This is a sample thesis on culture:
I would like to start off with the definition of Culture, which is an organized system of learned behavior and thought patterns. Always make manifest by a group making that group distinctive from other groups. It is non-instinctive but rests on a biological base of: binocular, stereoscopic, color, vision/ habitual, upright bipedal locomotion/ generalized forelimb with opposable thumb and the symbolic capacity of (750-950cc). It is transmitted through language is cumulative and embracing both artifacts and attitudes is human kinds chief adaptive mechanism.
Culture is an organized system because it ties many parts together that are interconnected to all function as one. These are traits which are the simplest part, to complexes which are all the traits combined, then you build on that to get patterns which are many complexes, and finally institutions which are needed to answer problems that are crucial to basic human needs. If any of those characteristics are taken out of the system then it would not work properly, so they are all of necessity. What you get from this is cultural integration, which can be high or low. In the case of the Yanomamo the level of integration is very high which makes their culture or society very simple because they do not have options on how they do things.
The second part of culture is learned behavior and thought patterns. In humans, culture must be learned through enculturation and also some traits can be taken from acculturation, these are both mostly picked up from elders. The reason for this is because culture is not instinctive like in animals or in other words they are not born with it. Human’s culture will vary from one society to another and the environment helps to determine this by setting limits and creating potentials. Humans will start to pick up their culture at birth and it takes many years to learn the culture of a society like how to speak the language and obey the laws of the land, that is why it is said we should respect our elders because they have learned for much longer than we have.
Five major ways that humans learn their culture are through child raising practices or how they think the child should be raised in the particular environment, Imitation or role modeling when a child pretends to be someone the would like to be if they were grown up, learning from friends in peer group play, oral traditions which may be from stories past on, and rights, rituals and ceremonies for example weddings.
The third part of culture is manifest by a group or the shared behaviors of a group. Culture is a shared social behavior by everyone in a specific place making a society. All the people in a society create and maintain a culture, and then the society preserves or keeps the culture alive. An example using the Yanomamo would be how they all dress the same wearing pretty much nothing and eat the same types of food like plantains. This is then carried on generation after generation through their process of enculturation.
Next would be how culture makes one group distinctive from another. This is shown through beliefs, customs, languages or how they might dress. With today’s world and the technology that everyone shares, I believe that culture may be lost or made less different from each other from a majority of the world. I think this may be because of the sharing between societies that are no longer isolated and are able to interact with each other. This allows different societies to adopt customs, beliefs, language and even a way of dressing from each other through acculturation. Some examples of this are how many people around the world are bi-lingual, or how people in other countries like American music groups to tour their country like “NSYNC” or the “Backstreet Boys” because they like the music. One last example could be how people all over the world adopt the dressing styles from each other with well known designers like Tommy Hilfiger or Giorgio Armani.
The fifth part of the definition of culture would be how it rests on a biological base. This means that before humans could start to develop different cultures they had to first have specific biological characteristics that came through evolution. These consist of binocular stereoscopic color vision which was the ability to see in color while focusing both eyes to make one image and being able to judge the distance of the image instantly. Also humans needed habitual upright bipedal locomotion which gave us the ability to see better with elevated eyesight and also gave us the ability to carry things while in motion since the hands were not needed to walk. One more thing is a generalized forelimb with an opposable thumb which in turn allowed humans to be able to do many tasks and then have the opposable thumb to lock either a power or precision grip on to things. The last biological base needed was the symbolic capacity which was a cranial capacity of seven hundred and fifty to nine hundred and fifty cubic centimeters. This gave the ability to develop symbols which we know is very important in a culture and is a way to distinguish differences between cultures.
Next would be how culture is transmitted through language. This is done by the creation of symbols which allow people to develop complex thoughts that can be exchanged to other people. A human has the ability to pass on knowledge through their specific language and this allows for a greater transfer of information over a smaller period of time. This is how they will pass on customs and beliefs too. Also the ability for a group to learn something new by having only one person from the group having a specific experience is gained from the ability to transmit culture through language, unlike with an animal how they must come into a predicament to learn the outcome.
One more piece of culture is how it is cumulative. This is very important to societies since it builds on itself through “progressive, successive addition”. Having this gives the ability to learn things and build upon them. Every human generation potentially can discover new things and invent better technologies. The new cultural skills and knowledge are added onto what was learned in previous generations without having to relearn from the beginning.
The second to last part of culture is about culture embracing both artifacts and attitudes. From the text book culture embraces artifacts because they are adaptive functions and must be included. These artifacts are the result of cultural thought processes, which come from the environment triggering the need to adapt to be able to survive and reproduce.
And last is how culture is humankind’s chief adaptive mechanism. This is so because humans adapt differently according to their environment, and this is done through learning. Since “learning is an advanced mechanism of adaptation” and that is how we adapt this causes culture to be our chief adaptive mechanism.
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