Article: The problem of context in social and cultural anthropology
The article appears to be a review of research that was previously done since it only summarizes the basic concepts and facts about culture. It lacks the various sections of a research article and could therefore not be classified as a research article.
In the article, I was able to learn a simplified but comprehensive definition of culture. It defines culture as the beliefs, objects, behaviors and other characteristics that are common to members of a particular society or group. It is through culture that an individual can inclusively and enthusiastically define themselves, conforms to society’s shared values and contribute to the wellbeing of the society (Dilley, 2002). It further states that being well cultured is simply being well mannered, well-educated, stylish and knowledgeable of the arts that pertain to a particular group of people who an individual relate to on a day-to-day basis. For instance, parents speak a certain language such as Danish at home so that their children do not lose touch with their language and culture. It divides culture into high culture and low culture popularly known as popular culture. High culture is common among the high class members of the society while in most cases popular culture relates to the middle or low class members of the society who apparently make a great portion of the composition of the society. Additionally, I was also able to learn that:
- Every aspect of humanity is learnt through participating in a cultural system (Dilley, 2002).
- It is only through the structure of human culture that one can realize human potential.
- Isolating an individual from a society for a long period of time will make them lose contact with the society and may not adequately adjust afterwards.
- Basically all cultures are not only shared but also quite dynamic just as the society.
- Culture is mainly used to communicate, making identities and give sense to the differences.
- Culture consists of human behaviors and learning it is an incessant process.
- Culture is symbolic, unscrupulous, relative and integrated.
- Cultures are learnt through enculturation and the patterns of enculturation are transmitted from generation to generation (Dilley, 2002).
Culture is one of the most imperative and elementary notions of sociology (Mumford, 1998). Sociological anthropologists have done numerous attempts to come up with a definition of culture that will fully cover what it are its features, and that the definition will be accepted to all. The cultural diversity and characteristics that are of great importance to sociologists are extensively elucidated in the article. It also majors in the study of society which is the main focus of sociology as a discipline. This is generally what makes the article to fit into the overall field of sociology.
The article is different from nonacademic articles since it presents information in a well substantiated manner, and uses formal language that makes it easy for a student to read and digest the contents. However, just like magazines or newspapers, the article fails to give finer details in respect to cultures in different societies. All in all, it is a great article that one can derive value from.
Dilley, R. M. (2002). The problem of context in social and cultural anthropology. Language & Communication. doi:10.1016/S0271-5309(02)00019-8
Mumford, L. (1998). The culture of cities. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co.