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V O L . X L V I I — NO. 1








A L F R E D G. M E Y E R


T T J E a r e indebted to Professor Robert Cohen & West, Ltd. (British Edition) and The Free
V V Bierstedt for access to his master's thesis, Press (Ametican Edition): E. E. Evans-Pritchard’s
only a small portion of which has been pub­ Social Anthropology (1951).
Columbia University Press: Abram Kardiner’s The
lished. His extensive bibliography through
Individual and His Society (1939) and Ralph
*935 greatly lightened our task, and his text Linton’s The Science of Man in the World Crisis
was also suggestive to us at many points. We
(« 945>-
have also benefited from the memoranda and E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc.: Alexander Leighton's
records, largely unpublished, of the Commit­ Human Relations m a Changing World (1940).
tee on Conceptual Integration of the American Farrar, Straus, and Young, Inc.: Leslie White’s
Sociological Society (Albert Blumenthal, The Science of Culture (1949).
Chairman) of which one of us (C. K.) was a The Free Press: S. F. Nadel’s The Foundations of
member in its later stage. Dr. Alfred Meyer Social Anthropology (ijjo ).
was very helpful, especially with the German Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.: A. L. Krocbcr’s
materials. To Professor Leslie White we owe and T . T . Waterman’s Source Book in Anthropology
(1931), Kroeber’s Anthropology (1948), and Lewis
several references that we probably would not
Mumford’s The Culture of Cities (1938).
have discovered ourselves. Professor Jerome D. C. Heath and Company: Franz Boas and others’
Bruner has made clarifying suggestions. Dr. General Anthropology (1938).
Walter Taylor and Paul Friedrich kindly read The Hogarth Press: Geza Roheim’s The Riddle of
the manuscript and made suggestions. the Sphinx (1934).
Wayne Untereiner, Richard Hobson, Clif­ A. A. Knopf, Inc.: M. J. Herskovits* Man and His
ford Geertz, Jr., Charles Griffith, and Ralph Works (1948), and A. A. Goldcnweiscr’s History,
Patrick (all graduate students in anthropology Psychology and Culture (1933).
at Harvard University) have not only done The Macmillan Company: G. P. .Murdock's Social
unusually competent work as research assist­ Structure (1949).
ants; each has made significant criticisms of McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.: Ellsworth Fariss
The Mature of Hitman Nature (1937), Talcott
content and style We have placed the name
Parsons’ The Structure of Social Action (1937), and
of Mr. Untereiner on the title-page because W . D. Wallis’s Culture and Progress (1930).
he made major conrxihutions to our theoreti­ Methuen & Company: R. R. Marett’s Psychology and
cal formulations. Wc are also grateful for Folklore (1920).
the scrupulously careful work of Hermia Kap­ Oxford University Press: Meyer Fortes’ The Web
lan, Mildred Geiger, Lois Walk, Muriel Levin, of Kinship Among the Tallensi (1949).
Kathryn Gore, and Carol Trosch in typing Routlcdgc and Kcgan Paul, Ltd.: Raymond Firths
various versions of the manuscript, and to the Primitive Polynesian Economy (1939).
four first-named in collating bibliographical University of California Press: Edward SaprPs
references and editorial checking and to Cor­ Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language,
delia Galt and Natalie Stoddard who edited the Culture, and Personality (edited by D. G Mandcl-
monograph. baum) (1949).
The Viking Press, Inc.: W . F. Ogburn’s Social Change
We thank the following publishers for per­
mission to quote from copyrighted materials:
Watts & Company: Raymond Firth’s Elements of
AddisonAVesley Press, Inc.: G. K. Zipfs Human Social Organization (1951).
Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort (1949). Yale University Press: C. S. Ford’s “ A Simple Com­
Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.: A. A. Goldenweiser’s parative Analysis of Material Culture,” and G. P.
Anthropology (1937). Murdock’s Editorial Preface, both of which appear
The Century Co.: C. A. Ellwood’s Cultural Evolution in Studies in the Science of Society Presented to
(1927). Albert Galloway Keller (1937).

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ..................................... v GRO UP E : S T R U C T U R A L .......................... 61

IN TR O D U CTIO N ................................................. 3 Emphasis on the patterning or organization
P A R T I : G E N E R A L H IS T O R Y O F T H E of culture ............................................... 61
W O R D C U L T U R E ................................... 9 Comment ..................................................... 61
i- Brief survey................................................... 9 GRO UP F: G E N E T I C ................................... 64
2. Civilization .................................................... n F-I. Emphasis on culture as a product or
3. Relation of civilization and culture.............. 13 artifact.......................................................... 64
4. The distinction of civilization from culture Comment ..................................................... 6y
in American sociology.................................. 13 F—II. Emphasis on ideas .................................. 66
y. The attempted distinction in Germ any 15 Comment ..................................................... 67
6. Phases in die history of the concept of cul­ F-I 11. Emphasis on symbols ............................ 69
ture in G erm any........................................... 18 Comment ..................................................... 70
7. Culture as a concept of eighteenth-century F-IV . Residual category definitions................ 70
general history ............................................... 18 Comment ..................................................... 71
8. Kant to H egel............................................... 23 GRO UP G : IN C O M P LETE D EFIN ITIO N S 72
9. Analysis of Klemm’s use of the word “Cul- Comment ..................................................... 71
tur” ............................................ IN D EX24 ES T O D E F IN IT IO N S ....................... 73
10. The concept of culture in Germany since A : Authors ..................................................... 73
1850 ....................................... 26
B: Conceptual elements in definitions 74
11. "Kultur” and “Schrecklichkeit” ................... 28 Words not included in Index B .................. 78
iz. Danilevsky ..................................................... 29 P A R T I I I : SO M E S T A T E M E N T S AB O U T
13. “ Culture” in the humanities in England and C U L T U R E ........... .................................. 83
elsewhere......................................................... 29 IN TR O D U C TIO N .......................................... 83
14. Dictionary definitions................................... 33
G RO UP a: T H E N A T U R E OF C U L T U R E 84
ly. General discussion........................................ 3y
Comment .............................................. ......... 92
Addendum: Febvre on civilisation .................... 37
P A R T I I : D E F I N I T I O N S ......................... 41 T U R E .......................................................... 95
IN TR O D U CTIO N ............................................. 41 Comment ......................................................... 97
GROUP A : D E S C R IP T IV E ............................. 43 GRO UP c: D ISTIN CT IY E PROPERTIES OF
Broad definitions with emphasL. on enumera­
C U L T U R E .................................................. 99
tion of content: usually influenced by TH ur 43 Comment ......................................................... 100
Comment ........................................................ 44 Summary of properties................................ 101
GROUP B: H I S T O R I C A L ............................... 47 GRO UP d: C U L T U R E AND PSYCH O LO GY 102
Emphasis on social heritage or tradition . . ; . . . 47 ^
Comment ......................................................... 109
Comment ........................................................ 48
GR O U P e: C U L T U R E A N D L A N G U A G E ny
GRO UP C: N O R M A T I V E ............................... yo
Comment ......................................................... 123
C-I. Emphasis on rule or way ......................... yo
Comment ........................................................ 51
o n . Emphasis on ideals or values plus be­
M E N T , A N D A R T I F A C T S ..................... i2y
havior ............................................................. ya
Comment ........................................................ >31
Comment .................................................... y3
A D D E N D A ....................................................... 139
GROUP D: P S Y C H O L O G IC A L ...................... 55
IN D EX T O A U T H O R S IN P A R T I I I 141
D-I. Emphasis on adjustment, on culture as a
problem-solving device.................................. yy+• P A R T IV : SU M M A R Y AND CO N CLU ­
Comment ........................................................ y<5 S IO N S ......................................................... >4y
D-II. Emphasis on learning ............................... 58 A: SU M M A R Y ................................................ 143
Comment ........................................................ y9 Word and concept.......................................... »4y ~
D-III. Emphasis on h abit.................................... 60 Philosophy of history..................................... 143
Comment ........................................................ 60 Use of culture in G erm any............................ 146
D T V . Purely psychological definitions ........... 60 Spread of the concept and resistances............ 146 f
Comment ........................................................ 60 Culture and civilization................................... 147
Culture as an emergent or level...................... 148 Significance and values.................................... 171
Definitions of culture >49 ^ Values and relativity....................................... 174
Before and after 19 2 0 ...................................... 149 C: CO N CLU SIO N ........................................... 180
The place of Tylor and W issler...................... 150 A final review of the conceptual problem 180
The course of post-1920 definitions............... 152 Review of aspects of our own posiDon 184
Rank order of elements entering into post- R EFER EN C E S ...................................................... 193
1930 definitions............................................. 153 APPEN DICES ....................................................... 207
Number of elements entering into single defi­ APPENDIX A: H ISTO R ICA L N O T E S ON
nitions ........................................................... IJ4 ID EO LO G ICAL A S P E C T S OF T H E
Final comments on definitions........................ 154 C O N C E P T OF C U L T U R E IN G E R ­
Statements about culture................................. 157 M A N Y A N D RUSSIA, by Alfred G.
B: G E N E R A L F E A T U R E S OF C U L T U R E . 159 M e y e r ........................................................... 207
Integration ....................................................... 159 APPEN DIX B: T H E U SE Or T H E T E R M
Historicity ....................................................... 159 C U L T U R E IN T H E S O V IE T U N IO N
Uniformities .................................................... 162 by Alfred G. M e y e r .................................. 213
Causality ........................................................... 165 IN D E X OF N A M E S OF P E R S O N S ................ 221



he “ culture concept of the anthropologists demn as deserving punishment.” We find the

T and sociologists is coming to be regarded
as the foundation stone of the social sciences.”
notion in more refined form in De -cartes’ Dis­
course on Method:
This recent statement by Stuart Chase 1 will . . . While traveling, having realized that all those
not be agreed to, at least not without reserva­ who have attitudes very different from our own are
tion, by all social scientists,2 but few intellec­ not for that reason barbarians or savages but are as
tuals will challenge the statement that the idea rational or more so than ourselves, and having con­
of culture, in the technical anthropological sidered how greatly the self-same person with the
sense, is one of the key notions of contem­ self-same mind who had grown up from infancy
porary American thovig it. In explanatory im­ among the French or Germans would become
portance and in generality of application it is different from what he would have been if he had
comparable to such categories as gravity in always lived among the Chinese or the cannibals . . .
I found myself forced to try myself to see things
physics, disease in medicine, evolution in biol­
from their point of view.
ogy. Psychiatrists and psychologists, and, more
recently, even some economists and lawyers, In Pico della Mirandola, Pascal, and Montes­
have come to tack on the qualifying phrase quieu one can point to some nice approxima­
“ in our culture” to their generalizations, even tions of modem anthropological thinking.
though one suspects it is often done mechani­ Pascal, for example, wrote:
cally in the same way that mediaeval men added
a precautionary “ God Willing” to their utter­ I am very much afraid that this so-called nature
may itself be no more than an early custom, just as
ances. Philosophers are increasingly concerned
custom is second nature . . . Undoubtedly nature is
with the cultural dimension to .heir studies of not altogether uniform. It b custom that produces
logic, values, and aest^eti :s, and indeed with the thb, for it constrains nature. But sometimes nature
ontology and epistemology of the concept it­ overcomes it, and confines man to his instinct, despite
self. The notion has become part of the stock every custom, good or bad.
in trade of social workers and of all those occu­
pied with the practical problems of minority Voltaire’s 3 “ Essai sur les moeurs et i’esprit dcs
groups and dependent peoples. Important re­ nations” is also to the point. To press these
search in medicine and in nutrition is oriented adumbrations too far, however, is like insisting
in cultural terms. Literary men are writing that Phro anticipated Freud’s crucial concept
essays and little books about culture. of the unconscious because he made an in­
The broad underlying idea is not new, of sightful remark about the relation between
course. The Bible, Homer, Hippocrates, He­ dreams and suppressed desire.
rodotus, Chinese scholars of the Han dynasty By the nineteenth century the basic notion
— to take only some of the more obvious was ready to crystallize in an explicit, general­
examples — showed an interest in the distinc­ ized form. The emergence of the German
tive fife-ways of different peoples. Boethius’ word, Kultur, is reviewed in the nett section,
Consolations of Philosophy contains a crude Part I. In developing the notion of the “ super-
statement of the principle of cultural rela­ organic,” Spencer presaged one of the primary
tivity: “ The customs and laws of diverse na­ anthropological conceptions of culture, al­
tions do so much differ that the same thing though he himself used the word “ culture”
which some commend as laudable, others con­ only occasionally and casually.4 The publica-

1 Chase, 1948, 59. 4In a secondary source we have seen the following
•Malinowski has referred to culture as “ the most definition of culture attributed to Spencer: “Culture
central problem of all social science” (1939, 588). b the sum total of human achievement.” No citation
Curiously enough, this claim has also been made by a of book or page b made, and we have been unable to
number of sociologists — in fact, by more sociologists locate this definition in Spencer’s writings. Usually,
than anthropologists, so far as our evidence goes. certainly, he treats culture in roughly the sense em­
•C f. Honigsheim, 1945. ployed by Matthew Arnold and other English human-
don daces of E. B. T ylor’s Primitive Culture dentally the richness of such a concept. Concern
and of Walter Bagehot’s Physics and Politics was rife over the birth of culture, its growth and
are 1871 and 1872. Bagehot’s “ cake of custom” wanderings and contacts, its matings and fertiliza­
tions, its maturity and decay. In direct proportion
is, in essence, very similar to Tylor’s “ culture.”
to their impatience with the classical tradition an­
The latter slowly became established as the thropologists became the anatomists and biographers
technical term because of the historical asso­ of culture.
ciations of the word and because Tylor de­
fined its generic implications both more sharply To follow the history’ of a concept, its dif­
and more abstractly. fusion between countries and academic disci­
Even in this century after “ culture” was plines, its modifications under the impact of
fairly well established in intellectual circles as broader intellectual movements, is a charac­
a technical term, certain well-known thinkers teristically anthropological undertaking. Our
have not used the word though employing purpose is several-fold. First, we wish to make
highly similar concepts. Graham Wallas, while available in one place for purposes of refer­
familiar with anthropological literature, avoids ence a collection of definitions by anthropolo­
the term “ culture” (he occasionally uses “ civi­ gists, sociologists, psychologists, philosophers,
lization” — without definition) in his books, and others. The collection is not exhaustive,
The Great Society (1914) and Our Social but it perhaps approaches exhaustiveness for
Heritage (1921). However, his concept of English and American social scientists of the
“social heritage” is equivalent to certain defi­ past generation. We present, thus, some
nitions of culture: sources for a case study in one aspect of re­
Our social heritage consists of that part of our cent intellectual history’. Second, we are docu­
“ nurture” which we acquire by the social process of menting the gradual emergence and refinement
teaching and learning. (1921, 7) of a concept we believe to be of great actual
and still greater potential significance. Third,
The anthropologist, M. F. Ashlev-iMontagu, we hope to assist other investigators in reach­
has recently assexted that Alfrtd Korzybski’s ing agreement and greater precision in defi­
concept of time-binding (in Manhood of Hu­ nition bv’ pointing out and commenting upon
manity, 1921) “ is virtu-dly identical with the agreements and disagreements in the definitions
anthropologist’s concept of culture.” (1951, thus far propounded. Considering that the
25I> concept has had a name for less than eighty
The editorial staff of the Encyclopedia of years and that until very recently only a hand­
the Social Sciences (vol. I, p. 202) in their ful of scholars were interested in the idea, it
article on “ War and Reorientation” correctly is not surprising that full agreement and preci­
describes the position reached by the anthro­ sion has not yet been attained. Possibly it is
pological profession at about 1930: inevitable and even desirable that representa­
The principal positive theoretical position of the tives of different disciplines should emphasize
early decades of the 20th century was the glorification different criteria and utilize varying shades of
of culture. The word loomed more important than meaning. But one thing is clear to us from
any other in the literature and in the consciousness our survey: it is time for a stock-taking, for a
of anthropologists. Culture traits, culture complexes, comparing of notes, for conscious awareness
culture types, culture centers, culture areas, culture
of the range of variation. Otherwise the no­
circles, culture patterns, culture migrations, cultural
convergences, cultural diffusion — these segments
tion that is conveyed to the wider company of
and variants point to an attempt to grapple rigorously educated men will be so loose, so diffuse as to
with an elusive and fluid concept and suggest inci­ promote confusion rather than clarity.5 More­

ists. For example, "taken in its widest sense culture over the proper pathway of inquiry and knowledge.”
means preparation for complete living” (1895, 514). * One sometimes feels that A. Lawrence Lowell’s
Cf. George Eliot’s Silas Marner, Chapter I: “ . . . Silas remarks about the humanistic concept of culture is
was both sane and honest, though, as with many almost equally applicable to the anthropological:
honest fervent men, culture had not defined any chan­ ” . . . I have been entrusted with the difficult task of
nels for his sense of mystery, and it [ric] spread itself speaking about culture. But there is nothing in the
over, as Opler has pointed out, the sense given too tinged with valuations. The German so­
the concept is a matter of considerable prac­ ciologist, Leopold von Wiese, says “ . . . the
tical importance now that culture theory un­ word should be avoided entirely in descriptive
derlies much psychiatric therapy as well as the sociology' . . (1939, pp. 593-94). Lundberg
handling of minority problems, dependent characterizes the concept as “ vague” (1939,
peoples, and even some approaches in the p. 179). In the glossary of technical terms in
fiela of international relations: • Chappie and Coon’s Principles of Anthropol­
ogy the word “ culture” is conspicuous by its
The discovery and popularization of the concept
deliberate absence.® Radcliffe-Brown and cer­
of culture has led to a many-sided analysis of it and
to the elaboration of a number of diverse theories.
tain British social anthropologists influenced
Since aberrants and the psychologically disturbed are by him tend to avoid the word.
often at loggerheads with their cultures, the attitude We begin in Part I with a semantic history
toward them and toward their treatment is bound to of the word “ culture” and some remarks on
be influenced by the view of culture which is the related concept “ civilization.” In Part II
accepted . . . it is obvious that the reactions which we then list definitions, grouped according to
stem from different conceptions of culture may principal conceptual emphasis, though this
range all the way from condemnation of the unhappy arrangement tends to have a rough chrono­
individual and confidence in the righteousness of the
logical order as well. Comments follow each
cultural dictate, to sharp criticism of the demanding
society and great compassion for the person who has
category of definitions, and Part II concludes
not been able to come to terms with it. (1947, 14) with various analytical indices. Part III con­
tains statements about culture longer or more
Indeed a few sociologists and even anthro­ discursive than definitions. These arc classi­
pologists have already, either implicitly or ex- fied, and each class is followed by comment by
plictly, rejected the concept of culture as so ourselves. Part IV consists of our general con­
broad as to be useless in scientific discourse or clusions.

world more elusive. One cannot analyze it, for its

components are infinite. One cannot describe it, for it within one’s grasp.” (1934, i i j )
is a Protean in shape. An attempt to encompass its * Except that on p. 695 two possible deletions were
meaning in words is like trying to seize the air in overlooked, and on p. 580 the adjective cultural sur­
the hand, when one finds that it is everywhere except vived editing.

tempo of their influence on even the avowedly

A s a preliminary to our review of the
various definitions u hich have been given
of culture as a basic concept in modem an­
literate segment of their society. Tylor, after
some hesitation as against “ civilization,” bor­
thropology, sociology, and psychology, we rowed the word culture from German, where
submit some facts on the general semantic by his time it had become well recognized
history of the word culture — and its near- with the meaning here under discussion, by a
synonym civilization — in the period when growth out of the older meaning of cultiva­
they were gradually acquiring their present- tion. In French the modem anthropological
day, technical social-science meaning. meaning of culture 1 has not yet been generally
Briefly, the word culture with its modem accepted as standard, or is admitted only with
technical or anthropological meaning was reluctance, in scientific and scholarly circles,
established in English by Tylor in 1871, though the adjective cultural is sometimes so
though it seems not to have penetrated to any used.2 Most other Western languages, includ­
general or “complete” British or American dic­ ing Spanish, as well as Russian, follow the
tionary until more than fifty years later — a usaije of German and of American English in
® *
piece of cultural lag that may help to keep employing culture.3
anthropologists humble in estimating the Jan Huizinga says: 4
What do we mean by Culture? The word has
l TonneIat (Civilisation: Le Mot et VIdee, p. 61. emanated from Germany. It has long since been
See Addendum, pp. 37-8, of this monograph) says accepted by the Dutch, the Scandinavian and the
of the development of the more general sense of Slavonic languages, while in Spain, Italy, and America
culture in French: “ . . . il faudrait distinguer entre ic has also achieved full standing. Only in French
Pemploi du xvii* siec’e et celui du xviii': au xvii* and English does it still meet v. ith a certain resistance
siicle, le mot ‘culture’ — pris dans son sense abstrait in spite of . a currency in some well-defined and tra­
— aurait toujours ete accompagne d’un complement ditional meanings. Ac lease it is not unconditionally
grammatical designant la matiere cultivee: de meme
interchangeable with civilization in thes: two lan­
ue 1’on disait ‘la culture du ble,’ on disait ‘la culture
es lettres, la culture des sciences.’ Au contraire, des guages. This is no accident. Because of the old and
£crivains du xviiie siccle, commc Vauvenargucs et abundant djvelopment of their scientific vocabulary,
Voltaire, auraient ete les premiers a employer Ic mot French and English had far less need to rely on the
(Tune fa£on en quelque sorte absolue, en lui donnant German example for their modem scientific nomencla­
le sense de ‘form ition de 1’esprit.’ Volraire, par ex- ture than most other European languages, which
emple, ecrit dans la Henriade, en parlant de Charles throughout the nineteenth century fed in increasing
IX: degree on the rich table of German phraseology.
Des premiers ans du roi la funeste culture
hTavait que trop en lui combattu la nature.”
Febvre (1930, discussion on Tonnelat, p. 74) remarks: “certainemenc un caique direct du fran^ais culture”
“La notion allemande de Kultur enricnit et complete Febvre (1930, pp. 38-39) takes a similar view, citing
la notion fran£aise de civilisation.” In the same dis­ especially the parallels between the 1762 definition of
cussion Saen adds: “ Le mot culture, dans l’acception the Academy’s dictionary and that in Adclung’s
de Herder, a passe en France par l’intermediaire (1793 edition). The present authors agree that both
dTdgar Quinet. Cependant Condorcet a deja propage civilization and culture were probably used in French
en France des idees analogues a cellcs de Herder.” before they were used in either English or German.
'T h e French Academy’s Eighth or 1932 edition of Our main point here is that for the generalized con­
its Dictionary gives “ l’application qu’on met a per- cept— sometimes called the ethnographic or anthro­
fectionner. . . then: “culture generate, ensemble pological sense, which did not emerge until the nine­
de cortnaissances. . . and finally: “ par extension de teenth century — the French came to use the word
ces deux dernier sens. Culture est quelqucfois main- Civilization, the Germans Cultur and later Kultur,
tenant synonyme de Civilisation. Culture greco- and that English usage divided, the British unani­
latine. . . .” Today many of the younger French mously employing Civdization until Tylor, and in part
anthropologists use the word as freely as do English thereafter to Toynbee, but Americans accepting Cul­
and American. ture without reluctance.
'Tonnelat (Civilisation: Le Mot et Tldee, p. 61. 4 Huizinga, 1936, pp. 39-40. Huizinga does not pro­
See Addendum to our Part I) says that Kultur is ceed to a systematic definition of his own.
According to German Arciniegas, Paul w'orks is a history of Culture, the latter a
Hazard observes that the German word Kultur science of it. The first sentence of the 1843
does not occur in 1774 in the first edition of work says that his purpose is to represent the
the German dictionary, but appear7- only in the gradual development of mankind as an entity
1793 one.8 For some reason, Grimm’s Deut­ — “ die allmahliche Entwickelung der Mensch-
sches Worterbuch8 does not give the word heit als eines Individuums.” On page 18 of the
cither under “ C” or “ K ” in the volumes that same volume Klemm says that “ it was Voltaire
appeared respectively in i860 and 1873, al­ who first put aside dynasties, king lists, and
though such obvious loan words as Creatur battles, ana sought what is essential in history,
and cujoniren are included, and although the namely culture, as it is manifest in customs, in
word had been in wide use by classic German beliefs, and in forms of government.” Klemm’s
authors for nearly a century before. Kant, for understanding and use of the word “ culture”
instance, like most of his contemporaries, still are examined in detail in § 9 of Part I.
spells the word Cultur, but uses it repeatedly, That Klemm7 influenced Tylor is un­
always with the meaning of cultivating or questionable. In his Researches, 1865, at the
becoming cultured — which, as we shall see, end of Chapter I on page 13, Tylor’s refer­
was also the older meaning of civilization. ences include “ the invaluable collection of
The earlier usages of the word culture in facts bearing on the history of civilization in
German are examined in detail below. the ‘Allgemeine Cultur-geschichte der
The ethnographic and modem scientific Menschheit,’ and ‘Allgemeine Culturwissen-
sense of the word culture, which no longer schaft,’ of the late Dr. Gustav Klemm, of
refers primarily to the process of cultivation Dresden.” In his Researches Tylor uses the
or the degree to which it has been carried, word culture at least twice (on pages 4 and
but to a state or condition, sometimes des­ 369) as if trying it out, or feeling his way,
cribed as extraorganic or superorganic, in though his usual term still is civilization (pp.
which all human societies share even though 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. . . . 361).
their particular cultures may show very great The tenth volume (1920) of Wundts
qualitative differences — this modern sense we Volkerpsychologies is entitled “ Kultur und
have been able to trace back to Klemm in Geschichte,” and pages 3-36 are devoted to
1843, from whom Tylor appears to have in­ The Concept of Culture. Wundt gives no
troduced the meaning D into English.
O formal definition, but discusses the origin of
Gustav E. Klemm, 180: 67, published in the term and the development of the concept.
1843 the first volume of his AHgmncine Cultur- The w’ord is from colere, whence cultus, as
geschickte der Menschkcit, which was com­ in cultus deorum and cultus agri, which latter
pleted in ten volumes in 1852. In 1854 and becime also cultura agri. From this there de­
1855 he published Allgemeine Cultiemsissen- veloped the mediaeval cultura mentis;9 from
schaft in two volumes. The first of these which grew’ the dual concepts of geistige and

•Arciniegas, 1947, p. 146. “ Le mot ‘Kultur’ — qui, •N o t to be confused, of course, with his one-vol­
en allemand, correspond en principe a ‘civilisa­ ume Elemente der Volkerpsychologie, 1912, which on
tion’ . . The 1774 and 1793 dictionaries are pre­ account of its briefer compass and translation into
sumably Adelung’s. He spells Cultur, not Kultur. English is often mis-cited for the larger work. This
His definition is given below. latter is described in its subtitle as: An Inquiry into
•Grimm, i860, contains curios as well as Creatur. Laws of Development; the shorter work as: Outline
In the lengthy introduction by J. Grimm there is of a Psychological History of the Development of
nothing said about deliberate omission of words of Mankind. The one-volume work is actually an evolu-
foreign origin (as indeed all with initial “ C ” are tionistic quasi-history in the frame of four stages —
foreign). There is some condemnation of former the ages of primitiveness, toremism, heroes and gods,
unnecessary borrowings, but equal condemnation of and development to humanity.
attempts at indiscriminate throwing out of the lan­ •Actually, Cicero (Tusculan Disputations, 2, 5, 13)
guage of well-established and useful w'ords of foreign wrote “cultura animi philosophia est.” Cultus meant
origin. “care directed to the refinement of life” and was also
TAn evaluation of Klemm’s work is given by R. H. used for “style of dress,” “external appearance and
Lowie, 1937, pp. 11-16. the like.”
materieUe Kultur. Wundt also discusses the ing to their intellectual performance — which
eighteenth-century nature-culture polarity last seems a bit crudely stated for 1920; how­
(l’homme naturel, Naturmensch); and he finds ever, it is clear that in actually dealing with
that the historian and the culture historian cultural phenomena in his ten volumes, Wundt
differ in evaluating men’s deeds respectively conceived of culture in the modern way.10
according to their power or might ana accord­

Gvilization is an older word than culture If Kant stuck by this distinction, his culti­
in both French and English, and for that vated refers to intrinsic improvement of the
matter in German. Thus, Wundt11 has Latin person, his civilized to improvements of social
civis, citizen, giving rise to civitas, city-state, interrelations (interpersonal relations). He is
and civilitas, citizenship; whence Mediaeval perhaps here remaining close to the original
civitabilis [in the sense of entitled to citizen­ sense of French civiliscr with its emphasis on
ship, urbanizable], and Romance language pleasant manners (cf. poli, politesse) and the
words based on civilisatio-12 According to English core of meaning which made Samuel
Wundt, Jean Bodin, 1530-96, first used civiliza­ Johnson prefer “ civility” to civilization.
tion in its modem sense. In English, civiliza­ The French verb civiliser was in use by
tion was associated with the notion of the 1694, according to Havelock Ellis,15 with the
task of civilizing others. In eighteenth-century sense of polishing manners, rendering sociable,
German,13 the word civilization still empha­ or becoming urbane as a result of city life.
sized relation to the state, somewhat as in the According to Arciniegas, the Encyclopedic
English verb to civilize, viz., to spread political Fran^aise says: “ Civiliser une nation, c’cst la
[sic] 14 development to other peoples. So far faire passer de l’etat primitif, naturel, a un ctat
Wundt. plus evolue de culture 18 morale, intellcctuelle,
Grimm’s Wdrtcrbiich gives: civilisieren: socinle . . . [car] le mot civiliser s’opposc £
erudire, ad humanitatem informare, and cites barbaric.” 17 As to the noun civilisation,
Kant (4:304): “W ir sind .. . durch Kunst unu Arciniegas says that the dictionary of the
Wissenschaft cultiviert, wir sind civilisiert . . . French Academy first admitted it in the 1H35
zu allcrlei gescllschaftlichcr Artigkeit und edition. C. Funck-Brcntano makes the date
Anstandigkeit . . . ” (We become cultivated 1838 for French “ dictionaries,” but adds that
through art and science, we become civilized there is one pre-nineteenth-ccntury use known,
[by attaining] to a variety of social graces and Turgot’s: ‘ Au commencement de la civilisa­
refinements [or decencies]). tion.” 18

“ In the remainder of the section on The Con­ “ However, we find that the 1733 Universal-Lexi­
cept of Culture, Wundt discusses nationality, human­ con oiler Wissenschaften und Kiinste, Halle und
ity, and civilization. Here he makes one distinction Leipzig, has no articles on either civilization or cul­
which is sometimes implicit as a nuance in the English ture.
as well as the German usage of the words. Culture, “ Governmental control as a means to Christianity,
Wundt says, tends to isolate or segregate itself on morality, trade?
national lines, civilization to spread its content to “ Ellis, 1923, p. 288.
other nations; hence cultures which have developed “ In the sense of cultivation, cultivating.
out of civilizations, which derive from them, remain “ Arciniegas, 1947, pp. 145-46. He docs not state
dependent on other cultures. Wundt means that, for under what head this quotation is to be found, and
instance, Polish culture which in the main is derivative we have not found it — see next paragraph.
from European civilization, thereby is also more “ Funck-Brentano, 1947, p. 64. Both Arciniegas and
specifically derivative from (“ dependent on” ) the Funck-Brentano arc in error as to the date — it was
French, Italian, and German cultures. the 1798 edition; Turgot did not use the word; and
“ Wundt, 1910-20, vol. 10, ch. 1, 8 1. there was not only one instance but many of pre-
“ T o which Huizinga, 1945, p. 20, adds that the nineteenth century French usage of civilisation.
French verb civiliscr preceded the noun civilisation The history of the French word has been most
— that is, a word for the act of becoming civilized exhaustively reviewed by Lucicn Febvre in his essay
preceded one for the condition of being civilized. “Civilisation: Evolution d’un Mot et d’un Groupe
We find in the Encyclopedic 19 only a juristic biguous in implication, but Lubbock’s (Ave­
meaning for Civiliser, namely to change a bury’s) The Origin of Civilization, 1870,
criminal legal action into a civil one. The fol­ which dealt w*ith savages and not with refine­
lowing article is on c i v i l i t e , p o l i t e s s e , a f f a - ment, means approximately w*hat a modem
b ilite . Incidentally, culture appears as a anthropologist would mean by the phrase.22
heading only in c u l t u r e d e s t e r r e s , 2 0 pages Neither of these titles is referred to by the
long. In the French of the nineteenth century*, Oxford Dictionary, though phrases from both
civilisation is ordinarily used where German Buckle and Lubbock are cited — with context
would use Kultur. One can point to a few of Egypt and ants! It must be remembered
examples of the use of culture like Lavisse’s: that Tylor’s Researches into the Early History
“ leur culture etait toute livresque et scolaire;” 20 and Development of Mankind w*as five years
but it is evident that the meaning here is educa­ old when Lubbock published. The Oxford
tion, German Bildung, not culture in the an­ Dictionary’s own effort — in 19 33!— comes
thropological sense. to no more than this: “ A developed or ad­
Tne English language lagged a bit behind vanced state of hum in society*; a particular
French. In 1773, Samuel Johnson still ex­ stage or type of this.”
cluded civilization from his dictionary. Bos­ Huizinga 23 gives a learned and illuminating
well had urged its inclusion, but Johnson discussion of the Dutch term, beschaving,
preferred civility. Boswell21 notes for Mon­ literally shaving or polishing, and of its rela­
day, March 23, 1772: tions to civilization and culture. Beschaving
came up in the late eighteenth century with
I found him busy, preparing a fourth edition of
his folio Dictionary. He would not admit “ civiliza­
the sense of cultivation, came to denote also
tion,” but only “civility.” W 'th great deference to the condition of being cultivated, blocked the
him, I thought “ civilization” from “ to civilize,” better spread of civilisatie by acquiring the sense of
in the sense opposed to “barbarity,” than “ civility.” culture, but in the tyyentieth century was in­
creasingly displaced by culiuur.
This seems indicative of where the center of Huizinga also points out that Dante, in an
gravity of meaning of the word then lay. early work, “ II Convivio,” introduced into
John Ash, in his 1775 dictionary*, defines Italian civiltd from the Latin civil'tas, adding
civilization as “ the state of being . viiized, the a new connotation to the Latin original which
act of civilizing.” Buckle’s use of the noun made it, in Huizinga’s opinion, a “specific and
in the title of his History of Civilization in clear” term for the concept of culture.
England, 1857, might still be somewhat am­

d’ldees,” forming pages 1-55 of the volume Civilisa­ borrowed from the French.
tion: Le Mot et Fldee, 1930, which constitutes the “ W e had available the 1780-81 edition published
Deuxiime Fascicule of the Premiere Semaine of in Lausanne and Beme. Ch'iliser is in vol. 8. Accord­
Centre International de Synthcse, and which presents ing to Berr’s discussion on Febvre, 1930 (as just cited in
the best-documented discus- ion we have seen. W e full in our note 18), p. 59, the participle from this verb
summarize this in an Addendum to the present Part is used already by Descartes (Discourse on Method,
I. On pages 3-7 Febvre concludes that Turgot himself - Part II).
did not use the word, that it was introduced into the “ Lavisse, 1900-n, vol. VII, I, p. 30, cited by
published text by Turgot’s pupil, Dupont de Nemours. Huizinga, 1945, p. 24. The reference is to the seven­
The first publication of tne word civilisation in teenth-century “ noblesse de robe.”
French, according to Febvre, was in Amsterdam in “ Quoted in Huizinga, 1945, p. 21; also in New
1766 in a volume entitled VAntiquite Devoilee par ses English (Oxford) Dictionary, vol. 2, 1893, “Civiliza­
Usages. Febvre also establishes by a number of cita­ tion,” under “ 1772 — Boswell, Johnson, X X V .”
tions that by 1798 the w’ord was fairly well established ” For instance, Goldenw’eiser, Early Civilization,
in French scholarly literature. Finally (pp. 8-9), he 1922.
makes a case for the view that the English word was “ Huizinga, 1945, pp. 18-33. Dante’s Civilta, p. 22.
The usage of “ culture” and “ civilization” writers repeatedly use the locutions “ culture,
in various languages has been confusing.24 or civilization,” “ civilization, or culture.”
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines both Sumner and Keller follow this practice, but in
“ culture” and “ civilization” in terms of the at least one place make it plain that there is
other. “ Culture” is said to be a particular state still a shade of difference in their conception:
or stage of advancement in civilization. The adjustments of society which we call civiliza­
“ Civilization” is called an advancement or a tion form a much more complex aggregation than
state of social culture. In both popular and does the culture that went before . . . (1927, 2189)
literary English the tendency has been to treat
them as near synonyms,25 though “ civiliza­ Occasional writers incline to regard civiliza­
tion” has sometimes been restricted to “ ad­ tion as the culture of societies characterized by
vanced” or “ high” cultures. On the whole, cities — that is, they attempt or imply an
this tendency is also reflected in the literature operational definition based upon etymology.
of social science. Goldenweiser’s 1922 intro­ Sometimes there is a tendency to use the term
duction to anthropology is called Early Civil­ civilization chiefly for literate cultures:
ization and all index references to “ culture” Chinese civilization but Eskimo culture — yet
are subsumed under “ civilization.” Some without rigor or insistence of demarcation.


Certain sociologists have attempted a sharp utilization of the materials and forces of nature.
opposition between the two terms. These (1903, 18)
seem to have derived from German thought.
Lester Ward writes: In a book published two years later, Albion
Small expresses himself along not dissimilar
W e have not in the English language the same dis­ lines:
tinction between civilization and culture that exists
in the German language. Certain ethnologists affect What, then, is “ culture (Kultur) in the German
to make this distinction, but they are not understood sense? T o be sure, the Germans themselves are not
by the public. Tile German express K ntrg<*- wholly consistent in their u. e of the term, but it has
schichte is nearly equivalent to the English expression a technical sense which it is necessary to define. In
history of civilization. Yet they are not synonymous, the first place, "culture” is a condition or achievement
since the German term is confined to the material possessed by society. It is not individual. Our
conditions [nV!], while the English expression may phrase “ a cultured person” does not employ the
and usually does include psychic, moral, and spiritual term in the German sense. For that, German usage
phenomena. T o translate the German Kultur we arc has another word, gebildet, and the peculiar possession
obliged to say material civilization [sic1.]. Culture in of the gebildeter Mann is not “ culture,” but Bildung.
English has come to mean something entirely different, If we should accept the C erman term “ culture” in its
corresponding to the humanities [sic]. But Kultur also technical sense, we should have no better equivalent
relates to the arts of savages and barbaric peoples, for Bildung, etc., than “education” and “ educated,”
which are not included in any use of civilization which convey too much of the association of school
since that term in itself denotes a stage of advance­ discipline to render the German conception in its
ment higher than savagery or barbarism. These entire scope. A t all events, whatever names we adopt,
stages are even popularly known as stages of culture, there is such social possession, different from die
where the word culture becomes clearly synonymous individual state, which consists of adaptation in
with the German Kultur. thought and action to the conditions of life.
T o repeat again the definition that I formulated Again, the Germans distinguish between “ culture”
twenty years ago: material civilization consists in the and “ civilization.” Thus “civilization is the ennobling.

“ For a thoughtful discussion, see Dennes, 1942.

“ This statement, of course, does not apply to “culture” with “ refinement,” “sophistication,” “ leam-
one popular usage, namely that which identifies ing” in some individuals as opposed to others.
the increased control of the elementary human im­ butcs to civilization and culture. The civilizational
pulses by society. Culture, on the other hand, is the aspects tend to be more accumulative, more readily
control of nature by science and art ” That is, diffused, more susceptible of agreement in evaluation
civilization is one side of what we call politics; and more continuous in development than the cul­
culture is our whole body of technical equipment, tural aspect . . . Again, both avoid a narrow de­
in the way of knowledge, process, and skill for terminism and indicate that substantial interaction
subduing and employing natural resources, and it occurs between the two realms.
does not necessarily imply a high degree of socializa­ This last point is especially significant. For insofar
tion. (1905, 59-60) as he ignores the full significance of the concrete
effects of such interdependence, Weber virtually
Another American sociologist, writing some reverts to a theory of progress. The fact which must
twenty-five years later, seizes upon an almost be borne in mind is that accumulation is but an
opposite German conception, that developed abstractly immanent characteristic of civilization.
primarily by Alfred Weber in his Prinzipielles Hence, concrete movements which always involve
the interaction with other spheres need not embody
zur Kultursoziologie. Maclver thus equates
such a development. The rate of accumulation is
“civilization” with means, and “ culture” with influenced by social and cultural elements so that
ends: in societies where cultural values are inimical to the
cultivation of civilization, the rate of development
. . . The contrast between means and ends, between
may be negligible . . .
the apparatus of living and the expressions of our
The basis for the accumulative nature of civilization
life. Tiie former we call civilization, the latter culture.
is readily apparent. Once given a cultural animus
By civilization, then, we mean the whole mechanism
which positively evaluates civilizational activity, ac­
and organization which man has devised in his
cumulation is inev:table. This tendency is rooted
endeavor to control the conditions of life . . . Culture
deep in the very nature of civilization as contrasted
on the other hand is the expression of our nature in
with culture. It is a peculiarity of civilizational activi­
our modes of living and thinking, in our everyday
ties that a set of operations can be so specifically de­
intercourse, in art, in literature, in religion, in recrea­
fined that the criteria of the attainment of the various
tion and enjoyment . . . The realm of culture . . . is
ends are clearly evident. Moreover, and this is a
the realm of values, of styles, of emotional attach­
further consideration which Weber overlooks en­
ments, of intellectual adventures. Culture then is the
tirely, the “ ends” which civilization serves are em­
antithesis of civilization. (1931, 126) “
pirically attainable*7. . .
Thus civilization is “ impersonal” and “ objective.”
Merton has criticized Maclver’s position, A scientific law can be verified by determining
provided a restatement of Wcbcr, and sup­ whether the specified relations uniformly evist. The
plied some refinements of his own: same operations will occasion the same results, no
matter who performs them . . .
. . . The essential difficulty with such a distinction
Culture, on the other hand, is thoroughly personal
[as Maclver’s] is that it is ultimately based upon
and subjective, simply because no fixed and clearly
differences in motivation. But different motives may
defined set of operations is available for determining
be basic to the same social activity or cultural activity
the desired result . . . It is this basic difference be­
. . . Obviously, a set of categories as flexible as this
tween the two fields which accounts for the cumula­
is inadequate, for social products tend to have the
tive nature of civilization and the unique (noncumula-
same social significance whatever the motivation of
tive) character of culture. (1936, 109-12)
those responsible for them.
Weber avoids this difficulty. Civilization is simply
Among others, Howard Odum, the well-
a body of practical and intellectual knowledge and
a collection of technical means for controlling nature.
known regional sociologist, makes much the
Culture comprises configurations of values, of norma­ same distinction as Merton (cf. e.g., Odum,
tive principles and ideals, which are historically 1947, esp. pp. 123, 281, 285). To him also
unique . . . civilization is impersonal, artificial, often des­
Both these authors [Maclver and A . Weber] agree tructive of the values of the folk. Odum was
in ascribing a series of sociologically relevant attri- heavily influenced by Toennies.
“ This conception is followed also in The Modem
State and in articles by Maclver, and is modified and 17 [Merton’s footnote] This fundamental point is
developed in his Social Causation 1941, which we implied by Maclver but is not discussed by him within
have discussed in Part III, Group b. the same context.
However, the anthropological conception, Lowie’s little book, Culture and Ethnology
stemming back to Tylor, has prevailed with (1917), and Wissler’s Man and Culture (1923),
the vast majority of American sociologists as seems to have made a good deal of difference.
opposed to such special contrasts between At any rate, the numerous articles 29 on culture
“ culture” and “ civilization.” Talcott Parsons and “ cultural sociology” which make their
— also under the influence of Alfred and Max appearance in sociological journals in the next
Weber — still employs the concept of “ cul­ ten years cit&-these books more frequently
ture” is a sense far more restricted than the than other anthropological sources, although
anthropological usage, but, as will be seen in there is also evidence of interest in Boas and
Part II, almost all of the numerous definitions in Wissler’s culture area concept.
in recent writings bv sociologists clearly re­ To summarize the history of the relations
volve about the anthropological concept of of the concepts of culture and civilization in
culture. This trend dates only to the nineteen- American sociology, there was first a phase in
twenties. Previously, culture was little used as which the two were contrasted, with culture
a systematic concept by American soci­ referring to material products and technology;
ologists.28 If it appeared in their books at all, then a phase in which the contrast was main­
it was as a casual synonym for “ civilization” or tained but the meanings reversed, technology
in contradistinction to this term. and science being now called civilization; and,
Ogbum’s Social Change: With Respect to beginmng more or less concurrently with this
Culture and Original Nature (1922) seems to second phase, there was also a swing to the
have been the first major work by an American nowr prevalent non-differentiation of the two
sociologist in which the anthropological con­ terms, as in most anthropological writing,
cept of culture was prominently employed. culture being the more usual term, and civiliza­
Ogburn studied with Boas and was influenced tion a synonym or near-synonym of it. In
by him. He appears also to have been cog­ anthropology, whether in the United States
nizant of Kroeber’s The Superorganic, 1917. or in Europe, there has apparently never
He cites Kroeber’s The Possibility of a Social existed anv serious impulse to use culture and
Psychology (1918). The appearance of civilization as contrastive terms.


