Culture and Anthropology

Topics: Psychology, Anthropology, Culture Pages: 2 (609 words) Published: January 27, 2012
Evidently culture is difficult to be defined from a single definition. E.B. Tylor, in 1871 described culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” this explanation however, is just a wide collection of different categories that all combined together give rise to the term. A much more accurate term of culture is the one suggested by Ralph Linton, as “the configuration of learned behavior and results of behavior whose component elements are shared and transmitted by the members of a particular society”. In this term we observe an obvious behaviorist approach which connects culture with the concept of learned behavior and more precisely with the importance of language. Finally Victor Barnouw, based on the previous behaviorist definition, names culture as “the way of life of a group of people, the configuration of all of the more or less stereotyped patterns of learned behavior which are handed down from one generation to the next through the means of language and imitation” (Victor Barnouw, 1963). Throughout investigating various definitions of culture we accomplished a correlation between learning (mostly through language) and enculturation.

Enculturation is a lifelong unconscious process and each child learns the language of its community by imitation, instruction, and from the verbal behavior of others. The capacity of human beings to enlarge and transmit complex cultural patterns is dependent upon language. Then the idea of learning a language is equivalent with the idea of learning a culture. In most of the cases, no individual is aware of all the elements that create his culture but by the time he is grown, he has most probably learned the universal beliefs shared by the members of his community. Cultures vary from the importance they put on formal education as opposed to informal learning. Formal education is present in complex...
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