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Definition Of Culture In Anthropology

Referencing Styles : MLA | Pages : 1

Anthropology is demarcated as the several aspects of the human being which can also be named as holism. Cultural anthropology is demarcated as the one of the major part of the anthropology which deals with the differ aspects of culture which can be used to evaluate the concepts, methods, and data of the ethnography, archeology, ethnology, linguistic and the folklore to describe and analyze the global diversity of the population.

Culture in general term is defined as the behavior and belief of the individual which is gained from their family background or cultural background. It is the pattern of the shared and the learned beliefs and behavior of the individual in terms of the ethnicity, age and social background. Culture of the individual can also be defined as the collection of the complex human beliefs which have a structured stage of the civilization which is specific for the particular nation and also to the specific time period. Culture can be used by the human to transform and adapt to their surroundings.

The anthropologist around the world have a debate on the appropriate explanation of the culture. The debate is still not resolved and even now-a-days, according to some anthropologist the concept of the culture is stereotyping and over simplifying. The 1st proper definition of the culture according to the anthropology is given by an anthropologist named as Edward Tylor is that the culture is the complex of the whole which incorporates belief, law, art, morals, custom, knowledge, and other habits and abilities which can be adapted by the member of the communities.

This definitions of the culture is considered as one of the most persistent definition of the culture in relation with the anthropology. In term of the anthropology, other anthropologist named as Glazer and Bohannan defined it as, “Most anthropologists can quote correctly, and the one they fall back on when others prove too cumbersome.” Tylor, an anthropologist stated that, the culture of the human is passed through different stages but an another anthropologist, Fraz Boas challenged his approach and stated that personal and local behavior of the individuals and their traditions help to develop the culture of the individual. There are anthropologist who debates that, the development of the culture does not follow the linear progression of the cultural development as stated by other anthropologist but is based on the historical events and cultural events.

From this time, the anthropologist started including specificity in the definition of the culture which made the definition of the culture limited. There are certain definitions of the culture which is only limited to that culture, but is not specific and appropriate for the other cultures. Hence, in order to do that the anthropologist started developing the definition of the culture which can be appropriate for each and every culture around the world. In order to do that an anthropologist, Clyde Kluckhohn and Alfred Kroeber formulated the definitions of the anthropology by stating that the culture is not only influenced simply by the behavior if the individual but is also considered as a product of the biological, social, physiological and the material factors. After that, the anthropologist started focusing on the sense of the behavior of the individual, rather than only focusing on the explanation of the individual’s behaviors.

From the debate of the anthropologist around the world it can be concluded that, the only definition of the culture that can be applied globally without any disparity is the pattern of the behavior of the individual which is common all around the world. In order to evaluate the concept of the culture, it is divided in to two major categories, one is Big C and other is Little C. The little C is demarcated as the individuals of the specific group from a specific culture and the Big C is demarcated as the general concept of the culture which is overarching and can be applied globally in all the culture group, not like the little C which can be applied only to the specific groups. Hence, now-a days the anthropologist states the culture as integrated system of ideas, culture and values that can be studied as an organic whole working system.

The culture in the anthropology study can be characterized in two different ways which includes, change and diversity. Diversity among the culture of the individual which is the 1st theme of the anthropological study is due to the upbringing of the individual and the environment and the culture on which the person is born. This diversity make the difference between the cultures and the sub-cultures of the different region of the world. In order to survive in the different culture, the second theme of the anthropological study which is change is to be considered. People from different cultural background have to transform and adapt to the changes in order to survive in the different culture. They have to transform themselves according to the new physical, cultural and biological forces. It is observed that change in the culture is usually occur due to two primary reason which are, transmission and in order to meet the modifying needs. This modifying needs of the individual could be anything such as, forced distribution, rearrangement from the ancestral culture which can be due to the internal and external forces. The aim of the anthropologist is to study the change and learn from the changes.

According to the anthropology, the culture is learned through passive habitus and the active learning. It can be shared which means that a group or an individual should meet their common needs. The anthropology study also helps to define the patterned meaning which means that the individual have similar ideas. The culture is also adaptive which means that each and every individual should adapt accordingly to meet their needs with the changing environment. Apart from all these, the culture is also symbolic which symbolizes that there are arbitrary and simple signs which represent more and something else.


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