This American sociological history is a of before we examine the main theme and
reflection of what went on in Germany, with development of usage in Germany.
the difference that there the equation of culture The last significant representative known to
and civilization had been made before their us of the usage of the noun culture to denote
distinction was attempted, and that the equat­ the material or technological component is
ing usage went on as a separate current even Barth.30 He credits Wilhelm von Humboldt,
while the distinction was being fought over. in his Kaavisprache, 1836,31 with being the first
The evidence for this history will now be to delimit the “ excessive breadth” which the
presented. We shall begin with the contrast concept of culture had assumed. Humboldt,
of the two concepts, as being a relatively minor he says, construed culture as the control of
incident which it will be expedient to dispose nature by science and by “ Kunst” (evidently

"Chugerman (1939) in his biography of Lester concept of culture as he knows it.

Ward states that Pure Sociology (1903) marks Ward’s "S e e Bernard (1926, 1930, 1931); Case (1924b,
transition from a naturalistic to a cultural approach. 1927); Chapin (1925); Ellwood (1927a, 1927b); Frank
C. A. Ellwood and H. E. Jensen in their introduction (1931); Krout (1932); Price (1930); Smith (1929);
to this volume also comment “ In effect, Ward holds in Stem (1929); Wallis (1929); Willey (1927a, 1927b,
Pure Sociology that sociology is a science of civiliza­ 1931). Abel (1930) views this trend wirh alarm as
tion or ‘culture’ which is built up at first accidentally does Gary in her chapter in the 1929 volume Trends
and unconsciously by the desires and purposes of in American Sociology. Gary cites Tylor’s definition
men, but is capable of being transformed by intelli­ and one of Wissler’s.
gent social purposes” (p. 4). But the anthropologist "Barth, 1922.
who reads Pure Sociology will hardly recognize the " Barth, 1922, vol. I, p. xxxvii.
in the sense of useful arts, viz., technology); izations as opposed to the factual, the con­
whereas civilization is a qualitative improve­ crete, and the mechanical arts.
ment, a “ Veredelung,” the increased control Barth also reckons on the same side Lippert
of elementary human impulses (Triebe) by — whose Kulturgeschiehte der Menschheit,
society. As a distinction, this is not too sharp; 1886, influenced Sumner and Keller — on the
and Humboldt’s own words obscure it further. ground that he postulates “Lebensfursorge” as
He speaks of civilization as “ die Vermensch- “ Grundantrieb” (subsistence provision con­
lichung der Volker in ihren ausseren Ein- stituting the basal drive), ana then derives
richtungen und Gebrauchen und der darauf from this primary impulse tools, skills, ideas
Bezug nabenden Gesinnung.” This might be [sic], and social institutions.33
Englished as “ the humanization of peoples in Barth’s own resume of the situation is that
their outer [manifest, visible, tangible, overt?] “ most often” culture refers to the sway of
arrangements [institutions] and customs and in man over nature, civilization to his sway over
their [sc. inner, spiritual] disposition relating himself; though he admits that there is con­
to these [institutions].” trary usage as well as the non-differentiating,
Next, Barth cites A. Schaeffle, 1875-78,32 inclusive meaning given to culture. It is clear
who gives the name of “ Gesittung” to what that in the sway-over-nature antithesis with
eventuates from human social development. sway-over-himself, the spirit of man is still
There is more connotation than denotation in being preserved as something intact and inde­
this German word, so that we find it impossi­ pendent of nature.
ble to translate it exactly However, a “ gesitte- It was into this current of nomenclature that
ter” man is one who conducts himself accord­ Ward and Small dipped.
ing to Sitte, custom (or mores), and is there­ Now for the contrary stream, which, al­
fore thoroughly human, non-brutish. The though overlapping in time, began and per­
word Gesittung thus seems essentially an en­ haps continued somewhat later, and to which
deavored substitution for the older one of Maclver and Merton are related. Here it is
culture. Schaeffle then divides Gesittung into civilization that is technological, culture that
culture and civilization, culture being, in his contains the spiritualities like religion and art.
own words, the “ sachliche Gchalt aller Gcsit- Toennies, in his Gemeinschaft und Gesell-
tung.” “ Sachlich” varies in English sense from schaft, first published in 1887,34 makes his
material to factual to relevant; “ sachliche primary dichotomy between community' and
Gehalt” probably means something close to the society, to w hich there corresponds a progress
“ concrete content” of “ Gesittung.” Schaeffle’s from what is socially “ organic” to what is
“ civilization,”, according to Barrb, refers to “ mechanical,” a transition from the culture
the interior of man, “ das Inncre des Mcn- of folk society (Volkstum) to the civilization
schen” ; it is the “ attainment and preservation of state organization (Staatstum). Culture
of the [cultural] sachliche Gehalt in the nobler comprises custom (Sitte), religion, and art:
forms of the struggle for existence.” This is civilization comprises law and science. Just as
as nebulous as Humboldt; and if we cue pass­ psychological development is seen as the step
ages of such indefinitcness from forgotten from Gemiit to Verstand and political de­
German authors, it is because it seems worth­ velopment that from Gemeinschaft to Gcsell-
while to show that the culture-civilization dis­ schaft, so Kultur is what precedes and begets
tinction is essentially a hang-over, on both Zivilisarion. There is some similarity to
sides of the argument, of the spirit-nature Irwing’s distinction between Kultur des Wil-
dichotomy — Geist und Natur — which so lens and Kultur des Verstandes. While
deeply penetrated German thought from the Toennies’ culture-civilization contrast is for­
eighteenth to the twentieth century. Hence mally secondary' to the Gemeinschaft-Gesell-
the ennoblements, the inwardnesses, the human- schaft polarity in Toennies’ thought, it is

mBau und Leben des sozialcn Korpers. mastery respectively over nature and over himself.
"Bcmheim’s Lehrbuch (6th edition, 1914, p. 60) “ Later editions in 1912, 1910 — Barth’s summary
also has culture and civilization refer to man's in 1922, pp. 441-44.
implicit in this from the beginning. His frame Oppenheimer in 1922,3® reverting to
of distinction is social in terms, but the loading Schaeffle’s “ Gesittung,” makes civilization to
of the frame is largely cultural (in the anthro­ be the material, culture the spiritual content
pological sense of the word). (geistige Gehalt) of “ Gesittung.” T o art and
Alfred Weber’s address “ Der Soziologische religion, as expressions of culture, Oppen­
Kulturbegriff,” first read at the second Ger­ heimer adds science.40
man “ Soziologentag” in 1912,35 views the pro­ Meanwhile, the Alfred Weber distinction,
cess of civilization as a developmental continua­ with civilization viewed as the technological,
tion of biological processes in that it meets subsistential, and material facies, and culture as
necessities and serves the utilitarian objective the spiritual, emotional, and idealistic one,
of man’s control over nature. It is intellectual maintained itself in Germany. See Menghin,
and rational; it can be delayed, but not per­ 1931. and Tcssmann in 1930, as cited and
manently prevented from unfolding. By con­ discussed in Part III, b. Thurnwald, who
trast, culture is superstructural, produced from always believed in progress in the sense of
feeling; it works toward no immanent end; accumulation on ph\sically predetermined
its products are unique, plural, non-additive. stages, determined the locus of this as being
Eight years later Weber reworked this thesis situate in technology and allied activities, and
in Prinzipielles zur Kultursoziologie 36 in lan­ set this off as civilization. In his most recent
guage that is equally difficult, but in a form work (1950) the contrast between this
that is clearer than his first attempt, perhaps sphere of “ civilization” and the contrasting one
both because of more thorough thinking of residual “ culture” is the main theme, as the
through and because of a less cramping limita­ subtitle of the booklet shows: man’s “ ascent
tion of space. In this philosophical essay between reason and illusion.” See especially
Weber distinguishes three components: social our tabulation at the end of Part III, b.il
process, civilizational process, and cultural Nevertheless, it is evident that the con­
movement (or flow: Bewegung). It is this trasting of culture and civilization, \» ithin the
work to which Maclver and Merton refer in scope of a larger entity, was mainly an episode
the passages already cited.37 It should be in German thought. Basically it reflects, as
added that Weber’s 1920 essay contains evident we have said, the old spirit-nature or spirit-
reactions — generally negative — to Spengler’s matter dualism carried over into the field of
Uttergang that had appeared two years before. the growing recognition of culture. That it
Spengler in 1918 3S made civilization merely was essentially an incident is shown by the
a stage of culture — the final phase of sterile fact that the number of writers who made
crystallization and repetition of what earlier culture the material or technological aspect
was creative. Spenglcr’s basic view of culture is about as great as the number of those who
is d:scussed below (in § 10). called that same aspect civilization. More
“ Published, he says in “Verhandlungen 1 Serie
II.” It is reprinted in his Ideen zur Staats- und “ Thurnwald, 1950, p. 38: “The sequence of
Ktdtursoziologie, 1927, pp. 31-47. civilizational horizons represents progress.” Page
'Weber, 1910, vol. 47, pp. 1-49. Primarily histori­ 107: “ Civilization is to be construed as the equip­
cal in treatment is Weber’s book Kulturgeschichte als ment of dexterities and skills through which the
Kultursoziologie, 1935. accumulation of technology and knowledge takes
** A comment by Kroeber is being published under place. Culture operates with civilization as a means.”
the tide Reality Culture and Value Culture, No. 18 Legend facing plate 11: “ Civilization is to be under­
of The Nature of Culture, University of Chicago stood as the variation, elaboration, and perfection of
Press, 1952. devices, tools, utensils, skills, knowledge, and in­
“ Untergang des Abendlandes. The standard formation. Civilization thus refers to an essentially
translation by C. F. Atkinson as The Decline of the temporal chain of variable but accumulative progress
West was published in 1926 (vol. 1), 1928 (vol. 2), — an irreversible process . . . The same [civilizational]
*939 vols. in 1). object, when viewed as component of an associational
“ Oppenheimer, 1922, vol. 1. unity at a given time, that is, in synchronic section of
“ For Wundt’s distinction, see S >, especially its a consociation of particular human beings, appears
footnote 8. as a component in a culture.”
significant yet is the fact that probably a this major current, especially as this is the
still greater number of Germans than both one that ultimately prevailed in North America
the foregoing together used culture in the and Latin America, in Russia and Italy, in
inclusive sense in which we are using it in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, partially so
this book. in England, and is beginning to be felt in
We therefore return to consideration of long-resistive France.


At least three stages may be recognized in specific technical senses. After mentioning
the main stream of use of the term culture in “ pure cultures of bacilli,” the Dictionary says
Germany. that the original meaning was easily trans­
First, it appears toward the end of the ferred to the evocation or finishing (Aus-
eighteenth century in a group of universal bildung) and the refining of the capabilities
histories of which Herder’s is most famous. (Krafte) of man’s spirit and body — in other
In these, the idea of progress is well tempered words, the sense attained by the word by
by an intrinsic interest in the variety of forms 1780. No later meaning is mentioned, although
that culture has assumed. The slant is there­ the compound “ culture history” is mentioned.
fore comparative, sometimes even ethno­ H. Schulz, Deutsches Fremdieorterbuch,
graphic, and inclined toward relativism. 1913, says that the word Kultur was taken
Culture still means progress in cultivation, into German toward the end of the seventeenth
toward enlightenment; but the context is one century to denote spiritual culture, on the
from which it was only a step to the climate model of Cicero’s cultura animi, or the
of opinion in which Klemm wrote and the development or evocation (Ausbildung) of
word culture began to take on its modem man’s intellectual and moral capacities. In
meaning. the eighteenth century, he says, this concept
Second, beginning contemporaneously with was broadened by transfer from individuals
the first stage but persisting somewhat longer, to peoples or mankind. Thus it attained its
is a formal philosophic current, from Kant to modern sense of the totality (as E. Bernheim,
Hegel, in which culture was of decreasing 1889, Lehrbuch, p. 47, puts it) “ of the forms
interest. This was part of the last florescence and processes of social life, of the means and
of the concept of spirit. results of work, spiritual as well as material.”
The third phase, since about 1850, is that in This seems a fair summary of the history of
which culture came increasingly to have its the meanings of the word in German; as Bern-
modern meaning, in general intellectual as heim’s definition is the fair equivalent, for a
well as technical circles. Among its initiators German and a historian, of Tylor’s of eighteen
were Klemm the ethnographer and Burck- years earlier.
hardt the culture historian; and in its develop­ The earliest appearance of the term “ culture
ment there participated figures as distinct as the history,” according to Sehultz, is in Adelung’s
neo-Kantian Rickert and Spengler. Geschichte der Cultur, 1782 and, (discussed in
M. Hcyne’s Deutsches Worterbuch, 1890- § 7 and note 49), in the reversed order of
95, illustrates the lag of dictionary makers in words, in D. H. Hegewisch, Allgemeine Ueber-
all languages in seizing the modern broad sicht der tetitschen Culturgeschichte, 1788.
meaning of culture as compared with its

In its later course, the activity of eighteenth- best-known. This movement was particularly
century enlightenment found expression in strong in Germany and tended to make con­
attempts at universal histories of the develop­ siderable use of the term culture. It was allied
ment of mankind of which Herders is the to thinking about the “ philosophy of history,”
but not quite the same. The latter term was culture in his Philosophy of History, and
established in 1765 by Voltaire when he used civilization only once and incidentally.43 This
it as the title of on essay that in 1769 became fact is the more remarkable in that Hegel died
the introdicdon of the definitive edition of only twelve years44 before Klemm began to
his Essai sur les Moeitrs et rEsprit des publish. He could not have been ignorant of
Nations.** Voltaire and the Encyclopxdists the word culture, after Herder and Kant had
were incisive, reflective, inclined to comment used it: it was his thinking and interests that
philosophically. Their German counterparts were oriented away from it.
or successors tended rather to write systematic It must accordingly be concluded that the
and sometimes lengthy histories detailing how course of “ philosophy of history” forked in
man developed through time in all the conti­ Germany. One branch, the earlier, was in­
nents, and generally with more emphasis on his terested in the actual story' of what appeared
stages of development than on particular or to have happened to mankind. It therefore
personal events. Such stages of development bore heavily on customs and institutions, be­
would be traceable through subsistence, arts, came what we today should call culture-con­
beliefs, religion of various successive peoples: scious, and finally resulted in a somewhat
in short, through their customs, w hat we today diffuse ethnographic interest. From the very
would call their culture. The word culture beginning, however, mankind was viewed as
was in fact used by most of this group of an array or series of particular peoples. The
writers of universal history. To be sure, a other branch of philosophy of history became
close reading reveals that its precise meaning less interested in history and more in its
was that of “ degree to w'hich cultivation has supreme principle. It dealt increasingly W'ith
progressed.” But that meaning in turn grades mankind instead of peoples, it aimed at clari­
very easily and almost imperceptibly into the fying basic schemes, and it operated with the
modem sense of culture. In any event, these concept of “ spirit” instead of that of culture.
histories undoubtedly helped establish the word This second movement is of little further
in wide German usage, the shift in meaning concern to us here. But it will be profitable
then followed, until by the time of Klemm, in to examine the first current, in wrhich com­
1843, the present-day sense had been mainly parative, cultural, and ethnographic slants are
attained and was ready-made for Tylor, for visible from the beginning.
the Russians, and others. The principal figures to be reviewed are
In the present connection, the significant Irwing, Adclung, I Ierdcr, Meincrs, and Jenisch;
feature of these histories of mankind is that their work falls into the period from 1779
they were actual histories. They were per­ to 1801. First, how'ever, let us note briefly a
meated by, or aimed at, large ideas; but they somewhat earlier figure.
also contained masses of concrete fact, pre­ Isaac Iselin, a Swiss, published in Zurich in
sented in historical organization. It was a 1768 a History of Mankind** which seems not
different stream of thought from that which to contain the wrords culture or civilization.
resulted in true “ philosophies of history,” that The first of eight “ books” is given over to a
is, philosophizings about history, of which Psychological (“ psychologische” ) Considera­
Hegel became the most eminent representative. tion of Man, the second to the Condition
By comparison, this latter was a deductive, (Stand) of Nature (of Man — in Rousseau’s
transcendental movement; and it is significant sense, but not in agreement with him), the
that Hegel seems never to have used the word third to the Condition of Savagery, the fourth

" A s usually stated; e.g., in E. Bemhein\-Lebrbuch, systemarische Ausfiihrung des Verstandes [in gcbilde-
6th edition, 1914. But dates and titles are given vari­ tcr Sprache] sich abschleift und die Sprache hieran
ously, due no doubt in part to alterations, inclusions, irmer und ungebildeter wird.” (1920, 147; Allgem.
and reissues by Voltaire himself. Febvre, 1930, sum­ Einleirung, III, 2.)
marized in Addendum to our Part I, credits the 44 His Philosophy of History is a posthumous work,
Philosophic de PHistoire to 1736. based on his lecture notes and those of his students
" “Es ist femer ein Fakcum, dass mit fortschreiten- It was first published in 1837.
der Zivilisalion der Gese Usehaft und des Stoats diese “ Iselin, 1768 (Preface dated 1764, in Basel).
to the Beginnings of Good Breeding (Gesit­ ing phrase. Again: The more the capacities
tung, i.e., civilization). Books five to eight of man are worked upon (“ bearbeitet wer-
deal with the Progress of Society (Gesellig- den’ ) by culture (“ durch die Kultur” ) the
keit — sociability, association?) toward Civil more does man depart from the neutral con­
(biirgerlich, civilized?) Condition, the dition (“ Sinnesart” ) of animals. Here the
Oriental peoples, the Greeks and Romans, the near-reification of culture into a seemingly
Nations of Europe. The implicit idea of pro­ autonomous instrument is of interest. Culture
gress is evident. The polar catchwords are is a matter and degree of human perfection
Wildheit and Barbarey (Savagery and Bar­ (Vollkommenheit) that is properly attribut­
barism), on the one hand; on the other, able only to the human race or entire peoples:
Milderung der Sitten, Policirung, Erleuchtung, individuals are given only an education
Vcrbesserung, that is, Amelioration of Man­ (Erziehung), and it is through this that they
ners, Polishing (rather than Policing), Illum­ are brought to the degree (Grade) of culture
ination (i.e.. Enlightenment), Improvement. of their nation.48
The vocabulary is typical mid-eighteenth- Johann Christoph Adelung, 1732-1806, al­
century French or English Enlightenment ready mentioned as the author of the diction­
language put into German — quite different aries of 1774 and 1793, published anonymously
from the vocabulary of Adelung and Herder in 1782 an Essay on the History of Culture
only twenty-five to thirty years later: Cultur, of the Human Species*9 This is genuine if
Humanitat, Tradition are all lacking. While highly summarized history, and it is con­
Europe was everywhere groping toward con­ cerned primarily with culture, though political
cepts like those of progress and culture, these events are not wholly disregarded. The presen­
efforts were already segregating into fairly tation is in eight periods, each of which is
diverse streams, largely along national speech designated by a stage of individual human age,
lines. so that the idea of growth progress is not
K. F. von Irwing, 1725-1801, an Ober- only fundamental but explicit. The compari­
consistorialrat in Berlin, who introduces the son of stages
w of culture with stages
O of individ-
main German series, attempted, strictly speak­ ual development was of course revived by
ing, not so much a history of mankind as an Spengler, though Spengler also used the meta­
inquiry into man,48 especially his individual phor of the seasons.50 Adelung’s periods with
and social springs or impulses (“ Triebfedem’ their metaphorical designations are the follow­
or “Triebwerkc” ). He is of interest in the ing:
present connection on account of a long sec­
tion, his fourteenth, devoted to an essay on the 1. From origins to the flood. Mankind an embryo.
culture of mankind.47 Culture is cultivation, 2. From the flood to Moses. The human race a
child in its culture.
improvement, to Irwing. Thus: The improve­
3. From Moses to 683 b .c . The human race a boy.
ments and increases of human capacities and 4. 683 B .C. to a .d . 1 . Rapid blooming of youth of the
energies, or the sum of the perfecrings (Yro!k- human race.
kommenheiten) to which man can be raised 5. a .d . 1 to 400 (Migrations). Mankind an enlightened
from his original rudest condition — these con­ man (aufgeklaerter Mann).
stitute “ den allgemeinen Begriff der ganzen 6. 400-1096 (Crusades). A man’s heavy bodily labors.
Kultur ueberhaupt” — a very Kantian-sound- 7. 1096-1520 (1520, full enlightenment reached). A

* Irwing, 1777-85-
" V o l. 3, 5 184-207, pp. 88-372 (1779). This “ Adelung, 1782. Sickel, 1933, contains on pp. 145-
Abtheilung is entitled: “ Von der allgemeinen 209 a well-considered analysis of “Adelungs Kultur-
Veranlassung zu Begriffen, oder von den Triebwerken, theorie.” Sickel credits Adelung with being the first
wodurch die Mcnschen zum richtigen Gebrauch inquirer to attribute cultural advance to increased
ihrer Geisteskraefte gebracht werden. Ein Versuch population density (pp. 1 5 1 - 5 5 ) .
ueber die Kultur der Menschheit ueberhaupt.” The “ A fundamental difference is that Spengler applies
word is spelt with K — Kultur. the metaphor only to stages •within particular cultures,
" T h e three passages rendered are from pp. 122-23, never to human culture as a whole; but Adelung
127 of ( 188, “ Y on der Kultur ueberhaupt.’ applies it to the totality seen as one grand unit.
man occupied in installation and improvement of The word “ sum” here brings this definition
his economy (Hauswesen). close to modem ones as discussed in our Part
8. 1510- (1781). A man in enlightened enjoyment (im II; it suggests that Adelung now and then was
aufgeklaerten Genusse).*1 slipping into the way of thinking of culture
Adelung is completely enlightened re­ as the product of cultivation as well as the act
ligiously. In § 1 he does not treat of the crea­ of cultivating.
tion of man but of the origins of the human Die Cultur des Geistes bestehet in eincr immer
race (“ Ursprung seines Geschlechts” ). Moses zunehmenden Summe von Erkenntnissen, welchc
assures us, he says, that all humanity is des­ nothwendig wachscn muss . . . .(Spiritual culture con­
cended from a single pair, which is reasonable; sists in an ever increasing and necessarily growing
but the question of how this pair originated sum of understandings.)
cannot be answered satisfactorily, unless one
And finally:
accepts, along with Moses, their immediate
creation by God. But man was created merely Gerne hicttc ich fur das Wort Cultur eincn deut-
with the disposition and capacity (“ Anlage” ) schen Ausdruck gewahlet; allcin ich wciss kcincn,
of what he was to become (§ 3). Language der dessen Begriff erschocpftc. Verfeinerung,
was invented by man; it is the first step toward Aufklaenmg, Fntvcickclung der Faehigkeiten, sagen
alle etwas, aber nicht allcs. (I should have liked to
culture (§ 5 foil.). The fall of man is evaded
choose a German expression instead of the word
(§ 13); but as early as Cain a simultaneous re­
culture; but I know none that exhausts its meaning.
finement and corruption of customs (“ Ver- Refinement, enlightenment, development of capacities
derben der Sitten” ) began (§ 24). The Flood all convey something, but not the whole sense.)
and the Tower of Babel are minimized (Ch. 2.
§ 1-4), not because the author is anticlerical Aga'n we seem on the verge of the present-
but because he is seeking a natural explanation day meaning of culture.
for the growth of culture. Throughout, he sees Adelung’s definition of Cultur in his 1793
population increase as a primary cause of German dictionary confirms that to him and
cultural progress.52 his contemporaries the word meant improve­
While there are innumerable passages in ment, rather than a state or condition of human
Adelung in which his “ Cultur” could be read social behavior, as it docs now. It reads:
with its modern meaning, it is evident that he
did not intend this meaning — though he was Cultur — die Veredlung oJer Verfcinerung dcr
unconsciously on the wav' to it. This is clear gcsammten Geistes- and Leibcskracftc ciucs Men*
schen odcr eines Volkcs, so d iss dieses Wort so wohl
from his formal definitions in his Preface.
die Aufklaerung, die Veredlung des Vcrstandes durch
These are worth quoting. Befrcyung von Vorurtheilcn, aber auch die Politur,
Cultur ist mir der Uebergang aus dem mehr die Veredlung und Verfcinerung dcr Sitten unter sich
sinnlichen und thierischen Zustande in enger ver- begrcift. (Culture: the improvement [cnnoblcmcntl
schlungene Verbindungen des gesellschaftlichen Le- or refining of the total mental and bodily forces of
bens. (Culture is the transition from a more sensual a person or a people; so that the word includes not
and animal condition to the more closely knit in­ only the enlightening or improving of understanding
terrelations of social life.) through liberation from prejudices, but also polishing,
Die Cultur bestehet . . . in dcr Summc deutlicher namely fincreased 1 improvement and refinement, of
Begriffe, und . . . in der . . . Milderung und Ver- customs and manners.)
feinerung des Koerpers und der Sitten. (Culture
consists of the sum of defined concepts and of the Veredlung, literally ennoblement, seems to
amelioration and refinement of the body and of be a metaphor taken from the improvement
manners.) of breeds of domesticated plants and animals.

“ The metaphorical subtitles appear in the Table

of Contents, but not in the chapter headings. For the “man” denotes both “ Mensch” and “ Mann.”
first five periods, reference is to “ mankind” (der “ Preface: “ Die Cultur wird durch Volksmcnge
Mensch) or to “ the human race” (das menschliche . . . bewirkt” ; “ Volksmenge im eingcshracnktcn
Geschlecht); for the last three, directly to “ a man" Raumc erzeugct Cultur” ; and passim to Chapter 8, } z,
(der Mann), which is awkward in English where p. 413.
It is significant that the application of the his work w ith an indubitable quality of great­
term culture still is individual as well as social. ness. He sought to discover the peculiar values
Adelung’s definition is of interest as being of all peoples and cultures, where his great
perhaps the first formal one made that in­ contemporary Gibbon amused himself by
cludes, however dimly, the modem scientific castigating with mordant polish the moral
concept of culture. However, basically it is defects of the personages and the corruption
still late eighteenth century, revolving around and superstition of the ages which he por­
polish, refining, enlightenment, individual im­ trayed.
provement, and social progress. Basically, Herder construes Cultur as a
Johann Gottfried Herder’s (1744-1803) progressive cultivation or development of
Ideas on the Philosophy of History of Man­ faculties. Not infrequently he uses Humanitat
kind 53 is the best-known and most influential in about the same sense. Enlightenment,
of these early histories of culture. The title Aufklarung, he employs less often; but Tra­
reverts to the “ Philosophy of History” which dition frequently, both in its strict sense and
Voltaire had introduced twenty > »years before: coupled with Cultur. This approach to the
but the work itself deals as consistently as concepts of culture and tradition has a modern
Adelung’s with the development of culture. ring: compare our Part II.
The setting, to be sure, is broader. The first
section of Book I has the heading: “ Our Earth Wollen wir diese zweite Genesis des Menschen die
is a Star Among Stars.” Books II and III deal sein ganzes Leben durchgeht, von der Bearbeitung
des Ackers Cultur, oder vom Bilde des Lichtes
with plants and animals; and when man is
Aufkhrung nennen: so stehct uns der Name frei;
reached in Book IV', it is to describe his struc­ die Kette der Culrur und Aufklarung reicht aber
ture, what functions he is organized and sodann ans Ende der Erde. (13: 348; IX. 1)
shaped to exercise. Book V deals with ener­ Setzen wir gar noch willkuhrliche Unterschiede
gies, organs, progress, and prospects. In Books zwischen Cultur und Aufklarung fest, deren keine
VI and VII racial physiques and geographical doch, wenn sie rechter Art ist, ohne die andere sein
influences arc discussed. A sort of theory of kann . . . (13: 348; IX, 1)
culture, variously called Cultur, Humanitat, Die Philosophic der Geschichte also, die die Kette
Tradition, is developed in VIII and IX; X is der Tradition verfolgt, ist eigentlich die wahre
devoted to the historic origin of man in Asia, Menschengcschichte. (13: 352; IX, 1)
Die ganze Geschichte der Menschheit . . . mit alien
as evidenced by “ the course of culture and Schatzen ihrer Tradition und Cultur . . . (13: 355-,
history” in its § 3. Books XI to X X then settle IX, z)
down to an actual universal history of peoples Zum gesunden Gebrauch unsres Lebens, kurz zur
— of their cultures, as we would say, rather Bildung der Humanitat in uns . . . (13: 361; IX, 2)
than of their politic^ or events. These final ten Die Tradition der Trad:tionen, die Schrift. (13:
books deal successively54 with East Asia, 366; IX, 2)
West Asia, the Greeks, Rome, humanization Tradition ist [also auch hier] die fortplanzende
as the purpose of human nature, marginal Mutter, wie ihrer Sprache und wenigcn Cultur, so
peoples of Europe, origin and early develop­ auch ihrer Religion und heiligen Gebrauche (13:
388; IX 3)
ment of Christianity, Germanic peoples,
Der religiosen Tradition in Schrift und Sprache
Catholicism and Islam, modem Europe since ist die Erde ihre Samenkomer aller hoheren Cultur
Amalfi and the Crusades. schuldig. (13: 391; IX, 5)
Herder’s scope, his curiosity and knowledge, Das gcwisseste Zeichen der Cultur einer Sprache
his sympathy, imagination, and verve, his en­ ist ihre Schrift. (13: 408; X, 3)
thusiasm for the most foreign and remote of Wenn . . . die Regierungsformen die schwerste
human achievements, his extraordinary free­ Kunst der Cultur sind . . . (13: 4 11; X, 3)
dom from bias and ethnocentricity, endow Auch hiite man sich, alien dicsen Volkcm gleiche

“ Herder, 1744-1803, 4 vols., 1784, 1785, 1787, 1791.

These constitute vols. 13 and 14 of Herder’s that of the original work. W e cite the Suphan paging.
Sinrnnliche Werke edited by Bernhard Suphan, “ The books are without titles as such; we are
1887, reprinted 1909, pagination- double to preserve roughly summarizing their contents.
Sitten oder gleiche Cultur zuzueignen. (14:cultivated ones. This comes, as Aleiners him­
XVI, 3) self admits, close to being a “ Volkerkunde” ST
Von selbst hat rich Lein Volk in Europa zur or ethnography.38 Like most of his contem­
Cultur crhoben. (14: 289; X V I, 6) poraries, Aleiners saw culture as graded in com­
Die Stadte sind in Europe gleichsam stehende pleteness, but since he rejected the prevalent
Heerlager der Cultur. (14: 486; X X, 5) three-stage theory (hunting, herding, farming)
Kein Thier hat Sprache, wie der Mensch sic hat, he was at least not a unilinear dcvclopmentalist.
noch "weniger Schrift, Tradition, Religion, will- D. Jenisch, 1762-1804, published in 1801 a
kuhrliche Gesetze und Rechte. Kein Tier endlich
work called Universal-historical Review of
hat auch nur die Bildung, die Kleidung, die \V >hnung,
the Development of Mankind viewed as a
die Kunste, die unbestimmte Lebensart, die un-
gebundenen Triebe, die flanerhaften Meinungen,
Progressing Whole.™ This book also we have
womit rich beinahe jedes Individuum der Menschheit
not seen, and know of it through Stoltcnbcrg’s
auszeichnet. (13: 109; III, 6) summary.60 It appears to bear a subtitle “ Phil­
osophic der K ilturgeschichte.” 01 Stoltenberg
The enumeration in this last citation is a quotes Jenisch’s recognition of the immeasur­
good enough description of culture as we use able gap between the actual history of culture
the word. If it had had the modem meaning and a rationally ideal history of human culture
in his day. Herder would probably have marked bv progressive perfection. He also
clinched his point by adding “ culture” to sum cites Jenisch’s discussion of the “ develop­
up the passage. mental history of political and civilizing
C. Aleiners, 1747-1810, published in 1785 a culture.” It would seem that Jenisch, like
Gnmdriss der Geschichte der Menschheit. his German contemporaries, was concerned
We have not seen this work and know of it with culture as a development which could be
through Stoltenberg,55 Aluehlmann, and traced historically, but still weighted on the
Lowie.56 It aims to present the bodily forma­ side of the act of rational refining or cultiva­
tion, the “ Anlagcn” of the “ spirit and heart,” tion rather than being viewed as a product or
the various grades of culture of all peoples, condition which itself serves as a basic in­
especially of the unenlightened and half- fluence on men.

8. K A N T 62 TO H E G E L
The great German philosophy of the the eighteenth century'; but its general course
decades before and after 1800 began with was awa\r from Cultur to Geist. This is evi­
some recognition of enlightenment culture and dent in the passage from Kant to Hegel.
improvement culture, as part of its rooting in Kant says in his Anthropologie: 63
“ As cited, 1937, vol. 1, 199-201.
"Miihlmann, 1948, pp. 63-66; Lowie, 1937, pp. 5, who introduced anthropology as a branch of study
10-11. in German universities and who lectured on it
" T h e word Volkerkunde had been previously regularly for decades.’ . . . It should be not*-d, how­
used by J. R. Forster, Beitrage zur Vdlker- und ever, that by anthropology Kant meant something
Landerktmde, 1781 (according to Stoltenberg, vol. different from the study of human culture or com­
1, 200). parative anatomy of peoples. For him the term com­
“ According to Muehlmann, just cited, p. 46, the prised empirical ethics (folkways), introspective psy­
word ethnography was first used in Latin by Johann chology, and ‘physiology.’ Empirical etnics, as dis­
Olorinus in his “ Ethnographia Mundi,” Magdeburg, tinct from rational ethics, was called ‘practical an­
1608. thropology.’ . . . Kant reduced natural philosophy or
" Umversalhistorischer Ueberlick der Ennvicklung theoretical science to anthropology. Just as Kant
des Menschengeschlechts, als eines sich fortbildenden began his critique of scientific knowledge by accept­
Ganzen, 2 volsn 1801. ing the fact of mathematical science, so he began his
"Stoltenberg, 1937, vol. 1, pp. 289-92. etnics and his Anthropologie by accepting the fact of
“ The original may have been “Cultur;” Stoltenberg civilization.” Kant’s view, as defined by Bidney, seems
modernizes spellings except in titles of works. very similar to the contemporary “ philosophical an­
"K an t’s position as an “ anthropologist” is relevant thropology” of W tin (1948) and the “ phenomeno­
to consideration of his treatment of “ Cultur.” Bidney logical anthropology” of Binswangcr (1947).
(>949i PP- 484, 485, 486) remarks: “ It is most signifi­ “ References are to Kant’s Werke, Rcimcr 1907
cant, as Cassirer observes, that Kant was ‘the man edition: the Anthropologie of 1798 is in vol. 7.
Alie Fortschntte in der Cultur . . . haben das Ziel Fichte deals with Cultur and “ Vemunftcul-
diese erworbenen Kentnisse und Geschieklichkeiten tur” largely from the angle of its purpose:
zum Gebrauch fur die Welt anzuwenden.
freedom. Cultur is “ die Uebung aller.Kraefte
Die pragmadsche Anlage der Civilisirung durch
Cultur. (p. 313)
auf den Zweck der voelligen Freiheit, der
voelligen Unabhaengigkeit von allem, was
“ Kiinste der Cultur” are contrasted with nicht wir selbst, unser reines Selbst ist.” 65
the “ Rohigkeit” of man’s “ Natur.” (p. 324) Hegel’s transcendental philosophy of his­
With reference to Rousseau, Kant mentions tory, viewed with reference only to “ spirit,” a
the “ Ausgang aus der Natur in die Cultur,” generation after a group of his fellow country­
“ die Civilisirung,” “ die vermeinte Moral- men had written general histories which were
isirung.” (p. 326) de facto histories of culture,68 has already
The national peculiarities of the French and been mentioned.
English are derivable largely “ aus der Art Schiller also saw culture unhistoricallv,
ihrer verschiedenen Cultur,” those of other added to a certain disappointment in the en­
nations “ vielmehr aus der Anlage ihrer Natur lightenment of reason.67 “ Culture, far from
durch Vermischung ihrer urspriinglich ver­ freeing us, only develops a new need with
schiedenen Stamme.” (p. 315) every power it develops in us. . . . It was cul­
In this last passage Cultur might possibly ture itself which inflicted on modern humanity
seem to have been used in its modern sense, the wound [of lessened individual perfection,
except that on page 311 Kant calls the French compared with ancient times]” (1883, 4: 566.
and English “ die zwei civilisirtesten Volker 568). He takes refuge in “ the culture of
auf Erden,” which brings the word back to beauty,” or “ fine [schoene] culture,” evidently
the sense of cultivation. on the analogy of fine arts or belles lettres.
In Critique of Pure Reason, 1781, Kant says, Lessing does not appear to use the word.
“ metaphysics is the completion of the whole Goethe uses it loosely in opposition to “ Bar-
culture of reason.” 64 Here again, culture barei.”
must mean simply cultivation.


It seems worth citing examples of Klcmm’s stages, higher stages, an early stage, our stage,
use of the word Cultur, because of his a certain degree of culture (1: 2, 184, 185,
period being intermediate between the late 186, 199, 207, 209, 211, 220, 227, etc.).
eighteenth-century usage by Herder, Adelung, Similar are combinations which include
etc., in the sense of “ cultivation,” and the step or progress of culture: erste Schritt,
modem or post-Tylorian usage. We have fortschreitende, zuschreitet, Fortschntt zur
therefore gone over the first volume, 1843, of Cultur (1: 185, 206, 209, 210). These are
his Cultur-geschichte, and selected from the also ambiguous.
hundreds of occurrences of the word some Also not certain are true culture (1: 204),
that seem fairly to represent its range of purpose of culture (1: 205), yardstick of
meaning. culture (1: 214), spiritual culture (1: 221),
Very common are references to stages sittliche Cultur (1: 221), resting places
(Stufen) of culture. These can generally be (Anhaltepuncte) of culture (1: 224).
read as referring to conditions of culture, as The following are typical passages in which
we still speak of stages; but they may refer culture is used as if in the modem sense:
only to steps in the act of becoming culti­
vated. We have: very low stage of culture, M y effort is to investigate and determine the
up to the stage of European culture, middle gradual development of mankind from its rudest . . .

“ Muller’s translation. N ew York, 1896, p. 730. “ W e have found one use of Zivilisation in Hegel
The original (Kritik, 2nd ed., Riga, 1787, p. 879) as cited in footnote 43 above.
reads: “ Eben deswegen ist Metaphysik auch die “ Briefe ueber die aesthetische Erziehung des
Vollendung aller Cultur der Menschlichen Vemunft.” Memcben, 1795. Citations are from Sjenmitliche
“ Cited from Eucken, 1878, p. 186. Werke, vol. 4.
first beginnings to their organization into organic wampum, peace pipes, models of assemblies . . . 12)
nationalities (Volkskorpcr) in all respects, that is W ar . . . 13) Religious objects . . . 14) Culture [sic].
to say with reference to customs, arts (Kentnisse) and Musical instruments, decorative ornament, petro-
skills (Fertigkeiten), domestic and public life in glyphs, maps, drawings; illustrations (Sammlungen)
peace or war, religion, science (Wisscn) and art . . . of speech, poetical and oratorical products of the
(1: 21) [While the passage begins with mention of various nations. (1: 357-58)
development, the list of activities with which it
concludes is very similar to that in which Tylor’s Most of these ten cited passages read as if
famous definition ends.] culture were being used in its modem an­
W e regard chronology as part of culture itself. (1: thropological sense — as indeed Klemm is de
facto doing an ethnography, even though with
The means (or mechanisms, Alittel) of culture reminiscences of Herder and Adclung as
rooted first in private life and originally in the regards general plan. Whenever he adds or
family. (1: 205)
lists or summatcs, as in the first, fifth, and last
We shall show . . . that possessions are the be­
ginning of all human culture. (1: 206)
of these citations, the ring is quite con­
fWith reference to colonies and spread of the temporary. Moreover, the “ enlightenment,”
“active race,” ] the emigrants brought with them to “ tradition,” “ humanity” of Herder and his
their new homes the sum (Summe) of the culture contemporaries have pretty well dropped
which they had hitherto achieved (erstrebt) and out.68 It is difficult to be sure that Klemm’s
used it as foundation of their newly florescent life. concept of culture was ever fully the same as
(1: 210) that of modern anthropologists. On the other
Among nations of the “ passive race,” custom hand, it would be hard to believe that he is
(Sitte) is the tyrant of culture. (1: 220)
never to be so construed. Most likely he was
South American Indians . . . readily assume a
varnish (Fimiss) of culture. . . . But nations of the
in an in-between sta<;c,
Dm sometimes using Omthe
active race grow (bilden sich) from inside outward term with its connotations of 1780, sometimes
. . . . Their culture consequently takes a slower with those of 1920— and perhaps never fully
course but is surer and more effective. (1: 288) conscious of its range, and, so far as wc know,
A blueprint (Fantasie) of a Museum of the culture never formally defining it.08
history of mankind. (1: 352) In that case, the more credit goes to Tylor
The last section of the natural history collection for his sharp and successful conceptualization
[of the Museum] would be constituted by [physical] of culture, and for beginning l.is greatest book
anthropology . . . [and] . . . [materials illustrating]
with a dcfinit’on of culture. He found Klemm
the rudest cultural beginnings of the passive race.
(1: 356-57)
doing ethnography much as it is being pre­
The next section comprises the savage hunting sented today, and using for his data a general
and fishing tribes of South and North America. . . . term that was free of the implication of ad­
A system could now be put into effect which would vancement that clung to English civilization.
be retained in all the following sections . . . about as So Tylor substituted Klemm’s “ cultur” for the
follows: t) Bodily constitution . . . 2) Dress . . . “ civilization” he had himself used before, gave
3) Ornament . . . 4) Hunting gear . . . 5) Vehicles it formal definition, and nailed the idea to his
on land and water . . . 6) Dwellings . . . 7) Household masthead by putting the word into the title
utensils . . . 8) Receptacles . . . 9) Tools . . . to) of his book. Bv his conscious cvplicitncss,
Objects relating to disposal of the dead . . . 11) Insig­ Tylor set a landmark, which Klemm with all
nia of public life . . . batons of command, crowns, his ten volumes had not done.

