The Cultural Approach to History: Edited for the American Historical Association

The Cultural Approach to History: Edited for the American Historical Association

The Cultural Approach to History: Edited for the American Historical Association

The Cultural Approach to History: Edited for the American Historical Association

Excerpt

Some major conceptual tools with which to apply the cultural approach to the field of history are considered in this section. The first chapter discusses the concept of culture as used by the anthropologist; the next two chapters discuss many of the same concepts from the point of view of the social psychologist.

Both viewpoints are essential; they supplement rather than compete with each other; they represent different points of focus in a totality in which, both would agree, no dividing line exists. The cultural anthropologist focuses on the society; the social psychologist focuses on the individual in that society. But both recognize that there can be no division between society on the one hand and the individual on the other. Society does not exist apart from the individuals who compose it; the individual is what he is by virtue of the society of which he is a part. Both cultural anthropologist and social psychologist are concerned with the process by which culture shapes individuals and is at the same time a product of their activity. The cultural anthropologist looks at the process in terms of the patterning of culture; the social psychologist views the same process in terms of the impact of the cultural processes on the individual and his reactions thereto. The two meet in the concept of "personality," the "individual-in-society. . . ."

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