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Ch 15: The Nature of Culture

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on the nature of culture and learn about levels of culture, ethnocentrism, cultural variation and more. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

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

Video Objective
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

9 Lessons in Chapter 15: The Nature of Culture
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Elements of Culture: Explanation of the Major Elements That Define Culture

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.

Levels of Culture: National, International & Subcultural

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.

Understanding the Difference Between Society & Culture

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.

Cultural Variation: Universalities, Generalities & Particularities

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.

Etic and Emic World Views in Anthropology

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.

Culture and the Individual: Real Culture vs. Ideal Culture

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.

Mechanisms of Cultural Change: Invention, Diffusion & Innovation

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.

Cultural Relativity, Ethnocentrism & the Rights of Humans

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.

Culture Shock: Definition, Stages & Examples

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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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