" We do not find civilization, and only one passing

use of “civilisirt” : “ in the rest of civilized Europe” kind as an individual” (1: 1): “ I consider mankind
1: 221) as an individual . . . which . . . has its childhood,
"W h a t Klemm does make clear is that he pro­ youth, maturity.” (1: 21) But he does very little
poses to treat of the “gradual development of man- to follow out this Adelung idea.

By mid-nineteenth century, the Hegelian Kulturwissenschaft and that it is the latter and
active preference for dealing with Geist in not Geisteswissenschaft that should be con­
preference to Cultur was essentially over, and trasted with Naturwissenschaft — this thesis
the latter concept became increasingly, almost proves that Rickert’s concept of kultur is as
universally, dominant in its own field. The broad as the most inclusive anthropologist or
term Zivilisation languished in Germany, much “ culturologist” might make claim for. Rick­
as Culture did in England, as denotation of the ert’s YVissenschaft of culture takes in the whole
inclusive concept. It had some vogue, as we of the social sciences plus the humanities, in
have seen, in two attempts — diametrically contemporary American educational parlance.
opposite ones, characteristically — to set it Spengler’s somewhat special position in the
up as a rival to Culture by splitting off one or culture-civilization dichotomy has already
the other part of this as contrastive. But the been touched on. For Spengler, civilization is
prevailing trend was toward an inclusive term; the stage to w hich culture attains when it has
and this became Cultur, later generally written become unproductive, torpid, frozen, crystal­
Kultur. In this movement, philosophers,70 lized. A culture as such is organismic and
historians, and literary men were more active creative; it becomes. Civilization merely is;
and influential than anthropologists. it is finished. Spengler’s distinction won wide
The following list of book titles suggests though not universal acceptance in Germany
the course of the trend. at least for a time, and is included in the 1931
1843, Klemm, Allgenteine Ctdtur-geschichte edition of Brockhaus’ Konversationlexicon.'1
1854, Klemm, Allgemeine Cultuncissenschaft In spite of the formal dichotomy of the
i860, Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance in words, Spengler’s basic concept, the one with
Italien which his philosophy consistently operates, is
1875, Hcllwald, Kultur in ihrer Naturlichen Ent- that of culture. The monadal entities which
Ziickelung bis s.«r Gegenn'art he is forever trying to characterize and com­
1878, Jodi, Die Kulturgescbichtschreibung pare are the Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Arabic-
1886, Lippert, Kultur der Menschheit
Magian, Classic, and Occidental cultures, as
1898, Rickert, Kulturuissenschaft und Naruncissen-
schaft an anthropologist would conceive and call
1899, Frobcnius, Problenic dcr Kultur them. Civilization is to him merely a sta^t
1900, Lamprcchr, Die Kulturhist rische Mcthode w'hich every' culture reaches: its final phase
1908, Vicrkandr, Stetigkeit im Kulturxexndel of spent creativity and wintry senescence, with
1908, Mueller-Lyer, Pbasen der Kulfir fellaheen-type population. Cultures are deeply
1910, Frobeoius, Ktilturtypen ms detn IVestsudan different, all civilization is fundamentally alike:
1914, Prcuss, Die Geistige Ktdtur der Natttrvolker it is the death of the culture on which it
1913, Lcdercr, Aufgaben einer Ktiltursoziologie settles. Spengler’s theory concerns culture,
1913, Die Kultur dcr Gegemcart: Part III, Section
culture in at once the most inclusive and ex­
5, “Anthropolog’e,” Eds., Schwalbe and Fischer
1913, Simmel, Z ur Philosophic der Kultur
clusive sense, and nothing else. He sees culture
1924, Schmidt and Koppers, Volker und Kulturen, manifesting itself in a series almost of theo-
vol. 1 phanies, of wholly distinct, uncaused, un­
1930, Bonn, Die Kultur der Vereinigten Staaten explainable realizations, each with an immanent
1931, Buchler. Die Kultur des Mittelalters quality and predestined career and destiny
1933, Frobenius, Ktdturgeschichte Afrikas (Schicksal). Spengler’s view is certainly'
*935, Thumwald, Werden, M'andel, und Gestaltung mystic, but it is so because in trying to seize
von Stoat und Kultur the peculiar nature of culture he helps his
Rickert’s basic thesis, to the effect that what sharpness of grasp by not only differentiating
has been called Geisteswissenschaft really is but insulating culture from the remainder of

(1918) and the critique of Kroner’s system by Marck

w There is an extensive literature in this century (1919).
on Kulturphilosophie. See, for example, Kroner n Huizinga, 1945, p. 18.
the cosmos: in each of its occasional realiza­ Ausdrucksform (expression), is Kultur. In
tions, it is self-sufficient, self-determining and its intent, therefore, Kultursoziologie is much
uncaused, hardly even apperceivable. In fact, the same as cultural anthropology. The irra-
no culture really is wholly intelligible to mem­ tionalist trend inherent in German Kultur
bers of other cultures. Culture in short is ideas is perhaps perpetuated in the sharp stand
something whollv irreducible and unrelatable, Weber takes against all materialist concep­
for Spengler. This is an extreme view, un­ tions of history which make cultural phe­
questionably. But it can also be construed as nomena into mere superstructure.74
an exasperation of the view of some modem We close this section by commenting on
% • 1*
anthropologists that culture constitutes a dis­ the core of a definition by a philosopher in a
tinctive aspect, dimension, or level with which German philosophical dictionary: 73
for certain purposes it is most profitable to
operate in terms of inter-cultural relations, Kulrur ist die Dascinsweise der Mcnschheit (wie
Leben die Daseinsweise des Protoplasmas und Kraft
even though ultimately the relations of cultural
die Dascinswcise der Materie) sowie das Rcsultat
to non-cultural phenomena can never be dis­ dieser Daseinsweise, der Kulturbesitz odcr die
regarded. Pushed to the limit, this concept Kulturerrungenschaften. (Culture is the mode of
of the operational distinctiveness of culture, being of mankind — as life is the mode of being of
which is still relative, becomes the concept of protoplasm and energy the mode of being of matter
its absolute distinctness and complete self- — as well as the result of this mode of being, namely,
sufficiencv. Spengler does not feel this dis­ the stock of culture possessed or cultural attainments.)
tinctness and self-sufficiencv as merely mark­
ing the limit of the concept of culture but as With culture construed as the characteristic
constituting the ultimate essence of its quality. mode of human existence or manifestation, as
Spengler acknowledges his indebtedness to life is of organisms and energy of matter, we
Nietzsche who wrote, “ Kultur ist Einheit des are close to the recent theory of integrative
kunstlerischen Stils in alien Lebensausserungen levels of organization, each level, in the words
eines 7 olkes.” 72 This accent on style recurs of NovikotT,7” “ possessik.-, unique properties
in Spengler. of structure and behavior, which, though de­
VVe have already dealt (§ 4 ) with Alfred pendent on the properties of the constituent
Weber’s attempted distinction between “ cul­ elements, appear only when these elements are
ture” and “ civilization.” \ few w'ords must combined in the newr system. . . . The lews
be said here of Weber’s “ cultural sociology,” describing the unique properties of each level
particularly as set forth in his article in the are qualitatively distinct, and their discovery
1931 “ Sociological Dictionary.” 73 Sociology, requires methods of research and analysis ap­
Weber writes, can be the science of social propriate to the particular level.” This view,
structures. But, he continues, as soon as you sometimes spoken of as a theory of emergent
try to write sociology of religion, art, or levels, seems to have been developed largely
knowledge, structural sociology must be by biologists, first Lloyd Morgan, then
transcended. And the Wesengehalt (reality Needham, Emerson, Novikoff, Herrick, etc.,
content), of which social structure is only one for the phenomena of life; though it w'as ex-

n Geburt der Tragodie (Band I, Gesammelte

Werke, Grossoktav-Ausgabe: Leipzig, 1924, p. 183. pp. 28^-94. Article “ Kultursoziologie.”
The identical sentence is repeated on p. 314 of the ” Hans Freyer in his article (pp. 294-308) of the
same work. Nietzsche (1844-1900) falls in the period same Hcmdvior terbuck offers a sociological concept
when culture had acquired its modem meaning. A t of culture as opposed to Alfred Weber’s cultural con­
any rate, it is clear that Nietzsche is wholly out of cept of sociology. He says, for example, “ Das
the Kant-to-Hegel swing away from cognizance of Problem Typen und Stufen der Kultur verwandelt
culture. The Nietzsche-Register by Richard Oehler sich . . . in die Fragc nach den Strukrur- und
(Leipzig: Alfred Kroner Verlag, 1926) lists hundreds Entwicklungsgesetzen des gesellschaftlichen Lebens.”
of references to Kultur (pp. 182-87). Cf. also N . von (p. 307)
Bubnoff, Friedrich Nietzsches Kulturphilosophie und "Schmidt, 1922, p. 170.
Vmwertungslehre, 1924, pp. 38-82. "Novikoff, 1945, pp. 209-15. Compare also, Her­
” Handworterbuch der Soziologie, Stuttgart, 1931, rick, 1949, pp. 222-42.
plicitly extended to the phenomena of society haps even more important. Almost certainly
by W. M. Wheeler, also a biologist, but their priority is connected with the fact that
specially interested in social insects. For cul­ in the decades following 1770 Germans for
ture as a distinct level of organization, the the first time began to contribute creatively'
most avowed proponents in American anthro­ to general European civilization abreast of
pology have probably been Kroeber and France and England, and in certain fields even
White. In Germany, culture as a level has more productively; but at the same time they
been explicitly recognized chiefly by non­ remained a nationality instead of an organized
anthropologists such as Rickert and Spengler or unified nation. Being politically in arrears,
— by the latter with the unnecessary ex­ their nationalism not only took solace in Ger­
aggerations mentioned. man cultural achievement, but was led to
Just when, by what German, and in what appraise culture as a whole above politics as a
context Cultur was first unequivocally used portion thereof; whence there would derive
in this fundamental and inclusive sense, as dis­ an interest in w hat constituted culture.
tinct from the previous meanings in which Some further suggestions are made bv us
nurture or cultivation or progressive enlighten­ below (§ 11, and by Dr. .Meyer in Appendix
ment are dominant, is interesting, but can be A ). But to follow out our hints fully, or try
most securely worked out by a German well to discover other possible factors, would
read in the generic intellectual literature of his require a more intimate and pervasive acquaint­
people.77 ance w'ith the whole of German thought be­
W hy it was the Germans who first at­ tween about 1770 and 1870 than we possess.
tained, how'ever implicitly, to this fundamental Vv e therefore relinquish the problem at this
and inclusive concept and attached it to the point.
vocable Cultur, is equally interesting and per­


Just before, during, and after World War mannered boasting about it. The other differ­
I, the Germans became notorious among the ence w as that in both the French and English
Allied nations for alleged insistence on their languages the ordinary word referring to the
having discovered something superior *ni totality of social attainments, achievements,
uniquely original which they called Kultur. and values was civilization, whereas in German
Thirty y^irs later it is clear w'hat underlay it had come to be Kultur. Here accordingly'
this passionate and propagandist quarrel. The was a fine chance, in war time, to believ e that
Germans, having come to their modern civiliza­ the enemy claimed to have invented some­
tion belatedly and self-consciou* ly, believed thing wholly new' and original which how­
that this civilization was more “ advanced,” of ever was only a crude barbarism. Had the
greater value, than that of other W estem customary German word been civilization,
nations. French, British, and Americans be­ we Allies would no doubt have argued back
lieved the same for their national versions of that our brand of it was superior, but we
the common Western civilization; but the could hardly have got as indignant as we did
French and British having had an integrated, become over the bogey meanings w'hich
standardized, and effective civilization longer seemed to us to cry stallizc around the wholly
than the Germans, took their position more strange term Kultur.
for granted, vv ere more secure in it, had spread This episode is touched on here because it
much more of their civilization to other socie­ confirms that in the Germany of 1914 the word
ties, and on the whole were enough in a culture had a popular meaning essentially
status of superiority to have to do no ill- identical to that with w hich anthropologists

n Barth, after discussing cultura animi in Cicero, niche als Ackerbau wie bei den Alten, sondera im
Thomas More, Bacon, gives it up too: “ Aber wo heutigen Sinne, habe ich nicht findcn konncn.’’ (19 :1,
Cultura absolur, ohne Gcnitiv, zuerst gebraucht vvird. 1, 599, fn. 1)
use it, whereas in spite of Tylor, the British, ignorant of this sense of the word, for which
American, and French people, including even they then generally used civilization instead.78
most of their upper educated level, were

The Russians apparently took over the word types 81 instead of cultures or civilizations.
and the concept of culture from the Germans They are supernational, and while ethnically
(see Appendix A ). This was pre-Marxian, limited, they differ culturally in their quality.
about mid-nineteenth century. In the late We are not certain whether Danilevsky was
eighteen-sixties N. I. Danilevsky published the first Russian to employ culture in the sense
first a series of articles and then a book, Russia which it had acquired in German, but it has
and Europe, 7 9 which was frankly Slavophile come into general usage since his day. The
but has also attracted attention as a forerunner noun is kul’tura;92 the adjective kul'tumvi
of Spengler.80 He deals with the greater seems to mean cultural as well as cultured or
civilizations much in the manner of Spengler cultivated. Kul’tumost’ is used for level or
or Toynbee, but calls them culture-historical stage of culture as well as for high level.


Curiously enough, “ culture” became pop­ and that of perfection as pursued by culture, bcaurv
ularized as a literary word in England 83 in a and intelligence, or, in other words, swcecncsa and
book which appeared just two years before light, are the main characters. . . . [culture consists in]
. . . an inward condition of mind and spirit, not in
Tylor’s. Matthew Arnold’s familiar remarks
an outward set of circumstances . . .
in Culture and Anarchy (1869) were an answer
to John Bright who had said in one of his Arnold’s words were not unknown to social
speeches, “ People who talk about culture . . . scientists. Sumner, in an essay probably
by which they mean a smattering of the two written in the eighties, makes these acid
dead languages of Greek and Latin . . .” comments:
Arnold’s own definition is primarily in terms
Culture is a word which offers us an illustration of
of an activity on the part of an individual:
the degeneracy of language. If I may define culture,
. . . a pursuit of total perfection by means of getting I have no objection to produce it; but since the word
to know, on all the matters which most concern us, came into fashion, it has been stolen by the dilettanti
the best which has been thought and said in the and made to stand for their own favorite forms and
world. . . . I have been trying to show that culture is, amounts of attainments. Mr. Arnold, the great
or ought to be, the study and pursuit of perfection; apostle, it not the discoverer, of culture, tried ro

"T h a t this was the situation is shown also by the

fact that the 1917 paper of Kroeber, The Super- hohcren mcnschlichen Anlage aussprichr. . . . " p. iii.
organic, uses this term, supcrorganic, synonymously' Rueckert also uses the terms “ Culturkrcis," “Cultur-
with “the social,” when it is obvious that it is essen­ reihe,” "Culturindividuum” (a particular culture), and
tially culture that is being referred to throughout. “Culturtypus,” pp. 91-97 and elsewhere. The last
It is not that Kroeber was ignorant of culture in appears to be the origin of Danilevsky’s “cultur-
1917 but that he feared to be misunderstood outside hustorical types.”
of anthropology if he used the word. " Kul’tumo-istoricheskie tipy.
” Rossiia i Evropa, 1869 in the journal Zaria; 1871 ** This is the standard method of transcription
in book form. Sorokin, 1950, pp. 49-71, summarizes adopted by the Library of Congress. In it, the apos­
Danilevsky’s work, and on pp. 105-43 he critically trophe following a consonant indicates the palataliza­
examines the theory along with those of Spengler tion of that consonant. It is hence a direct transcrip­
and Toynbee. tion of the tniagkii znak (soft sign) in the Russian
"Danilevsky acknowledges a debt to Heinrich alphabet.
Rvickert’s Lehrbuch der Weltgeschichte in organischer “ So deeply entrenched is this usage that as late
Darstellung (Leipzig, 1857). Riickert defines Cultur as 1946 a distinguished anthropologist. Sir Arthur
as “ die Totalitat der Erschcinungen . . . in welcher Keith, used “culture” in this humanistic sense ( 194A,
sich die Selbstandigkcit und Eigenthiimlichkcit der 117-18).
analyze it and he found it to consist of sweetness in the Cyclopaedia of Education (19 11) does
and light. T o my mind, that is like saying that not cite Tylor or any other anthropologist,
coffee is milk and sugar. The stuff of culture is all though he had been in contact with Boas at
left out of it. So, in the practice of those who accept
this notion, culture comes to represent only an
Columbia and later evidenced considerable
external smoothness and roundness of outline with­
familiarity with anthropological literature.
out regard to intrinsic qualities. (Sumner, 1934, Here Dewey says (239): “ From the broader
11-13.) point of view culture may be defined as the
habit of mind which perceives and estimates
Since Arnold’s day a considerable literature all matters with reference to their bearing on
on culture as humanistically conceived has social values and aims.” The Hastings En­
accumulated. John Cowper Powys 84 in The cyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (1912)
Meaning of Culture lays less stress on formal contains articles by anthropologists and a good
education and more on spontaeity, play — in deal of material on primitive religion, but C. G.
brief, on the expression of individual person­ Shaw% a philosopher who wTote the article,
ality rather than the supine following of “ Culture,” makes no reference to the anthro­
custom: pological concept and comes only as close as
Wundt to citing an anthropologist. Shaw,
Culture and self-control are synonymous terms. . . . incidentally, attributes the introduction of
What culture ought to do for us is to enable us to the term “ culture” into England to Bacon,
find somehow or other a mental substitute for the
citing his Advancement of Learning, 1605, II,
traditional restraints of morality and religion. . . .
It is the application of intelligence to the difficult
xix 2F.85
imbroglio of not being able to live alone upon the The Spanish philosopher, Ortega y Gasset,
earth. (1919, 135) operates within the humanistic tradition (in
What has been suggested in this book is a view of its German form) but gives a vitalistic twist:
culture, by no means the only possible one, wherein
education plays a much smaller part than does a W e can now give the word, culture, its exact sig­
certain secret, mental and imaginative effort of one’s nificance. There are vital functions which obev
own, continued . . . until it becomes a permanent objective laws, though they are, inasmuch as they are
habit belonging to that psyche of inner nucleus of vital, subjective facts, within the organism; they
personality which used to be called the soul. (19:9, exist, too, on condition of complying with the dic­
tates of a regime independent of life itself. These
* 75 )
are culture. The term should not, therefore, b;-
allowed to retain any vagueness of content. Culture
Robert Bierstcdt sums up as follows consists of certain biological activities, neither more
John Cowper Powys understands by culture that nor less biological than digestion or locomotion. . . .
ineffable quality' which makes a man at ea^e with his Culture is merely a special direction which we give
environment, that which is left over after he has for­ to the cultivation of our animal potencies. (1933, 41,
gotten everything he deliberately set out to learn, and 76)
by a cultured person one with a sort of intellectual
finesse, who has the aesthete’s deep feeling for beauty, He tends to oppose culture to spontaeity
who can find quiet joy' in a rock-banked stream, a
. : . culture cannot be exclusively directed by its
pecwee’s call, a tenuous wisp of smoke, the
objective laws, or laws independent of life, but is at
warmth of a book format, or the serene felicity of
the same time subject to the laws of life. \\ e are
friendship. (Bierstedt, 1936, 93)
governed by two contrasted imperatives. Man as a
living being must be good, orders the one, the cultural
The humanistic or philosophical meanings imperative: what is good must be human, must be
of culture tended to be the only ones treated lived and so compatible with and necessary to life,
in standard reference works for a long period. says the other imperative, the vital one. Giving a
For example, John Dew ey’s article, “ Culture,” more generic expression to both, we shall reach the

** For other representative recent treatments from

the point of view of the humanities, see Bums (1919), georgica animi” and gives the reference as De Augm.
Patten (1916), Lowell (1934). Scient, VII, 1. Neither citation conforms to the
"Siebert (1905, p. 579) cites Bacon “ cultura sive editions available to us.
conception of the double mandate, life must be involved in reflection about cultural phenomena . . .
cultured, but culture is bound to be vital. . . . Un­ The progress of knowledge about culture demon­
cultured life is barbarism, devitalized culture is strates more and more concretely the historical
byzantinism. (193?, 45-46) relativity of all human values, including science itself.
To oppose life to culture and demand for the former The image of the world which we construct is a
the full exercise of its rights in the face of the latter historical value, relative like all others, and a different
is not to make a profession of anticultural faith. . . . one will take its place in the future, even as it has
The values of culture remain intact; all that is denied itself taken the place of another image . . . . The
is their exclusive character. For centuries we have theories of the old type of idealism arc in d..,accord­
gone on talking exclusively of the need that life has ance with experience, for they conceive mind, in­
of culture. Without in the slightest degree depriving dividual consciousness or super-individual reason, as
this need of any of its cogency, I wish to maintain absolute and changeless, whereas history shows it
here and now that culture has no less need of life relative and changing. (1919, 15-16)
. . . . Modem tradition presents us with a choice
between two opposed methods of dealing with the The German philosopher, Ernst Cassirer,
antinomy between life and culture. One of them — states (p. 52) that the objective of his Essay
rationalism — in its design to preserve culture denies on Man is a “ phenomenology of human cul­
all significance to life. The other — relativism — at­ tured But, though he was familiar with mod­
tempts the inverse operation: it gets rid of the em anthropology, particularly the writings of
objective value of culture altogether in order to
Malinowski, his conception remains more
leave room for life. (1933, 86)
philosophical than anthropological:
In other passages he makes points which are
Human culture taken as a whole may be described
essential aspects of the anthropological con­ as the process of man’s progressive self-liberation.
ception of culture: Language, art, religion, science are various phases in
this process. In all of them man discovers and proves
. . . the generations are bom one of another in
a new power — the power to build up a world of his
such a way that the new generation is immediately
own, an “ ideal" world. (1944, 228)
faced with the forms which the previous generation
gave to existence. Life, then, for each generation is
a task in two dimensions, one of which consists in the
At the moment many of the younger American
reception, through the agency of the previous gen­ philosophers are accepting one of the various
eration, of what has had life already, e.g., ideas, anthropological definitions of culture. For
values, institutions, and so on . . . (1933. 16) example, the anthropologist finds himself com­
The selection of a point of view is the initial action pletely at home reading Richard McKeon’s
of culture. (1933, 60) treatment of culture in two recent articles in
. . . Culture is the system of vital ideas v. hich each the “ Journal of Philosophy” and “ Ethics.”
age possesses; better yet, it is the system of ideas by One may instance a passage from Philosophy
which each age lives. (1944, 81) and the Diversity of Cultures:
F. Znaniccki’s Cultural Reality (1919), If political problems have cultural and ideological
though written in English by a Polish sociolo­ dimensions, philosophies must treat not only ethical
gist, is essentially a philosophical treatise. The and esthetic judgments but must also examine the
basic point of view and argument can be indi­ form which those judgments must take in terms of
cated by brief quotations: the operation of political power and relevant to
actions accessible to the rule of law and their possible
For a general view of the world the fundamental influence on the social expectations which make con­
points are that the concrete empirical world is a world ventional morality. The study of cultures must present
in evolution in which nothing absolutely permanent not merely the historically derived systems of
can be found, and that as a world in evolution it is designs for living in their dynamic interactions and
first of all a world of culture, not of nature, a his­ interrelations in which political and ideological
torical, not a physical reality. Idealism and naturalism characteristics arc given their place, but mast also
both deal, not with the concrete empirical world, but provide a translation of those designs of living into
with abstractly isolated aspects of it. (1919, zi) the conditions and conventional understandings which
We shall use the term “culturalism" for the view are the necessities and material bases of political
of the world which should be constructed on the action relative to common ends and an abstraction
ground of the implicit or explicit presuppositions from them of the values of art, science, religion and
philosophy which are the ends of human life and the what is “ lower.” The anthropological attitude
explanations of cultures. (1950b, 2)9-40) is relativistic, in that in place of beginning with
Wemer Jaeger, the classicist, reflects both an inherited hierarchy of values, it assumes
that every society through its culture seeks
the dissatisfaction of most Western humanists
with the anthropological habit of extending and in some measure finds values, and that the
business of anthropology includes the deter­
“ culture” to encompass the material, humble,
mination of the range, variety, constancy, and
and even trivial, and also the tendency of one
interrelations of these innumerable values.
strain of German scholarship to restrict culture
Incidentally, we believe that when the ultra­
to the realm of ideals and values. He equates
montane among the humanists renounce the
culture with the classical Greek concept of
claim that their subject matter is superior or
paideia and is quick to contrast the anthro­
pological notion unfavorably: privileged, and adopt the more catholic and
humble human attitude— that from that day
W e are accustomed to use the word culture not the humanities will cease being on the defen­
to describe the ideal which only the Hcllenoccntric sive in the modem world.
world possesses, but in a much more trivial and The most recent humanistic statement on
general sense, to denote something inherent in every culture is that of T . S. Eliot86 who attempts to
nation of the world, even the most primitive. W e bridge the gap between the conception of the
use it for the entire complex of all the ways and ex­
social sciences and that of literary men and phi­
pressions of life which characterize any one nation.
Thus the word has sunk to mean a simple anthropo­
losophers. He quotes Tylor on the one hand
logical concept, not a concept of value, a con­ and Matthew Arnold on the other. In rather a
sciously pursued ideal. (1945, xviii) schoolmasterish way he reviews the meanings
. . . the distinction . . . between culture in the of “ culture” : (1) the conscious self-cultiva­
sense of a merely anthropological concept, which tion of the individual, his attempt to raise
means the way of life or character of a particular himself out of the average mass to the level of
nation, and culture as the conscious ideal of human the elite; (2) the ways of believing, thinking,
perfection. It is in this latter, humanistic sense that and feeling87 of the particular group within
the word is used in the following passage. The “ ideal society to which an individual belongs; and
of culture” (in Greek arete and paideia) is a specific
(3) the still less conscious ways of life of a
creation of the Greek mind. The anthropological
concept of culture is a modem extension of this
total society. At times Eliot speaks of culture
original concept; but it has made out of a concept of in the quite concrete denotation of certain
value a mere descriptive category which can be anthropologirts:
applied to any nation, even to “ the culture of the
It includes all the characteristic activities and in­
primitive” because it has entirely lost its true obliga­
tory sense. Even in Matthew Arnold’s definition of terests of a people: Derby Day, Henley Regatta,
culture . . . the original paidcutic sense of the Cowes, the twelfth of August, a cup final, the dog
word (as the ideal of man’s perfection) is obscured. races, the pin table, the dart board, Wensleydale
It tends to make culture a kind of museum, i.e., cheese, boiled cabbage cut into sections, beetroot in
paideia in the sense of the Alexandrian period when vinegar, nineteenth-century Gothic churches and the
it came to designate learning (194J, 416) music of Elgar. (1948, j i )

The Amold-Povvys-Jaeger concept of cul­ He also accepts the contemporary anthro­

ture is not only ethnocentric, often avowedly pological notion that culture has organization
Hellenocentric; it is absolutistic. It knows — as well as content: “ . . . culture is not merely
perfection, or at least what is most perfect the sum of several activities, but a way of
in human achievement, and resolutely directs life.” (p. 40) On the other hand, he says
its “ obligatory” gaze thereto, disdainful of “ Culture may even be described as that which

"Eliot, 1948. Vogt (1951) has linked both the that one unity of culture is that of the people who
personal and “societal” conceptions of culture to the live together and speak the same language: because
cult or cultus idea. speaking the same language means thinking, and
"C f. . . culture — a peculiar way of thinking, feeling, and having emotions rather differently from
feeling, and behaving.” (p. 56) “ Now it is obvious people who use a different language.” (pp. 120-21)
makes life worth living.” (p. 26) Finally, he happy with Eliot’s emphasis on an elite and
seems to be saying that, viewed concretely, his reconciliation of the humanistic and social
religion is the way of life of a people and in science views, and the literary reviews88
this sense is identical with the people’s culture. have tended to criticize the looseness and lack
Anthropologists are not likely to be very of rigor of his argument.

14. d ic t io n a r y d e f in it io n s

The anthropological meaning of “ culture” which Tylor had deliberately established in

had more difficulty breaking through into 1871 with the title of his most famous book.
wider public consciousness than did the word Primitive Culture, and had defined in the first
“ civilization.” This is attested by the history paragraph thereof. This meaning finally was
of “culture” in standard dictionaries of English. accorded recognition sixty-two years after
VVe summarize here what the Oxford diction­ the fact, in the supplement92 of 1933. The
ary has to say about the history of the word.89 entry reads:
Culture is derived from Latin cultura, from 5b. spec. The civilization of a people (especially at
the verb colere, with the meaning of tending a certain stage of its development in history).
or cultivation. [It may also mean an honoring 1871, E. B. Tylor (title), Primitive Culture.
or flattering; husbandry — Short’s Latin dic­ [1903, C. Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico is also cited.)
tionary.] In Christian authors, cultura has the
meaning of worship. The Old French form Webster’s New' International Dictionary in
was couture, later replaced by culture. In 1929 seems the first to recognize the anthro­
English, the following uses are established: pological and scientific meaning which the
1420, husbandry, tilling; 1483, worship;90 word had acquired:
1510, training of the mind, faculties, manners, 7. A particular state or stage of advancement in
More (also, 1651, Hobbs; 1752, Johnson; 1848, civilization; the characteristic attainments of a people
Macaulay); 1628 training of the hurmn body, or social order: as, Greek culture; primitive culture
Hobbes. Meaning 5 is: “ The training, de­ [Examples from Tylor and Ripley follow; but that
velopment, and refinement of mind, tastes, from Tylor is not his famous fundamental defini­
and manners; the condition of being thus tion.) "
trained and refined, the intellectual side of
civilization.” This is illustrated by citations In the 1936 Webster, there appear three
from Wordsworth, 1805, and Matthew Ar­ separate attempts to give the scientific mean­
nold.91 “ A particular form of intellectual ing of the word culture, numbered 5a, 5b, 6.
development,” evidently referring to a pairing Of these, 5a is the 7 of 1929, with minor
of language and culture, is illustrated from revisions of phrasing. The two others follow:
Freeman, 1867. Then there are the applica­ 5b. The complex of distinctive attainments, beliefs,
tions to special industries or technologies, with traditions, etc., constituting the background of a
culture meaning simply “ the growing of.” racial, religious, or social group; as, a nation with
many cultures. Phrases in this sense are culture area,
Such are silk culture, 1796; oyster culture,
culture center, culture complex, culture mixing,
1862; bee culture, 1886; bacterial cultures, culture pattern, culture phenomenon, culture se­
1884 quence, culture stage, culture trait.
There is no reference in the original Oxford 6. Anthropol. The trait complex manifested by a
Dictionary of 1893 to the meaning of culture tribe or a separate unit of mankind.

"Irw in Edman in N ew York Times Book Review, another (rare) meaning of 1483: “The setting of
March 6, 1949; W . H. Auden in The New Yorker, bounds; limitation.”
April 23, 1949; John L. Myers in Man, July, 1949; " Culture is “the study and pursuit of perfection;”
William Barrett in Kenyon Review, summer, 1949. and, of perfection, “sweetness and light” arc the main
" A N ew English Dictionary on Historical Princi­ characters.
ples, ed. by J. A. H. Murray, vol. II, 1893. “ “ Introduction,. Supplement, and Bibliography.”
"E h o t (1948) cites from the Oxford Dictionary "W h ic h we cite as A 1 in Part II.
These statements certainly at last recognize leave out altogether, as long as they can, the
the fact that the word culture long since professional meaning which a word has
acquired a meaning which is of fundamental acquired, or they hedge between its differences
import in the more generalizing segments of in meaning even at the risk of conveying very
the social sciences. Vet as definitions thev little that makes useful sense. Yet, primarily,
are surely fumbling. “ Particular state or stage the lag is perhaps due to students in social
of advancement” ; “ characteristic attainments fields, who have gradually pumped new wine
of a . . . social order"; “ distinctive attainments into skins still not empty of the old, in their
. . . constituting the background of a . . . habit of trying to operate without jargon in
group” ; “ the trait complex manifested by a common-language terminology even while
tribe ’ — what have these to do with one an­ their concepts become increasingly refined.
other? What do they really mean or refer to — However, each side could undoubtedly profit
especially the vague terms here italicized? And from the other by more cooperation.
what do they all build up to that a groping It will be of comparative interest to cite a
reader could carry away? — compared for in­ definition of culture in a work which is both
stance with Tylor’s old dictum that culture is a dictionary and yet professionally oriented.
civilization, especially if supplemented by a This is the Dictionary of Sociology edited by
statement of the implications or nuances bv H. P. Fairchild, 1044. The definition of culture
which the two differ in import in some of their was written by Charles A. Elhvood.
usages. It is true that anthropologists and soci­
C-.kcre: a collective name for all behavior patterns
ologists also have differed widely in their defi­
socially acquired and socially transmitted by means of
nitions: if they had not, our Part II would have symbols; hence a name for all the distinctive achieve­
been much briefer than it is. But these profes­ ments of human groups, including not only such
sionals were generally trying to find definitions items as language, tool making, industry, art, science,
that would be both full and exclusive, not law, government, morals, and religion, but also the
merely adumbrative; and they often differ de­ material instruments or artifacts in which cultural
liberately in their distribution of emphasis of archievi nenrs are embodied and which intellectual
meaning, where the dictionary makers seem to cultural features are given practical effect, such as
be trying to avoid distinctive commitment.94 buildings, tools, machines, communication devices,
Yet the main moral is the half-century of art objects, etc.
. . . The essential part of culture is to be found
lagp between the common-language
' Z? mZ? meanings
Za in the patterns embodied in the social traditions of
of words and the meanings which the same
the group, that is, in knou ledge, ideas, beliefs, values,
words acquire when they begin to be uscJ in standards, and sentiments prevalent in the group.
specific senses in profesisonal disciplines like The overt part of culture is to be found in the actual
the social sciences. Dictionary' makers of behavior of the group, usually in its usages, customs,
course are acute, and when it is a matter of and institutions . . . . The essential part of culture
something technical or technological, like a seems to be an appreciation of values with reference
culture in a test tube or an oyster culture, or to life conditions. The purely behavioristic definition
probably ergs or mesons, thev are both prompt of culture is therefore inadequate. Complete defini­
and accurate in recognizing the term or mean­ tion must include the subjective and objective aspects
ing. When it comes to broader concepts, of culture. Practically, the culture of the human
especially of “ intangibles,” they appear to be­ group is summed up in its traditions and customs; but
come disconcerted by the seeming differences tradition, as the subjective side of culture, is the
in professional opinion, and hence either essential core.

“ For instance. Funk and Wagnall’s New Standard

Dictionary, 1947, under Culture: “ 3. The training, does give a specific and modem definition: “ 7. Sociol.,
development, or strengthening of the powers, mental the sum total of ways of liv ing built up by a group of
or physical or the condition thus produced; improve­ human beings, which is transmitted from one genera­
ment or refinement of mind, morals, or taste; en­ tion to another . . . ” There are also definitions of
lightenment or civilization.” By contrast, the Random culture area, change, complex, diffusion, factor, lag,
House American College Dictionary of the same year pattern, trait.
While this is somewhat prolix, it is enumera- core of culture cons^ts of traditional [ = historically
tively specific. In condensation, it might dis­ derived and selected] ideas and especially their at­
tached values.
till to something like this:
Culture consists of patterns of and for behavior It will be shown that this is close to the
acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting approximate consensus with which we emerge
the distinctive achievements of human groups, in­ from our rei iew that follows in Part II.
cluding their embodiments in artifacts; the essential

The most generic sense of the word “ cul­ come fairly familiar to educated Englishmen.
ture” — in Latin and in all the languages which The contemporary influence of learning
have borrowed the Latin root — retains the theory and personality psychology has per­
primary notion of cultivation 95 or becoming haps brought the anthropological idea back
cultured. This was also the older meaning of closer to the Kantian usage of the individual’s
“ civilization.” The basic idea was first ap­ becoming cultured, with expressions like “ en-
plied to individuals, and this usage still culturation” and “ the culturalization of the
strongly persists in popular and literary English person.” Perhaps instead of “ brought back”
to the present time.90 A second concept to we should say that psychological interest, in
emerge was that of German Kultur, roughly trying better to fund the idea of culture, and
the distinctive “ higher” values or enlighten­ to understand and explain its basic process,
ment of a society.97 has reintroduced the individual into culture.
The specifically anthropological concept The history of the w ord “ culture” presents
crystallized first around the idea of “ custom.” many interesting problems in the application
Then — to anticipate a little — custom was of culture theory itself. Why did the concept
given a time backbone in the form of “ tradi­ “ Kaltur” evolve and play such an important
tion” or “social heritage.” However, the part in the German intellectual setting? Why
English anthropologists were very slow to has the concept of “ culture” had such diffi­
substitute the word “ culture” for “ custom.” culty in breaking through into public con­
On March ioth, 1885, Sir James G. Frazer sciousness in France and England? \\ hv ha^
presented his first anthropological research it rather suddenly become popular in the
to a meeting of the Roval Anthropological United States, to the point that such phrases
Society. In the discussion following the paper, as “Eskimo culture” appear even in the comic
he stated that he owed his interest in anthro­ strips?
pology to Tylor and had been much influenced We venture some tentative hypotheses, in
by Tylor’s ideas. Nevertheless, he03 spealcs addition to the suggestion already made as to
only of “ custom” and “ customs” and indeed the imbalance in Germany of 1800 of cultural
to the end of his professional life avoided the advancement and political retardation. In the
concept of culture in his writings. R. R. German case, there was first — for whatever
Marett’s Home University Library Anthro- reasons — a penchant for large abstractions in
pology also uses only the word custom. Rad- eighteenth- and nineteenth-century thought.
diff e-Brown writing in 1923 docs not use Second, German culture v. as less internally
“ custom” but is careful to say rather con­ homogeneous — at least less centralized in a
sistently “ culture or civilization.” In 1940 dominant capital city — than the French and
he no longer bothers to add “ or civilization.” English cultures during the comparable period.
The implication is that by roughly 1940 France and England, as colonial pow’ers, were
“culture” in its anthropological sense had be- aware, of course, of other ways of life, but

“ A philosophy of history published in 1949 by an

agriculturalist (H. B. Stevens) bears the tide The "T h is is reflected even in anthropological litera­
Recovery of Culture. ture of the first quarter of this century in the dis­
"O n e may instance the little book bv Herbert tinction (e.g., by Vierkandt and by Schmidt and
Read (1941) To Hell with Culture: Democratic Koppcrs) between 1‘N‘aturvblker” and “ Kulturvblkcr.”
Values are N ew Values. "Frazer, 1885.
— perhaps precisely because of imperialism — at explicitness and rigor in some recent socio­
the English and French were characteristically logical and psychological works.
indifferent to the intellectual significance of ' The lack of clarity and precision is largely
cultural differences — perhaps resistant to the responsibility of anthropology. Anthro­
them. Similarly, the heterogeneous cultural pologists have been preoccupied with gather­
backgrounds of Americans — plus the fact ing, ordering, and classifying data. Apart from
that the new speed of communication and some nineteenth- and early twentieth-century
political events forced a recognition of the “ armchair” speculations which were largely
variety of social traditions in the world gen­ of the order of pseudo-historical reconstruc­
erally — quite possibly have helped create a tions, anthropology has onlv very recently
climate of opinion in the United States un­ become conscious of problems of theory and
usually congenial to the cultural idea. of the log:c of science. A fully systematic
Not that a precise anthropological concept scientific theory of man, society, and culture
of culture is now a firm part of the thinking has yet to be created. While there has been
of educated citizens.00 If it were, there would greater readiness to theorize in psychology and
be no need for this monograph. No, even in sociology than in anthropology, the results as
intellectual and semi-intellectual circles the yet show neither any marked agreement nor
distinction betw een the general idea of culture outstanding applicability to the solution of
and a specific culture is seldom made. “ Cul­ problems. The lack of mooring of the con­
ture” is loosely used as a synonvm for “ so­ cept of culture in a body of systematic theory
ciety.” In social science literature itself the is doubtless one of the reasons for the shyness
penetration of the concept is fir from com­ of the dictionary makers. They have not only
plete, though rapidly increasing. Mr. Un- been puzzled by the factoring out of various
tcreiner surveyed the tables of contents and sub-notions and exclusive emphasis upon one
indices in about six hundrd volumes in the of these, but they have probably sensed that
libraries of the Department of Social Relations the concept has been approached from
and the Peabody Museum of Harvard Univer­ different methodological assumptions — which
sity. Anthropology, sociology, social psy­ were seldom made explicit.
chology, and clinical psychology were repre­ We have made our taxonomy of definitions
sented in about that order, and dates of publi­ in the next section as lengthy as it is because
cation ranged back as far as 1900 but with culture is the central concept of anthropology
heavy concentration on the past two decades. and inevitably a major concept in a possible
In more than half of these books “ culture” was eventual unified science of human behavior.
not even mentioned. In the remainder sur­ We think it is important to discuss the past,
prisingly few explicit definitions were given. rhe present, and the prospects of this crucial
Usage was rather consistently vague, and concept. Its status in terms of refinements of
denotation varied from very narrow to very the basic idea, and the organization of such
broad. Mr. Untereiner’s impression (and ours) refinements into a corpus of theory, may serve
is that the neighboring social science disciplines as a gauge of the development of explicit con­
have assimilated, on the whole, little more ceptual instruments in cultural anthropology.
than the notion of variation of customs. There Definitions of culture can be conceived as a
arc important individual exceptions, of course, “ telescoping” or “ focussing” upon these con­
and there does seem to be a much greater effort ceptual instruments.

