Sunday, June 30, 2013

The relationship between Culture,Civilization and Society

In an attempt to trace cultural evolution it was Morgan who developed the sequence of savagery-barbarism -civilization in which civilization represented the most advanced state of culture.The most developed form of societies with the most advanced state of culture are labelled as modern or urban.Such urban societies are characterized by the presence of cities.

The main characteristics of civilizations have been outlined by many anthropologists

Due to greater agricultural productivity there was the presence of higher concentration of population in the same area.

These populations clustered in cities which became the nerve centres of commerce,government,religion and defence.

Each such city did not exist in isolation but had several satellite communities with which it mainly had economic and trade linkages.

Managerial skills were developed to handle separately and efficiently several institutions such as economy and military.

Merchant classes were working within a highly developed exchange network radiating outward from the urban  centre.

Increased specialization in the division of labour paved the way for many other activities.

It led to the rise of full time  craftsmen and an increased aesthetic awareness.

Those specialists who were freed of manual labor could engage in such intellectual pursuits as the development of writing,numerical notation,arthematic,geometry,astronomy,standards of time,space and weight.

It created a greater economic interdependence of population within the city and outside the city.

The means of production were controlled by the ruling classes.

As wealth and power became concentrated in fewer hands,kinship bonds  and egalitarian social groupings were superseded in importance by the emerging classes  thus paving the way for increased inequality and rigidity in the system of social stratification.

Centralized political authorities and an elaborate hierarchical political system emerged.Control of waterworks ,redistribution of specialized resources,military operation and many other factors gave rise to the central political power.

The urban centres thus became the focal points for radiating systems of economic and political integration.

The religious sphere became separated gradually from the secular sphere.Priesthoods and temples developed thus increasing the importance of the religious sphere.

While Morgan conceived of cultural evolution as the process of progressive development from primitive to modern stages ,Kroeber intepreted cultural evolution as the result of the growth and decay of cultural patterns.He made elaborate attempts to trace the rise and fall of civilizations  in his Configurations of Culture Growth.

Robert Redfield  realised the complex nature of civilization because he attempted to simplify the procedure for understanding it.He formulated the concept of The social organization of traditions in which he tried to account for two crucial aspects - One  the manner in which cultural elements are put together into an integrated whole and two  the way in which a culture is transmitted in all its traditional forms.

Society,culture and civilization are closely related concepts.Over the years Anthropologists have continuously contributed  to the understanding of these key concepts  in the study of humanity.Lewis Morgan published Ancient Society in 1877 and Edward Tylor  published Primitive Culture in 1871.It was Morgan  who gave the concept of society  to the British who introduced the concept of culture.


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