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Cultural anthropology Essay

Culture is not easily defined and there is no one definition among academics as to what exactly the concept should include. It is a word that has many meanings and values. But it is an important part of life for most of us. “Culture” does not mean “high culture” or a “cultured person”. It is not just the arts, but “culture” includes all learned behaviour. Culture is a term used by sociologists for a people’s whole way of life. In everyday conversation the word ‘culture’ may refer to activities such as art, literature, and music. However, a people’s culture consists of all the ideas, objects, and ways of doing things created in a society.

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Culture includes arts, beliefs, customs, inventions, language, technology and traditions. A culture is any way of life, simple or complex. Cultural anthropology defines culture as the following: “A set of learned rules, standards or manners shared within a human group that describes a range of behaviors and beliefs that are proper, acceptable and valid, and are in place to promote the survival of the group. These rules govern all aspects of behavior within the human group and in most instances provide for repercussions when the rules are violated. These rules also govern relationships to other human groups and the environment.

” This suggests that culture is acquired by people because it consists of learned patterns of behaviour rather than the biologically determined ones that are sometimes called instinctive. Therefore, it is important to recognise that culture is an on-going process in the world around us and not a static and restricted term. Cultures differ in their details from one part of the world to another. For example, eating is a biological need. But what people eat, when and how they eat, and how food is prepared differ from culture to culture. What is appropriate in one culture is not necessarily appropriate in other cultures.

An American may consider it impolite or even unpleasant to talk with someone who is standing only a foot away. Yet, this is the appropriate “talking distance” for most people from Latin America. Every culture has smaller cultures inside it. These are called subcultures. A subculture has most of the traits of the main culture. It also has traits that are different from the main culture. One example of a subculture is the culture of youth, of which I am a part. Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) was a poet during the Victorian era and was known for his writing on the topic of culture.

Arnold saw culture as “contact with the best which has been thought and said in the world” and crucial for a healthy democratic state. Arnold’s view of culture involved characteristics such as “beauty,” “intelligence,” and “perfection” His argument was that if more people share and pursue his notions of beauty, truth, and perfection then the world would be a better place. This is in complete contrast to the view of Raymond Williams who argued that culture isn’t the “best that has been thought and said,” but rather that “culture is ordinary”.

Raymond Williams was a lead the way in the field of ‘cultural studies’ and recognised that culture was a feature of the common and therefore affected the many. He called culture “the signifying system through which necessarily (though among other means) a social order is communicated, reproduced, experienced and explored. ” He introduced two aspects of culture: “to mean a whole way of life – the common meanings; to mean the arts and learning” and “the special processes of discovery and creative effort.

Some writers reserve the word for one or other of these senses; I insist on both, and on the significance of their conjunction. ” All these differing perspectives of culture lead me to the conclusion that it is impossible to give one complete definition. Culture is a complex term that involves what holds our societies together and how and why we live our lives the way we do.

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http://www. co. pinellas. fl. us/BCC/yatki/culture. htm http://www. human-academy. com/english/culture. asp http://www. sou. edu/English/IDTC/Issues/CultStud/cultstud. htm http://www. cultsock. ndirect. co. uk/MUHome/cshtml/.

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Cultural anthropology Essay
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Culture is not easily defined and there is no one definition among academics as to what exactly the concept should include. It is a word that has many meanings and values. But it is an important part of life for most of us. "Culture" does not mean "high culture" or a "cultured person". It is not just the arts, but "culture" includes all learned behaviour. Culture is a term used by sociologists for a people's whole way of life. In everyday conversation the word 'culture' may refer to activities s
2017-12-21 09:48:31
Cultural anthropology Essay
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