“ An example of confusion is the interpretation

of “Ethical Culture” as stemming from anthropology. and is still, flourishing in New York. Other societies
The Ethical Culture movement has nothing to do were established in several American cities, and in
with culture in the anthropological sense. It refers Germany; until Hitler abolished them there. The
to cultivation of ethics: the meaning being the older term “ Ethische Kultur” was so out of step with the
one that gave rise to terms like horticulture, pearl by then general use of Kultur in Germany that the
culture, bee culture, test-tube culture. The move­ movement was sometimes misunderstood there as
ment was founded and long led by Felix Adler as a having reference to a special kind of proposed
sort of deistic or agnostic religion, with emphasis on civilization-culture, instead of the mere fostering of
ethics in place of the deity. The parent society was. ethical behavior.
g e n e r a l h is t o r y o f t h e w o r d c u l t u r e


A work published as far back as 1930 which a becoming, not to a state of being civilized.
attempts for civilization much the sort of The second recorded usage is by Baudcau,
inquiry, though somewhat more briefly, which 1767, Ephemerides du Citoyen, p. 82. After
we are instituting as regards culture, eluded that, occurrences are, 1770, Raynal, UHistoire
us (as it did certain writers in French — see Philosophique . . . dans les deux Indes; 1773,
§ 2, notes 15, 16, 17) until after our text was in d’Holbach, Systeme Social; 1773-74, Diderot,
press — partly because few copies of the work Refutation; 1793, Billaud-Varennes; June 30,
seem to have reached American libraries and 1798, Bonaparte (“ une conquete dont les effcrs
partly because of certain bibliographical am­ sur la civilisation et les commerces du monde
biguities of its title. It has a pretitle: Civilisa­ sont incalculable,” where the meaning seems
tion: le Alot et Fldee, without mention of to have passed from that of “ becoming” to
author or editor; and then a long full title: “a condition of activity in,” as in the coupled
“ Fondation Pour la Science: Centre Inter­ “ commerces” ). Finally, in 1798, the work also
national de Synthese. Premiere Semaine Inter­ “ forces the gates” of the Academy’s Diction­
national de Synthese. Deuxieme Fascicule. ary, Littre being in error when he savs that
Civilisation: Le Mot et l’ldee. Exposes par this was not until 1835.
Lucien Febvre, Emile Tonnelat, Marcel Mauss, Voltaire, Rousseau, Turgot, Hclvetius, dc
Alfredo Niceforo, Louis Weber. Discussions. Chasteilux in 1772, Buffon in Epoqucs de la
[Publ. by] La Renaissance du Livre. Paris. Nature in 1774-79, do not use the noun, al­
1930.” The Director of the Centre, active par­ though the verb or participle occurs in Vol­
ticipant in the discussions, and editor of the taire in 1740 and Rousseau in 1762 — in fact
volume of 144 pages was Henri Bcrr. The long before them in Montaigne and Descartes.
contained article of special relevance to our A near-synoym in the mid-eighteenth cennirv
inquiry is the first one by Lucien Febvre, en­ was police, policed, favored by Rousseau, and
titled “ Civilisation: Evolution d’un Alot et used by Voltaire in 1736 in his Philosophic de
d’un groupe d’ldees,” covering pages 1-55, THhtoire, 1 0 1 though in his Chapters 9 and 19
including full documentation in 124 notes. ‘ civilise” occasionally replaces it. Allied
In the following paragraphs we summarize qualities, since at least the seventeenth ccnrury,
this important and definitive study, which has were expressed by “ civilite” — sometimes as
already been referred to several times.100 being arbitrary or a mere varnish, while
Febvre, after distinguishing the “ ethno­ Montesquieu rates it above “ politcsse.” All
graphic” concept of civilization from the idea three words, however, were ultimately dis­
of higher civilization loaded with values of placed by “ civilisation” as regards the broadest
prestige and eminence, searches for historic meaning.
evidences of first use of the word as a noun — The first use of the plural “ civilisations” —
to civilize and civilized are earlier in both a significant step — which Febvre has been
French and English. A 1752 occurrence attri­ able to find is in 1819, by Ballanchc in Le
buted to Turgot is spurious, being due to the Veillard et le Jcitne Hoimnc (p. 102 of 186K
insertion by an editor, probably Dupont de edition). The idea of a plurality of civiliza­
Nemours (Ed. 1884, II, p. 674). The earliest tions is already implicit when Volncy in his
printed occurrence discovered by Febvre is Eclaircissements sur les £ tats-Unis (before
by Boulanger, who died in 1759, in his 1814, p. 718 of the 1868 edition) speaks almost
U Antiquite Devoilee par ses Usages, printed ethnographically of “ la civilisation des
in Amsterdam in 1766 (vol. Ill, pp. 404-05), in sauvagcs.”
a sentence which contains the phrases “ mettre While Febvre leaves the question open,
fin a l’acte de civilisation” and “ une civilisation British use seems to follow on French. Murray
continuee.” In both cases the reference is to traces the English verb and participle back

“ "In footnotes 1, 3, 18, 41 above. As to the date see footnote 42 in 8 7, above.

only to 1631-41, as against sixteenth-century French, the noun “ culture” is always accom­
use by Montaigne. The Boswell reference of plished by the object of action — culture of
1772 about Johnson excluding civilization in w heat or letters 01 what not. In the eighteenth,
favor of civility (our § 2, fin. 21) is cited. it is used by itself, to denote “ formation de
Tw o apparent occurrences in the 1771 French 1’esprit.” In German, Tonnelat cites the 1793
translation of Robertson’s History of Charles dictionary definition by Adelung wrhich we
V have “ refinement” in the English original have discussed, and the 1807-13 one by Campe,
of 1769. The first use of the noun, in English who equates Cultur with Bildung, geistige
as in French, is in its legal procedural sense Entwickelung, and proposes Anbau, Geistesan-
of turning a criminal into a civil suit, as we bau as a German equivalent. Tonnelat then
too have noted in § 2. briefly discusses usage in Herder, Kant,
So far, Febvre’s precise and illuminating Schiller, Goethe, and the growing emphasis
account of the word civilization. This extends on relation of Cultur to Staat in the romantics
our comments in § 2, which were incidental Novalis, Fichte, and Schlegel.
to the history of the word culture and its The remaining essays in the volume, by
meanings. Mauss on elements and forms of civilization,
The second essay in the volume, by E. by Niceforo on cultural values and the possi­
Tonnelat, on Kultur: Histoire du Mot, bility' of an objective scale for measuring
Evolution duSens, is much briefer (pp. 61-73) these, by Weber on technology, discuss aspects
and somewhat sketchy. He regards the of civilization itself rather than the history of
German usage as a direct caique or copy' of the concept and yvord as such.
the French. In the seventeenth century, in
P a r t II


Group A. Enumerarively descriptive

Group B. Historical
Group G Normative
C-I. Emphasis on Rule or W ay
C-II. Emphasis on Ideals or Values PlusBehavior
Group D. Psychological
D-I. Emphasis on Adjustment, on Culture as a Problem-Solving Device
D-II. Emphasis on Learning
. D-III. Emphasis on Habit
D-IV. Purely Psychological Definitions
Group E. Structural
Group F. Genetic
F-I. Emphasis on Culture as a Product or Artifact
F-II. Emphasis on Ideas
F-III. Emphasis on Symbols
F-IV . Residual Category Definitions
Group G. Incomplete Definitions

l The definers (in addition to anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists,

psychiatrists, one chemist, one biologist, one economist, one geographer, and one
political scientist) include several philosophers. The latter, however, are operating
within the social-scicnce area of the concept.
1 Only four definitions not in the English language are included.
is impossible, without an enormous number out the convergences and divergences in vari­
Iof categories and great artificiality, to group
ous definitions. In our classification and our
definitions of culture with complete con­ critical comments we realize that w e are taking
sistency. VVe think, however, that some order­ brief statements out of the larger context of
ing both reflects meaningful historical fact the authors’ thinking. But our purpose is not
and makes for a measure of conceptual en­ to make an over-all critique of certain writers.
lightenment. As the physiologist, L. J. It is rather to point up the important and use­
Henderson, used to say to his students, “ In ful angles from which the central idea has
science any classification is better than no been approached. This can, in part, be
classification — provided you don’t take it too achieved by grouping together those state­
seriously.” We recognize that an element of ments which seem to stress one or more of
arbitrariness has entered into many of our the same fundamental criteria.
assignments, and we are quite aware that an In the operation of definition one may see in
excellent case could be made for a radical microcosm the essence of the cultural process:
shifting of some mixed or borderline defini­ the imposition of a conventional form upon
tions. In certain (but not all) cases we have the flux of experience. And, as I. A. Richards
indicated possible alternative assignments. has remarked, some words must bear a much
We have tried to categorize on the basis of heavier weight of meaning than others. It is
principal emphasis rather than by, as it were, the basic concepts like “ value,” “ idea,” and
averaging the total content of the definition. “ culture” that are the hardest to circumscribe.
This emphasis, in some instances, we have There is a scattering of denotations and con­
judged in a broader context than that supplied notations that might be compared to the
by the quotation given. Vet this does not clustering of steel filings around a magnet.
mean that a given emphasis is constant for a This analogy might be pursued further: as a
particular author throughout his professional magnet is a point of reference, so are the key
life. Indeed we present examples or definitions concepts centers of symbolic crystallization
from the same publication which differ im­ in each culture. Charged with affect, almost
portantly in emphasis. The fact of the matter impossible to delimit and hence susceptible to
is that many of the definitions we cite are only considerable projection, the^e fundamental
very crudely comparable. Some were con­ concepts are the ultimate conscious and un­
structed for the purpose of making one kind conscious references in a culture. Accepted as
of legitimate point or for dealing with highly a currency for explanation, they may be
specialized materials; others for very different viewed as the boundary lines of symbolic
points and materials. Some definitions are from development in a culture. Scientific definition
books, some from articles in professional jour­ represents a sharpening of the same process
nals, a few from monographs or pc fila r that occurs more slowly and less rationally in
essays or literary pieces. Some were hardly culture generally.
intended as formal definitions at all but rather We do not think it profitable in this study
as convenient encapsulations of what was to haggle over the logical and metaphysical
taken as generally agreed upon. Nevertheless, aspects of a “ definition of definition.” The
it seemed important to us to document fully ( 1941 ) statement of the Committee on Con­
the range and variety of nuclear ideas and their ceptual Integration does not seem very helpful
possible combinations. We hope the reader for our purposes:
will remember that we do not take our classi­ A definition is a statement of a definiendum (the
fication at all insistently in its details, and that thing defined) which indicates its genus (next most
we consider it useful for heuristic purposes inclusive class), indicates its species (the class in
only. which the definiendum lies), differentiates it (the
The objective of our taxonomy is to illus­ definiendum) from all other phenomena in the same
trate developments of the concept and to bring species and which indicates no more than these
things about the definiendum — the choice of genus,
stantive or descriptive Nor is explanatory the
species, and intra-species differentiae being determined only other alternative. Some of the definitions
by and adequate to fulfill the purposes for which the of culture which we shall present have been
statement was devised. “ functional” in intent. Others may be char­
acterized as epistemological — that is, thev
We prefer the view expressed by Freud: have been intended to point to the phenomena
The fundamental concepts or most general ideas and process by u hich we gain our knowledge
in any of the disciplines of science arc always left of culture. Some definitions look towards
indeterminate at first and are only explained to begin the actions of the individual as the starting
with by reference to the realm of phenomena from point of all generalizations, whereas others,
which they were derived; it is only by means of a u'hile perhaps admitting individual acts as
progressive analysis of the material of observation ultimate referents, depart from abstractions
that they can be made clear and can find a significant posited for groups.
and consistent meaning. It is plain that a science
Our own procedure mav be stated simply.
based upon observation has no alternative but to
work out its findings piecemeal and to solve its prob­
One of the reasons “ culture” has been so hard
lems step by step. . . . ” (1946, 106-07)
to delimit is that its abstractness makes any
single concrete referent out of the question,
Indeed scientists reject more and more the and, up to this time, the notions that have
old recipe “ define your terms” in favor of the accreted around the concept have not been
prescription “ state explicitly and clearly your well enough organized to cross-relate them.
undefined terms.” For, as VVoodger has re­
Our hope is that by grouping and dissecting
the varying notions that have been subsumed
It is clear that u'e cannot define all our terms. If under this label we can show7 the interconnec­
we start to define all our terms, we must by necessity tions of the related abstractions. As L. L.
soon come to a set of terms which we cannot define Bernard (1941a, p. 501, Definition of Defini­
any more because we will have no terms with which
tion) has remarked: “ Definition becomes . . .
to define them. (1937, 159)
at one and the same time a process of cond v
Moreover, all “ definitions” are constructed sation and simplification on the one hand and
from a point of view — which is all too often of precision and formulation on the other
left unstated. Not all definitions are sub­ hand.”

i. Tylor, 1871: 1. 7. Boas, 1930:

Culture, or civilization, . . . is that com­ Culture embraces all the manifestations of
plex whole which includes knowledge, belief, social habits of a community, the reactions of
art, law, morals, custom, and any other capa­ the individual as affected by the habits of the
bilities and habits acquired bv man as a member group in which he lives, and the products of
of society. human activities as determined L\ these habits.4

2. Wissler, 1920: 3. 8. Hiller, 1933: 3.

. . . all social activities in the broadest sense, The beliefs, systems of thought, practical
such as language, marriage, property system, arts, manner of living, customs, traditions, and
etiquette, industries, art, etc. . . . all socially regularized wav s of acting are also
called culture. So defined, culture includes all
3. Dixon, 1928: 3. the activities which develop in the association
(a) The sum of all [a people’s] activities, between persons or which arc learned from a
customs, and beliefs. social group, but excludes those specific forms
(b) That totality of a people’s products and of behavior which arc predetermined by in­
activities, social and religious order, customs herited nature.
and beliefs which . . . we have been accustomed
to call their civilization. 9. Winston, 1933: 23.
Culture may be considered as the totality of
4. Benedict, (1929) 3 1931: 806. material and non-material traits, together with
. . . that complex whole w hich includes all their associated behavior patterns, plus the
the habits acquired by man as a member of language uses which a societv possesses.
10. Linton, 1936: 288.
5. Burkitt, 1929: 237. . . . the sum total of ideas, conditioned emo­
. . . the sum of the activities of a people as tional responses, and patterns of habitual be­
shown by their industries and other discover­ havior which the members of that society have
able characteristics.
acquired through instruction or imitation and
which they share to a greater or less degree.
6. Bose, 1929: 23.
We can now define Culture as the
crystallized phase of man’s life activities. It 10a. Louie, 1937: 3.
includes certain forms of action closely as­ By culture we understand the sum total of
sociated with particular objects and institu­ what an individual acquires from his society
tions; habitual attitudes of mind transferable — those beliefs, customs, artistic norms, food-
from one person to another with the aid of habits, and crafts which come to him not by
mental images conveyed by speech-svmbols his own creative activity but as a legacy from
. . . Culture also includes certain material the past, conveyed by formal or informal edu­
objects and techniques . . . cation.

* An expansion of this definition by Boas in 1938

•T h e year in parentheses represents date of first is cited by us in a footnote to his quoted statement
publication, the second year the date of source cited. on culture in Part III, b-4.
11. Panunzio, 1939: 106. (could also justifi­ 17 Kroeber, 1948a: 8-9.
ably be assigned to D-I) . . . the mass of learned and transmitted
It [culture] is the complex whole of the motor reactions, habits, techniques, ideas, and
system of concepts and usages, organizations, values — and the behavior they induce — is
skills, and instruments by means of which what constitutes culture. Culture is the special
mankind deals with physical, biological, and and exclusive product of men, and is their
human nature in satisfaction of its needs. distinctive quality in the cosmos . . . . Culture
. . . is at one and the same time the totality of
12. Murray, 1943: 346. products of social men, and a tremendous
The various industries of a people, as well force affecting all human beings, socially and
as art, burial customs, etc., which throw light individually.
upon their life and thought.
18. Herskovits, 1948: 134.
Culture 5 . . . refers to that part of the total
13. Malinowski^ 1944: 36.
setting [of human existence] which includes
It [culture] obviously is the integral whole the material objects of human manufacture,
consisting of implements and consumers’ techniques, social orientations, points of view,
'roods, of constitutional charters for the various and sanctioned ends that are the immediate
social groupings, of human ideas and crafts, conditioning factors underlying behavior.
beliefs and customs.
19. Herskovits, 1948: 629.
14. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1949a: 82. . . . culture is essentially a construct that
Culture is that complex whole which in­ describes the total body of belief, behavior,
cludes artifacts, beliefs, art, all the other habits knowledge, sanctions, values, and goals that
acquired by man as a member of society, and mark the way of life of any people. That is,
all products of human activity as determined though a culture may be treated by the student
by these habits. as capable of objective description, in the final
analysis it comprises the things that people
15. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1943a: 96. have, the things they do, and what they think.
. . . culture in general as a descriptive con­
cept means the accumulated treasury of human ;o. Thurnrcald, 1930: 104.
creation: books, paintings, buildings, and the [Culture:] The totality of usages and ad­
like; the knowledge of ways of adjusting to justments which relate to family, political
our surroundings, both human and physical; formation, economy, labor, morality, custom,
language, customs, and systems of etiquette, law, and ways of thought. These are bound
ethics, religion, and morals that have been to the life of the social entities in which they
built up through the ages. are practiced and perish with these; whereas
civilizational horizons are not lost.
16. Bidney, 194-: 376.
. . . functionally and secondarily, culture CO M M ENT
refers to the acquired forms of technique, The distinctive criteria of this group are (a)
behavior, feeling and thought of individuals culture as a comprehensive totality,8 (b)
within society and to the social institutions in enumeration of aspects of culture content.
which they cooperate for the attainment of All of these definitions, save two, use one or
common ends. more of the following words explicitly: com-

•This is now almost universal. Odum (1947),

•W hen a single word or words in a definition are chough distinguishing culture from civilization some­
italicized by the author, this is reproduced, but where what as Merton docs, nevertheless says “ . . . culture is
the whole definition is italicized we present it in the sum total of the characteristics of a society . . ."
ordinary type. (p . i j )
plex whole, totality, sum, sum total, all. A -12 *933)* Linton (1936), Mead (1937,
speaks merely of “ various.” The phrase “ac­ B-10), and Thomas (1937, C-II-2). Activity is
cumulated treasury” in A -15 clearly implies mentioned by Wissler (1920) and Dixon
“ totality.” Every definition except A-4 is (1928). It is certainly contained in Boas’ “ reac­
enumerative. tions of the individual” and implied in Bene­
Tylor’s definition appears at the very be­ dict’s (and of course Tylor’s) “ habits ac­
ginning of his Primitive Culture. It has been, quired by man.” Tylor’s term “capabilities”
and continues to be, quoted numberless times is perhaps to be construed in the sense of
— and not only by anthropologists and sociolo­ “ capabilities as realized in achievements.” But
gists. Klineberg uses it in his Social Psychology the enumeration — “ knowledge, belief, art,
(1940, p. 62). Another important recent text­ morals, customs” — seems today curiously
book in psychology (Gardner Murphy’s Per­ ambiguous as between products of activity
sonality, 1948) gives Tylor’s as the sole defini­ and activities as such. It is probable that
tion in the glossary under “ culture” (p. 983). Tylor would have said that the products im­
Boas expanded and refined Tylor’s defini­ plied activities, and the activities resulted in
tion, but without breaking away from it. He products. This is the position implicit in the
had met Tylor and was evidently impressed two definitions in this group by archa:ologists
bv him; and if direct influencing is not trace­ (A-5, A -12).
able, that tends to be true of Boas generally. Boas’ definition, which is careful, is also
Wissler, Benedict, Dixon, Linton, and Kroeber unusually comprehensive and explicit. He
were all students of Boas. The influence of takes in, separately: (1) customs and their
Tylor — often through Boas — appears also in manifestations; (2) individual behavior (“ re­
the phrasing of definitions not included in this actions” ) as determined by customs; (3) the
group (cf. B-i, B-7, B-8, B-10, B -11, C -I-i, products of activity as so determined. We
C-I-4, C-I-5, C-II-2, C-II-4, D-II-8, etc.). have not been able to find an earlier explicit
Customs (group referent), habits (individual definition by Boas, nor in his long teaching at
referent), customs and habits, or habitual Columbia does he seem to have entered into
behavior enter into the majority of the a systematic discussion of the concept. In the
definitions in this group. This was probably first edition of The Mind of Primitive Man
inevitable for a conception emanating from (19 11) he uses the word frequently, some­
ethnologists, for customs are the obvious times as interchangeable with “ civilization.”
phenomena presented by historyless and non­ Occasionally he slips into popular tcrminologv
literate peoples. Learning and tradition were as in “ highly cultured families,” “ most cul­
no doubt implicit in the idea of custom, but tured class.” On the whole, his usage reveals
learning is made explicit in only one definition a conception substantially identical with the
by an anthropologist prior to 1930 (Wissler, formal definition quoted above, though his
1916; D -II-i). Linton (1936, A - 10) says quasi-definition on page 139 is archaic or at
“ acquired through instruction or imitation.” least incomplete.
After the formal “ learning theory” of psy­ Linton’s definition, which is only one of
chologists began to reach anthropologists, several by him, does not use “ customs;”
“ learning” as consciously distinct from “ tradi­ “ habits” have become “ habitual behavior;”
tion” begins to enter into an increasing num­ and “ conditioned responses” enter as further
ber of definitions (Mead, 1937, B-ro; Miller indication of influencing by social psychology.
and Dollard, 1941, D—II—3; Linton, 1945a, There may be a remnant of Tylor-Boas type
C-I-8; Opler, 1947, D-II-8; Ford, 1942, D -I- of definition, but the orientation is away
10; Benedict, 1947, D-II-6; Davis, 1948, from it.
D-II-9; etc. Symbolism was formally injected Malinowski (A -13) takes Tylor’s notions of
by sociologists, though one anthropologist, comprehensive totality and enumeration of
Leslie White, has emphasized it in his defini­ content and adds a dash of economic jargon
tions. Behavior as such enters the scene long and Jiis own favorite locution “ constitutional
after behaviorism was launched in psychology: charters” which implies “ rule or way” (see
with the sociologists Hiller and Winston (both C -I). Kluckhohn and Kelly (A-15) link 1
1 enumeration with social heritage (B) and ad­ explicitly mentioned tends to get left out
justment (D -I). Kroeber (A -17 ) is enumera- of consideration. Culture is an abstraction and
dve but theoretically his is one of the more in­ the listing of any relatively concrete phe­
clusive of the statements in this group, for nomena confuses this issue. As Bernard (1941a,
learning, transmission, behavior, and the sig­ Definition of Definition, p. 501) says:
nificance for human life are all included.
The precision of a definition does not usually con­
Thumwald’s recent definition (20) is still
sist in the accuracy of a detailed description, but
enumerative. It differs from the others in this rather in that of a representative conceptualized in­
group in that Thurnwald restricts culture by clusive formula which serves as a base for control
excluding civilization, which he sees as an operations. That is, the precision resides in a synthetic
irreversible, human-wide accumulation of conceptualized norm which is always in some degree
technology and knowledge which proceeds (in artificial and projective and may be and frequently
the Alfred Weberian not the Spenglerian is in large measure hypothetical and ideal formation.
sense of civilization — Pan I, § 5, Pan III, b),
independently of the more transient and per­ Certain abstract and (today) generally agreed-
ishable cultures and their societies. upon properties of culture — e.g., the fact
The principal logical objection to the defini­ that it has organization as well as content —
tions in this group is that definitions by enum­ do not enter into any of the definitions in this
eration can never be exhaustive and what is not group.


1. Park and Burgess, 1921: -2. 7. Winston, 1999: 4.

The culture of a group is the sum total and . . . we may regard culture as the sum total
organization of the social heritages v hich have of the possessions and the patterned ways of
acquired a social meaning because of racial behavior which have become part of the
temperament and of the historical life of the heritage of a group.
8. Lowie, 1994: 9.
2. Sapir, 1921: 22i. The v\hole of social tradition. It includes,
. . . culture, that is, . . . the soc-ally inherited as . . . Tylor put it, “ capabilities and habits
assemblage of practices and beliefs that deter­ acquired by man as a member of socier,” . . .
mines the texture of our lives . . . .

9. Linton, 1996: 78.

3. Sapir, 192+2: 402. (1949: 908-09.) . . . the social heredity' is called culture.
[Culture is technically' used by the ethnolo­ As a general term, culture means the total social
gist and culture historian to embody] any heredity- of mankind, yvhile as a specific term
socially inherited element in the life of man, a culture means a particular strain of social
material and spiritual. heredity.

4. Tozzer, 1929: 6. 10. Mtad, 1991: tj.

. . . the cultural, that which we inherit b\r Culture means the yvhole complex of tra-
social contact. . , . dinonal behavior yvhich has been developed
by the human race and is successively learned
by each generation. A culture is less precise.
4a, My res, 19 ay: 16.
It can mean the forms of traditional behavior
. . . “ culture” is not a state or condition
v. hich are characteristic of a given society, or
only, but a proce;»; as in agriculture or horti­
of a group of societies, or of a certain race, or
culture we mean not the condition of the fend
of a certain ar*.a, or of a certain period of time.
but the whole round of the farmer s year, and
all that he does in it; “ culture,” then, is what
remains of men’s past, working on their 11. Sutherland and Woodward, 1940: 19.
present, to shape their future. Culture includes everything that can be
communicated from one generation to an­
5. Bose, 1929: 14. other. The culture of a people is their social
. . . we may describe culture as including heritage, a “ complex whole’ yvhich includes
such behaviour as is common among a group knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, techniques
of men and v hich is capable of transmission of tool fabrication and use, and method of
from generation to generation or from one communication.
country to another.
12. Davis and Dollard, 1940: 4.
6. Malinowski, 1991: 621. . . . the difference between groups is in their
This social heritage f§ the key' concept of cultures, their social heritage. Men behave
cultural anthropology. It is usually called differently as adults because their cultures arc
culture. . . . Culture comprises inherited arti­ different; they arc born into different habitual
facts, goods, technical processes, ideas, habits, ways of life, and these they must folloyv be­
and values. cause they have no choice.
13. Groves and Moore, 1940: 14. 20^ Kluckhohn, 1949a: 17.
Culture is thus the social heritage, the fund By “ culture” anthropology means the total
of accumulated knowledge and customs life way of a people, the social legacy the
through which the person “ inherits” most of individual acquires from his group.
his behavior and idea^
21. Henry, 1949: 218.
14- Angyal, /941: 187. I would define culture as the individuals or
Culture can be defined as an organized bodv group's acquired response systems. . . . the
of behavior patterns which is transmitted by conception of culture as response systems ac­
social inheritance, that is, by tradition, and quired through the process of domestica­
which is characteristic of a given area or tion . . .
group of people.
2i. Radcliffe-Brown, 1949: 9 10 -11.
15. Kluckhohn, 1942: 2. As a sociologist the reality to which I regard
Culture consists in those abstracted elements the word “ culture” as applying is the process
of action and reaction which may be traced to of cultural tradition, the process by which in
the influence of one or more strains of social a given social group or social class language,
heredity. beliefs, ideas, aesthetic tastes, knowledge, skills
and usages of many kinds are handed on (“ tra­
16. Jacobs and Stern, 1947; 2. dition” means “ handing on” ) from person to
Humans, as distinct from other animals have person and from one generation to another.
a culture — that is, a social heritage — trans­
mitted not biologically through the germ ceils
but independently of genetic inheritance. COM M ENT
These definitions select one feature of
17. Dietschy, 1947: 121. culture, social heritage or social trad'tion,
Cest cette perpetuation des donnees de rather than tr> ing to define culture substan­
l’histoire qui noib sont transmises d’abord par tively. Linton’s “ social heredity” obviously
la generation qui nous precede que nous means the same and is etymologically equally
nommons civilisation. valid, but is open to the tactical objection that
“ hered ty ” has acquired in biology the tech­
18. Kroeber, tofSa: 299. nical denotation of an organic process which
. . . culture might 1 ? defined as all the activi­ is distinctly not involved in culture trans­
ties and .non-physiological products of human mission. “ Heritage” connotes rather what is
personalities that arc not automatically reflex received, the product; “ tradition” refers pri­
or instinctive. That in turn means, in biological marily to the process bv which receipt takes
and physiological parlance, that culture con­ place, but also to what is given and accepted.
sists of conditioned or learned activities (plus Both terms view culture statically, or at least
the manufactured results of these); and the as more or less fixed, though the word “ tra­
idea of learning brings us back again to u»hat is dition” denotes dynamic activity as well as end
socially transmitted, what is received from product.
tradition, what “ is acquired by man as a mem­ Several of the statements deviate somewhat.
ber of societies.” So perhaps here: it comes to Sapir speaks of culture embodying elements
be is really more distinctive of culture than that are socially inherited: elements “ in the
what it is. life of man, material and spiritual” — phrases
that have a curiously old-fashioned or Ger­
19. Parsons, 1949: 8. manic ring uncharacteristic of the later Sapir.
Culture . . . consists in those patterns relative Margaret Mead’s statement looks both forward
to behavior and the products of human action and back. Its “ complex whole” is a rem­
which may be inherited, that is, passed on from iniscence from Tvlor, perhaps via Benedict.
genera^on to generation independently of the “ Traditional” is what connects the definition
biological genes. with the others in the group; “ behavior” and
“ learned,” which differentiate it from the 10) appear to be the first to make an explicit
others, represent formal or conscious psycho­ distinction between “ culture” and “ a culture.”
logical influencing. This point is simple but of great theoretical
There are six definitions from sociologists importance.
in this group (i, 7, 11, 12, 13, 19). The first The definitions in this group have been of
is perhaps the neatest and most interesting. utility in drawing attention to the fact that
“ Historical life of the group” is a component human beings have a social as well as a bio­
logical heritage, an increment or inheritance
which anthropologists long implied rather
that springs from membership in a group with
than formulated. “ Racial temperament” is a a history of its own. The principal drawbacks
factor that anthropologists have tended to shv to this conception of culture are that it implies
away from since they became conscious of too great stability and too passive a role on the
culture. “Social meaning” and “social heritage” part of man. It tends to make us think of the
are understandable emphases. This definition human being as what Dollard (1939) has
by Park and Burgess is one of the first to state called “ the passive porter of a cultural tra­
that culture has organization as well as content. dition.” Men are, as Simmons (1942) has
This note is also struck by Winstons reminded us, not only the carriers and
“patterned ways of behavior” (7), Parsons’ creatures of culture — they are also creators
“ patterns” (19), and by the psychiatrist and manipulators of culture. “ Social heredity”
Angyal’s “ organized body” (14). suggests too much of the dead weight of tra­
Linton’s and Mead’s definitions (9 and dition.
1. 1 W,ssler, 1929: 13, 341. habiting a common geographical area do, the
The mode of life followed by the community ways they do things and the ways they think
or the tribe is regarded as a culture . . . [It] and feel about things, their material tools and
includes all standardized social procedures their values and symbols.
. . . a tribal culture is . . . the aggregate of
standardized beliefs and procedures followed 6. Gillin and Gillin, 1942: 20.
by the tribe. The customs, traditions, attitudes, ideas, and
symbols which govern social behavior show
2. Bogardus, 1930: 336 (second sentence a wide variety*. Each group, each society has
would justify assignment to B). a set of behavior patterns (overt and covert)
Culture is the sum total of the ways of doing which are more or less common to the mem­
and thinking, past and present, of a social bers, which are passed down from generation
group. It is the sum of the traditions, or to generation, and taught to the children, and
handed-down beliefs, and of customs, or which are constantly liable to change. These
handed-down procedures. common patterns w e call the culture . . .

3. Young, 193^'xiii (or F -i, second sentence; 7. Simmons, 1942: 383.

B, third sentence). . . . the culture or the commonly recognized
The general term for these common and mores . . .
accepted ways of thinking and acting is
culture. This term covers all the folkways 8. Linton, 1943b: 203.
which men have developed from living to­ The culture of a society is the way of life
gether in groups. Furthermore, culture comes of its members; the collection of ideas and
down to us from the past. habits which they learn, share, and transmit
from generation to generation.
4. Kline be rg, 1933: 233 (or A, second sen­
tence). 9. Linton, 1943a: 30.
[culture] applies to that whole “ way of [Culture] refers to the total way of life of
life” W’hich is det.rmincd by the social en­ any society' . . .
vironment. T o paraphrase Tylor it includes
all the capabilities and habits acquired by an 10. Kluckhohn and Kelly,7 1943a: 84.
individual as a member of a particular society. . . . those historically created selective pro­
cesses which channel men’s reactions both to
j. Firth, 1939: 18. internal and to external stimuli.
They [anthropologists] consider the acts of
individuals not in isolation but as members of • 11. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1943a: 9-].
society and call the sum total of these modes By culture we mean all those historically
of behavior “ culture.” created designs for living, explicit and implicit,
rational, irrational, and nonrational, which
5a. Lynd, 1940: 19. exist at any given time as potenral guides for
. . . all the things that a group of people in- the behavior of men.

’ The multiplicity of definitions from the Kluck-

hohn and Kelly article is due to the fact that this was authors, there is an attempt to state various positions
also, in part, a survey of current thinking about the reflecting different types of anthropological emphasis.
concept of culture. In addition to the explanatory Of these (12) is an example, and others will follow
(10) and descriptive (11) definitions proposed by the in later sections.
12. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1945a: 91. 19. Kluckhohn, 1951a: 86.
Culture is . . . a set of ready-made defini­ “ A culture” refers to the distinctive wav of
tions of the situation which each participant life of a group of people, their complete
only slightly retailors in his own idiomatic way. “ design for living.”

13. Kluckhohn and Leighton, 1946: xviii. Addendum: When this monograph was
A culture is any given people’s way of life, already in press — and hence too late for in­
clusion in tabulations — we encountered the
as distinct from the life-ways of other peoples.
following definition belonging to this group,
by the biologist, Paul Sears:
14. Herskovits, 1948: 29. The way in which the people in any group do things,
A culture is the way of life of a people; make and use tools, get along with one another and
while a society is the organized aggregate of with other groups, the words they use and the way
individuals who follow a given way of life. they use them to express thoughts, and the thoughts
In still simpler terms a society is composed of they think — all of these we call the group’s culture.
people; the way they behave is their culture. (>939. 78~79 >

15. Lasrwell, 1948: 205.
“ Culture” is the term used to refer to the Wissler’s 1929 statement, “ the mode of Lfe
way that the members of a group act in rela­ followed by the community,” sets the pattern.
tion to one another and to other groups. It is the old “ customs” concept (cf. Group
A), raised from its pluralistic connotations
16. Bennett and Tumin, 1949: 209. into a totalizing generalization. The word
Culture: the behavior patterns of all groups, “ mode” or “ way” can imply (a) common or
called the “ way of life” : an observable feature shared patterns; (b) sanctions for failure to
of all human groups; the fact of “ culture” is follow the rules; (c) a manner, a “ how” of
common to all; the particular pattent of behaving; (d) social “ blueprints” for action.
culture differs among all. “ A culture” : the One or more of these implications is made per­
specific pattern of behavior which distin­ fectly explicit in many of these definitions.
guishes any society from all others. There are probably few contemporary
anthropologists who would reject completely
the proposition “ A culture is the distinctive
17. Frank, 1948: i j i .
way of life of a people,” though many would
. . . a term or concept for the totality' of
regard it as incomplete. Radcliffe-Brown has
these patterned ways of thinking and acting
only recenrly committed himself to a defini­
wmch are specific modes and acts of conduct
tion of culture (B-22). Earlier in his pro­
of discrete individuals who, under the guid­
fessional career he appeared to accept the
ance of parents and teachers and the associa­
Tvlorian conception but increasingly he has
tions of their fellows, have developed a way
belittled “ culture” as opposed to “ social struc­
of life expressing those beliefs and those
ture” (see p. 132). Even Radcliffe-Brown,
however, in conversation and in his final
seminar at Chicago in 1937 spoke of culture
18. Titiev, 1949: 45. as a set of rules for behavior. If there is a
. . . the term includes those objects or tools, difference with Wissler’s position it is in
attitudes, and forms of behavior whose use is Radcliffe-Brown’s implication that there is
sanctioned under given conditions by the something artificial in rules. This is an under­
members of a particular society. standable enough attitude for an anti-cul-
turalist of his day and generation. Wissler’s
18a. Maquet, 1949: 524 “ mode of life followed” is more neutral; or if
La culture, c’est la manure de vivre du it has a connotation, it is rather that of a nat­
groupe. ural phenomenon.
The idea of artificiality or arbitrariness be­ adjustment. It is clear, however, that the
comes explicit in Redfield’s “ conventional “ design for living" theme is, to greater or
understandings manifest in act and artifact” lesser extent, a feature common to Groups
(E-4). This emphasis seems to pull the defini­ C-I, D-I, D-II, and E.
tion well off to one side — almost as if it were A few more specific comments are now in
an echo of the Contrat Social. The “ arbitrari­ order.
ness” of a cultural phenomenon is a function of Bogardus’ definition (2) combines an echo
its particular historical determination. “ Arti­ of Tylor with the social heritage notion but
ficiality” is related to a different set of prob­ stresses “ the ways.” Young (3) likewise in­
lems hinging on the role of culture in human cludes the theme of tradition with a stress upon
life. Is it a thwarting or fulfilling or both? “ ways” but combines these with Sumner’s
Is mans “ culturalncss” just a thin film, an term “ folkways.” The Gillin and Gillin defini­
epiphenomenon, capping his naturalness? Or tion (6) seems to be the first to speak of the
are cultural features in man’s life so important overt and covert aspects of culture, though
that culture becomes the capstone to human it is probable that the younger Gillin drew
personality? Perhaps, however, there is no this distinction from the lectures of his teacher,
influence of either Rousseau or RadcIifFc- Linton.
Brown involved in Redfield’s definition; it may Linton, in two books in 1945, drifts into
be only a degree of sty lization of phrase. three or four definitions or subdefinitions of
In any case there tends to be a close relation­ culture. Most in accord with Wissler is
ship between the definitions in this group and “ the total way of life of any society,” though
the group (F.) to which Redfield’s definition he says only that this is what culture “ refers
is assigned — those which emphasize the or­ to.” An amplified \ersion (8) adds the “ ideas
ganization of culture. From Tylor’s “ complex and habits” which the members of the society
whole” to VVissler’s “ mode of life” is one step. “ learn, share, and transmit.” Two other state­
It is a next natural step to a “system” or “ or­ ments in 1945 (E-5) completely leave out the
ganization” (Redfield’s word) of the common way of living, and emphasize the psychological
patterns, for the notion of stylization sug­ factors or organized repetitive responses and
gested by “ mode” or “ way” is easily extended configurations of learned behavior — as is
to the totality of a culture. natural enough in a book professedly dealing
There is also some linkage to the definitions with personality'.
in the D groups, particularly D-I, “ Emphasis Herskovits (A -19) includes the phrase “ way
Upon Culture as a Problem-Solving Device.” of life” in his definition, but we have placed
Ford (D-I-8) speaks of “ regulations govern­ this in the Tylor group rather than here be­
ing human behavior” (the “ blueprints” idea) cause it is specifically enumerative. An alter­
but emphasizes the fact that these rules con­ native definition from the same book of
stitute a set of solutions for perennial human Herskovits belongs in F-I.
problems. Morris (D-I-14) starts from “ a In general, the definitions in this group
scheme for living” but stresses the role of this imply an “ organicism” which becomes explicit
in the adjustment process. Miller and Dollard in the “ structural” definitions of Group E.
(D -Il-3) use the phrase “ design of the human Here is foreshadowed the notion of a network
maze” but emphasize primarily the learning of rules, the totality rather than the parts (the
theory angle and secondarily the conception of discrete rules) being stressed.


1. Carver, 193$: 283. of any group of people, whether savage or
Culture is the dissipation of surplus human civilized (their institutions, customs, attitudes,
energy in the exuberant exercise of the higher behavior reactions) . . .
human faculties.
3. Bidney, 1942: 432.
2. Thomas, 1937- 8. A culture consists of the acquired or culti­
[Culture is] the material and social values vated behavior and thought of individuals
within a society, as well as of the intellectual, haps most of all for his contribution of the
artistic, and social ideals which the members “ definition of the situation;” but this docs not
of the society profess and to which they strive enter into his definition of culture. Basically
to conform. this is: “ material and social values” of a group;
further elaborated by specification of “ institu­
4. Bidney, 1946: S3 S- tions, customs, attitudes, behavior reactions."
An integral or holistic concept of culture As artifacts are not mentioned in the enumera­
comprises the acquired or cultivated behavior, tion, the \\ ord “ material” in the core of the
feeling, and thought of individuals within a definition perhaps refers to expression in
society as well as the patterns or forms of in­ physical form, whether in terms of tangible
tellectual, social, and artistic ideals which objects or of bodily actions. This core of the
human societies have professed historically. definition, as usual with Thomas, is trenchant:
the essence of culture is values.
5. Bidney, i j f 7: 376. Sorokin’s 1947 statement is elaborate be­
. . . genetically, integral culture refers to the cause it is really part of a philosophical system.
education or cultivation of the whole man con­ Thus he begins by separating the social aspect
sidered as an organism and not merely to the from the cultural aspect of the superorganic
mental aspect of his nature or behavior. or sociocultural empirical universe. Within
this universe, culture, or “ the cultural aspect,”
6. Sorokin, / 94.7: 313. consists first of all of “ meanings, values,
[The social aspect of the superorganic uni­ norms.” The three together obviously equate
verse is made up of the interacting individuals, more or less with Thomas’s “ values.” How­
of the forms of interaction, of unorganized and ever, that is only the beginning. With the
organized groups, and of the interindividual meanings, values, and norms there are also
and intergroup relationships . . . ] The cultural included by Sorokin: (1) their interactions
aspect or the superorganic universe consists and relationships; ( ;) their respectively more
of meanings, values, norms, their interaction or less integrated grouping into systems versus
and relationships, their integrated and uninte­ congeries; and (3) these systems and con­
grated groups (systems and congeries) as they geries “ as they arc objectified through overt
are objectified through overt actions and actions and other vehicles.” This lands us in
other vehicles in the empirical sociocultural the midst of a systematic terminology that
universe. Sorokin has coined but which it would be
beyond the scope of this comparative review to
COM MENT examine or appraise in detail. It is however
clear that “ overt actions” means behavior; that
These definitions come from an economist, “ other vehicles” are or include artifacts or
two sociologists, and a philosopher concerned objects of material culture; and that “ objecti­
with the concept of culture. The definition fied through” means that both behavior and
by the economist (Carver) is probably of the artifacts are expressions of the primary mean­
“ Geist” or “ Kultur” tvpe (“ higher faculties” ); ings, values, and norms in their variably inte­
we have included it only because of some slight grated groupings. Values, in short, are pri­
historical interest. It may also be argued that mary. Sorokin’s thought system is therefore
Bidney’s 1947 definition (5) has no genuine idealistic. Nevertheless, both behavior and
place in this group. artifacts have room made for them as “ objecti­
The remaining four definitions all name fications” — that is, expressions or derivations
“behavior” or “ overt actions” together with — just as it is recognized that values may occur
“ideals” or “ values.” However, the relation either integrated into systems or merely
of behavior to ideals or values in these defi­ collocated in congeries. That is, the world of
nitions appears to be not conceptually intrinsic, phenomena is fully recognized, though the
bur to be historical — a function of the period thinking is idealistic. This is how we construe
when the definitions were framed (1937-1947). Sorokin’s definition. It aims at being broader
Thomas is notable among sociologists per­ than most, and is more avowedly idealistic,
but otherwise is less off-center in meaning sought, relate to the patterns or forms of the
than in the terminology chosen. social and other ideals — presumably partly
O f Bidney’s three definitions, the 1046 one shaping the ideals, partly being again in­
is an expansion of that of 1942 by the addition fluenced by' them. Sorokin connects the same
of “ feelings" to “ behavior and thought” ; of two elements by having behavior “ objectify”
“ patterns or forms o f ’ to the “ ideals” of ideals — express it or derive from it. Perhaps
various kinds; of “ historically” to “ profess” : one may compare the expression of the
and by the omission of “ to which they strive “ themes” of a personality' in T A T stories.
to conform,” which presumably is already im­ Thomas apparently was not conscious of a
plied in the profession of ideals. We need problem of relation: he simply redefines his
therefore consider only the later definition. values as being customs, attitudes, and be­
Bidney avows himself as in the humanist tra­ havior.
dition. This fact no doubt accounts for his Such unity as exists in this group consists
“ acquired or cultivated” where most other in the premise o f the dynam ic fo rce o f certain
definitions stress only acquisition itself, or its normative ideas on behavior in the cultural
empirical method by social inheritance, learn­ process. T h is conception is one to w h ich an­
ing, symbolism. To Bidnev culture retains an thropologists have openly given their allegiance
element of its older sense of “ cultivation” 8 only' quite recently. In definitions o f culture
— especially self-cultivation; culture is some­ b y anthropologists one must w ait until K ro e -
thing sought.® It is no doubt this inclination ber’s 1948 definition ( A - 17 ) before the w o rd
that makes him specify' “ individuals within a “ values” appears. O n the other hand, the
society,” where most other writers merely treatment D<jiven^ to religious
and other ideas
refer to the society or group. Seemin y\y also constitutes an implicit admission of the sig­
it is this same orientation that allows Bidney nificance of such norms. And anthropologists
to couple behavior and values. The behavior, have long recognized such concepts as Sum­
feelings, and thought being acquired or culti­ ner’s “ mores” which clearly contain value
vated, in other words, being purposive or implications.
•T h is is clear from his 1947 d finition of “ integral "Onega y Gasset has somewhere said, “ culture is
culture.” that which is sought” (quoted by Frank, 1948).
1. Small, 1905: 344-43. and technologies as well as their non-symbolic
“ Culture” . . . is the total equipment of tech­ counterparts in concrete tools and instruments,
nique, mechanical, mental, and moral, by use man’s experience and his adjustment technique
of which the people of a given period try to become cumulative. This societal behavior, to­
attain their ends . . . “culture” consists of the gether with its man-made products, in their
means by which men promote their individual interaction with other aspects of human en­
or social ends. vironment, creates a constantly changing scries
of phenomena and situations to which man
2. Sumner10 and Keller, 1921: 46-47. must continually adjust through the develop­
The sum of men’s adjustments to their life- ment of further habits achieved by the same
conditions is their culture, or civilization. process. The concrete manifestations of these
These adjustments . . . are attained only processes are usually described by the vague
through the combined action of variation, se­ word culture.
lection, and transmission.
7. Panunzio, 1939: 106.
3. Dawson, 1928: xiii-xiv (could also be as­ . . . culture is a man-made or supcrorganic
signed to C-I). order, self-generating and dynamic in its op­
A culture is a common way of life— a par­ eration, a pattern-creating order, objective,
ticular adjustment of man to his natural sur­ humanly useful, cumulative, and self-pcrpctu-
roundings and his economic needs. ating. It is the complex whole of the systems
of concepts and usages, organizations, skills,
4. Keller, 1931: 26. and instruments by means of which mankind
No civilization (sum or synthesis of mental deals with physical, biological, and human na­
adjustments) of any importance can be de­ ture in the satisfaction of its needs.
veloped by the individual or by the limited
group in isolation. . . . Culture 11 is developed 8. Ford, 1939: 137 (could justifiably be as­
when the pressure of numbers on land reaches signed to C-I).
a degree at which life exerts stress on man. Culture, in the form of regulations govern­
5. Young, 1934: 18-19. ing human behavior, provides solutions to so­
These folkways, these continuous methods cietal problems.
of handling problems and social situations, we
call culture. Culture consists of the whole 9. Blumenthal, 1941: 9.
mass of learned behavior or patterns of any Culture consists of all results (products) of
group as they are received from a previous human learned effort at adjustment.
group or generation and as they are added to
by. this group, and then passed on to other 10. Ford, 1942: 333, 337.
groups or to the next generation. Culture consists of traditional ways of solv­
ing problems. . . . Culture . . . is composed
6. Lund berg, 1939: 179. o f responses which have been accepted because
Through this process of inventing and they nave met with success; in brief, culture
transmitting symbols and symbolic systems consists of learned problem-solutions.

