In What Sense do Cultures Evolve

Tue, 10 May 1994 14:07:00 CDT

A couple reactions to T. Riley: First, if I referred to subcultures as
"mere,"I erred. Second, I am sure I did not "equate" society and
"culture," since I consider it a profoundly important distinction.
As for the socially acquired way of life of contemporary Zunis,
yes, I plead guilty to including it within my concept of the culture
of U.S. society today. From the tone of T. Riley's post, I gather that
he sees serious scientific shortcomings in defining "society"
politically, then defining "culture" (especially but not solely) as the
socially acquired way of life of an entire society; but I confess I am
unable to tell what he has in mind. One implication of his
rhetorical question about the Zuni would appear to be that from his
perspective they do not share "our" culture. But if "our culture" is
not the socially acquired way--OK, "ways" would be more precise--of life
in late-20th century United States, then what is it, and why are the
(subcultural) features of the Zuni way of life excluded? --Bob Graber