What is culture? - Fullerton Union High School

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Transcript What is culture? - Fullerton Union High School

What is culture?
• Ferraro: “Culture is everything that people
have, think, and do as members of a
– Includes material objects, ideas, values,
attitudes, and patterned ways of behaving
• Omohundro: “Culture is the learned,
shared understandings among a group of
people about how to behave and what
everything means.”
Culture is Shared
• Behavior and thought in a society are
predictable because of shared culture
• There is always some deviation from
cultural norms (real vs. ideal culture)
• Subculture
• Pluralistic societies
Culture is Learned
• Culture is acquired through a process of
interacting with one’s cultural environment
• Tacit vs. explicit culture
• Enculturation
• Culture is not genetic
• All peoples in the world acquire their
culture through the same process
• Because behavior is learned, it can be
Culture influences biological
• We all have biological needs, but culture
determines how we satisfy those needs
Culture Changes
• No culture remains static year after year
• Process of change
– Internal changes = innovations
– External changes = cultural diffusion
• Causes for change
– Theorists have varying ideas for causes
Cultural Universals
• Early anthropology focused on documenting
cultural differences
• Each culture has its own set of solutions to
universal human problems of societies
• Vast number of cultural differences shows how
flexible and adaptable humans are
• Basic physiological needs must be met
– Economics, marriage, family, education, social
control, supernatural belief, communication
Culture is Adaptive or Maladaptive
• Humans rely more on cultural adaptations
than on biological adaptations
• Some adaptations are maladaptive or
• Features adaptive in one culture may be
maladaptive or neutral in other cultures
• The adaptability of a cultural item varies
over time within any culture
• Cultural relativism
Cultures are Integrated
• Cultural components are interconnected
with one another
• Cultural anthropologists describe the
various parts of culture, show how they
function and how they are interconnected
• Cultures are logical and coherent systems
• Because parts of culture are interrelated,
change in one part influences other parts
Culture is Symbolic
• Humans create meaning with symbols
• Symbols vary by culture
– Oral language
– Written language
– Money