Re: Intra-Cultural Variability

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Sun, 30 Apr 1995 17:10:37 +1000

Nick Gessler writes:
> This is a fascinating subject that Solomon and Harriet raised. The
> relationship between intra- and inter-cultural variability is one that
> deserves attention. I assume that saying "intra-cultural variability is
> greater than inter-cultural variability," is really another way of saying
> that it has been largely ignored.

It seems to me that it can make no sense at all to talk about
"intra-cultural variability being greater than inter-cultural
variability", at least if the variation in question is itself cultural.
At least part of the definition of a "culture" must be that, in at
least some areas, its variation from other, surrounding cultures is

The real subject is surely the nature and degree of cultural variation
and the extent to which it warrants reification of distinct "cultures".
Whatever else cultures are, they are, like species, individuals
rather than classes.

Danny Yee.