Re: Intra-cultural variability

Harriet Whitehead (whitehea@WSUNIX.WSU.EDU)
Sat, 29 Apr 1995 08:51:35 -0700

Just a quick thought or two on the interesting issue you raise.
Intra-cultural variation is certainly undeniable, but to then go on to
say that its *greater* than inter-cultural gets you into a kind of
nonsense area. To give a comparable example, lets say someone announces:
intra-specific variation in dogs is greater than the variation between
dogs and other species. Whoa! How do you measure that? Dogs and which
other species? (Sorry for the unfortunate "essentializing" implications
here: that part of the analogy wasn't my intention).

Just for starters, you're going to have to take the matter trait by
trait, variable by variable. No generalization of this sort on a total
package seems possible.

Harriet Whitehead
Anthropology WSU

On Fri, 28 Apr 1995, Solomon Yusim wrote:

> I'm a physician and psychotherapist and not an anthropologist, so please
> forgive these my questions if they sound too naive or ignorant.
> One of my most esteemed professors, a psychologist, was fond of saying that
> intra-cultural variability is commonly ignored, but, in fact, is far greater
> than the inter-cultural one. He never offered, however, any references to
> support his second claim.
> So, what is known about intra-cultural variability? Can it be ascertained
> and how? Can these two be legitimately compared? Have they been?
> I'd be grateful for any help with this. I'm supposed to speak about
> unwarranted cultural generalizations at the forthcoming meeting of the
> Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, and would like to clarify
> (quantify?) this issue for my own benefit first.
> ============================================================================
> Solomon Yusim | Internet: syusim@BCM.TMC.EDU
> Department of Community Medicine | Phone: (713) 785-3310
> Baylor College of Medicine | SnailMail: P.O. Box 711349
> Houston, Texas, USA | Houston, TX 77271-1349
> ============================================================================