“ The 1915 edition of this same book defines

"Sumner’s Folkways (1906) uses the term “civiliza­ culture as “ the sum or synthesis of mental adapta­
tion” but not “ culture.” tions.” (xi)
11. Young, 1942: 3S- 16. Gorer, 1949: 2.
Culturc consists of common and more or less . . . a culture, in the anthropological sense
standardized ideas, attitudes, and habits which of the word: that is to say, shared patterns of
have developed with respect to man’s recur­ learned behaviour by means of which their
rent and continuous needs. fundamental biological drives are transformed
into social needs and gratified through the ap­
12. Kluckhohn and Leighton, 1946: xviii-xix. propriate institutions, which also define the
permitted and the forbidden.
There are certain recurrent and inevitable
human problems, and the ways in which man
can meet them are limited by his biological 17. Piddington, 1990: 3-4.
equipment and by certain facts of the external The culture of a people may be defined as
world. But to most problems there are a vari­ the sum total of the material and intellectual
ety of possible solutions. Any culture consists equipment whereby they satisfy their biolo­
of the set of habitual and traditional ways of gical and social needs and adapt themselves to
thinking, feeling, and reacting that are charac­ their environment.
teristic of the ways a particular society meets
its problems at a particular point in time. CO M M ENT
Although only four of the definitions in this
13. Morris, /946: 203. group (2, 4, 8, 10) are directly traceable to
The culture of a society may be said to con­ William Graham Sumner, it seems likely that
sist of the characteristic ways in which basic most of them show at least an indirect influence
needs of individuals are satisfied in that so­ from him. Young (5), for example, uses Sum­
ciety (that is, to consist of the particular re­ ner’s favorite word “ folkways.” It is notable
sponse sequences of various behavior-families that of the seventeen definitions ten come from
which occur in the society). . . sociologists,12 two from a philosopher (13,
14), two from English general scholars who
14. Morris, 1948: 45. are hard to classify in academic terms (3, 16),
A culture is a scheme for living by which one from an anthropologist13 and psychiatrist
a number of interac ting persons favor certain (12), and but two from conventional an­
motivations more than others and favor cer­ thropologists (15, 17).
tain ways rather than others for satisfying At any rate, it is a fact that Sumner, once
these motivations. The word to be under­ a dominating figure in American sociology,
lined is “ favor.” For preference is an essen­ consistently stressed the point of adjustment.
tial of living things. . . . To live at all is to act In defining his major concept — which is
preferentially — to prefer some goals rather very close to anthropological “ culture” but
than others and some ways of reaching prefer­ narrower, for “ culture” embraces both “ folk­
red goals rather than other ways. A culture ways” and “ mores” — he says:
is such a pattern of preferences held by a . . . folkways are habits of the individual and
group of persons and transmitted in time. customs of the society which arise from efforts to
satisfy needs; they are intertwined with goblinism
15. Turney-High, 1949: 3. and demonism and primitive notions of luck . . . and
so they win traditional authority. Then they become
In its broadest sense, culture is coterminous
a social force. They arise no one knows whence or
with everything that is artificial, useful, and how. They grow only to a limited extent by the
social employed by man to maintain his equili­ purposeful efforts of men. In time they lose power,
brium as a biopsychological organism. decline, and die, or are transformed. While they

“ Kluckhohn has been deeply influenced by his

“ Although C. S. Ford is considered an anthropolo- contacts with the Yale Institute of Human Relations
ist, his degree was in "The Science of Society” at group in anthropology and psychology, and their
? •le. thinking stems, in part, from Sumner.
are in vigor they very largely control individual and This is a principal distinction between a num­
social undertakings, and they produce and nourish ber of definitions in this group and some
ideas of world philosophy and life policy. Yet they definitions (e.g., Opler, D-II-8; FJuckhohn
are not organic or material. They belong to a super- and Kelly, E-6) which have certain points of
organic system of relations, conventions, and in­
stitutional arrangements. The study of them is called
for by their social character, by virtue of which they
It is true that any culture is, among other
are leading factors in the science of society. (1906, iv) things, a set of techniques for adjusting both
to the external environment and to other
The number of elements found in earlier, con­ men. Insofar as these definitions point to this
temporary, and later definitions of culture fact, they are helpful; however, they are both
present also in the above statement is remark­ incomplete and inaccurate as synoptic defini­
able. We have: customs, habits, tradition, tions. For cultures create problems as well as
values (“ ideas of world philosophy and life solving them. If the lore of a people states that
policy” ), the superorganic, the social, the frogs are dangerous creatures, or that it is not
cyclical nature o f culture. safe to go about at night because of werc-
This group has an evident conceptual rela­ animals or ghosts, threats are posed which do
tionship to the “ rule or way” group (C-I) not arise out of the inexorable facts or the
on the one hand, and to the succeeding “ leam- external w orld. This is why all “ functional”
ing” group (D-II), on the other. The Vale definitions of culture tend to be unsatisfactor y:
atmosphere was peculiarly congenial to the they disregard the fact that cultures create
attempted synthesis of anthropology, soci­ needs as well as provide means of fulfilling
ology, and learning theory because of the them.
Sumner tradition, as Dollard, Neal Miller, Moreover, we must not continue so glibly
Murdock, Ford, Whiting, and others have to posit “ needs” on the basis of observed
testified. This position is also close to Malin­ habits. We must, with Durkheim, take ac­
owski’s 14 assumption that culture is solely the count of the possibility that even some “ func­
result of response to physiological drives and tional'’ necessities of societies are referable
needs as modified by acquired drives. Indeed primarily to the collectivity rather than to
Malinowski apparently found himself intel­ the biologically derived needs of the com­
lectual^' at home in Yale during the last years ponent individuals. We require a way of
of his life. Gorer was also at Yale for some thinking which takes account of the pull of
time. expectancies as well as the push of tensions,
Clellan Ford’s definitions express the mod­ which emphasizes perduring values as well as
em central tendency of this group without immediate situation. As Dorothy Lee (194H,
deviation or qualification. His “ traditional A re Basic Seeds Ultimate}) has noted: “ Cul­
ways of solving problems” and “ learned ture is not . . . ‘a response to the total needs
problem solutions” stem from Sumner, from of a society’ but rather a system which stems
Dollard, and from a specific psychological from and expresses something had, the basic
orientation. “ Problem solutions” are the ex­ values of the society.” Only in part is culture
plicit way in which one strain of contempor­ an adaptive and adjustive instrument.
ary academic psychology (and some theo­ Another w eakness of most of this cluster of
retical sociology) wrould approach the field propositions is that in concern at why culture
of design, aim, or business of living. The exists, and how it is achieved, they forget to
“ learned” also comes from a branch of psy­ tell what culture is. In short, they aim to find
chology, learning theory. In fact everything an explanatory definition without even troub­
characteristically cultural has been dissolved ling to find a descriptive one.
out of Ford’s definitions, except for the hang­ Finally, though these definitions attempt to
over of alternative “ traditional.” The drift is relate the scientific idea of culture to the in­
to resolve or reduce culture into psychology. dividual, culture often tends to disappear in

u Piddington’s definition would seem to stem “Yale” framework than any actual definition by
directly from Malinowski, though cast more in the Malinowski.
the work of the proponents of this “ school” : individuals and why they retain or change
culture is “ reduced” to psychology. What is habits. Then this analysis is projected into
actually stressed is the acquisition of habits by culture.

1. Wissler, 1916: 195. newborn child from his elders or by others as
Cultural phenomena are conceived of as in­ he grows up.
cluding all the activities of man acquired by
learning. . . . Cultural phenomena may, there­ 8. Oplcr, 1941: 8 (could justifiably be as­
fore, be defined as the acquired activity com­ signed to D-I).
plexes of human groups. A culture can be thought of as the sum
total of learned techniques, ideas, and activities
2. Hart and Pantzer, 192$: 705, 70j. which a group uses in the business of living.
Culture consists in behavior patterns trans­
mitted by imitation or tuition. . . . Culture in­ 9. A. Davis, 1948: 99.
cludes all behavior parterns socially acquired . . . culture. . . mav be defined as all be­
and socially transmitted. havior learned by the individual in conformity
VL'ith a group. . . .
3. Miller and Dollard, 1941: 9 (could justifi­
ably be ass'gned to C-I). 10. Hoebel, 1949: 9, 4.
Culture, as conceived by social scientists, is Culture is the sum total of learned behavior
a statement of the design of the human maze, patterns which are characteristic of the mem­
of the type of reward involved, and of what bers of a society and which are, therefore, not
the result of biological
w inheritance.
responses are to be rewarded.
1 1. Haring, 1949: 29.
4. Kluckhohn, 1942: 2. Cultural behavior denotes all human func­
Culture consists in all transmitted social tioning that conforms to patterns learned from
learning. other persons.
5. LaPicre, 1946: 68. 1 2. Wilson and Kolb, 1949:57.
A culture is the embodiment in customs, Culture consists of the patterns and products
traditions, institutions, etc., of the learning of of learned behavior — etiquette, language,
a sociah group over the generations. It is the food habits, religious beliefs, the use of arti­
sum of what the group has learned about liv­ facts, systems of knowledge, and so on.
ing together under the particular circum­
stances, physical and biological, in which it 13. Hockett, 1990: 119.
has found itself. Culture is those habits which humans have
because they have been learned (not necessari­
6. Benedict, 1947: 19. ly without modification) from other humans.
. . . culture is the sociological term for
learned behavior, behavior which in man is 14. Steveard, 1990: 98.
not given at birth, which is not determined by Culture is generally understood to mean
his germ cells as is the behavior of wasps or learned modes of behavior which are socially
the social ants, but must be learned anew from transmitted from one generation to another
grown people by each new generation. within particular societies and which may be
diffused from one society to another.
7. Young, 1947: 7.
The term refers to the more or less organ­ 19. Slot kin, 1990: 7 6.
ized and persistent patterns of habits, ideas, at­ By definition, customs are categories of ac­
titudes, and values which are passed on to the tions learned from others. . . . A culture is
the body of customs found in a society, and to the body of actions learned from others in
anyone who acts according to these customs a society. Culture is also the means b\ w hich a
is a participant in the culture. From a biolo­ society “ adjusts” (see our preceding sub­
gical viewpoint, its culture is the means by group D-I) to its environment; but this is
which a society adjusts to its environment. . . . “ from the biological viewpoint,” that is, in non-
Artifacts are not included in culture. sociocultural aspect. While artifacts are spe­
cifically excluded from culture by Slotkin, he
16. Aberle, et al, 1950: 102. does not state whether he includes in culture
Culture is socially transmitted behavior con­ or excludes from it other “ products” of human
ceived as an abstraction from concrete social behavior such as ideas and values (our groups
groups. F-I and C-II).
'lost of these definitions stress the element
COM MENT of inter-human learning, of non-genetic trans­
It is interesting that Wissler appears to have mission, at the expense of other features of
pioneered both the “ rule or way” and the culture. That the learning element is import­
“ learning” definitions, though it was many ant would not be questioned by contemporary
vears before the latter caught on among his anthropologists; it is mentioned in many other
anthropological colleagues. W'ssler was definitions without such preponderant em­
trained as a psychologist. The recent fashion phasis. In the broad sense, of course, this was
of emphasizing learning in definitions of cul­ realized as long ago as 1871, for Tylor sa^ s,
ture demonstrably comes from psychology, “ acquired by man as a member of society.” All
more especially from “ learning theory,” most human beings of whatever “ races” seem to
especially from the Institute of Human Rela­ have about the same nervous systems and bio­
tions brand logical equipment generally; ficncc the basic
• • of learning theory.
processes of learning are very similar if not
LaPiere is of interest because he represents
an attempt to combine the content of the old identical among all groups. Anthropologists
Tylor-type group A definitions with the re­ look to the psychologists to discover these
cent psychological emphasis on learning. Cul­ general laws of learning. On the other hand,
ture becomes the sum or embodiment in cus­ anthropologists can show that that which is
toms of what a society has learned in its his­ learned, from whom learning takes place, and
tory about how to live. Not everything that when the learning of certain skills usually oc­
might be mentiun>.J is here; but what there is curs, varies according to culture. However,
seems unexceptionable, provided one is ready while cultural behavior is always learned be­
to put its acquisition by learning into the fore­ havior, not all learned behavior is cultural;
front of consideration over what culture may converscl), ! .rning is only one of a number
be. of differentia of culture.
Opler’s definition seems perhaps influenced A number of the definitions in the group,
by the substantive one of Kluckhohn and Kel­ while emphasizing learning, do combine this
ly. “ Uses in the business of living” is at least w'ith other features. LaPiere (5), Young (7),
equally tclic or functional in its emphasis. and Wilson and Kolb (12) are enumerative in
However, this is a less selective or purified Tylorian fashion. Others (1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 11)
definition. The “group” is in, “ learning” is in, echo the “ rule or way” theme by the use of
so are “ ideas,” “activities” include behavior. w’ords like “ groups,” “social,” “ conformity,”
There is even a new element “ techniques,” and the like. Oplcr (8) combines “ learning”
which may have been meant to refer specifi­ with a suggestion of adjustment. Slotkin (15)
cally to technologies, but also slants ahead to has learning, customs, and adjustment —
“ use in the business of living.” w'ith an implication of rule or way. Steward
Slotkin mentions action, learning, and ad­ (14) joins learning to social transmission with
justment, and his psychological accent is thus a characteristically anthropological emphasis
clear. His basic definition of a culture reduces on diffusion which he mentions explicitly.
1. Tozzer, n.d. (but pre-1930). o f M urdo ck 15 w ill serve at least as a co n ­
Culture is the rationalization o f habit. scious reminder that, in the last analysis, the
social scientist’s description o f a culture must
2. Young, 1934: S92 (Glossary) rest upon observation o f the behavior o f in­
Culture: Form s o f habitual behavior com mon dividuals and stu d y o f the products o f indi­
to a group, com m unity, o r so ciety. It is made vidual behavior. T h e w o rd “ habits,” how ever,
up o f material and non-material traits. is too neutral; a gro u p is never affectively in­
different to its culture. “ So cially valued
3. Murdock, 1941: 141. habits” w ould seem minimal and again, like
. . . culture, the traditional patterns o f ac­ “ learning,” this is o n ly part o f the picture.
tion w h ich constitute a m ajor portion o f the Anthropologists w ould agree, though, that so­
established habits with w h ich an individual en­ cial habits and the alterations brought about in
ters an y social situation. the non-human environm ent through social
habits constitute the raw data o f the student
COMMENT o f culture.
These three definitions belong w ith the It m ay legitim ately be questioned w hether
other psychological groups because, whereas Y o u n g ’s definition (z) belongs here or in C -I
“ custom ” refers to a group, “ habit” puts the ( “ rule o r w a y ” ) . T h e second sentence is also
locus in the individual. Perhaps the definition the beginning o f an enumerative definition.


1. Robehn, 1934: 216. COMMENT
B y culture w e shall understand the sum o f Th ese tw o definitions not on ly stress the
all sublimations, all substitutes, or reaction psychological angle; they are couched in terms
formations, in short, everyth in g in society' that entirely outside the main stream o f anthropo­
inhibits impulses o r perm its their distorted logical and sociological thought. T h e first is
satisfaction. p sych o an alytic; the second is from social p sy­
ch o lo gy, as evidenced b y the k e y w o rd “ at­
2. Katz and Schanck, 1938: 55/.
Roheim appears to be the only psychoanal­
S o c ie ty refers to the com m on objective re­
yst w h o has attempted a form al definition in
lationships (non-attitudinal) betw een man and
psychoanalytic terms. Freud occasionally used
man and betw een men and their material
the w o rd “ K u ltu r” in its non-anthropological
w o rld . It is often confused w ith culture, the sense. In general, he seems to have had little
attitudinal relationship betw een men. . . . C u l­ sense o f the significance o f cultural diversity.
ture is to so ciety w h at personality is to the H is eve was upon the universal. T h e “ N e o -
organism . C ulture sums up the particular insti­ Freudians” (H o rn c y , Kardincr. Alexander,
tutional content o f a society. Culture is w hat and Fro m m ) use the term “ culture” freely
happens to individuals w ithin the context o f a enough but w ith little precision. H o m e y at
particular so ciety, and . . . these happenings are least uses “ cultural” as synonym ous w ith “ so­
personal changes. cial.”

“ Roberts, a pupil of Murdock, says (1951, pp. 3, that the culture of a group could be defined in terms
6): “It [the studyl is based on the maior hypothesis of its shared habits. On analysis, it was found that,
that every small group, like groups of other sizes, although important because it implies common learn­
defines an independent and unique culture . . . the ing, understanding, and action, the shared habit rela­
description of any culture is a statement of ordered tionship was not the only one which was significant."
habit relationships. . . . Roberts also (p. 3) speaks of a habit as “a way of be­
"The data in the field were collected on the theory having.” There is thus a link to the C-I group.

1. Willey, 1929: 207. 7. Gillin, 1948: 191.

A culture is a system of interrelated and in­ Culture consists of patterned and function­
terdependent habit patterns of response. ally’ interrelated customs common to specifiable
human beings composing specifiable social
2. Dollard, 1939: 90. groups or categories.
Culture is the name given to [thej abstracted
[from men] inter-correlated customs of a so­ 8. Coutu, 1949: 398.
cial group. Culture is one of the most inclusive of all
the configurations we call interactional fields
3. Ogbum and Nimkoff, 1940: 63. — the wav of life of a whole people like that
A culture consists of inventions, or culture of China, western Europe, and the United
traits, integrated into a system, with varying Srates. Culture is to a population aggregate
degrees of correlation between the parts. . . . what personality is to the individual; and the
Both material and non-material traits, organized ethos is to the culture what self is to a per­
around the satisfaction of the basic human sonality, the core of most probable behaviors.
needs, give us our social institutions, which are
the heart of culture. The institutions of a 9. Turney-High, 1949: 9.
culture are interlinked to form a pattern which Culture is the working and integrated sum­
is unique for each society. mation of the non-instinctive activities of hu­
man beings. It is the functioning, patterned
4. Red field, 1940: quoted in Ogbum and totality of group-accepted and -transmitted
Nimkoff, 1940: 23. . inventions, material and non-material.
An organization of conventional under­
standings manifest in act and artifact, which, COM MENT
persisting through tradition, characterizes a Five of these nine definitions have been pub­
human group.16 lished within the past six years; only one ante­
5. Linton, 1943a: 3, 32. dates 1939. This may reflect only an intel­
a) . . . and cultures are, in the last analysis, lectual fashion of the past decade or may in­
nothing more than the organized repetitive dicate a deeper level of sophistication. The es­
responses of a society’s members. sential points are two. First, there is the dis­
b) A culture is the configuration of learned tinction between the cnumerative “ sum” or
behavior and results of behavior whose com­ “ total” of Group A and the organized interrela­
ponent elements are shared and transmitted by tion of the isolable aspects of culture. Second,
the members of a particular society'. most of the definitions in this group make it
clear that a culture is inevitably an abstraction.
6. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1949a: 98. DoIIard (2) first explicitly separates “ customs”
A culture is a historically derived system of from their concrete carriers or agents. Cul­
explicit and implicit designs for living, which ture becomes a conceptual model that must be
tends to be shared by all or specially designa­ based on and interpret behavior but which is
ted members of a group. not behavior itself. The definitions in this
“ Almost the same definition, but less complete A culture is then an abstraction . . . . W e may as well
and, in our opinion, a little less precise, is given in identify ‘culture’ with the extent to which the con­
Redfield, 1941, p. 133. This work also amplifies as ventionalized behavior of members of the society is
follows: “ The ‘understandings’ are the meanings for all the same. Still more concretely we speak of
attached to acts and objects. The meanings arc con­ culture, as did Tylor, as knowledge, belief, art, law,
ventional, and therefore cultural, in so far as they custom . . . . The quality of organization . . . is
have become typical for the members of that society probably a universal feature of culture and may be
by reason of intercommunication among the members. added to the definition.”
group tend to be remote from the overt, ob­ The definition by Coutu (8), a social psy­
servable uniformities of behavior. Culture is chologist, is interesting and original. He links
a design or system of designs for living; it is a organization to “ way of life” and to the con­
i )lan, not the living itself; it is that which se-
ectively channels men’s reactions, it is not the
cepts of the culture and personality field.
Kluckhohn and Kelly (6) mention historical
reactions themselves. The importance of this creation or derivation — as a more conscious
is that it extricates culture as such from be­ variant of the older tradition or heritage fac­
havior, abstracts it from human activity; the tor. This new variant is less explicit as to pro­
concept is itself selective. cess, but is more inclusive in range of connota­
These concepts may be considered “ ad­ tion and perhaps more specific as to effect. A
vanced” also in the sense of inclusiveness new element is “ system of . . . designs for liv­
and absence of one-sided weighting. While ing.” T h’S expresses purpose or end. So far
there is always a key word (‘ system,” “ or­ as we knovvr, this is the first injection of consid­
ganization,” “ configuration” ) justifying inclu­ eration of aim or end into formal definitions of
sion in this group, the concept never rests on culture, though of course the concept was not
this sole feature to the extent that some defi­ new in considerations of culture. The “ ex­
nitions rest on “ tradition,” “ learning.” “ adjust­ plicit or implicit” is a modification of Linton’s
ment,” and the like. Each of these definitions “ overt and covert culture.”
includes at least two of the emphases noted The analysis of a culture must encompass
for previous groups. both the explicit and the implicit. The explicit
The definition of Ogburn and Nimkoff (3) culture consists in those regularities in word
is tent-like and loose. Redfield (4) is tight and and deed which may be generalized straight
unusually thoughtful. He gets in: (1) the sys­ from the evidence of the ear or eye. The im­
tematic properly (“ organization” ); (2) the plicit culture, however, is an abstraction of the
selective or arbitrary aspect of culture (“ con­ second order. Here the anthropologist infers
ventional understandings” ); (3) the empirical least common denominators which seem, as it
basis (“ manifest in act and artifact” ); (4) so­ were, to underlie a multiplicity of cultural con­
cial heritage (“ tradition” ); (5) distinctive wav tents. Only in the most sophisticated and self-
of life; and (6) human group reference (“ char­ censcious of cultures will his attention be called
acterizes a human group” ). The whole is directly' to these bv carriers of the culture, and
tightly bound together. Linton (5) cements then only in part, probably. One may in­
organization, habit, group, learning, heritage. stance Radcl'fTe-Bro n’s well-known paper
But the content or kind of behavior, its idea “The Position of the Mother’s Brother in
or way, are not gone into as in Linton’s earlier South Africa.”
definitions. As Ernst Cassirer and Kurt Lewin, among
Gillin (7) is reminiscent, perhaps accident­ others, have pointed out, scientific progress
ally, of Willey (1) 1929, ana also suggests in­ frequently' depends upon changes in what is
fluence of Kluckhohn and Kelly (6). Gillin regarded as real and amenable to objective
uses “customs” as the noun in the predicate of study. The development of the social sciences
his definition. The customs are qualified as has been impeded by a confusion betw'een the
“ patterned” and as “ functionally’- interrelated” ; “ real” and the concrete. Psychologists, typical­
and the larger half of the definition refers to ly, are reluctant to concede reality in the so­
the specifiable individuals and specifiable cial world to anything but individuals. The
groups or social categories to whom the cus­ greatest advance in contemporary anthropolo­
toms are common. This quantitative weight­ gical theory is probably the increasing recog­
ing reflects Gillin’s psychological and sociolo­ nition that there is something more to culture
gical interests. The “ specifiable” carriers sug­ than artifacts, linguistic texts, and lists of
gest emphasis on cultural variability due to a atomized traits.
viewing of it from the angle of personality Structural relations are characterized by rela­
rather than collectively. “ Customs,” though tively fixed relations between parts rather than
formally the key word, seems residual rather by' the parts or elements themselves. That re­
than pivotal in the definition. lations are as “ real” as things is conceded by
most philosophers. It is also clear from ordi­ tern." Positivistic biologists have observed:
nary experience that an exhaustive analysis of “ These results appear to demonstrate that sta­
reality cannot be made within the limitations of tistical features or organization can be herita­
an atomistic or narrowly positivistic scheme. ble. . . .” 17 The behavioristic psychologist,
Take a brick wall. Its “reality ” would be Clark Hull, finds that behavior sequences are
granted by all save those who follow an ideal­ “ strictly patterned” and that it is the pittern
ism of Berkeley’s sort — thev would deny it which is often determinative of adaptive or
even to the bricks. Then let us take each non-adaptive behavior.
brick out of the wall. A radical, analytic em­ That organization and equilibrium seem to
piricist would be in all consistency obliged to prevail in nature generally is doubtless a mat­
say that we have destroyed nothing. Vet it ter of balance, economy, or least action of
is clear that while nothing concrete has been energy. Assuming that those aspects of be­
annihilated, a form has been eliminated. havior which we call cultural arc part of a
Similarly, the student of culture change is natural and not of a supernatural order, it is
forced to admit that forms may persist while to be expected that exactness of relationship,
content changes or that content remains rela­ irrespective of dimensions, must be discovered
tively unaltered but is organized into new and described in the cultural realm. One of the
structures. most original of anthropological linguists, B.
An analogy used by Freud for personality L. W horf,,rt has put well the approach most
is equally applicable to cultural disintegration. suited to cultural studies:
If we throw a crystal to the ground, it breaks;
. . . In place of apparatus, linguistics uses and
however, its dissolution is not haphazard. The develops techniques. Experimental docs not mean
fragmentation accords with lines of cleavage quantitative. Measuring, weighing, and pointer-read­
predetermined by the particular structure of ing devices are seldom needed in linguistics, for
the crystal, invisible though it was to the naked quantity and number play little part in the realm of
eye. So, in culture, the mode in which the partem, where there are no variables bur, instead,
parts stand to each other cannot be indifferent abrupt alternations from one configuration to an­
from the standpoint of understanding and pre­ other. The mathemuical sciences require exact
diction. If a form ceases to exist, the resultant measurement, but what linguistics requires is, rather,
change is different from that of a purely sub­ exact “ pattcmment” — an exactness of relation
irrespective of dimensions. Quantity, dimension,
tractive operation. Each culture is, among
magnitude are metaphors since they do not properly
other things, a complex of relations, a multi- belong in this spaceless, relational world. I might
verse of ordered and interrelated parts. Parts use this simile: Exact measurement of lines and
do not cause a whole but they comprise a angles will be needed to draw exact squares or other
w'hole, not necessarily in the sense of being regular polygons, but measurement, however pre­
perfectly integrated but in the sense of being cise, will not help us to draw an exact circle. Yet it
separable only by abstraction. is necessary only to discover the principle of the
All nature consists of materials. But the compass to reach by a leap the ability to draw perfect
circles. Similarly, linguistics has developed tech­
manner in which matter is organized into
niques which, like compasses, enable it without any
entities is as significant as the substance or the true measurement at all to specify exactly the patterns
function serviced within a given system. Re­ with which it is concerned. Or I might perhaps
cent organic chemistry has documented this liken the case to the state of affairs within the atom,
fact. The self-same atoms present in exactly where also entities appear to alternate from con­
the same number may constitute either a figuration to configuration rather than to move in
medicine or a poison, depending solely upon terms of measurable positions. As alternants, quantum
phenomena must be treated by a method of analysis
the fashion in which they are arranged. Con­
that substitutes a point in a pattern under a set of
temporary genetics and biology have come to conditions for a point in a pattern under another set
the same conclusion. A famous geneticist has of conditions — a method similar to that used in
written, “ All that matters in heredity is its pat- analysis of linguistic phenomena.

lTCrozier and W olf, 1959, p. 178. “ Whorf, 1949, p. 11.

1. Groves, 19 28: 23. 6. Warden, 1936: 22-23.
A product of human association. Those patterns of group life which exist
only by virtue of the operation of the three­
1a. Willey, 1927b: $00. fold mechanism — invention, communication,
. . . that part of the environment which man and social habiruation — belong to the cul­
has himself created and to which he must ad­ tural order. . . . The cultural order is super-
just himself. organic and possesses its own modes of opera­
tion and its own apes of patterning. It can­
2. Folsom, 1928: 1$. not be reduced to bodily mechanisms or to the
Culture is the sum total of all that is arti­ biosocial complex upon which it rests. The
ficial. It is the complete outfit of tools, and conception of culture as a unique type of so­
habits of living, which are invented bv man cial organization seems to be most readily ex­
and then passed on from one generation to an­ plicable in terms of the current doctrine of
other. emergent evolution.

3. Folsom, 1931: 476-77. 7. Sorokin, 1937: I: 3.

Culture is not any part of man or his inborn In the broadest sense [culture] may mean
equipment. It is the sum total of all that man the sum total of everything which is created
has produced: tools, symbols, most organiza­ or modified by the conscious or unconscious
tions, common activities, attitudes, and beliefs. activity of two or more individuals interact­
It includes both physical products and imma­ ing with one another or conditioning one an-
terial products. It is everything of a relatively other’s behavior.
permanent character1® that we call artificial,
everything which is passed down from one
eneration to the next rather than acquired 8. Reuter, 1939: 191.
y each generation for itself: it is, in short, The term culture is used to signify the sum-
civilization. total of human creations, the organized result
of human experience up to the present time.
4. Winston, 1933: 209. Culture includes all that man has made in the
Culture in a vital sense is the product of so­ form of tools, weapons, shelter, and other ma­
cial interaction. . . . Human behavior is cul­ terial goods and processes, all that he has
tural behavior to the degree that individual elaborated in the way of attitudes and beliefs,
habit patterns arc built up in adjustment to pat­ ideas and judgments, codes, and institutions,
terns already existing as an integral part of the arts and sciences, philosophy and social or­
culture into which the individual is born. ganization. Culture also includes the interre­
lations among these and other aspects of hu­
5. Menghin, 1934: 68. man as distinct from animal life. Everything,
Kultur ist das Ergebnis der geistigen Beta- material and immaterial, created by man, in
tigung des Menschen, objectivierter. stofTge- the process of living, comes within the con­
bundener Geist. 20 cept of culture.

* C f . Folsom, 1951, p. 474: “ . . . those relatively Menghin, has a doubtful place in this group. Any­
constant features of social life are called c u l t u r e P. thing in terms of “ Geist” really belongs at another
47j: “Culture as the more constant features of social level and does not fit properly within our scheme.
lifer W e have put the definition here only because Ergebnis
"T h is definition by the archaeologist, Oswald means product, result, outcome.
9. Bernard, 194.1: 8. 17. Herskovits, 1948: 77.
Culture consists of all products (results) of A short and useful definition is: “ Culture is
organismic nongenetic efforts at adjustment. the man-made part of the environment.”

10. Dodd, 1941: 8 (could be assigned to 18. Kluckhohn, 1949a: 77.

. . . culture may be regarded as that part of
D -ll) .
Culture consists of all products (results) of the environment that is the creation of man.
interhuman learning. 19. Murdock, 1949a: y i8.
The interaction of learning and society thus
11. Hart, 1941: 6. produces in every human group a body of
Culture consists of all phenomena that have socially transmitted adaptive behavior which
been directly or indirectly caused (produced) appears super-individual because it is shared,
by both nongenetic and nonmechanical com­ because it is perpetuated beyond the individ­
munication of phenomena from one individual ual life span, and because its quantity and
to other. quality so vastly exceeds the capacity of any
single person to achieve by his own unaided
12. Bernard, 1942: 699. effort. The term “ culture” is applied to such
The term culture is employed in this book systems of acquired and transmitted behavior.
in the sociological sense, signifying anything
that is man-made, whether a material object, 20. Kluckhohn, 1991a: 86.
overt behavior, symbolic behavior, or social Culture designates those aspects of the total
organization. human environment, tangible and intangible,
that have been created by men.
13. Young, 1942: 36.
A precipitate of man’s social life. COM M ENT
F-I, F-II, and F—III are lumped together as
14. Huntington, 1949: 7-8. “genetic" because all focus upon the ques­
By culture we mean every object, habit, idea, tion: how has culture come to be? what are
institution, and mode of thought or action the factors that have made culture possible or
which man produces or creates and then passes caused it to come into existence? Other
on to others, especially to the next generation. properties of culture are often mentioned,
but the stress is upon the genetic side.
15. Carr, 1949: 757. This group of definitions (F-I) is in effect
The accumulated transmissible results of close to the B group that centers on tradition
past behavior in association. or heritage, but it emphasizes the result or
product instead of the transmitting process.
Groves says in 1928, “ a product of human
16. Bidney, 1947: 5^7. association” ; Kimball Young fourteen years
. . . human culture in general may be under­ later: “ a precipitate of man’s social life.”
stood as the dynamic process and product of Sorokin — in a definition which he savs is
the self-cultivation of human nature as well the broadest possible — also regards culture
as of the natural environment, and involves the as the product of human interaction. This is
development of selected potentialities of nature a distinctively sociological emphasis, and
for the attainment of individual and social twelve of the twenty definitions in this group
ends of living. come from sociologists.21 Carr packs a trc-

nous appellons culture au sens le plus large possible.”

“ Another sociologist, Leopold von Wiese (19)2), (24)
while not defining culture, formally associates him­ “ Dans la structure- des cultures, nous reconnaissons
self with the “ product” criterion: une accumulation et unc continuite inintcrrompus
“ De la relauon interhumaine resulte tout ce que de scries de processus sociaux.” (28)
mendous lot into his nine words. The basing agreeing upon culture as “ product,” the twist
in society is there; the history and the ac­ they give is quite different from that of the
cumulation; the products and their transmissi- sociologists: while the environment influences
bility. the “ way of life” which is culture, the most
The single definition by a psychologist. humanly relevant part of this environment is
Warden (6), is perhaps more concerned to itself the product of cultural groups.
make the point of culture as an emergent than Some of these definitions, while quite vague,
of culture as a product, but both notions are point up an important problem: the locus of
there. The geographer, Huntington (14), has abstraction. Certain definitions emphasize the
effect aspect of culture; others localize the
enumerative and heritage aspects to his defini­
effects in the human mind; still others suggest
tion. The philosopher, Bidnev (16), recurs to
the possibility of putting the effects out in the
his favorite theme of “self-cultivation,” men­ environment. This is a recurrent problem in
tions “ process” as well as “ product,” and in­ the thinking of our culture; the Ogden and
cludes the properties of selection and “ ends of Richards’ distinction between reference and
living.” referent hinges on it. Another example is the
The four anthropological definitions in this shifting of value from “ inside” (“ attitude” )
group all date from the last four years. While to outside the person.


1. Ward, 1903: 239. in the cosmos to rhe last. [Note: This includes
A culture is a social structure, a social ideas once resident in human minds, but now’
organism, if any one prefers, and ideas are its no longer held by living minds, though their
germs. former existence is ascertainable from surviving
material symbols.] 22
2. Wissler, 1916: 197.
. . . a culture is a definite association com­ 5. Osgood, 1940: 29.
plex of ideas. Culture consists of all ideas concerning
human beings which have been communicated
3. Schmidt, 193-1: 131. to one’s mind and of which one is conscious.
Die Kultur bcsteht ihrem ticfstcn Wes'en 6. Kluckhohn a 3 Kelly, 1943a: 97.
nach in der inneren Formung des menschlichen . . . a summation of all the ideas for standard­
Geistes; in der aussem Formung des Kdrpers ized tvpes of behavior.
and der Natur insofem, als diese durch den
Geist gelenkt ist. Somit ist Kultur, wie alles 7. Feibleman, 1946: 73, 76.
Geistige, etwas Immanentcs, etwas durchaus (a. Tentative definition.) Culture may be
Innerliches und als soches der aussem Beobach- said to be the common use and application of
tung direkt nicht zugiinglich. complex objective ideas by the members of
a social group.
4. Bhtmenthal, 1937: 3, 12. (b. Final definition.) A culture is the
a) Culture is the world sum-total of past actual selection of some part of the whole of
and present cultural ideas, f Note: As cultural human behavior considered in its effect upon
ideas are said to be “ those whose possessors are materials, made according to the demands of
able to communicate them by means of sym­ an implicit dominant ontology and modified
bols,” symbolically-communicable should be by the total environment. [Implicit dominant
substituted for cultural above.] ontology is elsewhere said to be the common
b ) C ulture consists o f rhe entire stream o f sense of a cultural group, or the eidos of a
inactive and active cultural ideas from the first culture.]

"T h e se two definitions are somewhat mc^.fied Also, contrast his two definitions of 1941 which we
and commented opon in Blumenthal. 1938a and .938b. cite as D-I-9 and F-IV-3.
8 . T a y lo r, 1943. 10 9 -10 . the outward and visible manifestation of a
By [holistic] culture as a descriptive con­ cultural idea.”
cept, I mean all those mental constructs or In this emphasis, as in two others, Wissler
ideas which have been learned or created after was first — or first among anthropologists.
birth by an individual . . . . The term idea in­ However, this appears to be another trial
cludes such categories as attitudes, meanings, balloon — derived again from his psychological
sentiments, feelings, values, goals, purposes, training — which he threw’ out in passing but
interests, knowledge, beliefs, relationships, did not develop systematically in his later
associations, [but] not . . . Kluckhohn’s and writings.
Kelly’s factor of “ designs.” Schmidt’s somewhat cryptic definition has
By [holistic] culture as an explanatory con­ an echo of nineteenth-century German Gcist.
cept, Tmean all those mental constructs which It decs tic in with a consistent strain in his
are psed to understand, and to react to, the writing emphasizing intcrnality and the de­
experiential world of internal and external pendence of culture upon the individual
stimuli . . . . Culture itself consists of ideas, not psyche. The note of “ immanence” links with
processes. Sorokin’s thinking.
By a culture, i.e., by culture as a partitive Blumenthal, in a special and condensed
concept, I mean a historically derived s\stem paper on the subject in 1937, gives alternative
of culture traits which is a more or less definitions. Combined into one, these would
separable and cohesive segment of the whole- read: “ The entire stream (or: world sum-
that-is-culture and whose separate traits tend total) of past and present (or: inactive and
to be shared by all or by specially designated active) svmbolicallv-communicablc ideas.”
individuals of a group or “ society.” •The historic weighting is obvious. Ideas alone,
in the strict sense, seem a narrow concept for
embracing the whole of culture. Yet, if
9. Ford, 1949: 38. there is to be limitation to a single clement- or
. . . culture mav be briefly defined as a term, ideas is perhaps as good as could be
stream of ideas,23 that passes from individual found. BlumenthaPs definition further in­
to individual by means of symbolic action, cludes the feature of the method of communi­
verbal instruction, or imitation. cation or transmission [symbolically com­
municable) which so characteristically sc's ofF
10. Becker, 1930: 231. culture from other organically based aspects.
A culture is the relatively constant non­ What is lacking from the Blumenthal definition
material content transmitted in a society bv is, first, consideration of behavior, activity, or
means of processes of sociation. practice; second, that of design or mode or
way, whether teleological-functional or em­
COM M ENT pirically descriptive; and third, the element of
ideal, norm, or value — unless this was in­
While this concept seems unnecessarily tended to be comprised in “ ideas.” While the
restricted, it does aim at what certain authors present definition by Blumenthal is perhaps
have thought cardinal. The underlying point anthropological in its slant, and certainly is
is often expressed in conversation somewhat historically oriented, his redefinition of four
as follows: “ Strictly speaking, there is no years later (D-I-9) is psycho-sociological
such thing as ‘material culture.’ A pot is not (learned efforts at adjustment).
culture — what is culture is the idea behind Osgood’s statement — “ all ideas . . . which
the artifact. A prayer or a ceremony is merely have been communicated . . . for are] con­

" [Ford’s footnote.] Webster’s definition of “ idea” cerns to have no place in science. Individuals receive
does not quite serve here, yet the writer does not wish ideas from other humans, sometimes combine them,
to use an obscure word or coin a new one. For the less frequently discover them in the natural world
purposes of this paper, it is understood that individuals about them, and almost always pass them along to
do not “ create” ideas. The concept of “free will” others.
scious” — seems to belong here. But it con­ differs from Kluckhohn and Kelly on the
tains features whose relevance is not evident fundamental point that to him culture con­
(“ideas concerning human beings” !) or which sists of ideas or mental constructs; to them, of
are unclear (do “ one,” “ one’s mind” refer to designs or selective channeling processes. It
members of the society having the culture or would appear to us that while Taylor has
to the student of culture?). There appear to been influenced by Kluckhohn and Kelly, he
be elements belonging in the definition which has emerged with something different, and
have not been stated. that his definitions clearly belong in the present
Feibleman is a philosopher. Neither his class where we have put them. This is pri­
tentative nor his final definition fits well into marily because Taylor restricts himself to
the classification we have made of the opinions cognitive or conscious processes (“ mental
of sociologists and anthropologists. We have constructs” ), whereas “ design” allows for
put them here because the first one stresses feelings, unconscious processes, “ implicit cul­
ideas and the second one ontology. How these ture.”
elements integrate with other elements in the The distinction between culture holistically
same definitions is not wholly clear. Does conceived and partitively conceived is of
“ common use and application” refer to be­ course not new. Linton explicitly makes the
havior? What are “complex objective” ideas? distinction (in our B-9) in the same book
As to “ the actual selection of some part of the (1936: 78) in which Taylor sees him shifting
whole of human behavior” — does this mean from one level to another (1936: 274) on this
that a particular culture is a selection out of point. There is probably little danger of con­
the total of possible human culture viewed as fusion between the two aspects, the holistic
behavior, or is it intended merely to exclude and the partitive, becoming consequential in
non-cultural physiology like scratching an concrete situations; but theoretically, failure
itch or digesting? “ Behavior considered in to observe the distinction might be serious.
its effects upon materials” w ould seem to be Taylor revolves the distinction largely around
oriented away from ideas, but is obscure, un­ individual peculiarities, emergent or surviving.
less the reference is to artifacts. However, an These he argues are cultural when culture is
“ implicit dominant ontology” is an integrating conceived holistically, but not cultural when
ideology, and the “selection,” being “ made it is conceived partitively — in that event only
according to [its] demands,” would render shared traits are cultural.
this ontologv formative. Taylor gives to the holistic concept of
We welcome the participation of philoso­ culture an emergent quality and says that it
phers in the problem of what culture is. Better “ hinges . . . against concepts of the same [j /c ]
trained in abstract terminology, they will not level such as the organic” and inorganic. Bv
however be of much help to working social “ same level” he does not of course mean that
scientists until they either conform to the the cultural, the organic, and the inorganic
established terminology of these or reform represent phenomena of the same order, but
it by explicit revision or substitution. that thev are on the same “ first level of ab­
By contrast, Taylor comes from arch-cologv, straction” resulting from “ the primary break­
that branch of social studies most directly con­ down of data” (p. 99). The other or partitive
cerned with tangibles, and presents a set of concept of “ a” culture he credits to “ a second­
definitions which are both clear and readily ary level of abstraction.” This distinction by
applicable to specific situations. His defini­ Taylor of course holds true only on deductive
tions number three because he makes a point of procedure, from universals to particulars. His­
distinguishing between holistic culture and torically it is obvious that the procedure has
articular cultures, and then defines the first been the reverse. Even savages know particular
E oth descriptively and explanatorily, follow­ customs and culture traits, whereas culture
ing Kluckhohn and Kelly. He also states that as a defined holistic concept arose in the nine­
he essentially follows them in his definition of teenth century and is still being resisted in
particular cultures. Nevertheless, Taylor spots within the social sciences and ignored
in considerable areas without. We would factors involving culture traits. They do not
rather say that the first “ level” or step in constitute culture but comprise the relation­
abstraction was represented by the mild com- ship between culture traits. [This would ex­
mon-sense generalization of customs from sen- clude formal and structural relationships and
sorily observed instances of behavior; that then recognize only dynamic relationship.] Culture,
the customs of particular societies were gen­ consisting of mental constructs, is not directly
eralized into the cultures of those societies; observable; it can be studied solely through
and that culture conceived holistically, as an the objectifications in behavior and results of
order of phenomena and an emergent in evo­ behavior. Culture traits are ascertainable onlv
lution, represented the to-date final “ level” or by' inference and onlv as approximations (p.
step of abstraction, the one farthest removed i i i ). It is for this reason that context is of
from the raw data of experience. such tremendous importance in all culture
In short, Taylor seems to us to have studies. — Thus Taylor.
blurred two different meanings of the term Ford’s definition (9) suggests influence from
“ level” as currently used. One meaning is both Blumenthal and Taylor, but is original
levels of abstraction, which are really steps and carefully thought through. Ford, it is
in the process of abstracting. The other mean­ worth remarking, is also an archaeologist.
ing refers to a hierarchy of orders of organiza­ These definitions emphasizing ideas form
tion of the phenomenal world (like inorganic, an interesting group, whatever specific defects
organic, superorganic or sociocultural). These may be felt to attach to any given definition.
orders are often spoken of as levels, but do not Perhaps this group and Group E are farthest
differ one from the other in their degree of out on the frontier of culture theorv. Certain
abstractness. And in any empirical context issues are raised (for instance Osgood’s sug­
they obviously all represent the last and highest gestion that culture must be restricted to
level of abstraction, as compared with more phenomena above the level of consciousness)
restricted concepts or categories such as par­ which anthropology must face up to. Many
ticular cultures, behaviors, organisms, species. of these definitions deal explicitly with the
TaylorTs summary (p. 110) seems worth problem of weighting. An attempt is made to
resummarizing, in supplement of his definition. extract what is central from looser concep­
Culture consists of the increments (of mental tions of “ custom,” “ form,” “ plan,” and the
constructs] which have accrued to individual like. The important distinction between par­
minds after birth. When the increments of ticipant and scientific observer is introduced.
enough minds are sufficiently' alike, we speak There are points of linkage with the analyses of
of a culture. Culture traits are manifested by the “ premises” and “ logics” of cultures
cultural agents through the medium of recently developed by Dorothy Lee, B. L.
vehicles, as in Sorokin’s terms. These agents Whorf, Laura Thompson, and others. In
are human beings; the vehicles are “ objectifica­ short, at least some of these definitions make
tions of culture” — observable behavior and its genuine progress toward refinement of some
results. Culture processes are the dynamic hitherto crude notions.


