and users...

s. In a Marxist view, those who control the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

 (the economic base) essentially control a culture. Other approaches to cultural studies, such as feminist cultural studies and later American developments of the field, distance themselves from this view. They criticize the Marxist assumption of a single, dominant meaning, shared by all, for any cultural product. The non-Marxist approaches suggest that different ways of consuming cultural artifacts affect the meaning of the product. This view is best exemplified by the book Doing Cultural Studies: The Case of the Sony Walkman (by Paul du Gay et al.), which seeks to challenge the notion that those who produce commodities control the meanings that people attribute to them. Feminist cultural analyst, theorist and art historian Griselda Pollock
Griselda Pollock
Griselda Pollock is a prominent art historian and cultural analyst, and a world-renowned scholar of international, post-colonial feminist studies in the visual arts. She is best known for her theoretical and methodological innovation, combined with deeply engaged readings of historical and...

 contributed to cultural studies from viewpoints of art history
Art history
Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and style...

 and psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

. The writer Julia Kristeva
Julia Kristeva
Julia Kristeva is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, psychoanalyst, sociologist, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s. She is now a Professor at the University Paris Diderot...

 is influential voices in the turn of the century, contributing to cultural studies from the field of art and psychoanalytical French feminism.

Cultural change



Cultural invention
Cultural invention
- Definition :A Cultural invention is any innovation developed by people that is not of a physical construct. Cultural inventions include sets of behaviour adopted by groups of people. They are perpetuated by being passed on to others within the group or outside it. They are also passed on to...

 has come to mean any innovation that is new and found to be useful to a group of people and expressed in their behavior but which does not exist as a physical object. Humanity is in a global "accelerating culture change period", driven by the expansion of international commerce, the mass media, and above all, the human population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 explosion, among other factors.

Cultures are internally affected by both forces encouraging change and forces resisting change. These forces are related to both social structure
Social structure
Social structure is a term used in the social sciences to refer to patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergent from and determinant of the actions of the individuals. The usage of the term "social structure" has changed over time and may reflect the various levels of analysis...

s and natural events, and are involved in the perpetuation of cultural ideas and practices within current structures, which themselves are subject to change. (See structuration
Structuration
The theory of structuration, proposed by Anthony Giddens in The Constitution of Society , is an attempt to reconcile theoretical dichotomies of social systems such as agency/structure, subjective/objective, and micro/macro perspectives...

.)

Social conflict and the development of technologies can produce changes within a society by altering social dynamics and promoting new cultural models, and spurring or enabling generative action
Generative actor
A generative actor is an instigator of social change. He or she promotes cultural change by defying cultural normatives. Noted examples include Galileo and Rosa Parks....

. These social shifts may accompany ideological
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 shifts and other types of cultural change. For example, the U.S. feminist movement
Feminist movement
The feminist movement refers to a series of campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment and sexual violence...

 involved new practices that produced a shift in gender relations, altering both gender and economic structures. Environmental conditions may also enter as factors. For example, after tropical forests returned at the end of the last ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

, plants suitable for domestication were available, leading to the invention of agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, which in turn brought about many cultural innovations and shifts in social dynamics.

Cultures are externally affected via contact between societies, which may also produce—or inhibit—social shifts and changes in cultural practices. War or competition over resources may impact technological development or social dynamics. Additionally, cultural ideas may transfer from one society to another, through diffusion or acculturation. In diffusion, the form of something (though not necessarily its meaning) moves from one culture to another. For example, hamburger
Hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

s, mundane in the United States, seemed exotic when introduced into China. "Stimulus diffusion" (the sharing of ideas) refers to an element of one culture leading to an invention or propagation in another. "Direct Borrowing" on the other hand tends to refer to technological or tangible diffusion from one culture to another. Diffusion of innovations
Diffusion of innovations
Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, popularized the theory in his 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations...

 theory presents a research-based model of why and when individuals and cultures adopt new ideas, practices, and products.

Acculturation
Acculturation
Acculturation explains the process of cultural and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures. The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both interacting cultures. At the group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, customs, and...

 has different meanings, but in this context refers to replacement of the traits of one culture with those of another, such has happened to certain Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 tribes and to many indigenous peoples across the globe during the process of colonization. Related processes on an individual level include assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 (adoption of a different culture by an individual) and transculturation
Transculturation
Transculturation is a term coined by Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz in 1940 to describe the phenomenon of merging and converging cultures....

.

See also



  • Counterculture
    Counterculture
    Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior...

  • Creative Culture
    Creative Culture
    Creative Culture is a term used to indicate an environment that can be established in many places, in culture, society or workplace where creative ideas...

  • Cross-cultural communication
    Cross-cultural communication
    Cross-cultural communication is a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate, in similar and different ways among themselves, and how they endeavour to communicate across cultures.- Origins :The Cold War, the United States economy...

     – Intercultural competence
    Intercultural competence
    Intercultural competence is the ability of successful communication with people of other cultures.A person who is interculturally competent captures and understands, in interaction with people from foreign cultures, their specific concepts in perception, thinking, feeling and acting...

  • Cultural bias
    Cultural bias
    Cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one's own culture. The phenomenon is sometimes considered a problem central to social and human sciences, such as economics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology...

     – Cultural imperialism
    Cultural imperialism
    Cultural imperialism is the domination of one culture over another. Cultural imperialism can take the form of a general attitude or an active, formal and deliberate policy, including military action. Economic or technological factors may also play a role...

     – Ethnocentrism
    Ethnocentrism
    Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with...

  • Cultural dissonance
    Cultural dissonance
    Cultural dissonance is an uncomfortable sense of discord, disharmony, confusion, or conflict experienced by people in the midst of change in their cultural environment...

  • Cultural Institutions Studies
    Cultural Institutions Studies
    Cultural institutions studies is an academic approach "which investigates activities in the cultural sector, conceived as historically evolved societal forms of organising the conception, production, distribution, propagation, interpretation, reception, conservation and maintenance of specific...

  • Culture theory
    Culture theory
    Culture theory is the branch of anthropology and semiotics that seeks to define the heuristic concept of culture in operational and/or scientific terms....

  • Culture war
    Culture war
    The culture war in American usage is a metaphor used to claim that political conflict is based on sets of conflicting cultural values. The term frequently implies a conflict between those values considered traditionalist or conservative and those considered progressive or liberal...

  • Interculturality
    Interculturality
    The term interculturality refers to any aspect of any interaction between any cultures.-Description:A culture is understood as a group of people with a common identity that is based on common attributes, attitudes, practices and so on...

  • Outline of culture
    Outline of culture
    The following Wikipedia Outline is provided as an overview and content index to culture:-Nature of culture:* Civilization –* Community –* Ethnic group –* People –* Group lifestyle –* Society –- Elements of culture :...

  • Sociocultural evolution
    Sociocultural evolution
    Sociocultural evolution is an umbrella term for theories of cultural evolution and social evolution, describing how cultures and societies have changed over time...

  • Urban culture
    Urban culture
    Urban culture is the culture of towns and cities. In the United States, Urban culture may also sometimes be used as a euphemistic reference to contemporary African American culture.- African American culture :...


External links