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Anthropology

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Deidra Miller
ID No.: 6797830
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Question 1: To what extent do members of a group share a single culture? Culture is a very crucial concept in anthropology and some might interpret that all cultural anthropologist share a single definition. However, there was only one study conducted in history during the 1950s that showed 164 various meanings of the simple word by scholars (Miller et. al., 2009:14). Other studies have shown that a part of defining culture is to say that it is learned. As Dr. Bambi Schieffelin and Dr. Elinor Ochs basically state, individuals of a certain culture “learn” through their parents and/or social interactions what their culture is or should be, (Jourdan C., Lesson 3: slide 7). However, while one learns what their culture is, they sometimes divert and create their own ways of interpreting (like the 164 cultural anthropologists) what it means or even form a culture of their own based on what they have interpreted from learning. Sir Edward Tylor is a British anthropologist who declared the very first definition of culture in 1871. He suggested that it “is that complex whole which one includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits required by man as a member of society” (Miller et. al., 2009:14). Even though the definition is quite accurate, anthropologists of today have manipulated it by replacing the “man” with “humans” or “people” while still using “complex whole” (Miller et. al., 2009:14). The complex whole of culture gives way to the idea that members of society share a single culture to a certain extent. However, this extent can vary depending on the level of homogeneity of that particular group. Interpretive anthropologists propose the idea that “culture is contested and negotiated, and not always shared or imposed” (Miller et. al., 2009:14), which makes...

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