1. Bain, 1942: 87. 3. White, 1949b: 15.
Culture is all behavior mediated by symbols. The cultural category, or order, of phenom­
ena is made up of events that are dependent
2. White, 1943: u s . upon a faculty' peculiar to the human species,
Culture is an organization of phenomena — namely, the ability to use symbols. These
material objects, bodily acts, ideas, and senti­ events are the ideas, beliefs, languages, tools,
ments— which consists of or is dependent utensils, customs, sentiments, and institutions
upon the use of symbols. that make up the civilization — or culture, to
use the anthropological term — of anv people we have found only two sociologists (Bain
regardless of time, place, or degree of develop­ and Davis) and one anthropologist (White) 24
ment. who have built their definitions around this
4. White, 1949a: 363. Bain’s definition is admirably compact. Its
. . . “ culture” is the name of a distinct order, “ behavior” suggests the adjustment efforts of
or class, of phenomena, namely, those things the definitions in D-I. Its “ mediation by sym­
and events that are dependent upon the exer­ bols” implies inter-human learning and non­
cise of a mental ability, peculiar to the human genetic communication. But the reader must
species, that we have termed “ symbolling.” project even these meanings into the definition.
To be more specific, culture consists of ma­ That which is characteristic of culture and is
terial objects — tools, utensils, ornaments, specific to it is not gone into by Bain. The
amulets, etc. — acts, beliefs, and attitudes that larger class to which culture belongs is said
function in contexts characterized by svm- to be behavior, and within this it consists of
bollin" It is an elaborate mechanism, an that part which is “ mediated” by symbols —
organization of exosomatic wavs and means that is, is acquired through them or dependent
employed by a particular an:mal species, man, on them for its existence; but what this part is
in the struggle ror existence or survival. like is not told.
W’hite’s statements all include enumerations.
5. K. Davis, 1949: 3-4 (could be assigned to One (4) includes the words “ organization”
D-II). and “ function,” but the emphasis remains upon
. . . it [culture] embraces all modes of symbols.
thought and behavior that are handed down by A good case could be made for assigning
communicative interaction — i.e., bv symbolic Davis’ definition to D-II (“ learning” ), but the
transmission — rather than bv genetic in­ explicit use of “ symbol” or “symbolic” is so
heritance. rare that we put it in this group. Ford (F-II-g)
does include the word “ symbolic” — but very
COM M ENT casually.
This group has some affiliation with C-II
It has been held by some, including Leslie (“ values” ) because “ symbol” implies the at­
White, that the true differentium of man is tachment of meaning or value to the externally
neither that he is a rational animal nor a culture- given. There is also a connection wirh the
building animal, but rather that he is a svmbol- group F-II (“ ideas” ), though “ symbol” like
using animal. If this position be correct, there “ design” has connotations of the affective
is much to be said for making reference to and the unconscious— in contradistinction to
symbols in a definition of culture. However, “ idea.”


1. Ostveald, 1907: 310.' 3. Blumentbal, 1941: 9.
That which distinguishes men from animals Culture consists of all nongeneticallv pro­
we call culture. duced means of adjustment.

2. Ostwald, 1913: 192. 4. Roheim, 1943: v.

These specifically human peculiarities which Civilization or culture should be under­
differentiate the race of the Hcnrto sapiens from stood here in the sense of a possible minimum
all other species of animals is comprehended definition, that is, it includes whatever is above
in the name culture . . . the animal level in mankind.

** Three years earlier than his first formal definition

we find that White wrote “ A culture, or civilization, biologic, life-pcrpetuatinij activities of a particular
is but a particular kind of form (symbolic) which the animal, man, assume.” (1940: 463)
5. Kluckbohn and Kelly, 1945a: 87. for the purposes of formal definition, though
. . . culture includes all those ways of feeling, they may be useful as additional expository
thinking, and acting which are not inevitable statements.
as a result of human biological equipment and Ostwald, the chemist, whose contributions
process and (or) objective external situations. to culture theory have been recently re-dis­
covered by Leslie White, is an odd and in­
COM MENT teresting figure in the intellectual history' of
This group is “genetic” in the sense that it this century.
explains the origin of culture bv stating what Roheim’s phrase “ minimum definition” may­
culture is not. Most logicians agree that resi- be a conscious echo of Tylor’s famous mini­
dual category definitions are unsatisfactory mum definition of religion.
1. Sapir, 1921: 233. COM M ENT
Culture may be defined as 'what a society
These are on-the-side stabs in passing or
does and thinks.
metaphors. They should not be judged in com­
2. Marett, 1928: 94. parison ith more systematic definitions.
Culture . . . is communicable intelligence Sapir’s phrase, for instance, is most felicitious
. . . . In its material no less than in its oral in an untechnical way, but never comes to par­
form culture is, then, as it were, the language of ticulars and hence not to involvements. These
social life, the sole medium for expressing the statements are included precisely because of
consciousness of our common humanity. some striking phrase or possible germinal
3. Benedict, 1934: 16. Osgood’s sentence which on its face has
What really binds men together is their shifted from ideas (cf. F-II-5) to artifacts
culture — the ideas and the standards thev as central core (in an archaeological mono­
have in common. graph) seems to be incomplete. Perhaps it
was not intended as a general definition but
4. Rouse, 1939: 13 {chart). as a picture of the culture remnant available
Elements of culture or standards of behavior. to the archaeologist. The definition of culture
5. Osgood, 1942: 22. obviously presents a problem to the arch­
Culture will be conceived of as comprising aeologist. We have listed six definitions pro­
pounded by men who were — or are — pri­
the actual artifacts, plus any ideas or behavior
marily archaeologists (or concerned with “ ma­
of the people who made them which can be
terial culture” ). Tw o (A-5, A -12 ) fall in the
inferred from these specimens.
Tylorian group. Tw o (F-II-8, F-II-9) into
6. Morris, 1946: 203. the “ ideas” bracket; for this Taylor has made
Culture is Iarg< ly a sign configuration . . . a good case. Tw o (4, 5) fall in this incomplete
group and were probably not intended as
7. Bryson, 1943: 34. formal definitions.
. . . culture is human energy organiz.cd in The intent of Morris’ remark (6) clearly
patterns of repetitive behavior. places it within E, “ structural.”

Jacobs, B-16 (with Stem, 1947).

Bain, F —
III-1 (1942). Katz, D -IV -i (with Schanck, 1938).
Keller, D -i-i (with Sumner, 1927), D -I-4 (1931).
Becker, F-II-10 (1950).
Kelly, A -14, A -15, C-I-10, C -I-11, C-I-12, E-6,
Benedict, A -4 (1929), D-II-6 (1947), G -J (1934).
F-II-6, F -IV -3 (all in collaboration with Kluck-
Bennett, C-I-16 (with Tumin, 1949).
Bernard, F-I-9 (1941b), F - I - i 2 (1942). hohn, 1945a).
Bidney, A -16 (1947), C-II-3 (1942), C-II-4 (1946), Klineberg, C-I-4 (1935).
Kluckhohn, A -14 (with Kelly, 1945a), A -15 (with
C-II-y ( 1947). F -I-16 (1947).
Kelly, 1945a), B-I5 (1942), B-20 (1949a), C -I-10
Blumenthal, D-I-9 (1941), F-II-4 (1937), F -IV -3
(with Kelly, 1945a), C -I-11 (with Kelly, 1945a),
(1941)• C-I-12 (with Kelly, 1945a), C -I-13 (with Leighton,
Boas, A -7 (1930).
1946), C-I-19, (1951a), D—1-12 (with Leighton,
Bogardus, C-I-2 (1930).
1946), D-II-4 (1942), E-6 (with Kelly, 1945a),
Bose, A -6 (1929), B -j (1929). F -I-18 (1949a), F-I-20 (195c), F—II— 6 (with Kelly,
Bryson, G -7 (1947). 1945a), F -IV -5 (with Kelly, 1945a).
Burgess, B-i (with Park, 1921).
Kolb, D-II-I2 (with Wilson, 1949).
Burkitt, A -5 (1929).
Kroeber, A -17 (1948a), B-18 (1948a).

Carr, F -I-15 (1945). LaPiere, D-II-5 (1946).

Carver, C-II-I <1935)- Lasswell, C -I-15 (1948).
Couru, E -8 (1949). Leighton, C -I-13 (with Kluckhohn, 1946), D -I-12
(with Kluckhohn, 1946).
Davis, Allison, B-12 (with Dollard, 1940), D-II-9 Linton, A -10 (1936), B-9 (1936), C -l-8 (1945b),
(1948). C-I-9 (1945a), E -5 (1945a).
Davis, Kingsley, F-III-5 (1949). Lowie, A-ioa (1937), B-8 (1934).
Dawson, D-I-3 (1928). Lundberg, D -I-6 (1939).
Dietschy, B-17 (1947). Lynd, C-I~5a (1940).
Dixon, A -3 (1928).
Dodd, F-I-io (1941). Malinowski, A -13 (19.14), B-6 (1931).
Dollard, B-12 (with Davis, 1940), D-II-3 (with Marett, G -2 (19:8).
Miller, 1941), E - i (1939). Mead, B-10 (1937).
Menghin, F-I-5 (1934).
Feiblcman, F-II-7 (1946). Miller, D-II-3 (with Dollard, 1941).
Firth, C -I-5 (1939). Morris, D -I-i 3 (1946), D- I-14 (1948), G—6 (1946).
Folsom, F-I-2 (1928), F-I-3 (1931). Murdock, D-III-3 (1941), F -I-19 (1949a).
Ford, Clellan S., D-I-8 (1939), D -I-10 (1942). Murray, A -12 (1943).
Ford, James A., F-II-9 (1949). Myres, B-4a (1929).
Frank, C -I-17 (1948).
Nimkoff, E -3 (with Ogbum, 1940).
Gillin, John P., C-I-6 (with Gillin, 1942), E-7 (1948).
Ogbum, E -3 (with Nimkoff, 1940).
Gorer, D -I-16 (1949).
Opler, D-II-8 (1947).
Groves, B-13 (with Moore, 1940), F -I-i (1928).
Osgood, F —II—5 (1940), G -5 (1942).
Ostwald, F -IV -i (1907), F -IV -2 (1915).
Haring, D -lI-n (1949).
Hart, D-1I-2 (with Pantzer, 1923), F -I-11 (1941). Pantzer, D-II-a (with Hart, 1925).
Henry, B -11 (1949). Panunzio, A -11 (1939), D-I^7 (1939).
Herskovits, A -i8 (1948), A -19 (1948), C -I-14 (1948), Park, B-i (with Burgess, 1921).
F -I-i 7 (1948). Parsons, B-19 (1949).
Hiller, A -8 (1933)* Piddington, D -I-17 (1950).
Hockett, D -II-13 (1950).
Hoebd, D-II-io (1949). Radcliffe-Browne, B-22 (1949).
Huntington, F-I-I4 (194$). Redfield, E -4 (1940).
Reuter, F-I-8 (1939). Thumwald, A-20 (1930).
Roberts, D-III-4 (1931). Titiev, C -I-18 (1949).
Roheim, D -IV -i (1934), F -IV -4 (1943). Tozzer, B-4 (1923), D—III—1 (n.d.).
Rouse, G -4 (1939). Tumin, C - I - 16 (with Bennett, 1949).
Tumey-High, D -I-15 (1949), E -9 (1949).
Sapir, B-2 (19 11). B-3 (1924a), G -i (19 :1). Tylor, A - 1 (1871).
Schanck, D -IV -; (with Katz, 1938).
Schmidt, F-II-3 (1937). Ward, F—II—1 (1903).
Sears, C-I-Addendum (1939). Warden, F-b-6 (1936).
S im m o n C -I-7 (1942). White, F —III—2 (1943), F—III—3 (1949b), F —III— 4
Slotkin, D—II—1 j (1950). (1949a).
Small, D -I-i (1905). Willey, E -i (1929), F -I-ia (1927b).
Sorokin, C-II-6 (1947), F-I-7 (1937). W'ilson, D-II-12 (with Kolb, 1949).
Stem, B-16 (with Jacobs, 1947). Winston, A -9 (1933), B-7 (1933), F-I-4 (1933).
Steward, D -II-14 (1930). Wissler A - i (1920), C -I-i (1929), D -II-i (1916),
Sumner, D-I-2 (with Keller, 1927). F-II-2 (1916).
Sutherland, B -n (with Woodward, 1940). Woodward, B -11 (with Sutherland, 1940).

Taylor, F—II—8 (1948). Young, C-I-3 (1934), D -I-3 (1934), D -I-11 (1942),
Thomas, C-I I-2 (1937). D-II-7 (1947), D-III-2 (1934), F - I -13 (1941).


acquisition (see learning) attitudinal relationship, D -IV -2 ; feeling, A-16, C-I-5a,
C-II-4, D—I—12, F -IV -5; nonrational, C -I -n ; emo­
tional responses, A -10 ; irrational, C -I-11; unconscious
acts, actions, and activities — act, C -I-15, C -I-17;
activity, F -I-7; sentiments, F—III—2, F—III—3.
act, C-I-5, F—III—4. bodily acts, F—III—2; acting, A-8,
C-I-3, C -I-17, F -lV -5 ; actions, A-6, B-15, B-19, behavior — behavior, A-16, A -17, A -18, B-7, B-10,
C -I-17, D-III-3. F - I - 1*4; categories of acpons, D -II-14, C-I-5, C-I-6, C -I-ii, C -I-18, C-II-2, C-II-3, C-II-4,
symbolic action, F-II-9; activities, A -3, A -3, A-8, D-I-8, D-II-9, D-III-2, F-I-7, F-I-19, F-II-6, F-II-7,
B-18, D -II-i, D-II-8, F —I—3; human activity', A -7; F—III—1, F—III—5, G-4, G~s, G -7; overt behavior,
activity complex. D -II-i; life activities, A-6; con­ F -I-12 ; societal behavior, D-I-6; learned behavior,
scious and unconscious activities, F —I—7; non- D-I-5, D -I-16, D-II-6. D-II-10, D -II-12, E-5;
instmctivc activities, E-9; social activities, K -i ; doing, learned modes of behavior, D-II-14; symbolic be­
I—2, C -I-5a. havior, F -I-12; probable behavior, E-8; adaptive be­
havior, F -19 ; behavior patterns, A-9, A-10, A - 19,
adjustive-aJjptive function of culture — societal prob­ B-5, B-13, B-14, B -19 C-I-6, C-I-16, D-II-2, F-I-4;
lems, D-I-8, D-I-10, D -I-12; problem-solutions, behavior families, D -I-13; behave, B-12, C-I-14;
D -I-10; solutions, D-I-8, D -I-12; solving, D-I-10; responses, D-I-10, D-II-3, E - i ; emotional responses,
adjustments, D-I-2, D -I-3, D-I-9, F-I-4, F-I-9, A -10 ; response system, B -21; response sequences,
F - I V - j ; adjusting, A -15 ; adjust, \-2o, D-I-6, D-II-14; D -I-14; repetitive responses, E -5 ; repetitive behavior,
adjustment techniques, D-I-6; adaptation to environ­ G -7 ; overt actions (behavior), C-II-6; reactions,
ment, D -I-17, F-I-ia; adaptive behavior, F-I-19; A -7 , B-15, C -II-2; reacting, D -I-12; motor reactions,
culture is that which is useful, D -I-13; humanly A -1 7 ; expressing, C -I-17, G -2 ; conduct, C-I-17,
useful, D -7; struggle for survival and existence, socially transmitted behavior, D-II-16.
F —III- 4; maintenance of equilibrium, D -I-15; attain­
ment of ends, F-I-16; satisfaction, A - n , D-I-7, E -3; beliefs — beliefs, A - i, A -3, A-8, A-ioa, A -13, A-14,
satisfying motivations, D -I-14; satisfied needs of A - 19, B—2, B -n , B—22, C —I—1, C —I—2, C -I-17, F -I-3,
individuals, D -I-13, D-I-16, D -I-17, D -IV -i; success F-I-8, F-II-8, F—III—3, F—III—4; religious beliefs, D -11-
of responses, D-I-10. 12; implicit dominant ontology, F-II-7.

biological heritage — biological nature, A - n ; biologi­

association between persons (see common or shared cal equipment, D -I-12; biological circumstances,
patterns) D -II-5; human biological equipment and process,
F - I V - j; biopsychological organism, D -I-15; biological
attitudes and feelings - - attitudes, A-6, C-I-6, C-I-18, drives (transformation of), D -I-16; biological needs,
C-II-2, D - I - n , D-II-7, F-I-3, F-I-8, F-II-8, F-III-4; D -I-17.
capabilities (see techniques, skills, and abilities) cultivation of the whole man, C-II-5, self-cultivation,
carriers of culture— individuals, A -7, A - 16, B-20,
B-zi. C-l-4, C-1-5, C -I-17. C -II-J, C-II-4, D -1-13, customs — customs, A - i, A -j, A-8, A-ioa, A -12, A -i j,
D-II-9. D-III-j, D -IV -2, F-l-4, F-I-7, F - l- u , F-I-16, A -15, A-20. B -ij, C —I—2, C-I-6, C-II-2, D-II-5,
F-l-19, F-II-8; individually, A -17; persons, A-6, A-8, E-2, E-7, F—III—
3; practices, B-2. burial customs, A-12.
B -ij, B-22, D -I-14, D -II-11, D-III-4, F-I-19;
personalities, B-18; participant, C -I-12, D -II-15; diffusion — D-II-14.
population aggregate, D-8; a people, A -3, A-5, A-12,
A-19, B-14, B—20, C-I—1 j, C - I - 14 C-I-19, C-II-2, dynamic structural relations — social structure, F -II-i;
D -I-i, E-8, F—III—j, G -5; members of a group, C -I-15, relationships,-C-I I -6, F-II-8, interrelated patterns. E -i,
E-6; members of a society, A -i, A-4, A-10, A-14. E-7; interrelations, F 1- 8 ; interdependent patterns,
B-8, B-18, C-I-4, C-I 5, C-I-6, C-I-8, C -II-j, D-lI-10, E - i; interaction, C-II-6, D-I-6. F I -19; interacting,
E-17, F—II—7; social entities, A -20; possessors of ideas, D -I-14; communicative interaction, I III— 5; interac­
F—II— 4; generations, B-22, C-l-6, C-I-8, D-I-5, D II-5, tional fields. E-8; interlinked institutions, E - j; correla­
D-II-6, F-I-2, F -I- j , F-I-14. tion, E - j; intcrcorrclated customs, F.-2; functioning,
E-9; functionally interrelated. E-7.
civilization — civilization, A -i, A -j, B-17, D-I-2,
F-I-j- elements and their enumeration — elements, B-j,
B-15, E-5, G -4; knowledge, A -i, A -15, A-19, B-11,
common or shared patterns — common, A-16, B-5, B -ij, B-22, D-II-12, F-II-8, art, A -i, A -12, A-14,
G -I-j, C-I-6, D -I-3, D -I-i 1, D-III-2. E-7, F -I-j, B -n , E-4; language, A-2, A -15, B-22, D-II-ia,
F—II—7, G -j; commonly recognized, C-7; shared, A-io, F—III—3; language uses, A-9; sciences, F-I-8; com­
C-I 8, D-I-16, E-5, E-6, F-I-19, F-II-8; association municable intelligence, G -2; philosophy, F-I-8.
between persons, A-8, C -I-17, F -I-i, F-I-15, F-II-8;
social contact, B-4; social interaction, F-4, interaction
environmental conditions and situations — environ­
of individuals, F-I-7; living together, D -II-j; attitudi-
ment, D -I-17, D-II-15, F-I-17, F-I-18; area, B-10,
nal relationship, D -IV -2; accepted, C -I-j, D-I-10;
B-14; natural surroundings, D -I-j; physical circum­
group-accepted, F-9; cooperate, A -16 ; conventional
stances, D-II-5; life-conditions, D-I-2; biological cir­
understandings, E-4; conformity, D-II-9; conforms,
cumstances, D-II-5; external world, D -I-i2; man-
D—II—11; conform to ideals, C—II—3.
made environment, F-I-ia; natural environment,
community (see group reference) F-I-16, social environment, C-I-4; human environ­
ment, D-I-6, F-I-20; physical nature. A -11; objective
complex vshole (see totality, culture as comprehensive) external situations, F -IV -5; social situation, D -III-j;
events, F-III-j; internal and external stimuli, F-II-8;
configuration — E-5, E-8, G-6. (see also patterns, physical, biological, and human nature, A -it, D -I-7.
systems, and organization)
feelings (see attitudes and feelings)
constancy — relatively constant, F-I-4 (footnote),
F-II-10; relatively permanent, F -I-j; self-generating, forbidden, the— (definition by culture) D-I-16.
D-I-7; self-perpetuating, D -I-7; persistent patterns,
D -lI-7; persisting, E -4; perpetuated, F-I-19.
generations (see carriers of culture)
creation and modification — human creation, A-15,
F-I-8, F-I-18; created, F-I-7, F-I-8, F-II-8, creates, goals, ends, and orientations — goals, A-19, D -I-12;
F-I-14; inventing, D-I-6; invented, F -I-2; invention, common ends, A-16, D -I-i; social ends, D -I-i; in­
F-I-6; man-made, D-I-7, F-I-12, F — I—17; superorganic dividual ends, D -I-i; individual and social ends,
order, D-I-7, F-I-6; modification of learned habits, F-I-16; sanctioned ends, A -18; definitions of the
D—II—13; modified, F-I-7; modified by environment, situation, C -I-12; designs for living, C-I-10, C-I-19,
F—II— 7; retailored by individual participant, C -I-12; E-6; design of the human maze, D -II-j; social orien­
personal changes due to culture, D -IV -2; change, tations, A -18 ; points of view, A -18 , eidos. common
C-I-6; changing, D-I-6; added to (changed), D -I-5; sense, implicit dominant ontology, F—II—7; ethos, E-8.
transformation of biological drives, D -I-16; not ere-
ated, A-ioa. group reference — group, A -7, B-i, B-5, B-7, B -11,
B-14, B-20, B -ji, C —I—3, C-I-6, C -I -16, C-I-19,
cultivation, culture of self — cultivated, C -II-j, C-II-4; C-II-2, D -I-5, D -I-14; D -II-i, D-II-8, D-II-9,
D-III-2, F - i , E-4, E-6, E-9, F - U , F-I-19, individuals (see carriers of culture)
F-II-7, F-II-8; social group, A-8, B-22, C -I-2,
D-II-y, E -7 ; social groupings, A - i j ; intcgrared and language — language, A -2, A -iy , B-22, D-II-12,
oninregrared groups, C-I-ya, C-II-6, social, A -3, A-8, F—III—3; language uses, A -9.
A -13, A-16, A-18, B -i. B-4, B-6, B-7, B-9, B -n , B—i 2,
B -i3, B - i 4, B-iy, C -I -1, C-I-4, C -I-6, D -I-15, D-II-4, learning — acquired, A -i, A -4, A-10, A-14, A-16,
D -II-j, D-III-3, E—2, E -j, E-7, F-I-4, F-I-6, F-I-8, B-8, B-18, B—21, C-I-4, C-II-3, C-II-4, D -II-i, D-II-2,
F -I-12. F -I-i}, F-I-16, F -II-i, F-II-7, G -2 ; socially, F-I-19; learning, A-8, A -17, B-10, B-18, C-I-8,
A -8, A -17, B—2, B j, D-II-2, F-I-19; society, A -i, D-I-9, D-I-io, D -II-i, D-II-4, D-II-y, D-II-8,
A -4, A - q, A -10, A-ioa, A -14, A-16, B-8, B-10, B-18,
D -II-11, D -II-13, F-I-10, F-I-19, F-II-8; learned
C -I-4, C -I -j, C-I-6, C -I -9, C-I-16, C-I-18, behavior, D-I-y, D-I-16, D-II-6, D-II-9, D-II-10,
C-II-3, C-II-4, D—I—12, D -I-13, D-II-14, D-II-15, D-II-12, D-II-14, D -II-iy, E -y ; learned patterns,
D-IH-2, D - I V - i , D -IV -2, E -3, E-s, F-I-19, F-II-8, D-I-y; conditioned, A-10, B-18; conditioning, A-18,
F-II-10; community, A -7, C -I -i, D-III-2; tribe, F-I-7; tuition, D -II-2; taught, C-I-6; guidance, C -I-17;
C-I—1; group of people inhabiting a common geo­ guides for behavior, C -I -it ; education, C-II-y;
graphic area, C-I-5a; social categories, E -7; social domestication, B-21; use in the business of living,
class, B-22; societal problems, D-I-8, D-I-10, D -I-12; D-II-8; instruction, A -10; verbal instruction, F-II-9;
societal behavior, D-I-6. imitation, A-10, D-II-2, F-II-9; reward, D-II-3;
sanctions, A -19 ; sanctioned ends, A-18.
habits — habits, A -i, A-4, A -7, A -14, A -17, B-6, B-8,
C-I-4, C-I-8, D-I-6, D -I-11, D-II-7, D -II-13, manners and morals — morals, A -i, A -iy, B - n ; eti­
D -III-i, F-I-2, F -I-14 ; habit patterns, E -i, F-I-4; quette, A —2, A -iy, D -II-12; ethics, A -iy ; codes,
social habits, A -7; food habits, D -II-12; established F-I-8; standards, G -3, G -4; standardized, C -I-i,
habits, D -III-j; habitual, A-6, A -10, B-12, D -I-12, D -I-11, F-II-6, usages, A - n , B-22, D -I-7; regula­
D -III-2; habituation, F-I-6. tions, D -I-8; socially regularized, A-8; morality, A-20;
mores, C -I-7; manner of living, A -8; law, B - n ; con­
holistic vs. partitive culture — culture common to all ventional understandings, E-4.
groups, C -I-i6; holistic culture, F-II-8; segment (“ a”
culture), F-II-8; (a particular) strain (of social material culture — material objects, A-6, A-18, F-I-12,
heredity), B-9, B -i5. F-III-2. F—III— 4 ; inventions, E-9; material traits, A-9,
D-III-2, E -3 ; material goods, F-I-8; material processes,
history (see time and historical derivation) F-I-8; material element, B-3; material equipment,
D -I-17; material tools, C-I-ya; artificial, D- T~iy, F-I-2,
ideas and cogni ve processes— ideas, A-10, A -13, F-I-3; tangible aspects of human environment, F-I-20;
A -17 , B-6, B - i3, B—22, C-I-6, C-I-8, D -I-u , D-II-7, physical products, F -I-3; manufactured results of
D-II-8, F-I-14, F -II-i, F-II-2, F-II-3. F-H -j, learned activities, B-18; human manufacture, A -i8.
F-II-6. F-II-8, F-II-9, F-IH-2, F-III-3, G -3, G -y;
complex objective ideas, F—II—7; symbolically-com­ means (sec processes and means)
municated ideas, F-II-4; inactive and active ideas,
intellectual equipment, D -I-17; concepts, A - n , D -I-7; members of a group, a society (see carriers of culture)
mental images, A -6 ; mental constructs, F-II-8;
mental technique, D -I-i; consciously held ideas, modes — mode of life, C -I -i; modes of behavior,
F-II-y; thinking, C -I-2, C-I-3, C-I-ya, C -I-17, D -I-12, C-I-y, D -IF-i4; modes of conduct, C -I-17; modes of
F -IV -y ; thought, A-8, A -i6, C-II-3, C-II-4, F-I-14, operation, F-I-6; modes of thought, F-I-14, F-III-y;
F-III-y, thought (of a people), A -12 ; mind, A-6, modes of action, F -I-14 (see also ways and life-ways).
F - i i - j ; rational, C - I - n ; rationalization, D—
III—1; non­
material content, F-II-10.
modification (see creation and modification)
ideals (see values, ideals, tastes, and preferences)
needs — needs, A - n , D -I-7, D -I-11; basic needs,
implicit culture — non-material traits, A -9, D-III-2, D -I-13, E —3; economic needs, D -I-3; recurrent and
E -3 ; inventions, E-9; non-phvsiological products, continuous needs, D - I - n ; social needs, D-I-16,
B -18; intangible aspects of human environment, D -I-17; motivations, D -I-14; favor (motivations),
F-I-20; immaterial products, F -I-3; implicit, C -I -n ; D-I-14.
implicit dominant ontology, F-II-7; implicit design for
living, D -7; covert behavior patterns, C-I-6. organization (see patterns, systems, and organization)
participants in learning process — children, C-I-6; goods, B-6, F-I-8; implements, A -13 , instruments,
child, D—II—7; parents, C -l-17 ; teachers, C -I-17; elders, A -11, D-I-6, D -I-7; inventions, E-3. E-9; materials,
D-II-7; grown people, D-II-6. F-II-7-, objects, A-6, A -18, C-I-18, F-I-14; orna­
ments, F—III—4; paintings, A -15 ; shelter, F-I-8, tools,
patterns, systems, and organization — patterns, C-I-16, C-I-53, C-I-18, D-I-6, F-I-2, F—I—3, F-I-8, F-III-3,
F—III— 4; utensils, F—III—3, F-III-4; weapons, F-I-8.
C-II-4, D-I-14, D -I-i6, D-II-7, D -II-ii, D -ll-12.
D-III-3, E-3, F—I— <5, G -7 ; patterning, F-I-6; learned
patterns, D-I-5, D-II-10; habit patterns, E -t, F-I-4; psychoanalytic elements — impulses, D -IV -i; sub­
behavior patterns, A-9, A-10, B-14, B-19. C-I-6, stitutes, D - I V -i; sublimations, D -IV -i; reaction-
C-I-16, D—II-10; patterned ways of behavior, B-7, fonnat.ons, D - I V -i; distoned satisfaction, D -IV -i.
C-I-17, E-7, E-9; pattern-creating, D -I-7; systems,
A -11, A -15, B-21, C-II-6, D-I-7, E -i, E-3. E-6, responses (see behavior)
F-I-19, F-II-8; systems of thought, A-8, systems of
knowledge, D -II-12; organization, A -11, B -i, D-I-7. sanction — C-I-18.
E-4, F-I-6, F-III-i, F-III-4; social organization,
F-I-8, F -I-11; organized, B-14, D-II-7, E-3, F.-j,
F-I-8, G -7 ; forms, A-6, B-10, C-II-4, D-III-2; con­ skills (see techniques, skills, and abilities)
figuration, E -j, E-8, G -6; channel, C-I-10; integrated,
E-3, E - 9- social — social, A -3, A-8, A -13, A - 16, A -18, B -i,
B-4, B-6, B-7, B-9, B-i 1, B-12, B-i 3, B-14, B-15,
people, a (see carriers of culture) C -I-i, C-I-4, C-I-6, D -I-15, D-I-16, D -I-17, D-II-4,
D-II-5, D-III-3, E-2, E-3, E-7, F-I 4, F-I-6, F-I 8,
F—I—12, F-I-13, F-I-16, F -II-i, F—II-7, G —2; social
permitted, the— (definition of by culture) D-I-16.
group, A-8, B—22, C —I—2, D-II-5, E -7; social groupings,
A -13 ; socially, A-8, A -17, B-2, B-3, D-II-2, F-I-19;
persons (see carriers of culture) social categories, E -7; social class, B-22 (see also
group references).
press of culture on its agents — permits, D -IV -i;
inhibits, D -IV -i; influence, B-15; force, A -17 ; govern, social heritage or tradition — social heritage, B -i,
C-I-6. B -6 , B -7 , B - i i , B-12, B-13, B-16; social heredity,
B-9, B -15; socially inherited, B 2, B-3, B-6, social
process ts and means — process, B -11, B-22, D 1- 6, inheritance, B-14; inherits, B-4, B-13, B-19; tradition,
F-I-16; technical processes, B-6, F-I-8, selective pro­ A-8, B-14, B-18, C—I—2, C-I-6, I>—II—5; traditional.
cesses, C-I-10; social procedures, G -I-i, C -I-i, mean'., B-10, D-I-io, D -I-13, D-III-3; cultural tradition, B-22,
D -I-i, D -I-7; means of adjustment, D -I-17; F-I\ ■ E-4; social tradition, B-8, racial temperament, B -i;
exosomatic ways and means, F—III— 4; vehicles, C-II-6, social legacy, A-toa, B-20; ready-made, C -I-12; re­
dynamic, D -I-7; dynamic process, F-I-16; mental ceived, C -I-5; experience, D 1- 6 ; cumulative, D-I-6;
adaptations, D -I-4 (1915); variation, D-I-2; sc1 etion accumulated treasury, A -15, B-13, F—I—15
(of part of human behavior), F—II—7; selection,
D—I—2; common application of ideas, F—II—7; sociation,
F-II-10. social institutions — institutions, A-6, A -16, C-II-2,
D -I-16, D-II-5, E -3, F-I-8, F - I - 14, F—III—3; institu­
tional, D -IV -2; constitutional chaners, A -13 ; religion,
product, mechanism, medium, culture as — product,
A -15 ; religious order, A -3 ; property system, A -2 ;
A —12, F-I-16; mechanism, F —III—
4; medium, G -2;
marriage, A -2 ; social order, A -3.
employed by man, D -I-15; all that man has pro­
duced, F-I-3, F-I-14.
societal — societal problems, D-I-8, D-I-10, D -I-13;
societal behavior, D-I-6 (see also group reference).
products of human activity — products, A -3, A-7,
A-14, B-18, B-19, D-I-9, D-II-12, F-I-9, F-I-10;
immaterial products, F—I—3; physical products, F—I—3; society (see group reference)
man-made products, D-I-6, results of human effort,
D-I-9; results of behavior, D-5, F—I—15; results of rum (see totality, culture as comprehensive)
experience, F-I-8; results (products), F-I-9, F-I-10;
precipitate (product), F—I—13; artifacts, A -14, B-6, symbols — symbols, C-I-5a, C-I-6, D-I-6, F -I-j,
D-II-12, E-4, G -5 ; possessions, B-7; amulets, F—III—4; F-II-4, F—III—1, F-III-2, F—III—3; symboling,
books, A -15 ; buildings, A -15 ; consumers’ goods, A -13; F—III—4; symbolic action, F-II-9; symbolic systems,
D-I-6; symbolic behavior, F -I-iz; speech-symbols, A - i 5; body, A-19, B-14, F-I-19; embodiment, D -II-y;
A -6; sign configuration, G-6. mass, A -17, D-I-y; aggregate, C -I-i, E-8; assem­
blage, B-z; outfit, F-I-z; texture, B-z; set, C -I-iz;
systems— systems, A - u , A -15, B-zi, C-II-6, D-I-7, fund, B - i 3; congeries, C-II-6; collection, C-I-8; in­
E -i, E -3, E-6, F-I-19, F-II—8; systems of thought, teractional fields, E-8.
A -8; systems of knowledge, D-II-iz (see also
patterns, systems, and organization). tradition (see social heritage or tradition)

techniques, skills, and abilities — techniques, A-6, A-16, traits — traits, A-9; D -I-14, E-3, F-II-8, non-material
A -17, A -18, B -11, D-II-8; mental, moral, and traits, A-9, D-III-z, E -3; material traits, A-9, D-III-z
mechanical technique, D -I-i; adjustment technique, E - 3-
D -I-6; moral technique, D -I-i; mechanical tech­
nique, D -I-i; technical processes, B-6; equipment of transmission, non-genctic — transmission, A -i7 , B-y,
technique, D -I-i; technologies, D-I-6; methods of B-14, B -16, B -i7, B -i8, C-I-8. D-I-z, D-I-6, D-I-14]
handling problems, etc., D -I-y; method of communica­ D-II-z, D-II-4, E-y, F -I-iy; group-transmitted, E-9,
tion, B -11; skills, A - u , B-zz, D -I-7; capabilities, socially transmined, D -II-14, D -II- 16, F-I-19, F—II—10;
A -i, B-8, C-I-4; mental ability, F —III— 4; higher transferable, A-6; communication, B -11, F-I-6, F -I-u ;
human faculties, C -II-i; use of tools, B -11; use of communicated, B -11, F-II-4, F —II—y; communicable
artifacts. D -II-iz; common use, F—II—7; language intelligence, G -z ; communicative interaction, F-III-y;
uses, A-9; practical arts, A-8, F-I-8; industries, A -z, pass from individual to individual, F-II-9; passed
A-y, A -iz ; crafts, A -13 ; labor, A-zo. down (or on), C-I-6, D-I-y, D-II-7, F-I-z, F-I-3
thinking (see ideas and cognitive processes)
values, ideals, tastes, and preferences — values, A -17,
A -19, B-6, C-I-ya, C-II-6, D-II-7; material values,
thought (see ideas and cognitive processes) C -II-z; social values, C —
II—z; intellectual ideals, C—II—3,
C-II-4; social ideals, C-II-3, C-II-4; artistic ideals,
time and historical derivation — time, D -I-iz, F-I-8; C-II-3, C-II-4; aesthetic tastes, B-zz; meanings, C-II-6;
point in time, D -I-13; period of time, B-10, D—I—1; preference, D -I-14; norms, A-ioa, C-II-6; judgments,
given time, C - I - n ; present, C-I-z, F-II-4; past, B~4a, F-I-8; spiritual element, B-3.
C-I-z, C-I-3, F-II-4; past behavior, F—I—15; his­
torically, C-I-10, C — I—11, C-II-4, E-6, F-II-8; his­ ways and life-ways — ways, A-8, A -iy , B-7, C-I-z,
torical life, B -i; history, B 17. C -I-3, C -I-i y, C -I-17, D -I-10, D -I-i z, D-I-14,
F -IV -y ; exosomatic ways and means, F —III—4; scheme
totality, culture as comprehensive — total, A -3, A-10, for living, D -I-14; design of the human maze, D-II-3;
A -19, A-zo, B -i, B-7, B-9, B-zo, C-I-z, C-I-y, C-I-9, way of life, A -19, B-iz, B-zo, C-I-4, C-I-8, C-I-9,
D -I-i, D -I-i7, D-II-8. D-II-10. F-I-z, F-I-3, F-I-7, C -I-13, C-I-14, C-I-16, C -I-17, C-I-19, D -I-3, E-8,
F-I-8, F-I-zo, F-II-4, F-II-7; totality, A-g, A -17, wavs of thought, A-zo; ways of doing, thinking, feel­
C -I-17, E-9; sum, A -3, A - j, A-10, A - 103, B -i, B-7, ing, C-I-ya; common sense, eidos, implicit dominant
C -I-i, C -I-5, D-I-z, D -I-4 (1915), D -II—5. D-II-8, ontology, F—II—7; forms of behavior, C -I-18; mode
D-II-10, D -IV -i, D -IV -z, F-I-z, F-I-3, F-I-7, F-I-8, of life, C - I - i ; modes of behavior, C-I-y, D—II—14;
F-II-4; summation, E-9, F-II-6; synthesis, D -I-4 modes of conduct, C -I-17; modes of operation, F-I-6;
(19 15); complex whole, A -i, A-4, A - u , A -14, B -11, modes of thought, F-I-14, F-III-y; modes of action,
D -I-7; integral whole, A -13 ; whole complex, B-10; F -I-14; folkways, C -I-3, D -I-y; maniere de vivre,
all (social activities), A -z; accumulated treasury, C-I-183.


