Anthropology beyond Culture

By Richard G. Fox; Barbara J. King | Go to book overview

one
Toward a Richer Description and
Analysis of Cultural Phenomena

Fredrik Barth

To clear the way for taking on new tasks with the concept of culture, we need to review old uses and their weaknesses and then construct an alternative so compelling that people will be forced to adopt it and discontinue their old ways of thinking. Given the currency of the concept in a wide range of disciplines outside of anthropology and in various areas of public discourse, we are left little space to pursue this task within an isolated and protected anthropological discourse. Anthropologists no longer have the influence to determine the “proper” definitions and uses of the term “culture,” and any usages practiced by others will continually reinvade our own writing and thinking. Yet if we wish to repair culture as an analytical concept, we have no alternative but to build on our own disciplinary experience and strengths and try to improve its power, rigor, and consistency as best we can.

In this chapter, I focus on the present construction of culture as a category and discuss its complexity and some unfortunate forms of reasoning to which it leads, before moving on to what might be done about it. Clifford Geertz recently commented that because of the way anthropology’s concept of culture was taught in the 1940s and 1950s, “we were condemned, it seemed, to working with a logic and a language in which concept, cause, form and outcome had the same name” (Geertz 2000: 13)—echoing his previous critique of this same “theoretical diffusion” (Geertz 1973: 4). I submit that the diffusion is still with us, despite Geertz’s efforts to develop a semiotic perspective on culture. Even in his own writings, as in those of others, a holistic template of culture still serves both to represent and to explain human behavior—

-23-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Anthropology beyond Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 314

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.