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Taylors definition of culture

Many people have struggled to define culture, and I have struggled in my current project on
cultural environmentalism to come up with a workable definition. Below are some thoughts; I
welcome comments and suggestions on additional sources or perspectives that might help in my
attempt to describe the cultural environment.
Anthropologist dward B. !aylor offered a broad definition, stating that culture is "that comple#
whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and
habits ac$uired by man as a member of society.%&'( )owever, "&c(ulture has also been described
as *one of the two or three most complicated words in the nglish language.+ !here is no
shortage of proposed definitions,'-., according to one study. !he definition of culture remains
elusive and contested.%&/( 0r as another scholar put it, "*&c(ulture is one of the &most( basic
theoretical+ sociological terms, and yet it is inherently indefinable. Both in terms of its specific
meaning and broad content, the understanding of *culture+ has defied consensus among
sociologists.%&1( !he definitional ambiguity stems at least in part from the difficulties in
defining meaningful boundaries and deciding what resources to include2e#clude. 3ulture
captures the conte#tual, contingent, and social2relational aspects of resources that are "resources%
vis454vis their meaning to and among people. As Benkler suggests, "&3ulture( is a frame of
meaning from within which we must inevitably function and speak to each other, and whose
terms, constraints, and affordances we always negotiate. !here is no point outside of culture
from which to do otherwise.% In a sense, culture itself is an environmental concept. 6et, because
culture is 7socially8 constructed, it must be understood, if not defined, as a reflection of that
which we want, or as 9ohn Breen puts it, culture can be understood as a society+s answer to a
series of "fundamental $uestions% about what it values.&-(
In ':;' .B. !aylor defined culture as <that comple# whole which includes knowledge, belief,
art, morals, law, customs, and many other capabilities and habits ac$uired by...&members( of
<3ulture means the total body of tradition borne by a society and transmitted from generation to
generation. It thus refers to the norms, values, standards by which people act, and it includes the
ways distinctive in each society of ordering the world and rendering it intelligible. 3ulture is...a
set of mechanisms for survival, but it provides us also with a definition of reality. It is the matri#
into which we are born, it is the anvil upon which our persons and destinies are forged.< 7=obert
Murphy. 3ulture and >ocial Anthropology? An 0verture. /nd ed. nglewood 3liffs, @9? Arentice
)all, 'B:C? 'D8