abstraction — D-II-16. human — human nature, A - 1 1.

complex — association complex of ideas, F-II-z. man — man, A -i, A -14, B-8, etc., etc. (unmeaningful
conscious — conscious activity, F-I-7. element); mankind, men, social men, A - n , A -17,
effort — effort at adjustment, D-I-9.
D -I-7.
energy — dissipation of energy, C -I I -i, surplus human
motor — motor reactions, A -17.
energy, C —II—1.
explicit — explicit, C -I -1 1 ; explicit design for living, non-automatic — non-automatic, B-i 8.
E - 7- nongenetic — nongenetic efforts, F-I-9, F - I - n ; non-
feature — feature, C-I-16. genetically, F -IV -3 .
non-instinctive — non-instiuctive, B-18-, non-instinctive overt — overt behavior patterns, C -I-6.
activities, E-9. phase — crystallized phase, A-6.
non-mecbamcd — non-mechanical. F-I-i 1. probable — probable behaviors, E-8.
objective — objective, D -I-7; objective external situa­
profess — profess ideals, C -ll-3, C-ll-4.
tions, F - I V -j; objective ideas, F—II—7.
o rd — oral form of culture, G -i. race — race, B-10.
organism — social organism, F—II—1. strive — strive for ideals, C -ll-3.
orgardsnnc — organismic efforts, F-I-9. super-individual — super-individual, F-I-i
Group a. The Nature of Culcure
Group b. The Components of Culture
Group c. Properties of Culcure
Group d. Culture and Psychology
Group e. Culture and Language
Group /. Relation of Culture to Society,
Individuals, Environment, and
• Artifacts
h e following excerpts 1 will repeat some toward factoring out the notions subsumed
T of the ideas that have already emerged under the label “culture” and relating them to
in the more formal definitions. However,each other. The word “ culture,” like the pic­
some new and important points will also ap­ tures of the Thematic Apperception est,
pear, and these quotations are placed, for the inv .tes projection. The sheer enthusiasm for
most part, within a fuller context of the such an idea that is “ in the air” not only
writer’s thinking. Parts II and III supplement makes projection easier but gives an intensity'
each other significantly, though the assign­ to the development which makes the process
ment of a statement to one part or the other easy to delineate. We shall therefore in Part
was in some cases arbitrary. This Part will III present primarily passages where writers
also serve the function of a thesaurus of repre­ have taken “ culture” as a cue to, almost, free
sentative or significant statements on cultural association and trace the projections of various
theory. interpreters upon the concept.
In Part II we have made some progress
* W e have eliminated authors’ footnotes except
where directly germane to the theoretical issues we are concerned with.
i. Ogbum, 1922: 6, 13. specially designed to indicate this particular
. . . The terms, the superorganic, social product of crystallisation . . . .
heritage, and culture, have all been used There are certain modes of behaviour which
interchangeably . . . . are found to be common among groups of
. . . The factor, social heritage, and the men. These modes of behaviour are associated
factor, the biological nature of man, make a with social and political organization, law,
resultant, behavior in culture. From the point with some object like a material object or
of view of analysis, it is a case of a third social institution, etc. These objects and the
variable determined by the two other variables. associated types of behaviour, forming distinct
There may of course be still other variables, and isolable units, are called cultural traits.
as for instance, climate, or natural environ­ The assemblage of cultural traits is known
ment. But for the present, the analysis, con­ as culture. Culture is also to be viewed as an
cerns the two variables, the psychological adaptive measure.
nature of man and culture.
4. Radcliff e-Bro^m, 1930: 3, 3-4,
I shall confine myself, then, in this address,
2. Ellnxood, /92-;j: 9.
to the science called, somewhat clumsily.
[Culture includes] on the one hand, the
Social Anthropology, which has for its task
whole of man’s material civilization, tools,
to formulate the general laws of the phenomena
weapons, clothing, shelter, machines, and even
that we include under the term culture or
systems of industry; and, on the other hand all
civilization. It deals with man’s life in society,
of non-material or spiritual civilization, such
with social and political organization, law.
as language, literature, art,- religion, ritual,
morals, religion, technology, art, language,
morality, law, and government.
and in general with all social institutions, cus­
toms, and beliefs in exactly the same wav that
3. Bose, 1929: 7-8, 24.
chemistry deals, with chemical phenomena. . . .
But in another branch of the science, em­ The readiest wav in which to understand
phasis is laid upon the life-activities of man
the nature of culrure ard realize its function
instead of his physical characters. Just °s in
in human life, its biological function we may
studying an animal species we might piv more perhaps say. is to consider it as a mode or
attention to its life and habits instead of process of social integration. By any culture
anatomical characters, so in that branch of
or civilization a certain number, larger or
the science named Cultural Anthropology, smaller, of human beings are united together
we consider what the ruling forces of man’s into a more or less complex system of social
life are, in what wav he proceeds to meet them,
groups bv which the social relations of indi­
how human behaviour differs from animal be­ viduals to one another are determined. In anv
haviour, whit are the causes of difference, if given culture we denote this system of group­
they throw any light upon unknown specific
ing as the social structure . . . .
characters, how such characters have evolved
The function of any element of culture, a
in relation to environment and so on. Much
rule of morality or etiquette, a legal obligation,
of the data of Cultural Anthropology is ac­
a religious belief or ritual can only be dis­
cord nglv furnished bv human behaviour.
covered bv considering what part it plays
We shall presently see that Anthropology
in the social integration of the people in whose
cannot use every aspect of human behaviour
culture it is found.
on account of limiting conditions present in
the data. It is concerned more with the 5. Wallis, 1930: 9, 13, 32, 11, 33.
crystallised products of human behaviour, (P. 9): [Culture] may be defined as the
which can be passed on from one individual artificial objects, institutions, and modes of
to another. Culture in Anthropology is life or of thought w hich are not peculiarly
individual but which characterize a group; different antiquity; some are old anJ mori­
it is “ that complex whole . . . ” [repeating bund, but others as old may be vigorous; some
Tylor]. (P. 13): Culture is the life of a people borrowings or developments of yesterday are
as typified in contacts, institutions, and equip­ already almost forgotten, others have become
ment. It includes characteristic concepts and strongly entrenched. To appreciate the quality
behavior, customs and traditions. (P. 32): of a particular culture at a particular time; to
Culture, then, means all those things, institu­ understand why one new custom or technique
tions, material objects, typical reactions to is adopted and another rejected, despite per­
situations, which characterize a people and sistent external efforts at introduction; to get
distinguish them from other peoples. (P. 11): behind the general and abstract terms which
A culture is a functioning dynamic unit . . . label such somewhat arbitrarily divided cate­
the . . . traits . . . [of which] are interdepen­ gories of activity and interest as arts and crafts,
dent. (P. 33): A culture is more than the sum social organization, religion, and so forth; and
of the things which compose it. to see the culture as a living whole — for all
these purposes it is necessary to inquire
6. Murdock, 1932: 213. minutely into the relations between the multi­
Four factors . . . have been advanced . . . as farious activities of a community and to dis­
explanations of the fact that man alone of all cover where and how' they buttress or con­
living creatures possesses culture — namely, flict with one another. Nothing that happens,
habit-forming capacity, social life, intelligence, whether it is the mere whittling of a child’s
and language. These factors may be likened toy or the concentration of energy on some
to the four legs of a stool, raising human be­ major economy, operates in isolation or fails
havior from the floor, the organic level or to react in some degree on many other activi­
hereditary basis of all behavior, to the super- ties. The careful exploration of what have
organic level, represented by the seat of the been called “ functional,” or “ dvnamic,” rela­
stool. No other animal is securely seated on tions within a society may disclose much that
such a four-legged
stool. was unexpected in the processes of interaction
between one aspect of culture and another.
7. Forde, 1934: 463, 469-70.
Neither the world distributions of the vari­ 8. ■Schapera, 1933: 319.
ous economies, nor their development and . . . For culture is not merely a system of
relative importance among particular peoples, formal practices and beliefs. It is made up
can be regarded as simple functions of physical essentially of individual reactions to and varia­
conditions and natural resources. Between the tions from a traditionally standardized pat­
physical environment and human activity tern; and indeed no culture can ever be under­
there is always a middle term, a collection of stood unless special attention is paid to this
specific objectives and values, a body of knowl­ range
D of individual manifestations.
edge and belief: in other words, a cultural
pattern. That the culture itself is not static, 9. Faris, 1937: 23.
that it is adaptable and modifiable in relation Language is communication and is the
to physical conditions, must not be allowed to product of interaction in a society. Grammars
obscure the fact that adaptation proceeds by are not contrived, vocabularies were not in­
discoveries and inventions which are them­ vented, and the semantic changes in language
selves in no sense inevitable and which are, in take place without the awareness of those in
any individual community, nearly all of them whose mouths the process is going on. This
acquisitions or impositions from without. . . . is a super-individual phenomenon and so also
. . . That complex of activities in any human are other characteristic aspects of human life,
society which we call its culture is a going such as changes in fashions or alterations of the
concern. It has its own momentum, its dogmas, mores.
its habits, its efficiencies and its weaknesses. Herbert Spencer called these collective
The elements which go to make it are of very phenomena superorganic; Durkheim referred
to them as faits sociaux; Sumner spoke of them 12a. Murdock, 1940: 364-69.
as folkways; while anthropologists usuallv 1. Culture Is Learned. Culture is not in­
employ the word “ culture.” stinctive, or innate, or transmitted biologically,
but is composed of habits, i.e., learned ten­
10. Mumford, /938: 492. dencies to react, acquired by each individual
Culture in all its forms: culture as the care through his own life experience after birth.
of the earth: culture as the disciplined seizure This assumption, of course, is shared bv all
and use of energy toward the economic satis­ anthropologists outside of the totalitarian
faction of man’s wants: culture as the nurture states, but it has a corollary' which is not
of the body, as the begetting and bearing of always so clearly recognized. If culture is
children, as the cultivation of each human learned, it must obey the laws of learning,
being’s fullest capacities as a sentient, feeling, which the psychologists have by now worked
thinking, acting personality: culture as the out in considerable detail. The principles of
transmission of power into polity, of ex­ learning are known to be essentially the same,
perience into science and philosophy, of life not only for all mankind but also for most
into the unitv and significance of art: of the mammalian species. Hence, we should expect
whole into the tissue of values that men are all cultures, being learned, to reveal certain
willing to die for rather than forswear — uniformities reflecting this universal common
religion . . . factor.
2. Culture Is Inculcated. All animals are
11. Firth, 1939: 18-19. capable of learning, but man alone seems able,
Alost modern authors are agreed, whether in anv considerable measure, to pass on his
explicitly or not, upon certain very general acquired habits to his offspring. We can
assumptions about the nature of the material housebreak a dog, teach him tricks, and im­
they study. Thev consider the acts of individ­ plant in him other germs of culture, but he
uals not in isolation but as members of society will not transmit them to his puppies. Thev
and call the sum total of these modes of will receive only the biological inheritance of
behavior “ culture.” Thev are impressed also their species, to which thev in turn will add
bv the dynamic interrelationship of items of a habits on the basis of their own experience.
culture, each item tending to vary according The factor of language presumably accounts
to the nature of rhe others. Thev recognize
for man’s preeminence in this respect. At anv
too that in every culture there are certain
rate, many of the habits learned by human
features common to all: groups such as the
beings are transmitted from parent to child
family, institutions such as marriage, and com­
plex forms of practice and belief w hich can over successive generations, and, through re­
be aggregated under the name of religion. peated inculcation, acquire that persistency
On the basis of this thev argue for the existence over time, that relative independence of indi­
of universally comparable factors and pro­ vidual bearers, which justifies classifying them
cesses, the description and explanation of \i hich collect'velv as “ culture.” This assumption, too,
can be given in sociological laws or general is genera1ly accepted by anthropologists, but
principles of culture. again there is an underestimated corollary. If
culture is inculcated, then all cultures should
12. von Wiese, 1939: 393. show certain common effects of the inculca­
Cu’ture is above all not “ an order of phe­ tion process. Inculcation involves not only
nomena,” and is not to be found in the worlds the imparting of techniques and knowledge
of perceptible or conceived things. It does but also the disciplining of the child’s animal
not belong to the world of substance; it is a impulses to adjust him to social life. That there
part of the world of values, of which it is a are regularities in behavior reflecting the waj s
formal category . . . Culture is no more a in which these impulses are thwarted and re­
thing-concept than “ plus,” “ higher” or directed during the formative years of life,
“ better.” seems clear from the evidence of psycho­
analysis, e.g., the apparent universality of intra- cumstances where each is considered approp­
family incest taboos. riate and the sanctions to be expected for non­
3. Culture Is Social. Habits of the cultural conformity. Within limits, therefore, it is
order are not only inculcated and thus trans­ useful to conceive of culture as ideational, and
mitted over time; they are also social, that is, of an element of culture as a traditionally ac­
shared by human beings living in organized cepted idea, held by the members of a group
aggregates or societies and kept relatively uni­ or subgroup, that a particular kind of be­
form by social pressure. They are, in short, havior (overt, verbal, or implicit) should con­
group habits. The habits which the members form to an established precedent. These ideal
of a social group share with one another con­ norms should not be confused with actual be­
stitute the culture of that group. This assump­ havior. In any particular instance, an individual
tion is accepted by most anthropologists, but behaves in response to the state of his organism
not bv all. Lowie, for example, insists that “ a (his drives) at the moment, and to his percep­
culture is invariably an artificial unit segregated tion of the total situation in which he finds
for purposes of expediency . . . . There is himself. In so doing, he naturally tends to
only one natural unit for the ethnologist — the follow his established habits, including his
culture of all humanity at all periods and in all culture, but either his impulses or the nature
places . . . .” The author finds it quite im­ of the circumstances may lead him to deviate
possible to accept this statement. To him, therefrom to a greater or lesser degree. Be­
the collective or shared habits of a social havior, therefore, docs not automatically follow
group — no matter whether it be a family, a culture, which is only’ one of its determinants.
village, a class, or a tribe — constitute, not “ an There arc norms of behavior, of course, as
artificial unit” but a natural unit — a culture well as of culture, but, unlike the latter, they
or subculture. To deny this is, in his opinion, can be established only by statistical means.
to repudiate the most substantial contribution Confusion often arises between anthropologists
w'hich sociology has made to anthropology. and sociologists on this point. The former,
If culture is social, then the fate of a culture until recently, have been primarily preoccupied
depends on the fate of the society which bears with ideal norms or patterns, whereas sociolo­
it, and all cultures which have survived to be gists, belonging to the same society as both
studied should reveal certain similarities be­ their subjects and their audience, assume gen­
cause they have all had to provide for societal eral familiarity with the culture and commonly
survival. Among these cultural universals, we report only the statistical norms of actual
can probably list such things as sentiments of behavior. A typical community study like
group cohesion, mechanisms of social control, Middletoavn and an ethnographic monograph,
organization for defense against hostile neigh­ though often compared, are thus in reality
bors, and provision for the perpetuation of the poles apart. To the extent that culture is
population. ideational, we may conclude, all cultures
4. Culture Is Ideational. To a considerable should reveal certain similarities, flowing
extent, the group habits of which culture con­ from the universal laws governing the sym­
sists are conceptualized (or verbalized) as bolic mental processes, e.g., the world-wide
ideal norms or patterns of behavior. There parallels in the principles of manic.
are, of course, exceptions; grammatical rules, 5. Culture Is Gratifying. Culture always,
for example, though they represent collective and necessarily, satisfies basic biological needs
linguistic habits and are thus cultural, are only and secondary needs derived therefrom. Its ele­
in small part consciously formulated. Never­ ments are tested habitual techniques for gratify­
theless, as every field ethnographer knows, ing human impulses in man’s interaction with
most people show in marked degree an aware­ the external world of nature and fellow man.
ness of their own cultural norms, an ability to This assumption is an inescapable conclusion
differentiate them from purely individual from modem stimulus-response psychology.
habits, and a facility in conceptualizing and Culture consists of habits, and psychology has
reporting them in detail, including the cir­ demonstrated that habits persist only so long
as they bring satisfaction. Gratification rein­ different problems. It is probable, nevertheless,
forces habits, strengthens and perpetuates that a certain proportion of the parallels in dif­
them, while lack of gratification inevitably ferent cultures represent independent adjust­
results in their extinction or disappearance. ments to comparable conditions. ,
Elements of culture, therefore, can continue to The conception of cultural change as an
exist only when they yield to the individuals adaptive process seems to many anthropolo­
of a society a margin of satisfaction, a favor­ gists inconsistent with, and contradictory to,
able balance of pleasure over pain. Malinowski the conception of cultural change as an his­
has been insisting on this point for years, but torical process. T o the author, there seems
the majority o f anthropologists have either nothing inconsistent or antagonistic in the two
rejected the assumption or have paid it but positions — the “ functional” and the “ histor­
inadequate lip service. T o them, the fact ical,” as they are commonly labeled. On the
that culture persists has seemed to raise no contrary, he believes that both are correct,
roblcni; it has been blithely taken for granted, that they supplement one another, and that the
sychologists, however, have seen the prob­ best anthropological u'ork emerges when the
lem, and have given it a definitive answer, two are used in conjunction. Culture history
which anthropologists can ignore at their peril. is a succession of unique events, in which later
If culture is gratifying, widespread similari­ events are conditioned by earlier ones. From
ties should exist in all cultures, owing to the the point of view of culture, the events which
fact that basic human impulses, which are affect later ones in the same historical sequences
universally the same, demand similar forms are often, if not usually, accidental, since they
of satisfaction. The “ universal culture pat­ have their origin outside the continuum of cul­
tern” propounded by Wissler would seem to ture. They include natural events, like floods
rest on this foundation. and droughts; biological events, like epidemics
6. Culture Is Adaptive. Culture changes; and deaths; and psychological events, like emo­
and the process of change appears to be an tional outbursts and inventive intuitions. Such
adaptive one, comparable to evolution in the changes alter a society’s life conditions. They
organic realm but of a different order. Cul­ create new needs and render old cultural forms
tures tend, through periods of time, to become unsatisfactory, stimulating trial and error be­
adjusted to the geographic environment, as havior and cultural innovations. Perhaps the
the anthropogeographcrs have shown, al­ most significant events, however, are historical
though environmental influences are no longer contacts v/ith peoples of differing cultures, for
conceived as determinative of cultural develop­ men tend first to ransack the cultural resources
ment. Cultures also adapt, through borrowing of their neighbors for solutions to their prob­
and organization, to the social environment lems of living, and rely only secondarily upon
of neighboring peoples. Finally, cultures un­ their own inventive ingenuity. Full recogni­
questionably tend to become adjusted to the tion of the historical character of culture, and
biological and psychological demands of the especially of the role of diffusion, is thus a
human organism. As life conditions change, prime prerequisite if a search for cross-cultur­
traditional forms cease to provide a margin of al generalizations is to have any prospect of
satisfaction and are eliminated; new needs arise success. It is necessary to insist, however, that
or arc perceived, and new cultural adjustments historical events, like geographic factors, exert
arc made to them. The assumption that cul­ only a conditioning rather than a determining
ture is adaptive by no means commits one to influence as the course of culture. Man adjusts
an idea of progress, or to a theory of evolu­ to them, and draws selectively upon them to
tionary stages of development, or to a rigid de­ solve his problems and satisfy his needs.
terminism of any sort. On the contrary, one 7. Culture Is Integrative. As one product
can agree with Opler, who has pointed out on of the adaptive process, the elements o f a given
the basis of his Apache material, that different culture tend to form a consistent and integ­
cultural forms may represent adjustments to rated whole. We use the word “ tend” advise-
like problems, ana similar cultural forms to edly, for we do not accept the position of cer­
tain extreme functionalists that cultures actual­ 1. Material culture.
ly are integrated systems, with their several 2. Culture, that is, material culture conjoined with
art. ritual, laws.
parts in perfect equilibrium. VY'e adhere,
3. “ Genuine culture” (in Sapir's phrase)— a firm
rather, to the position of Sumner that the folk­
integration and mutually rvinforcwig development of
ways are “ subject to a strain of consistency to all the factors specified as constituting culture in
each other,” but that actual integration is never sense 2.
achieved for the obvious reason that historical 4. Civilization as culture (or “genuine culture” )
events are constantly exerting a disturbing in­ mediated by history and science.
fluence. Integration takes time — there is al­ 5. Civilization as tribal or national culture so medi­
ways what Ogburn has called a “cultural lag” ated by history and science as to lead to the recog­
— and long before one process has been coln- nition of the equal humanity of other nations.
pleted, many others have been initiated. In our 6. Civilization as that special development of sense
own culture, for example, the changes wrought 5 which is essentially characterized by the employ­
ment of intelligence to discern the dominant tenden­
in habits of work, recreation, sex, and religion
cies of change in men's ways of living together, to
through the introduction of the automobile
predict future changes in these respects, and to ac­
are probably still incomplete. If culture is in­ commodate men to (and even facilitate) such change.
tegrative, then correspondences or correlations 7. Civilization as values realized, and particular
between similar traits should repeatedly occur civilizations as the patterns of social living more or
in unrelated cultures. Lowie, for example, has less conducive to, or adequate to, the enactment and
pointed out a number of such correlations. experience of values.
8. Civilization as an active process of growth in
13. Dennes, 1942: 164-69. communication and appreciation.
Following the lead of eminent historians,
anthropologists, psychologists, and philoso­ 14. Roheim, 1949: 81-82.
phers, I have now directed your attention to . . . When looking at the situation from a
eight phases or characteristics of group living remote, biological point of view I wrote of
which have been taken by them as definitive of culture as a neurosis, my critics objected. At­
the term culture, or of the term civilization, tempting to reply to this criticism I now de­
when those terms are used descriptively. Some fined culture with greater precision as a
scholars, as we have seen, use the name culture psychic defense system. Since this view has
for the “simpler” phases, civilization for the also been questioned. I have taken up the
more complex; others exactly reverse this prac­ question again in the present book and tried
tice; and still others use the two terms virtually to analyze culture in some of its aspects which
as synonyms. We may observe at this point are most ego-syntonic, most useful and there­
that none of these eight descriptive notions fore appear to be remote from defense
restricts culture or civilization to any particu­ mechanisms. The result of this investigation
lar pattern of organization. For example, a is to confirm me in the view that defence sys-
highly aristocratic or a highly democratic pat­ tems against anxiety are the stuff that culture
tern of social living might, either of them, con­ is made of and that therefore specific cultures
spicuously exemplify — or fail to exemplify arc structurally similar to specific neuroses.
— what is meant by culture or civilization in This view of psychoanalytical anthropology
any of the eight senses. We must note, also, was really the starting point of the whole
that there are indefinitely many other types, problem. However other processes must fol­
phases, and products of social living which low the formation of these ncurosis-sysrems to
can be distinguished and studied, and taken as produce sublimations and culture. The psyche
criteria of civilization; — how many (and as we know it, is formed by the introjection
which) a man will deal with will be deter­ of primary objects (super-ego) and the first
mined by his interests and capacities and by contact with environment (ego). Society' it­
the problems that are felt as pressing at the self is knitted together by projection of these
time. The eight descriptive notions I have primarily introjectcd objects or concepts fol­
selected and brought to your attention are, to lowed by a series of subsequent introjcctions
resume: and projections.
15. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1 94 yj; 93-94. synon\ms or equivalents. Having given a
The philosopher: . . . where is the locus of sound abstract description of “ group habits,”
culture — in society or in the individual? the anthropologist then unthinkingly employs
Third anthropologist: Asking the question this (“ x” ) as an explanatory concept, for­
that way poses a false dilemma. Remember getting that “ x” must be regarded as the joint
that “ culture ’ is an abstraction. Hence culture product of “ d” and three other determiners.
as a concrete, observable entity docs not exist “ X ” is much closer to observable “ reality”
anywhere — unless you wish to sav that it than “ d.” “ D” is, if you will, only an hypoth­
exists in the “ minds” of the men who make esis — though a highly useful hypothesis. “X,”
the abstractions, and this is hardly a problem however, is an abstract representation of cen­
which need trouble us as scientists. The tral tendencies in observed facts. Let me give
objects and events from w hich we make our you an example. Some peoples call their
abstractions do have an observable existence. mothers and their mothers’ sisters by the same
But culture is like a map. Just as a map isn’t kin term, and they tend to make few dis­
the territory but an abstract representation of tinctions in the wavs in which they behave
the territory so also a culture is an abstract toward their mothers and toward their
description of trends toward uniformity in mothers’ sisters. Other peoples apply different
the words, acts, and artifacts of human groups. terms of address and of reference to these two
The data, then, from which we come to know classes of relatives and perhaps also differen­
culture are not derived from an abstraction tiate between the younger and the older sisters
such as “ society” but from directly observable of the mother. \\ ith such usages, in most
behavior and behavioral products. Note, how­ instances, go variations in behavior. Rigorous
ever, that “ culture” may be said to be “ supra- abstract description of all these patterns does
individual” in at least two non-mysrical, per­ not require the invocation of hypotheses.
fectly empirical senses: But we do not know, and perhaps never can
1. Objects as well as individuals show the influence know, in an ultimate and complete sense, why
of culture. these two examples of differing behavior exist.
2. The continuity of culture seldom depends upon The concept “ culture” does howrever help
the continued existence of any particular individuals. to understand how it is that at a given point
in time two different peoples, living in the
16. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 19 4 ;b: 31-3). same natural environment, having the same
. . . there are four variables in the determina­ “ economic” s\stem, can nevertheless have
tion of human action: man’s biological equip­ different usages in this respect.
ment, hi.? social environment, his physical en­ In sum, when a culture is described, this is
vironment, and his culture. Let us designate merely the conceptualization — highly con­
those as a, b, c, and d. But a given system of venient for certain purposes — of certain
designs for living is clearly the-product of trends toward uniformity in the behavior of
a, b, c, and d. In other words, it is quite clearly the people making up a certain group. No
different from “ d” alone, so let us call it “ x.” pretense is made at a total “ explanation” of
It would seem, then, that anthropologists have all this behavior. Just to approach such an
used the same term “ culture” to cover both understanding would require the collaboration
“ d” and “ x.” This is enough to make a of a variety of specialists in biology, medicine,
logician’s hair stand on end. and many other subjects. The primary utilirv
Third anthropologist: Perhaps, in practice, of “ culture” as an explanatory concept is in
the confusion has been mitigated bv the ten­ illuminating the differences between behavioral
dency to use “ culture” for the analytical ab­ trends as located in space and time.
straction “ d” and “ a culture” for the general­
izing abstraction “ x.” But it is all too true 17. Bidney, 1947: 399-96.
that anthropologists and other scholars have According to the polaristic position adopted
frequently treated “ d” (the explanatory con­ here, culture is to be understood primarily as
cept) and “ x” (the descriptive concept) as a regulative process initiated by man for the
development and organisation of his determin­ tions; rather we wish to have his methodo­
ate, substantive potentialities. There is no pre- logical remarks clarified.
cultural human nature from which the variety On the scientific (perceptual) level of in­
of cultural forms may be deduced a priori, quiry, the subject matter of cultural an­
since the cultural process is a spontaneous ex­ thropology is necessarily parcelled by con­
pression of human nature and is coeval with fining attention to a (more or less) definite
man’s existence. Nevertheless, human nature group of abstractions. We would insist that
is logically and genetically prior to culture those anthropologists who have confined at­
since we must postulate human agents with tention to a “realist” set of abstractions, and
psychobiological powers and impulses capable those who ha.e been concerned with an
of initiating the cultural process as a means of “ idealist” set of abstractions, have both made
adjusting to their environment and as a form significant and useful contributions to an-
of svmbolic expression. In other words, the thropologyr on the scientific level. The dis­
determinate nature of man is manifested advantage of exclusive attention to a parcelled
functionally through culture but is not reduci­ group of abstractions, however w'cll-foundcd,
ble to culture. Thus one need not say with is that, byT the nature of the subject matter,
Ortega y Gassett, “ Man has no nature; he has one has neglected a remainder of that subject
history.” There is no necessity in fact or logic matter. Insofar as the excluded data are im­
for choosing between nature and history. Man portant to the subject matter, this particular
has a substantive ontological nature which may methodology or mode of thought is not fitted
be investigated by the methods of natural to deal, in an adequate way’, w ith the larger
science as well as a cultural history which may problems in question. Since, in practice, the
be studied by the methods of social science working anthropologist cannot proceed with­
and by logical analysis. Adequate self-knowl­ out making a classification of his subject
edge requires a comprehension of both nature matter, it is of great importance to pay con­
and history. The theory of the polarity of stant attention to the modes of abstraction.
nature and culture would do justice to both It is here that the philosophy of anthro­
factors bv allowing for the ontological con­ pology finds its role essential to the progress
ditions 2 of the historical, cultural process. of the subject. And this task, the authors con­
tend, can be carried out solely within the
18. H insbavj and Spu h lcr, i~ . perceptual or scientific level.
In an attempt to resolve certain conflicting
philosophies of culture, Bidney has suggested 19. Kroeber, 8-% 253.
that the “ idealistic” and “ realistic” concep­ Culture, then, is all those things about man
tions of culture are not in conflict, that they that are more than just biological or organic,
can be unified. In discussing this contention he and are also more than merely psychological.
defines five fallacies. He makes commission It presupposes bodies and personalities, as it
of these fallacies contrary to achievement of presupposes men associated in groups, and it
conceptual unification. YVh'Ie we feel that rests upon them; but culture is something
the definition of such fallacies is an important more than a sum of psychosomatic qualities
methodological service, wre believe that Bidney and actions. It is more than these in that its
has not made sufficiently clear what some phenomena cannot be wholly understood in
might call the purposes or what we have terms of biology and psychology. Neither of
called the levels of his analysis. We do not these sciences claims to be able to explain why
wish to challenge his substantive contribu­ there are axes and property law's and etiquettes
* [Bidney’s footnote] There is an important dis­
tinction to be made between the ontological conditions cultural systems. In this paper, my concern is •with
of the cultural process and the ontological pre­ the meta-cultural presuppositions of any system of
suppositions of given systems of culture. Sorokin, for culture whatsoever. The problem, it seems to me,
example, in his Social and Cultural Dynamics, and was soundly appraised by Dilthev, Ortega y Gasset,
Northrop in his The Meeting of East and West have and Cassirer; my disagreement is solely with their
discussed the views of reality inherent in diverse Neo-Kantian epistemology.
and prayers in the world, why they function of critical thought, first individuals and then
and perpetuate as they do, and least of all why groups began to question some elements of
these cultural things rake the particular and the traditional thoughtways and practices and
highly variable forms or expressions under thereby provided a stimulus for cultural
which they appear. Culture thus is at one and change and development.
the same time the totality of products of social
men, and a tremendous force affecting all 21. RaiclifJe-Broum 1949: 9 10 -11.
human beings, socially and individually. And The word “ culture” has many different
in this special but broad sense, culture is meanings. As a psychologist I would define
universal for man. . . culture in accordance with its dictionary
The terms “social inheritance” or “ tradi­ meaning in English, as the process by which a
tion” put the emphasis on how culture is ac­ human individual acquires, through contact
quired rather than on what it consists of. Yet with other individuals, or from such things as
a naming of all the kinds of things that we books and works of art, habits, capabilities,
receive by tradition — speech, knowledges, ideas, beliefs, know ledge, skills, tastes, and
activities, rules, and the rest — runs into quite sentiments; and, bv an extension common in
an enumeration. We have already seen . . . the English language, the products of that
that things so diverse as hoeing corn, singing process in the individual. As an Englishman
the blues, wearing a shirt, speaking English, I learned Latin and French and therefore some
and being a Baptist are involved. Perhaps a knowledge of Latin and French are part of
shorter way of designating the content of my culture. The culture process in this sense
culture is the negative wav of telling what can be studied by the psychologist, and in
is excluded from it. Put this wav' around, fact the theory of learning is such a study.
culture might be defined as all the activities . . . The sociologist is obviously obliged to
and non-physical products of human person­ study the cultural traditions of all kinds that
alities that are not automatically reflex or in­ are found in a societv of which he is making
stinctive. That in turn means, in biological and a study. Cultural tradition is a social process
psychological parlance, that culture consists of interaction of persons w'ithin a social
of conditioned or learned activities (plus the structure.
manufactured results of these); and the idea
of learning brings us back again to what is 22. Z/pf, 1949: 2"6.
socially transmitted, vv-hac is received from Culture is relative to a given social gro ip
tradition, what “ is acquired bv man as a at a given time: that is it consists of n different
member of societies." So perhaps kenv- it social signals that are correlated with m differ­
comes to be is really more distinctive of ent social responses . . .
culture than what it is. It certainly is more
easily expressed specifically. COM M ENT
Five of this group of statements attempt to
20. Bidney, 1949: 4~o. list the factors that make culture: Ogburn,
Modern ethnology has shown that all his­ (1) 1922; Murdock, (6) 1932; Murdock, (12a)
torical societies have had cultures or traditional 1940; Dennes, (13) 1942; Kluckhohn and
wavs of behavior and thought in conformity Kelly, (16) 1945a. Dennes stands somewhat
with which they have patterned their lives. apart from the others. He thoughtfully lists
And so valuable have these diverse ways of eight “ phases or characteristics” which have
living appeared to the members of early been taken to be definitive of the terms cul­
human societv that they have tended to ascribe ture or civilization — eight senses in which
a divine origin to their accepted traditions and they have been used. This is in a way an
have encouraged their children to conform essay similar in goal to our present one — in­
to their folkways and mores as matters of deed, nearer to it in general outcome than
faith which were above question. With the might be anticipated from a philosopher as
growth of experience and the development against a pair of anthropologists.
Of the others, Ogburn is earliest and, no assumed) > culture; the three term: culture >
doubt for that reason, simplest. He recognizes persons > culture. Each formula has its proper
two factors, social heritage and biological uses, and particular risks. The culture >
nature of man, whose resultant is cultural be­ culture formula eliminates the personalities
havior. Murdock, ten v ears later, admits four that in a long-range historical or mass situa­
factors that raise human behavior from the tion can contribute little but may rather clog
organic, hereditary level to the super-organic or distract from understanding. The risk in
level. These four are habit-forming capacity, exclusive use of this formula is that it may
social life, intelligence, and language. Only lead to assumption of culture as a wholly
the fourth would today be generally accepted autonomous system, with immanent, pre­
as one of the pillars on which culture rests. ordained causation. The culture-persons-
Habits, society, and intelligence are now* uni­ culture formula obviously is most useful in
versally attributed to sub-human as well as to short-term, close-up, fine-vicw analyses. Its
human beings, in kind at any rate, though often risk is the temptation to escape from circu­
less in degree. It is only by construing “ habits” larity of reasoning bv short-circuiting into a
as customs, and “ intelligence” as symbol-using simplistic two-term formula of persons >
imagination, that these two factors would today culture or culture > personalities.
be retained as criteria; and as for “social life” Three British social anthropologists, (7)
— how get around the cultureless ants? It Forde, 1934, ( I ! ) Firth, 1939, and (21) Rad-
would appear that Murdock started out to cliffe-Brown, 1949, stress the dynamic inter­
give “ explanations” of the factors that make relations of activities within a culture. In
culture a uniquely human attribute, but that addition, Radcliffe-Brov.n as usual narrows
in part he substituted faculties which are in­ the concept of culture as much as possible:
deed associated in man with culture but are culture is the process by which language, be­
not differential criteria of it.3 In his 1940 state­ liefs, usages, etc., are handed on (similar to
ment (12a), however, he is clear on this dis­ statements in [19] Kroeber, 1948!); and, savs
tinction, and indeed his position as developed Radcliffe-Brown, cultural tradition is a social
here is quite close to our own. process of interaction of persons within a
Kluckhohn and Kelly also name four factors social structure. This seems to leave culture
(“ variables’) determinative of “ human a mere derivative by-product of society, a
action” : biological equipment, physical en­ position shared with Radcliffe-Brown by some
vironment, social environment, and culture. sociologists, but by few if any anthropologists;
They complain, however, or have one of the who, if they insist on dcri.ing culture, now­
characters in their dialogue complain, that adays try to derive it out of personality, or at
anthropologists use the same word culture least from the interaction of personalities as
for the product of these four factors and for opposed to society as such.
the fourth factor — a procedure logically hair- Radcliffe-Brown’s earlier position in (4),
raising. 1930, emphasizes that the nature and function
The one of the present authors not involved of culture in general are a mode of social
in the 1945 dialogue is less troubled logically. integration, and he repeats this for the
It is a given culture that is the product, ante­ function of elements of culture. The focus of
cedent culture that always enters into it as a interest here is slightly different from that of
factor. He sees cultural causality as inevitably 1949, but the subordination of culture to
circular; equally so whether culture he viewed society is about the same.
impersonally and historically or as something Firth in ( 11) , 1939, adduces a second
existing only in, through, or by persons. In property of culture: it contains universally
the latter case the persons are inevitably in­ comparable factors and processes. These can
fluenced by existing and previous culture. be described and explained in “ social laws or
The two-term formula is: culture > (persons general principles of culture.”
*A s regards habits this is explicitly recognized by
Mordock. Cf. ITl-b-3, below.
In (iz) von Wiese, 1939, and (17, 20) Schapcra (8), 1935, emphasizes the need,
Bidney, 1947, 1949, we feci modern reper­ for understanding culture, of attending to the
cussions of the old nature-spirit duality, even range of individual variations from the tra­
though Bidney expressly criticizes the idealis­ ditionally standardized pattern. There is no
tic concept of culture. Von Wiese holds that quarreling with this. It is much like insisting
culture is not in the world of substance but is that a mean plus variability has more signifi­
part of the world of values, of which it is a cance than the mean alone. At the same time
category. It is not a thing concept, it is not much depends on the focus. If interest lies
even an order of phenomena. Bidney is less primarily in persons, the standardized pattern
vehement. He sees culture as a regulative need only be defined, and examination can
process initiated by man for the development concern itself with the range of variation. If
and organization of his determinate, sub­ interest is in cultural forms as such and their
stantive potentialities. We have italicized the interrelations, individual variability becomes
words in this statement which seem to us as of secondary moment.
construable of idealistic if not tcleological im­ Bose (3), 1929, strikes a somewhat new note
plications. Again, man is said to have a sub­ with his statement that while cultural anthro­
stantive ontological nature open to investiga­ pology' draws its data from human behavior,
tion by natural science, as well as a culture his­ it specializes on those crystallized products of
tory open to investigation by social science and behavior which can be passed on between
logical analysis. T o us — subject to correc­ individuals. “ Crystallized” here appears to
tion — this smacks of^the Natur-Geist opposi­ mean the same as standardized to Schapera.
tion of Kantian, post-Kantian, and perhaps Roheim (14), 1943, *n holding that defense
Neo-Kantian idealism. In an important foot­ systems against anxiety are the stuff that cul­
note which we have retained, Bidney savs ture is made of, and that therefore specific
that he is speaking of the metacultural presup­ cultures are structurally [why' structurally'?]
positions of any culture; that the problem was similar to specific neuroses, is virtually adhering
soundly appraised bv Dilthcv, Ortega, and to Freud’s Totevi and Taboo theory of the
Cassirer; and that his disagreement is only origin of culture in a slightly new dress.
with their Neo-Kantian epistemology. On the other hand, yve agree with the dictum
Hinshaw and Spuhler, (18) 1948, seem to of Faris (9), 1937, that Spencer’s superorganic,
sense something of the same point we are Durkheim’s faits sociattx, Sumner’s folkwav’S,
making, when they reply to Bidnev that the and the anthropologists’ culture refer to essen­
task of anthropology can be carried out only tially the same collective phenomena.
within the perceptual or scientific level. We Wallis (5). 1930, ambles through sev'eral
too hold that everythin" about culture, includ­ points on culture, all of which are unexcep­
ing its values and creativities, is within nature tionable, but which do not add up to a defini­
and interpretable by natural science. tion nor even quite to a condensed theory.
A few more isolated statements are worth

i. Bose, 1929: 29. ture that it persists though its individual

The stuff of which culture is composed is bearers are mortal. Culture consists of habits,
capable of analysis into the following cate­ to be sure, but they differ from individual
gories: Speech -Material traits - Art - Myth­ habits by the fact that they are shared or
ology - Knowledge - Religion - Family and possessed in common by the various members
Social systems - Property - Government and of a society, thus acquiring a certain indepen­
War (Wissler). Any of these components of dence and a measure of immortality. I labits of
culture does not by itself, however, form an the cultural order have been called “group
independent unit, but is closely bound up with habits.” To the average man they are known
the rest through many tics of association. as “ customs,” and anthropologists sometimes
speak of the “science of custom.”
1. Menghin, 1931: 614. The process of custom forming (as Chapin . . .
Die Kultur lasst sich noch weiter einteilen, correctly states) is similar to that of habit forming,
natiirlich wiederum nur rein begreiflich, denn and the same psychological laws are involved. When
tatsachlich treten uns, wie schon in der Ein- activities dictated bv habit are performed by a large
leitung gesagt wurde, die verschiedenen Kul- number of individuals in company and simultaneously,
tursachgebiete konkret so gut wie immer in the individual habit is converted into mass phenom­
enon or custom.
vermengtem Zustande entgegen. Die Syste-
matik der Kultur, als der verhaltnismassig To the anthropologist, group habits or cus­
reinsten Objektivation des Geistigen, schliesst toms are commonly known as “ culture traits,”
sich am besten den Grundsstrebungen an, die denned by Willey as “ basically, habits carried
an der Menschheit beobachtet werden konnen. in the individual nervous systems.” The soci­
Dies sind nach meiner Auffassung das Streben ologists, on the other hand, almost universally
nach Erhaltung, Geltung und Einsicht. Das speak of them as “ folkways.” General agree­
erste erfullt die materielle, das zweite die ment prevails, therefore, that the constituent
soziale, das dritte die geistige ICultur. Dabei elements of culture, the proper data of the
ist aber nicht zu ubersehen, dass in der Wurzel science of culture, arc group habits. Only the
jedes dieser Sachgebiete geistiger Natur ist, terms employed are at variance.
da es ja einer Strcbung entspringt. Der Of the several terms, “ folkway” possesses
Unterschied, der die Bezeichnungen recht- certain manifest advantages. “ Custom” lacks
fertigt, beruht lediglich in der Art und precision. Moreover, though it represents ade­
Starke der Stoffgebundenheit. Man kann diese quately enough such explicit group habits as
drei Sachgebiete weiter gliedern. Doch soil words, forms of salutation, and burial practices,
hier nur die geistige Kultur nahere Behandlung it scarcely suffices for implicit common re­
erfarhren. Sie zerfallt in Kunst, Wissenschaft, sponses, mental hab'ts, or ideas, such as relig­
und Sitte. ious and magical concepts, which are equally
a part of culture. The term “ culture trait,”
3. Murdock, 1932: 204-09. though it covers both of these types of group
Habit alone, however, is far from explaining behavior, is also used to include material
culture. Many cultureless animals possess a objects or artifacts, which are not group habits,
considerable habit-forming capacity, and some indeed not habits at all but facts of a totally
of the mammals are in this respect not radically different order. Artifacts are not themselves
inferior to man. Social scientists agree, there­ primary data of culture, as is shown by the
fore, that culture depends on life in societies recognized distinction between their dis­
as well as on habit. Individual habits die with semination by trade and the process of cultural
their owners, but it is a characteristic of cul­ diffusion proper.
4. Boas, 1938: 4-9* ideas. Techniques relate the members of a
Aspects of culture: Man and nature. Culture society to the external world of nature. . .
itself is many-sided. It includes the multitude Relationships . . . are the interpersonal habit­
of relations between man and nature; the pro­ ual responses of the members of a society . .
curing and preservation of food; the securing ideas consist not of habits of overt behavior
of shelter; the wavs in which the objects of but of patterned verbal habits, often subvocal
nature arc used as implements and utensils; and but capable of expression in speech. These
all the various wavs in which man utilizes or include technological and scientific knowledge,
controls, or is controlled bv, his natural en­ beliefs of all kinds, and a conceptual formula­
vironment: animals, plants, the inorganic tion of normal behavior in both techniques
world, the seasons, and wind and weather. and relationships and of the sanctions for
Man and man. A second large group of deviation therefrom.
cultural phenomena relate to the interrelation
between members of a single society and be­ 6. Firth, 1944 20.
tween those belonging to different societies. Social anthropology is a scientific study of
The bonds of family, or tribe, and of a variety human culture. Its interest is in the variety of
of social groups are included in it, as well as men’s rules, conduct, and beliefs in different
the gradation of rank and influence; the rela­ types of society, and in the uniformity (as for
tion of sexes and of old and young; and in instance in basic family organization) which
more complex societies the whole political and underlies all societies. It is not concerned
religious organization. Here belong also the only with the different forms of customs all
relations of social groups in war and peace. over the world, but also with the meaning
Subjective aspects. A third group consists these customs have for the people who practise
of the subjective reactions of man to all the them. Values are part of its material for exam­
manifestations of life contained in the first two ination . . .
groups. These are of intellectual and emo­
tional nature and may be expressed in thought 7. White, 194T- 169.
and feeling as well as in action. They include Culture is the name of the means, the equip­
all rational attitudes and those valuations ment, employed by man and by man alone in
which we include under the terms of ethics, this struggle. Concretely and specifically,
esthetics, and religion. culture is made up of tools, utensils, traditional
habits, customs, sentiments, and ideas. The
5. Murdock, 1941: 143. cultural behavior of man is distinguished from
The elements of which a culture is com­ the non-cultural behavior of the lower animals
posed, though all alike are traditional, habitual and of man himself considered as an animal as
and socially shared, may be conveniently distinguished from man as a human being — by
divided into techniques, relationships, and the use of symbols. A symbol may be defined

