What is Culture?
• Briefly summarize how Arnold, Williams, Geertz, and Bodley explain culture?
Arnold’s definition of culture is a “study of perfection” of our inner morals and outward behavior to make the world a better place for everyone. Culture is prescribed as the desire to improve the society, similar to the idea of a utopian society. Williams, on the other hand, believes that each society has a different culture that consists mainly of arts and learning. There are two parts of culture: one that is given and learned and the other one is tested and experimented with the surrounding environment. Geertz explanation of culture is one that is created by each of the society’s “web of significance”. He states that it is to be semiotic, or one that is given meaning through symbols and that each society gives its own and different significance to different symbols. Bodley’s summary of culture is the society’s way of life, the ordinary and extraordinary daily rituals that include those people’s lives. He encompasses its ability to learn, adapt, and share of actions, beliefs, and natural productions.
• In your opinion, which of these ideas of culture is most similar to the concept of culture presented in the text for this course?
Bodley’s ideas of culture are most similar to the ideas presented in Kottak’s Cultural Anthropology. His anthropological perspective encompasses the notion that culture is an all surrounding subject of the way people lead their lives. His view on culture requires that some of its properties include the fact that culture is shared, adaptive, learned, symbolic, integrated and transmitted through generations, which is almost identical to Kottak’s definition in the text. In fact, Kottak’s text states the same exact properties of culture in its ability to be shared, learned and symbolic. Both Bodley and Kottak present the concept of culture as a very broad term that comprises many different and extensive and far-reaching aspects of a...