About This Chapter
The Nature of Culture - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives
In anthropology, culture refers to the common beliefs, customs and ways of living of a group of people. In this chapter, you'll go over the definition and characteristics of culture and explore the differences between cultures. This chapter is designed to teach you how to:
- Describe the defining attributes of culture
- Distinguish among different levels of culture
- Recognize the difference between society and culture
- Describe the difference between etic and emic world views
- Describe mechanisms of cultural change
- Recognize the difference between ethnocentrism and cultural relativism
|What is Culture? - Definition & Characteristics||Learn the definition of culture and explore ways common behaviors are passed on from generation to generation|
|Levels of Culture: National, International & Subcultural||Learn how cultures are divided within and across countries|
|Understanding the Difference Between Society & Culture||Take a look at what sets a culture apart from its society and understand that different cultures can exist within the same society|
|Cultural Variation: Universalities, Generalities & Particularities||Learn what different cultures have in common and what makes them unique|
|Etic and Emic World Views in Anthropology||Learn how anthropologists conduct fieldwork to discover cultural characteristics from an inside perspective (emic approach), as well as an outsider perspective (etic approach)|
|Culture and the Individual: Real Culture vs. Ideal Culture||Recognize discrepancies in what a culture claims to value and what it actually does|
|Mechanisms of Cultural Change: Invention, Diffusion & Innovation||Learn different ways separate cultures can influence one another and learn how culture can be changed from the inside through independent invention|
|Cultural Relativity, Ethnocentrism & the Rights of Humans||Understand how using one's own culture to judge another's behavior or viewing cultural values as relative can affect human rights|
1. Elements of Culture: Explanation of the Major Elements That Define Culture
Culture combines many elements to create a unique way of living for different people. In this lesson, we identify four of the elements that exist in every culture, albeit in different forms: symbols, language, values, and norms. We also differentiate between folkways and mores.
2. Levels of Culture: National, International & Subcultural
This lesson will focus on the different levels, or layers, of culture. In doing so, it will define culture. It will also explain the layers of international culture, national culture, and subculture.
3. Understanding the Difference Between Society & Culture
This lesson will seek to explain the difference between society and culture. In doing so, it will also highlight the concept of norms and what role they play in both society and culture.
4. Cultural Variation: Universalities, Generalities & Particularities
This lesson will seek to explain cultural traits which are considered universals, generalities, and particularities. In doing so, it will highlight the concept of culture and how it plays out around the globe.
5. Etic and Emic World Views in Anthropology
This lesson will seek to explain both the emic and etic approaches to studying culture. In doing so, it will contrast the use of member narratives and theories among the two very differing approaches.
6. Culture and the Individual: Real Culture vs. Ideal Culture
This lesson will seek to explain the difference between ideal and real culture. In doing so, it will give an example of each, while also defining the terms culture and norm.
7. Mechanisms of Cultural Change: Invention, Diffusion & Innovation
This lesson will seek to explain the concept of cultural change. In doing so, it will highlight the change mechanisms of invention and innovation. It will also explain the different types of diffusion.
8. Cultural Relativity, Ethnocentrism & the Rights of Humans
This lesson will seek to explain the concepts of ethnocentrism and cultural relativity. In doing so, it will also highlight the role human rights plays in the actual working out of these two concepts amid cultures.
9. Culture Shock: Definition, Stages & Examples
Culture shock refers to the feelings of confusion and uncertainty that you experience when you come into contact with a new culture. Explore the five stages of culture shock, learn about reverse culture shock and more.
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Other chapters within the Anthropology 101: General Anthropology course
- Introduction to Anthropology
- Theoretical Perspectives of Anthropology
- The Molecular and Chromosomal Basis of Inheritance
- Transmission/Mendelian Genetics
- Population Genetics and Evolution
- DNA Damage, Mutation, and Repair
- Physical Anthropology
- Geologic Time and Anthropology
- Archaeology and Anthropology
- The Origin and Dispersal of Humans and Culture
- Effects of Population on the Environment
- Domestication of Plants and Animals
- Ethnicity and Geography
- Geography of Land Resources
- Art and Anthropology
- Language and Communication
- Spatial Processes
- Settlement Patterns
- Societies in Anthropology
- Economic Systems
- Marriage, Family, and Kinship
- Political Organization
- Modernization and Application of Anthropology