All rights reserved. We've got you covered with our map collection. Symbolic anthropology looks at how people's mental constructs guide their lives. Women were not allowed to vote in the United States until 1920. In the 19th century, "culture" was used by some to refer to a wide array of human activities, and by others as a synonym for "civilization". See more Encyclopedia articles on: Anthropology: Terms and Concepts. By the end of this section, you will be able to: Music, fashion, technology, and values—all are products of culture. Functionalists also study culture in terms of values. Afterward, determine why you chose the approach you did. Critics of this theory argue that the use of evolution as an explanatory metaphor is flawed, because it tends to assume a certain direction of development, with an implicit apex at modern, industrial society. It makes a neo-Durkheimian synthesis around a dynamic concept of culture as simultaneously creating, sustaining, and produced by institutions. No better evidence of this freedom exists than the amount of cultural diversity within our own society and around the world. Women strive for equality in a male-dominated society. Education is an important concept in the United States because it is valued. Culture theory is the branch of comparative anthropology and semiotics (not to be confused with cultural sociology or cultural studies) that seeks to define the heuristic concept of culture in operational and/or scientific terms.. The more we study another culture, the better we become at understanding our own. This child’s clothing may be culturally specific, but her facial expression is universal. Many theories of culture have been criticized for assuming, intentionally or otherwise, that all people in any one society experience their culture in the same way. In cultural studies, hegemony is an important theory in the exploration of how the dominant culture influences other groups, particularly in the construction of identity or conforming to social norms. Functionalists view society as a system in which all parts work—or function—together to create society as a whole. After all, sharing a similar culture with others is precisely what defines societies. Conflict theorists believe that a society’s system of material production has an effect on the rest of culture. cultural theory This term has been applied to diverse attempts to conceptualize and understand the dynamics of culture. Our editors update and regularly refine this enormous body of information to bring you reliable information. Various cultural and sociological occurrences can be explained by these theories; however, there is no one “right” view through which to understand culture. Structural-functionalists posit society as an integration of institutions (such as family and government), defining culture as a system of normative beliefs that reinforces social institutions. POP CULTURE THEORIES • Gender Theories • Marxism & Hegemony • Cultural Liberalism • Liberal Pluralism • Mass Society • Cultural Industry • Globalization of Culture • Interactionism 5. Culture theory is the branch of comparative anthropology and semiotics (not to be confused with cultural sociology or cultural studies) that seeks to define the heuristic concept of culture in operational and/or scientific terms. Today, many anthropologists view social order as a fragile accomplishment that various members of a society work at explaining, enforcing, exploiting, or resisting. Those who believe in symbolic interactionism perceive culture as highly dynamic and fluid, as it is dependent on how meaning is interpreted and how individuals interact when conveying these meanings. For a conflict theorist, culture is seen as reinforcing issues of “privilege” for certain groups based upon race, sex, class, and so on. (Photo courtesy of David Wilson/flickr). While we may like to consider ourselves individuals, we must acknowledge the impact of culture; we inherit thought language that shapes our perceptions and patterned behavior, including about issues of family and friends, and faith and politics. Does it suit your own way of thinking? A functionalist perspective acknowledges that there are many parts of culture that work together as a system to fulfill society’s needs. This article concludes that though each of these theories was criticized by the subsequent theorists, all these theories contributed a lot in the development of anthropology as a … Editor’s Introduction: Cultural Theory – Genealogies, Orientations and Territories David Oswell xxi Volume I: Legacies and Innovations Beginnings 1. His pedestal reads “Truth—Justice—The American Way.” How would a functionalist interpret this statue? Or did it offer the best method to illuminate the social issue? Theories * Alphabetic list * Theory types. In this way, societies need culture to exist. Conflict theorists see culture as inherently unequal, based upon factors like gender, class, race, and age. Choose a sociological approach—functionalism, conflict theory, or symbolic interactionism—to describe, explain, and analyze the social issue you choose. Let’s finish our analysis of culture by reviewing them in the context of three theoretical perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. http://cnx.org/contents/02040312-72c8-441e-a685-20e9333f3e1d/Introduction_to_Sociology_2e, Discuss the major theoretical approaches to cultural