Monday, February 13, 2012

Attributes of Culture

Anthropologists have arrived at some generalizations which can be attributed to Culture.Kroeber has drawn attention to two aspects of culture called eidos and ethos.Eidos is the formal appearance of a culture derived from its constituents.Contrasted with the aggregate of constituents is ethos,the disposition of a culture which determines its quality,its main themes and interests.According to Bateson each culture can be said to have two aspects the first consisting of the total emotional emphasis of a culture called ethos and the second consisting of the emphases resulting from a cognitive processes operative within a culture called eidos. 


Kluckhohn says that not everything in a people's life may be yielded to us and added to our knowledge merely through sensory observation.Such regularities as may be perceived with the aid of the eye and the ear are the explicit items of a culture.There may be other items which would be perceived by us only after being specially trained for looking for all that is not obvious,the motivations and impulses underlying human action of which the actors themselves may not be conscious.These would be the implicit items of a culture.A total and representative study of a people way of life must include both explicit as well as implicit items.

For culture determinists society is the product of culture.Culture is the matrix of everything else  and is itself governed by its own laws of growth and operation.With the increasing accumulation of the evidence of the role which individuals play in changing culture it became obvious that individuals also were to some extent,the creators of culture.Human beings are perhaps equally the creators of culture as they are its creatures and carriers.According to Linton for majority of people culture plays the role of guide.It lays down norms of behaviour and provides the mechanism which secure for an individual his personal and social survival.But for the non-conforming few called mystics by Bergson and the creative minority by Toynbee culture is the framework within which to try their new ideas.They seek to change the culture.The human beings are always required to save society from stagnation.The ways of doings so are often inherent in a culture.

When culture is taken to mean the way of life it is obvious that within this whole there are elements like prayer,rituals etc.Each of these elements is called a culture trait or element.If a number of culture traits combine together to produce a meaningful segment within the total culture then it is called culture complex.It is the outcome of interaction between several institutions.It is also defined as the pattern of the interrelation of culture traits.


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