Social Change with Respect to Culture and Original Nature

By William Fielding Ogburn | Go to book overview

4
DIFFERENTIATION OF CULTURAL AND
PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS

The concept, culture, and the concept, the original nature of man, have been set forth and it has been claimed that there is a confusion of these two factors in social behavior. It seems desirable therefore to consider some instances where such confusion exists, and we shall set forth several illustrations and at least one in some detail. Let us consider types of reaction of the French and the Americans, as the illustration is fairly simple in analysis. For instance, Americans consider the French as thrifty and the French consider Americans as wasteful. Such an observation is probably true despite the fact that the comparisons are often made between wealthy tourists and poor peasants. But what are these traits due to? To differences in the biological natures of the peoples or to differences in their cultures? Theoretically, it is possible that such behavior as practicing thrift or being extravagant may be determined by the biological nature of man or by a cultural environment. In approaching this problem in this particular instance we examine the cultural factor first.

In many ways the cultures of these two peoples are similar, particularly when contrasted with the cultures of earlier eras. There are, however, some striking differences, two of which may be noted as affecting these traits. One concerns the development of the steam industry. The factory system is highly developed in the United States. Coal and iron are abundant. There is a great deal of manufacturing. Whereas in France there is, or was, not very much coal and iron. The factory system is not very widespread. The effect of the use of artificial power in making objects of use contrasts markedly with the use of the hands. Wealth and riches multiply with as-

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