Is Culture Behavior?

Thu, 27 Jan 1994 10:13:20 CST

Though I agree with M. Hill about culture not being quite confined to
hominids, I don't find his definition "shared patterns of behavior, not
genetically acquired" quite satisfactory. In my trilogy "machines,
monogamy, monotheism," only monogamy would be a shared pattern of
behavior. I was thinking of this trilogy as exemplifying interfaces,
interactions, and interpretations, respectively. My definition begins
with one general enough to include infra-human socially acquisition (a
fuzzy but crucial phrase, this "social acquisition"!), then tailors it
for application to entire human societies (political autonomies):
Culture is the socially acquired way of life of a social group,
especially an entire society's (1) interfaces with its physical and
social environments, (2) interactions between members, and (3) symbolic
interpretations of reality. I see this as an improved version of Leslie
White's technology/social organization/ideology, and Marvin Harris'
infrastructure/structure/superstructure. (Paper available on request.)
--Bob Graber