Use of Culture Concept in Anthropology

Useof Culture Concept in Anthropology

Anthropologyrefers to the study of human beings as individuals, products ofsociety and as makers of history and culture. In anthropology,culture refers to the full range of various learned human behaviorpatterns or as the shared set of concepts, rules of behavior, ideas,and values that enable a society to grow. Sometimes anthropologistsface challenges in distinguishing between patterned and unpatternedbehaviors since cultures continually change as time elapses. Forinstance, some communities accept innovative or incidental activitiesand drop some traits with time. Schools, individual families,societies, social classes, and ethnic groups also develop certainunique customs just like people develop certain habits in their life.Culture play a key role in molding most of human behaviorsindividuals variations in the norm of the culture of a certainsociety are allowed and put up with certain limits that such asociety set. In connection to this, a person who decides to rejecthis or her society only does so in ways that are accepted by his orher culture.

Anthropologistsunderstand culture as a dynamic reality that continually evolves inthe minds of members of a society. According to Kelly &amp Thomas(22), all members of a society have overlapping, co-existing, andcompeting sub-cultures. Therefore, anthropologists identify groupsthat have shared cultural knowledge as well as seek to understand howthey co-exist with the larger organizational environment. They way anindividual has been brought up and the environment they have beenraised in play a key role in differentiating them from other peoplefrom other cultures. The need to meet changing needs as well asselective transmission immensely contribute to changes witnessed invarious cultures. Anthropologists incorporate participant observationmethod to carry out research on various societies. They listen to allpeople with an aim of grasping the similarities and differences thatexist amongst various societies. They also stay with members of suchsocieties for over a period of one year and adopt their habits withan aim of obtaining first hand and detailed information into theirway life. As result, they obtain detailed information of the culturesof such societies.

Thepotlatch for Kwakwaka’wakw refers to a gift giving feast that waspracticed by all people in this culture. Itwas practiced in Northwest coast to celebrate rites of passages,weddings, births, puberty, funerals, as well as for honoring thosewho have passed on (Kelly et al. 24). Dance, music and festivals wereincorporated during this kind of celebration. It served to empowerboth individuals and communities of this culture. During thisfestival hosts’ cultural wealth and geneology is displayed by theperformed theatrical and elaborate dances. The feast was hosted by akin group that was usually headed by aristocrats. It incorporatedapproximately 100 members that were grouped into various tribes(Kelly et al. 24). Several titles were also passed to new officeholders they granted members of this culture the rights berryingterritories, fishing, and hunting. This is a clear indication thatstrengthening culture was given the first priority during thisfestival. It allowed them to form strong tribe ties hence, theylived comfortable and at peace with one another. Additionally, it hasallowed them to adapt to their environments and the characteristic oftheir society and culture.


KellyRobert &amp Thomas David. Archaeology.New York: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.