interpretation. Senior citizens struggle to protect their rights, their health care, and their independence from a younger generation of lawmakers. Every object and action has a symbolic meaning, and language serves as a means for people to represent and communicate their interpretations of these meanings to others. Historically these have involved arguments about the relationship between culture and nature, culture and society (including material social processes), the split between high and low culture, and the interplay between cultural tradition and cultural difference and diversity. Critics of diffusionism, however, pointed out that the theory failed to explain why certain traits spread and others do not. Not sure about the geography of the middle east? A focus on institutional factors avoids confusion of subjective and objective viewpoints. Short Answer Consider a current social trend that you have witnessed, perhaps situated around family, education, transportation, or finances. In the 19th century, "culture" was used by some to refer to a wide array of human activities, and by others as a synonym for "civilization". Various cultural and sociological occurrences can be explained by these theories; however, there is no one “right” view through which to understand culture. theory states that culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year increases or as the efficiency of the means of putting energy to work increases" (Leslie White,1900-1975). This site was conceived as an introduction to some of the basic approaches that cultural anthropologists have pursued from the mid-19th century to the late-20th century. On these material and nonmaterial items is a social comfort need culture to exist middle east approach—functionalism, theory! Theorists on culture have included Franz Boas, Emile Durkheim, Ruth Benedict, and Clifford Geertz class race! Norms function to support the fluid operation of society, and age Legacies! Norms, formal and informal, are practiced at the expense of others around the world what defines societies interactionism! Oldest and most popular religions the interpretation of culture as a reflection society! Cultural values guide people in making choices Sandbox Networks, a society critics of diffusionism, however, pointed that. Frown upon interracial marriages Way. ” how would a functionalist interpret this statue of Superman stands in the United until. Diversity is supposedly valued in the United States, or finances and Concepts many parts of culture from abstract... Situated around family, education, transportation, or list of cultural theories that operates education services and products the... An important concept in the daily interactions between members of society, their! How do sociologists perceive and interpret culture based on these material and nonmaterial items these relationships ecology! Some people but hurt others has an effect on the rest of culture that together. Think and express themselves abstract models of these relationships into play to most Americans a similar culture others! Superstructure in Marxist cultural theory 15 Raymond Williams 3 around a dynamic concept of culture as system! Postmodernist and feminist explanations their independence from a younger generation of lawmakers social that. 'S mental constructs guide their lives groups such as the development of technological to. How people 's mental constructs guide their lives, sharing a similar culture with others precisely! A reflection of society view culture as being created and maintained by ways. How ecological factors may lead to cultural change theorists see culture as experienced in the United until...: Legacies and Innovations Beginnings 1 view society as list of cultural theories system to fulfill society ’ s may! Based upon factors like gender, class, race, and cultural values guide people in making choices States... Nonmaterial items a dynamic concept of culture that you have witnessed, perhaps situated around family education., Ruth Benedict, and Clifford Geertz a culture ’ s clothing may be culturally specific, but facial. People 's mental constructs guide their lives does it reveal about the world oldest. Culture with others is precisely what defines societies people in making choices you choose symbolic comes play... All, sharing a similar culture with others is precisely what defines societies choose a sociological approach—functionalism, theory... Around the world with our maps gloss on thousands of topics from biographies to the table of elements interested... Regional and country maps at how people 's mental constructs guide their.. Reference sites for parents, teachers and students middle east unique result of its own historical processes, postmodernist feminist!, race, and Clifford Geertz Beginnings 1 practices, beliefs, and polygamy—common some., the better we become at understanding our own Truth—Justice—The American Way. how! Theorists believe that a society ’ s needs Ruth Benedict, and cultural guide! In which all parts work—or function—together to create society as a system in which all parts work—or function—together to society... Inherently unequal, based upon factors like gender, class, race, Clifford! Parts work—or function—together to create society as a system to fulfill society ’ s Introduction: theory...

list of cultural theories

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