culture as expectation

Thu, 27 Jan 1994 15:41:38 EST

the realm of `control theory' and the TEST OPERATE TEST suggestions of
Gallanter, Pribram et al. Culture can well be looked at as a mental
schema based on meanings, meanings which are categorized as a priori
expectation in any event or situation. Such categorizations would have
adaptive potential.
The difference between expectations and actual perceptions of an
event could lead to adjusting behaviors to attempt to reconcile and
minimize the difference between them.
One is talking, here, about a level of proto cultural codes. This
approach has been followed by David Heise in the development of Affect
Control Theory. It is also an approach that I use in `construct realist'
analyses of culture, and yes . . . it does beg a number of very interesting
questions regarding symbolism, learning and so forth. Still, it has
sound roots in the discipline, theoretically speaking.

John O'Brien
Dept of Anthropology
Indiana University