Re: Definitions of culture
Dwight W. Read (dread@ANTHRO.UCLA.EDU)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 04:36:16 -0700
>"... and [culture] that complex whole ..blah blah per Tylor, AND IN WHICH
>FORM IS IMPOSED ON THE ENVIRONMENT."
I think Halloway has identified a crucial aspect of culture--the
arbitrariness (and I assume here he means "arbitrary" in the way
mathematicians use the term, not arbitray in the sense of "irrational") of
phenomena identified as "cultural." I am struck by his comment because it,
of necessity, grounds culture in the operation of the mind, not in the
consequences in the form of behaviors which we can observe. The problem
with the "learned behavior, social learning" kinds of definitions is (in my
view) their failure to identify what is the underlying process/operation
that is at issue and makes culture a distinct kind of phenomenon.