Culture: A Concept of the Past? Argumentative Essay

Culture: A Concept of the Past?
An analysis of the arguments in favor of dispensing with the notion of "culture" in anthropology.
# 153954 | 0 words | 0 sources | 2014 | CA
Published by on Jul 23, 2014 in Anthropology (Cultural)

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From the Paper:

"This essay examines the debate in anthropology over the notion of "culture" and argues in favour of those who assert that "culture" is a concept whose time has come and gone. It takes as its starting point the similarity between the "culture is dead" movement in anthropology" and the "God is dead" movement in theology, noting that theology came of age when it negated the notion of God, and that anthropology can, similarly, come of age when it abandons the notion of culture. It offers six closely reasoned arguments in support of the call to abandon the notion of culture in anthropology. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of an illustrative case, namely, that of the controversy surrounding how anthropology should treat the practice of clitoridectomy. It demonstrates through a discussion of this case that the controversy dissolves if the notion of culture is abandoned. The essay wraps up its discussion of the issue by noting that "culture" so-called is in fact an emergent property of the interaction between individuals and the social and natural environment, subject to the same evolutionary forces as all other evolving systems. As such, the "cultural relativism" that is so fashionable among anthropologists today has no basis in reality and therefore no justification. The essay concludes by noting that by cleaving to the concept of "culture," anthropology is rendering itself a closed system that is incapable of self-correction and evolution and that if it aspires to attain maturity as a discipline, it must abandon the notion of culture and formulate a more rigorous notion to take its place."

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