From the 1920 through the 1950's there was an effort to explain culture, but to explain it according to its effects on human behavior and development. Some theorists see things universally while other want to look at each culture as unique and thus not capable of being compared with other cultures. Theories were developing across the world stating that culture was just a small piece of the socio-cultural system and that we as scientists need to look at all aspects. And finally, theories were being revived regarding the line of development that all societies follow. In the following paragraphs I will develop the approaches of several post-boasian theories as well as the approaches of the British social anthropologists. Finally I will discuss the theories of White and Steward and their attempts to bring back the theory of evolutionism.
[...] For her, the separate institutions operated independently from human social life and had no effect on culture. Because of this assumption, she stated that cultures have an infinite number of varieties because they are built through the minds of the population. “Culture, in turn, determines people's personality by favoring “temperate types” best suited to (2004, 153). This is made apparent in Benedict's article “Configurations of Culture in North America.” The primary values of a culture are instilled through a process of enculturation. [...]
[...] They both looked as society as a whole, which consists of several features of social life interconnected and dependent on the functional unity of the system. Thus, Radcliffe-Brown did not see culture in and of itself. He saw culture as one feature of social life in the system (2004, 185). This is an area where Malinowski and R.B. differed. Like I previously noted, Radcliffe-Brown's main achievement is his theory of structural functionalism. By structure he meant, ordered arrangement of parts of components”(2004, 191). [...]
[...] It needs to be studied in its own terms as something “above and outside of nature.” Kroeber's article Superorganic,” recognizes the differences between organic qualities of culture from the social qualities and processes. He uses an example of a bird's ability to fly. The bird can fly because of organic evolution that created wings; humans fly because of a social progress of invention. Organic evolution then is related to hereditary, social evolution is separate and related to progress and invention (1917, 165- 166). [...]
[...] Steward considered the crucial elements of society to be available resources, technology, labor patterns, and the effects of labor patterns on the social institutions (2004, 231-232). The features of culture that were most closely related to subsistence and technology were referred to as culture cores. For Steward, it was important to understand the features of the culture that were more basic and fixed than others. These are the primary features to explain origins and developments of culture. In the chapter called “Multilinear Evolution” from his book Theory of Culture Change Steward describes a theory that suggests that cultural systems develop and evolve along a specific line with greater frequencies than others. [...]
[...] Along with Maliowski was another British anthropologist who paved the way for the bridge between American and British anthropology. His name is A. R. Radcliffe-Brown and he created a perspective we now know as structural functionalism. This theory offered the American anthropologists an alternative to current Boasian paradigms. Radcliffe-Brown wanted to provide acceptable generalizations. He was opposed to historical approaches. He stated that historical approaches had to be based on complete historical records, which do not exist for most of the “primitive societies” being studied. [...]
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