What Is Culture? How Do Anthropologists Define It?

838 Words4 Pages
Sara Crawford
Anthropology 305
Assignment 5
9 March 2016
What is culture? How do anthropologists define it? They study it, but defining it remains a controversial and difficult endeavor. In my opinion, culture defines an excessively broad category related to the human experience. I wrote my first definition as follows: “Culture is everything humans think, say, have, and do. It is a socially-defined set of “rules” and expectations that are implicitly nurtured from childhood. (or from one’s introduction to that culture)” This paper will expand upon this definition as I believe that this definition represents a valid and broad explanation of what culture is.
I will begin at the beginning. “Culture” represents the word being defined. It belongs to many disciplines, and lay people use it, but it owes its roots to anthropology (Williams, 1976). The word “is”, while a passive verb, represents the definition, an answer to the question, “What is culture?”. “Everything” means all things, encompassing all aspects of human existence and experience. “Humans” means simply that: the inhabitants of the earth that we are studying. The verb “think” relates to the mind, and represents an idea that remains impossible to define or categorize as it occurs only internally; it influences culture, and culture influences thought. “Say” refers to human communication, language, and words; the way that humans express their thoughts. “Have” refers to possessions. Humans can own them collectively or
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