Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Patterns of Culture

The term pattern is used for those arrangements or systems of internal relationship which give to any culture its coherence or plan and keep it from being a mere accumulation of random bits.The total system or the ideology of patterning is called a configuration.Kroeber has distinguished two major kinds of pattern:

1. Basic or Systemic Pattern- These are those that have persisted for years and years as coherent organization of traits  with functional value ( agriculture,monotheism)

2.Secondary Pattern- These are those that are subject to a great variety and instability( formal social organization,system of thought).


As an out growth from Kroeber's conceptualizations came the Patterns of Culture written by Ruth Benedict.She added  a new dimension to the two types of patterns described by Kroeber.She refers to those qualities of cultural organization which come to prevade all or most spheres of some cultures and give them a distinctive individual slant.Benedict made use of psychological  theories to characterize the individual patterns of culture.She named two major kinds of cultures:Apollonian and Dionysian.According to her, the former type of cultures emphasized order and restraint in individual and collective behaviour while the latter type of cultures emphasized emotional and sensory experiences.

Ralph Linton pinpoints the four important dimensions of culture-
The form of culture trait or complex  is what can be perceived by the senses and objectively described.

The meaning of its subjective associations  in the culture,implicit and explicit.

Its use is its relation to things outside the society and culture as expressible in physical terms.

Its function is its relation within the society and culture.

Malinowski in his A Scientific Theory of Culture provides a functional explanation of culture.According to him culture is the integral whole consisting of implements and consumer goods of constitutional charters for the various  social groupings of human ideas and crafts,beleifs and customs.

According to Malinowski each and every culture is complete and self-sufficient only because it satisfies the whole range of man's needs.He classifies man's needs into three categories-

Primary or basic or biological needs- procreation,nutrition,defence,protection and so on

Derived or instrumental needs- necessary to organize activity such as economic organization,law ,education

Integrative or synthetic needs- Mental and moral integration: knowledge,magic,religion,art ,play.

Malinowski call these needs alternatively as imperatives and calls that system which caters to these needs by fulfiling all the imperative requirements of mankind as a culture.

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