* Boas in The Mind of Primitive Man, revised aspects of life, however, does not constitute culture.
edition of 1938, opens his Chapter 9 on page 159 with It is more, for its elements are not independent, they
a definition of culture based on his 1930 one (which have a structure.
we have already cited in Pan II—A—7) but expanded, The activities enumerated here are not by any
and then in a sense effaced by a second paragraph means the sole property of man, for the life of animals
which grants most the components of culture to is also regulated by their relations to nature, to other
animals other than man. The two paragraphs read: animals and by the interrelation of the individuals
“ Culture mav be defined as the total i f of the composing the same species or social group.”
mental and physical reactions and activities that Apart from its non-limitation to man, this statement
characterise the behavior of the individuals com­ by Boas is strongly behavioral: culture consists of
posing a social group collectively and individually psychosomatic reactions and activities. Beyond these
in relation to their natural env:ronmcnt, to other activities, culture includes their products (presum­
groups, to members of the group itself and of each ably artifacts, material culture) and possesses structure.
individual to himself. It also includes the products of Not mentioned are the rational attitudes and ethical,
these activities and their role in the life of the aesthetic, and religious valuations mentioned in state­
groups. The mere enumeration of these various ment (4) in the text above.
as a thing whose meaning is determined by systems of culture. He recognizes five “ pure”
those who use it. Only man has the ability to cultural systems: (1), language; (2), science,
use symbols. The exercise of this faculty has evidently including technology; (3), religion;
created for this species a kind of environment (4), fine arts; (5), ethics or law and morals.14
not possessed by any other species: a cultural Of “ mixed” or derivative systems, there are
environment. Culture is a traditional organiza­ three most notable ones: philosophy, eco­
tion of objects (tools, and things made with nomics, politics. Philosophy, for instance, is
tools), ideas (knowledge, lore, belief), senti­ a compound of science, religion, and ethics.
ments (attitude toward milk, homicide, Except for Wissler’s one fling at the uni­
mothers-in-law, etc.) and use of symbols. versal pattern of. culture, which was enumera-
The function of culture is to regulate the ad­ tive and which he did not follow up, anthro­
justment of man 3S an animal species to his pologists have fought shy of trying to make
natural habitat. formal classification of the components of
culture.9 Being mostly preoccupied with deal­
COMMENT ing with cultures substantively, such classi­
fication has evidently seemed to them a matter
A few statements as to the components of mainly of pragmatic convenience, and they
culture are enumerarive, somewhat like Tylor’s have dealt with it in an ad hoc manner, in con­
original definition of culture (Part II-A -i), trast with Sorokin, whose logical and syste­
without straining to be absolutely inclusive. matizing bent is much more developed than
Such is White’s 1947 list (7)- tools, utensils, theirs — more than that of most sociologists,
traditional habits, customs, sentiments, ideas. in fact.
The context shows that White is concerned There is however one tripartite classifica­
with the nature and function of culture, and tion of culture which appears several times —
his enumeration is illustrative rather than ex­ in substance though not in the same nomen­
haustive. Bose (1), 1929 takes over Wissler’s clature — in the foregoing statements: those
universal pattern (with one minor change). by Menghin (2), 1931, Boas (4), 1938, Mur­
He merely says that culture can be analyzed dock (5), 1941.7 Under this viewpoint, the
into these nine categories, and is express that major domains of culture are: (1) the relation
these are not independent units in their own of man to nature, subsistence concerns, tech­
right. V. Lssler’s classificatory attempt — with niques, “ material” culture; (2) the more or
his sub-classes it is about a page long and less fixed interrelations of men due to desire
looks much like a Table of Contents — has for status and resulting O in social
b culture;1
never been seriously used, developed, or (3) subjective aspects, ideas, attitude:, and
challenged. It is evident that anthropologists values and actions due to them, insight,
have been reluctant to classify culture into its “spiritual” culture. We have already touched
topical parts. They have sensed that the cate­ on one aspect of this ideology in Part I, Section
gories are not logically definite, but are sub­ 4, 5, in discussing distinctions attempted, in
jectively fluid and serve no end bcvond that Germany and the United States, between
of convenience, and thus would shift accord­ “ civilization” and “ culture.” The addition of
ing to interest and context. social relations, process, or culture yields the
Sorokin (1947, ch. 17, 18) calls the divis­ trichotomy now being considered.
ions, segments, or categories of culture, such As a matter of fact Alfred Weber in 1912
as those of Wissler and Bose, “ cultural sys­ appears to have been the first to make the
tems,” which, with cultural congeries, under­ dichotomy in the present specific sense, and
lie his Ideational, Idealistic, and Sensate super- to have expanded it to the trichotomy in 1920.

*In Sorokin, 1950, p. 197, philosophy seems to be ’ Tessman, 1930, in listing culture items of East
added as a pure system, “ applied technology” to have Peruvian tribes, groups them under the headings of
taken its place among the derivative ones. material, social, and spiritual culture, corresponding
‘ Murdock, 1945, constitutes, in part, a follow-up to Menghin’s divisions.
of Wissler.
In America, Maclvcr (1931, 194:) and .Merton have seen that use of the word culture was
(1936) seem to have been the first to see its long respectively resisted and refused.
significance. It thus appears that this three- At any rate, this three-fold segmentation of
way distinction was first made in Germany culture has now sufficient usage to suggest that
ana for a while remained a sociological one, it possesses a certain utility'. We therefore
anthropologists coming to recognize it later, tabulate the principal instances of its employ­
but again first in Germany and second in the ment as a convenient way of illustrating the
United States. In so far as the trichotomy substantial uniformity of authors’ concep­
developed out of one of the several culture- tions, underneath considerable difference of
civilization distinctions, it could not well have terms used, as well as some minor variations of
originated in England or France, where we what is included in each category.

Menghin (1: 1931)

Strivings: Subsistence Recognition (Geltung) Insight (Einsicht)
Fulfilled by: Material Culture Social Culture Geistige Kultur
ioas (4: 1938)
Aspects of Culture,
Relations of: Man to Nature Man to Man Subjective Aspects of two
Food, shelter, implements, preceding, intellectual and
control of nature emotional, including ac­
tions: rational attitudes,
and valuations
.furdock. (5: 1941)
Culture composed of: Techniques (Social) Relationships Ideas: patterned verbal and
Relating society to nature Interpersonal habitual sub-vocal habits.
responses Knowledge (including
technology), beliefs, for­
mulations of normal be­
Veber (1910; Part I, 5 5,
above) Civilizarional Social Process Cultural Movement:
Process. Science, . Including economics, Religion, philosophy, arts
technology government
daclver (1941, Social
Causation) Technological Order Social Order Cultural Order
(“ Civilization” in 1931): Religion, philosophy, arts,
Technolog)', including traditions, codes, mores,
economics, government — play-, viz., “ Modes of
viz., “ Apparatus” of living living”
rh u m w ald (1950 , passim) Civilization (Gesellungsleben) Culture
Dexterities, skills, tech­ Bound to societies; perish­
nology, knowledge. able. Uses civilization as
Its sequence is progress
Kroeber (1951, in press) Reality Culture (Social Culture) Value culture
Includes pure science

F. Kluckhohns has recently developed a Man’s Relation to Nat are

classification of cultural orientations which in­ Time Dimensions
cludes the following categories:
Modality of Relationship (Man’s Relation to
Innate Predispositions Other Men)

*F . Kluckhohn, 1950, esp. pp. 378-81.


1. Case, 1927: 920. the effort of a group to maintain itself, to

Culture consists essentially in the external secure food, and to rear children . . . .
storage, interchange, and transmission of an
accumulating fund of personal and social ex­ 5. Goldcnu'ciscr, 1937: 43 -46.
perience by means of tools and symbols . . . In summary it might then be said that culture
Culture is the unique, distinctive, and exclusive is historical or cumulative, that it is communi­
possession of man, explainable thus far only in cated through education, deliberate and non-
terms of itself. deliberate, that its content is encased in pat­
terns (that is, standardized procedures or idea
2. Ellicood , 1927b: 13. systems), that it is dogmatic as to its content
The process bv which the spiritual element and resentful of differences, that its contribu­
in man is gradually transforming not only the tion to the individual is absorbed largely un­
material environment, but man himself . . . consciously, leading to a subsequent develop­
[It is] culture which has made and will make ment . of emotional reinforcements, and that
our human world. the raising of these into consciousness is less
likely to lead to insight and objective analysis
3. Bose, 1929: 32-33. than to explanations ad hoc, either in the light
Beneath the outer framework of culture, of the established status quo, or of a moral
there lies a body of beliefs and sentiments reference more or less subjective, or of an
which are responsible for the particular mani­ artificial reasonableness or rationality which is
festation of a culture. They do not form part read into it; also, finally, that culture in its
of any specific trait, but working beneath many application and initial absorption is local. . . .
traits, they give to each culture a character of
its own . . . . 6. Ofiler, 1944: 4.32.
Such a body of ideas and sentiments grows
The capacity for culture is a function of an
out of fife’s philosophy and is consequently
accent on plasticity, on the development of
conditioned bv the needs and aspirations of
general adaptability instead of specific struc­
each particular age.
tures, on the reduction of the importance of
4. Faris, 1 9 3 3 , 2~8. instinct. The inauguration of culture was
The following . . . are presented as postu­ heralded, we may believe, by the invention of
lates . . . tools and symbols. The tools, crude enough at
The reality of culture. The collective habits first, were extra-organic means of doing what
have produced uniformities of speech, man had been forced to accomplish by the
thought, and conduct which form a body of power of his own body' to that moment. The
phenomena with laws of its own. symbols (generally understood vocal labels
The priority of culture. With respect to for familiar objects and processes) made possi­
the members of a group, the cultural habits and ble communication (speech, language) and
forms are pre-existing, so that the most im­ the conservation of whatever gains accum­
portant aspects of a given person are to be ulated from tool-making and experience. Thus
traced back to influences existing in the tools and symbols (or invention and com­
culture into w hich he comes. munication, to phrase it in terms of process)
The inertia of culture. Slow unnoticed can be considered the building blocks of
changes in a culture may be noted but these culture.
are relatively unimportant. Culture tends to
produce itself indefinitely. 7. Herskovits, 1948: 623.
Culture is a phenomenon of nature. Lan­ Culture (1) is learned; (2) derives from the
guage, manners, morals, and social organiza­ biological, environmental, psychological, and
tion grow up within the ongoing activity in historical components of human existence; (3)
is structured; (4) is divided into aspects; (5) . . . Culture consists of all ideas of the manu­
is dynamic; (6) is variable; (7) exhibits regu­ factures, behavior, and ideas of the aggregate
larities that permit its analysis by the methods of human beings which have been directly ob­
of science; (8) is the instrument whereby the served or communicated to one’s mind and of
individual adjusts to his total setting, and which one is conscious.
gains the means for creative expression. . . . Thus we can say that the manufactures
and behavior of the aggregate of human beings
which have been directly observed are the
8. White, 1949a: 374. percepta of culture, while the ideas of the
. . . articulate speech is the most important
aggregate of human beings which have been
and characteristic form of symbolic behavior.
communicated are the concepta of culture.
Man alone is capable of symbolic behavior by
. . . Material culture consists of all ideas of
virtue of unique properties of his nervous sys­
the manufactures of the aggregate of human
tem, which, however, cannot yet be described
beings which have been directly observed and
except in terms of gross anatomy — exception­ of which one is conscious.
ally large forcbrain, both relatively and abso­
. . . Social culture consists of all ideas of the
lutely; an increase in quantity of brain has
behavior of the aggregate of human beings
eventuated in a qualitatively new kind of be­
which have been directly observed and of
havior. which one is conscious.
Tradition — the nonbiological transmission
. . . Mental culture consists of all ideas (i.e.,
of behavior patterns from one generation to an ego’s) of the ideas (i.e., concepta) of the
the next — is found to a limited extent in some aggregate of human beings which have been
of the lower animal species. But in man, communicated to one’s mind and of which
thanks particularly to articulate speech, the
one is conscious. By disregarding episte-
transmission of experience in the form of mological considerations, one can greatly
material objects, patterns of behavior, ideas,
simplify this definition to read: Mental culture
and sentiments or attitudes becomes easy,
consists of the ideas of the aggregate of human
varied, and extensive; in short, the culture of beings.
one generation and age is passed on to the next.
And, in addition to this lineal transmission of
culture, it is transmitted laterally, hy diffusion, COM M ENT
to contemporary n 'ignoring groups. Culture
is cumulative as well as continuous; new ele­ The statements that seem to fall under this
ments are added through invention and dis­ head cover the period 1927-1951. They tend
covery. It is also progressive in that more to be enumerative. In this quality they re­
effective means of adjustment with and con­ semble the broad descriptive definitions of
trol over environment arc achieved from time II-A, though these attempt to list constituents
to time. of culture rather than its properties. The
Culture thus becomes a continuum of extra- majority of these enumerative descriptions
somatic elements. It moves in accordance with date from before 1934 We can thus probably
its own principles, its ow n laws; it is a thing conclude that as definitions became more
sui generis. Its elements interact with one cardinal, enumeration tended to become trans­
another, forming new combinations and syn­ ferred from definition to less concentrated
theses. Newr elements are introduced into the statement about culture.
stream from time to time, and old elements As might be expected, the properties men­
drop our. tioned run rather miscellaneous, only a few
being noted by as many as three or four of
the nine authors cited. Now and then an
9. Osgood, 1931: 2 o6%207, 2io, 2 i i , 213. author stands wholly alone in emphasizing a
. . . Culture consists of all ideas concerning quality, as F.llwood in bringing in spirituality’
human beings which have been communicated with a hopefully ameliorative tone, or Goldcn-
to one’s mind and of which one is conscious. weiser in dilating on the affect of hidden a
prioris when brought to consciousness. Case’s Ideas (9). percepts and concepts (9)
statement contains an allusive metaphor in Uniformities with laws (4), regularities promoting
“ external storage.” On account of the variety scientific analysis (7), own principles and laws (8)
Real (4), phenomenon of nature (4)
of properties mentioned, a discussion of them
Explicable only in terms of self (1)
would be lengthy. Accordingly we content
ourselves with a condensed presentation of the
Inertia, tending to indefinite reproduction (4)
properties, grouped as far as possible, to serve Plastic (6), variable, dynamic (7), new combinations
as a summary. (8 )
Localized (5), each culture underlain by particular
SU M M A R Y OF PR O PER TIES beliefs and sentiments (j)
General adaptability instead of specific structures
External (to body), extraorganic, extrasomatic ( i, 6, 8)
and instincts (6)
Symbolism (i, 6, 8) Means for creative expression (7)
Communicated (6, 9), bv speech (8), transmitted (8),
Invention (6, 8), tools (6), manufacture (9)
learned (7), by educarlon (5), prior to individual
and influencing him (4)
Education deliberate and non-deliberate (5), individ­ Instrument of adjustment to environment (7, 8), effort
ual absorption also unconscious (5) at group maintenance (4)
Accumulating, cumulative (1, 5, 8), gains conserved Transforms natural environment (1)
(6 )
Aggregate of human beings (9) Patterned, standardized (5), structured (7)
Historical (5), continuous (8)
Dogmatic with emotional reenforcement (j), if made
Human only ( 1) , unique property of nervous system conscious, resentful and leading to moral judgments
(8), sui generis (8) or false rationalizing (j)
Spiritual (2) Conscious (9)

i. Marett, 1920: 11 - 1 2 (cf. footnote 6). tivities, to play such an important part in civi­
It is quite legitimate to regard culture, or lized life. If one were to yield to a first impres­
social tradition, in an abstract way as a tissue sion, one would be tempted to say that subli­
of externalities, as a robe of many colours mation is a fate which has been forced upon
woven on the loom of time by the human instincts by culture alone. But it is better to
spirit for its own shielding or adorning, More­ reflect over this a while longer. Thirdly and
over, for certain purposes which in their en­ lastly, and this seems most important of all,
tirety may be termed sociological, it is actually it is impossible to ignore the extent to which
convenient thus to concentrate attention on the civilization is built up on renunciation of in­
outer garb. In this case, indeed, the garb may stinctual gratifications, the degree to which the
well at first sight seem to count for every­ existence of civilization presupposes the non­
thing; for certainly a man naked of all culture gratification [suppression, repression or some­
would be no better than a forked radish. thing else? ] of powerful instinctual urgencies.
Nevertheless, folk-lore cannot out of deference This “ cultural privation" dominates the whole
to sociological considerations afford to commit field of social relations between human be­
the fallacy of identifying the clothes worn ings; we know already that it is the cause of
with their live wearer . . . Hence I would the antagonism against which all civilization
maintain that in the hierarchy of the sciences has to fight.
psychology is superior to sociology, for the
reason that as the study of the soul it brings 3. Redfield, 1928: 292.
us more closely into touch with the nature The barrios have, indeed, obviously different
of reality than does the study of the social cultures, or, what is the same thing, different
body . . . . personalities. . . .
. . . Tylor called our science the science of
culture, and it is a good name. But let us not 4. Benedict, 1932: 23, 24.
forget that culture stands at once for a body Cultural configurations stand to the under­
and a life, and that the bodv is a function of standing of group behavior in the relation that
the life, not the life of the body. personality types stand to the understanding
of individual behavior. . . .
2. Freud, 19 2 J: 6 2-6 3. . . . It is recognized that the organization of
. . . order and cleanliness arc essentially cul­ the total personality is crucial in the under­
tural demands, although the necessity of them standing or even in the mere description of
for survival is not particularlv apparent, anv individual behavior. If this is true in individual
more than their suitability as sources of plea­ psychology where individual differentiation
sure. At this point we must be struck for the must be limited always by the cultural forms
first time with the similarity between the pro­ and by the short span of a human lifetime, it
cess of cultural development and that of the is even more imperative in social psychology
libidinal development in an individual. Other where the limitations of time and of conformi-
instincts have to be induced to change the ty arc transcended. The degree of integration
conditions of their gratification, to find it that may be attained is of course incomparably
along other paths, a process which is usually greater than can ever be found in individual
identical with what we know so well as sub­ psychology. Cultures from this point of view
limation (of the aim of an instinct), but which arc individual psychology thrown large upon
can sometimes be differentiated from this. the screen, given gigantic proportions and a
Sublimation of instinct is an especially con­ long time span.
spicuous feature of cultural evolution; this it This is a reading of cultural from individual
is that makes it possible for the higher mental psychology, but it is not open to the objec­
operations, scientific, artistic, ideological ac­ tions that always have to be pressed against such
lo 3
versions as Frazer’s or Levy-Bruhl’s. The dif­ infantile traumata, and that culture in general
ficulty with the reading of husband’s preroga­ (everything which differentiates man from the
tives from jealousy, and secret societies from lower animals) is a consequence of infantile
the exclusiveness of age- and sex-groups, is that experience.
it ignores the cruciaf point, which is not the
occurrence of the trait but the social choice 7. Roheim, 1934: 169, 171, 239-36.
that elected its institutionalization in that cul­ I believe that every culture, or at least every
ture. The formula is always helpless before orimitive culture, can be reduced to a formu­
the opposite situation. In the reading of cul­ la like a neurosis or a dream.
tural configurations as I have presented it in If we assume that differences in the treat­
this discussion, it is this selective choice of the ment of children determine differences in cul­
society which is the crux of the process. It ture, we must also suppose that the origin of
is probable that there is potentially about the culture in general, that is, the emergence of
same range of individual temperaments and mankind was itself determined by traumata
crifts, but from the point of view of the indi­ of ontogenesis to be found in the parent-child
vidual on the threshold of that society, each relation among the anthropoids of pre-human
culture has already chosen certain of these beings from whom we are descended. Analy­
traits to make its own and certain to ignore. sis teaches us that super-ego and character, the
The central fact is that the history of each moral attitudes that are independent of reality,
trait is understandable exactly in terms of its of the current situation, result from infantile
having passed through this needle’s eye of so­ experience. The possession of these moral at­
cial acceptance. titudes is specifically human; it separates man
from his pre-human forbears.
5. Goldenweiser, 1933: 59 - The prolongation of the period of infancy
. . . If we had the knowledge and patience is the cause of a trauma that is common to all
to analyse a culture retrospectively, everv ele­ mankind. Differentiation in the erotic play
ment of it would be found to have had its be­ activities in different hordes has modified it
ginning in the creative act of an individual and so produced the typical traumata and the
mird. There is, of course, no other source specific cultures of different groups. . . . Al­
for culture to come from, for what culture is though neurosis is a super-culture, an exaggera­
made of is but the raw stuff of experience, tion of what is specifically human, analysis
whether material or spiritual, transformed in­ adds to the cultural capacity of the patient;
to culture by the creativeness of man. An an­ for those archaic features of quick discharge
alysis of culture, if fully carried out, leads back which arise as a compensation to the over-cul­
to the individual mind. ture disappear during its course. Rut in gen­
The content of any particular mind, on the eral u'e have no cause to deny the hostility of
other hand, comes from culture. No individual analysis to culture. Culture involves neurosis,
can ever originate his culture — it comes to which we try to cure. Culture involves super­
him from without, in the process of education. ego, which u’e seek to weaken. Culture in­
In its constituent elements culture is psycho­ volves the retention of the infantile situation,
logical and, in the last analysis, comes from the from which we endeavour to free our patients.
individual. Bet as an integral entity culture is
cumulative, historical, extra-individual. It 8. Sapir (1934) 1949: 991-92.
comes to the individual as part of his objective What is the genesis of our duality of interest
experience, just as do his experiences with na­ in the facts of behavior? Why is it necessary
ture, and, like these, it is absorbed by him, to discover the contrast, real or fictitious, be­
thus becoming part of his psychic content. tween culture and personality, or, to speak
more accurately, between a segment of behav­
6. Roheim, 1934: 216. ior seen as cultural partem and a segment of
Thus we are led logically to assume that in­ behavior interpreted as having a person-defin­
dividual cultures can be derived from typical ing value? Why cannot our interest in be-
havior maintain the undifferentiated character aware of and to attach value to his resistance
which it possessed in early childhood1 The to authority. It could probably be shown that
answer, presumably, is that each tv pe of inter­ naturally conservative people find it difficult
est is necessary for the psychic preservation to take personality valuations seriously, while
of the individual in an environment which ex­ temperamental radicals tend to be impatient
perience makes increasingly complex and un- with a purely cultural analysis of human be­
assimilable on its own simple terms. The in­ havior.
terests connected by the terms culture and
personality are necessary for intelligent and 9. Opler, i 93)-: 143, 132-33.
nelpful growth because each is based on a dis­ Now this cultural factor is the chief con­
tinctive kind of imaginative participation by cern and object of study of the anthropologist,
the observer in the life around him. The ob­ and he is adverse, naturally, to seeing it dis­
server may dramatize such behavior as he takes qualified at the outset. He is then further dis­
note of in terms of a set of values, a conscience turbed to see the totality of culture explained
which is beyond self and to which he must as a sublimation, as a channelization of the re­
conform, actually or imaginatively, if he is to pressed element of the Oedipus complex into
preserve his place in the world of authority or more acceptable avenues. As has been pointed
impersonal social necessity. Or, on the other out, in this view totemism is the “ first religion”
hand, he may feel the behavior as self-expres­ and the ritual extension of the act of parricide;
sive, as defining the reality of individual con­ exogamy is also derived from the aftermath of
sciousness against the mass of environing so­ the parricide and is connected with totemism.
cial determinants. Observations coming within Art develops as a vehicle of ritualism. The
the framework of the former of these two parricide is the “ criminal act with which so
kinds of participation constitute our know­ many things began, social organization, moral
ledge of culture. Those which come within restrictions and religion.” A. L. Kroeber has
the framework of the latter constitute our pointedly remarked the discouraging implica­
knowledge of personality. One is as subjective tions of such a view for anthropology when
or objective as the other, for both are essen­ he comments, “ . . . the symbols into which the
tially modes of projection of personal experi­ ‘libido’ converts itself, are phylogenetically
ence into the analysis of social phenomena. transmitted and appear socially. . . . Now if
Culture may be psychoanalyricilly reinter­ the psychoanalysts are right, nearly all eth­
preted as the supposedly impcr .onaf aspect of nology and culture history are waste of effort,
those values and definitions which come to the except insofar as they contribute new raw ma­
child with the irresistible authority of the terials. . . .”
father, mother, or other individuals of their Thus the ego is the expression of the psy­
class. The child does not feel itself to be con­ chological sustenance drawn from the total
tributing to culture through his personal in­ culture by the individual. There are those
teraction but is the passive recipient of values whose contacts are rich, varied, and balanced.
which lies completely beyond his control and There are those whose experiences have proved
which have a necessity and excellence that he poor, stultifying, and unsatisfying. But what­
dare not question. We may therefore venture ever we attain, whatever we become, it is only
to surmise that one’s earliest configurations of a small part of what the total culture has to
experience have more of the character of w hat offer; above the slight shadow any of us casts,
is later to be rationalized as culture than of looms the greater image of the world of ideas,
what the psychologist is likely to abstract as attainments, and ideals from which we draw
personality. We have all had the disillusioning our aspirations. This is the measuring stick
experience of revising our father and mother by which our individual statures must be
images down from the institutional plane to evaluated. This is the glass through which our
the purely personal one. The discovery of the neighbors watch us. This is the judge before
world of personality is apparently dependent whom we must pass before wre dare breathe,
upon the ability of the individual to become “ Well done,” of our works. This is the total
culture of the anthropologist and the ego-ideal my metaphor, this matrix or cementing sub­
of Freud. stance will in the first place consist of some of
Now we are prepared to understand what the deeper or fundamental attitudes of the hu­
Freud means when he says: “ The tension be­ man psyche, including, perhaps, ethnic ele­
tween the demands of conscience and the ac­ ments and possible fixations resulting from in­
tual attainments of the ego is experienced as a fantile experiences, if these are sufficiently
sense of guilt. Social feelings rest on the foun­ general to affect the majority of children of a
dation of identification with others, on the basis social group.
of an ego-ideal in common with them.” YVhat
we have in common with fcllowmcn w hose ii. Faris, 1937: 27S.
judgments mean much to us is culture, a com­ It is assumed that culture and personality are
munity of understandings, artifacts, concepts, correlative terms; that to know the culture of
and ethics. The individual ego approaches, re­ a people is to know the types of personalities
sembles, and utilizes this, or failing to do so, to be found within it; and that to know the
it suffers the condemnation of its fellows and personalities is to understand the culture.
withdraws in guiltv self-approach. These two products of human life are twin-
The difference between the anthropologist born. Culture is the collective side of per­
and psychoanalyst in respect to the offices of sonality; personality, the subjective aspect of
the id, ego, and ego-ideal as thus defined, is culture. Society with its usages and personali­
hardly more than terminological. ties with their variations are hut two ways of
The psychoanalyst says: “ Whereas the ego looking at human life.
is essentially the representative of the external It is further assumed that these two concepts
world, of reality, the super-ego stands in con­ are not to be thought of as arranged in a
trast to it as the representative of the internal causal sequence. Personalities do not cause
world, of the id.” culture, nor does culture produce personality.
The anthropologist would phrase the matter Interaction, intersrimulation, interlcarning are
just a little differently. He would say: “ That continuous, and personalities arc always affect­
is a statement demonstrating remarkable in­ ing culture, and culture is always modifying
sight, Dr. Freud. W e anthropologists have personality. It would appear that society does
been much impressed with its truth. We too not mold the individual, for molding is too pas­
have noted that culture (ego-ideal) tends to sive a term. Individuals do not produce a cul­
express the deep-seated wishes (id). Man’s ture, for collective life has its own laws and
whole world of supernaturalism, for instance, its own procedure. Society and the individual,
is largely a response to wishfulfillment. The culture and personality: both are useful and
much tried individual (ego) is constantly in necessary abstractions made sometimes at will,
the position of attempting to accommodate the forced sometimes upon the student as he tried
ideal, fictitious world that culture deems should to understand the phenomena before him.
be, with the realities of living.” And yet a sequence is assumed, if not causal,
at least temporal. All culture can be assumed
10. Selignian, 1936: 113. to arise out of a former culture or some blend
. . . A mosaic, as we all know, may be of any or combination of more than one. Similarly',
degree of elaboration, and this holds equally all personal ties are organized from the contact
of the cultures we study. A mosaic may ex­ with other personalities and cultural forms.
hibit well-defined patterns, or it may be a But in any particular instance, in the consid­
mere scatter of different coloured tesserae; eration of any one individual personality, it
moreover, the tesserae are held together by a is here assumed that a personality arises subse­
matrix, and I believe that in studying so-called quently to a specific cultural system. The pri­
patterns of culture attention should equally be ority of culture seems to be not only a demon­
paid to an element comparable to the matrix strable fact; it is a heuristic principle of great
of a mosaic. If I may be allowed to develop utility.
12. Nadel, 1937a: 280-81. 13. Nadel, 1937b: 421-23, 433.
. . . The present discussion attempts to dem­ As this article is to describe an attempt to
onstrate that we have to reverse the argument; include psychology in anthropological field
that we must define (at least in the first in­ work a few words must be said first in justifi­
stance) the observable psychological trends cation of this attempt to examine, over and
in culture as an expression of dominating “ con­ above the concrete realities of culture, the psv -
tents,” rational interests, and concrete pur­ chological factors “ behind” culture. . . .
pose-directed activity. . . . The anthropological analysis defines the con­
The “ pattern” of a culture thus appears as stitution and structure of a culture (including
a co-ordination of social activity of primarily the institutionalized activities which involve
sociological, i. e., rational (“ purposive-ration­ psychological factors); the psychological ex­
al,” as Max Weber would say) nature. The periment is to define, independently, the psy­
rational interdependence of culture facts re­ chological organization of the human substra­
veals the agency of certain obtaining social tum of the culture. . . .
conditions and concrete dominant interests. We have been able, by means of the experi­
In certain cases we may be able to trace these ment, to isolate psychological organization
determining conditions and interests still fur­ from the body of culture, and we have demon­
ther, down to objective “ absolute” needs and strated that an essential correspondence ob­
necessities: to physical facts and psycho-phy­ tains between the two systems of phenomena.
sical or biological'i'actors. In other cases there
may be no such solution, and functional inter­ 14 Woodard, 193S: 649.
pretation will then be definitely relieved by From the angle of contained imperatives,
the descriptive statement of history (in the the culture, like the individual, vmst have an
narrow' sense), by the “ uniqueness of events” integration. A rational, and thereby a com­
of which we spoke in the beginning, and by plete, integration is not possible until much
the arbitrariness of the “ illogical” phenomena experience has been accumulated. Hence, in
of culture (Pareto). It is implied in the nature both cases, the first integration cannot escape
of this purpose-directed integration of society being an incomplete, inconsistent, and emo­
that it tends to penetrate into every detail of tional one. As an emotional integration, it re-
culture: religion, education, recreation, and art sisrs the necessary transitional break-ups inci­
will reflect the dominating intere.n of a cul­ dent to achieving a mature and rational integ­
ture as much as the institutions which serve ration, and, as an incomplete and inconsistent
these interests more directly. Here, for the pattern, it achieves general workability of a
complex whccls-within-whecls-niechanism. of sort by compartmentalization, rationalization,
culture in which each clement is conditioned the development of subintegrarions, and the
as well as conditioning, directed as u ell as di­ achievement of only accomodative mechan­
recting, Dr. Benedict’s formulation of the isms bet'ween these, rather than reaching the
“ consolidations” of culture in “ obedience to full adjustment of a single, all inclusive integ­
(dominating) purposes.” holds true in a new ration. Precisely this same mechanism pro­
and, I believe, logically more correct sense. duces the three subintegrations within the per­
Evidently, this consolidation can only work sonality (Super-ego, Ego, and Id) and the
and become effective through concrete mental three divisions of culture (Control, Inductive,
processes. Fxpresscd in terms of mental or­ and Aesthetic-expressive culture) and the vari­
ganization, functional integration of culture ous merely accommodative mechanisms be­
means logical connection and relation (of tween them. Blocking at the hands of the
which purposive relation is only one cate­ dominant subintegration; exaggerated pressure
gory), working with “ assumption,” “ premises,” from the blocked impulse; defensive overpro­
and syllogistic schemata. In its collectivity it tection and repression; further exaggeration
coincides with Mr. Bateson’s logical structure and consolidation of the repressed elements;
or eidos (or rather wfith one side of this slightly still further overprotesration, consolidation,
ambiguous concept). and protective severin': this is the contained
process which forges the threefold structure tions in the culture. From this point of view,
both of personality and of culture. Make it if a group is paranoid, one ought to be able to
onlv a little more severe than usual and it is track down those institutional forces with
the vicious circle of neuroticism and psychotic which all constituents make contact and which
dissociation (social disorganization and revo­ terminate in this common trait. However, to
lution at the social level) expressed in its regard character as an irreducible racial or cul-
broadest terms. tural idiosyncrasy is at once to use a psycho­
O O designation and at the same time to
15. Kardiner, 1939: 84-83. deny the validity' of psychological derivation
Cultures have been described by analogies of character.
with the variations found in human character,
drawn either from psychopathology, from 16. M andelbaum , 1 9 4 1 : 238.
literary or from mythological sources. Thus A graduated weighting of patterns, a hier­
cultures have been described as “ paranoid,” archy of values, is characteristic of the phen­
“ introverted,” or “ extroverted” ; cultures have omena we call cultural as well as of the be­
been named after literary figures like “ Faust,” havior w e term personal. The shape of a cul­
or after Greek deities like “ Apollo” or “ Diony­ ture, when we probe into its essential nature,
sus.” The effort in all these cases is to convey begins to look more and more like the srruc-
some general impression of the predominant ture of a personality. . . .
direction of life goals, of moral values, or of
a psychological technique 17. Rohehn, 1941: 3-4, 23.
Such designations as these cannot claim any The theory' of a collective unconscious
great accuracy. No culture is exclusively ex­ w'ould be an assumption we might be compelled
troverted or introverted. No culture is pre­ to make if we had no other way to explain the
dominantly “ paranoid.” These epithets rely phenomenon of human culture. 1 believe,
on very vague connotations. The term “ para­ however, that psychoanalysis has anorhcr con­
noid” may refer to megalomania, to persecu­ tribution to offer and that this second sugges­
tion, or merely to anxiety, and the reader’s se­ tion is safer and easier to prove. The second
lection of one of these depends on his concep­ suggestion is that rhe specific features of man­
tion of “ paranoid.” The term “ extrovert” like­ kind were developed in the same wav as thev
wise can mean anv number of things: uninhi- arc acquired to-day in every human individual
itcd, interested in activity, interested in the as a sublimation or reaction-formation to in­
outer world; “ introverted” may mean inhibited, fantile conflicts. This is what I have called the
introspective, interested in fantasy, etc. ontogenetic theory of cultures. I found a so­
The designation “ Faustian” or “ Dionysian” is ciety in which the infant was exposed to lib-
different in kind from the preceding ones. idina! trauma on the part of the mother and
Here a culture is described in accordance with have shown that this predominantly male so­
a characterological type in which the charac­ ciety yvas based on the repression of that
teristic dominant objectives or values or ideol­ trauma. In the same yvav I have shown that
ogies are taken as guides to the adaptation of in a matrilincal society the Iibidinal traum3
a group. consisted in the father playing at devouring
All these focal ideas are open to the same the child’s genital and that this society was
objection, because thev destroy the boundaries based on the fiction that there arc no fathers.
between individual and institution. The basic If wre remember some significant passages in
fallacy involved is that, according to any con­ Freud’s writings, we notice that Freud also
temporary psychology, variations in human holds this second vieyv of culture. If culture
character are created by habitual methods of consists in the sum total of efforts which we
reacting to external conditions. The character make to avoid being unhappy\ this amounts to
trait may be a reaction formation, a compensa­ an individualistic and therefore, from the psy­
tion or flight, the nature of which can be de­ cho-analytic point of view, to the ontogenetic
cided only from the disciplines or reality situa­ explanation of culture. If culture is based on
the renunciation of instinctual gratification, 18. Roheim, 1942: 151.
this means that it is based on the super-ego and Ever since the first attempts were made to
hence also explained by the fact that we ac­ apply psychoanalysis to cultural phenomena
quire a super-ego. the structural similarity of culture and neuro­
Of if we take Freud’s papers in which he ex­ sis or “ psychical system formation” has been
plains not culture as a whole, but certain ele­ tacitly assumed. No psychoanalyst would be
ments of culture, we find that these interpre­ likely to contradict Freud’s famous threefold
tations are individualistic and psychological, comparison of paranoia to philosophy, of com­
and not based on a hypothetical phylogenesis. pulsion neurosis to religion (ritual) and of hy­
Finally, if we consider especially the interpre­ steria to art. By comparing three of the most
tations given by Melanie Klein and in general important aspects of culture to three types of
by the English school of psycho-analysts, it is neurosis Freud has implicitly compared cul­
quite evident that all these interpretations of ture itself to neurosis in general. Furthermore,
individual evolution also imply an interpreta­ if we consider the whole literature on “ applied
tion of human culture as based on the infantile analysis” we see in every case a cultural ele­
situation. Thus, if Melanie Klein regards sym­ ment of some kind is explained on basis of the
bolism as a necessary consequence of the in­ same mechanisms that underlie the various
fant’s aggressive trends and the mechanisms kinds of neurosis.
mobilized against these trends and also as the
basic elements in the subject’s relation to the 19. Kluckhohn and Aloivrer, 1944: 7-8.
outside world and in sublimation, this implies The cultural facet of the environment of
an explanation of culture in terms of the infan­ any society is a signally' important determinant
tile situation. If demons are explained as pro­ both of the content and of the structure of the
jections of the super-ego, if the functions of a personalities of members of that society. The
medicine man are explained by the assumption culture very' largely determines what is
that the help of an external object is sought learned: available skills, standards of value, and
against the introjectcd object, or if introver­ basic orientations to such universal problems
sion or extraversion in an individual or a group as death. Culture likewise structures the con­
are due to the flight of the internal or extern­ ditions under which learning takes place:
al object, these and many others are obviously whether from parents or parent surrogates or
explanations based on the infantile situation.. . .
from siblings or from those in the learner’s
own age grade, whether learning «s gradually
I. Culture or sublimations in a group are and gently acquired or suddenly demanded,
evolved through the same process as in the in­ whether renunciations are harshly enforced
dividual. or reassuringly rewarded. To say that “ cul­
z. Cultural areas are conditioned by the ture determines” is, of course, a highly ab­
typical infantile situation in each area. stract w ay of speaking. In the behavioral w orld
3. Human culture as a whole is the conse­ what we actually see is parents and other older
quence of our prolonged infancy'. and more experienced persons teaching
4. Typically human forms of adjustment younger and less experienced persons. We as­
are derived from the infantile situation. sume that biology sets the basic processes
5. Our conquest of nature is due to the syn­ which determine boie man learns, but culture,
thetic function of the ego. as the transmitted experiences of preceding
6. Psycho-analytic interpretations of cul­ generations (both technological and moral)
ture should always be ego plus id interpreta­ very largely determines ii'hat man learns (as a
tions. member of a society rather than as an individ­
7. The interpretation of cultural elements ual who has his own private experiences). Cul­
through individual analy sis is probably correct, ture even determines to a considerable extent
but should be combined with the analysis of how the teaching that is essential to this learn­
anthropological data. ing shall be carried out.
20. Beaglehole and Beaglehole, 1946: 15. 22. Merton, 1949: 379.
The culture of each individual overlaps Despite her consistent concern with “ cul­
to a greater or less degree with the culture of ture,” for example, Horney does nor explore
each and every other individual making up the differences in the impact of this culture upon
group in question. This overlapping makes up farmer, worker and businessman, upon lower-,
a world of generally understood feelings, middle-, and upper-class individuals, upon
thoughts, actions, and values. In other words, members of various ethnic and racial groups,
it makes up the culture of the people. One of etc. As a result, the role of “ inconsistencies in
the jobs of the social scientist is to study this culture” is not located in its differential impact
culture as thus defined. But in doing so, he upon diversely situated groups. Culture be­
must abstract and generalize from the private comes a kind of blanket covering all members
experience of as many informants as he is able of the society equally, apart from their idiosyn­
to study. The result can only be an abstrac­ cratic differences in life-history. It is a prim­
tion. It can only be a valid abstraction if a ary asumption of our typology that these re­
sensitive member of the group feels a fair sponses occur with different frequency with­
amount of familiarity as he reads the words in various sub-groups in our society precisely
which define these abstractions. because members of these groups or strata are
Depending both on the skill of the investiga­ differentially' subject to cultural stimulation
tors and on the relative amount of integration and social restraints. This sociological orienta­
of the culture (that is, the preponderance of tion will be found in the writings of Dollard
common symbols over private symbols in the and, less systematically, in the work of Fromm,
culture), the informed reader is likely to say, Kardiner, and Lass well.
“Yes, this is so,” or “ Yes, that may be so, but
it is outside the context of my own experi­ CO M M EN T9
ence.” Because of our feeling that Kowhai
Maori culture today suffers from a lack of in­ These excerpts are largely variations upon
tegration (a feeling that we will try to docu­ two themes: the relationship of the abstraction,
ment later on in this report), we expect disa­ culture, to concrete individuals and certain
greement of the “ Yes, b u t. . . ” tvpe with some similarities between personalities and cultures.
of our analyses and statements. Such disagree­ The variations on the first theme consist
ments would not necessarily imply that our partly in general discussions of the origins of
study was subjective and perhaps prejudiced. culture in the individual psyrche, partly in at­
They would indicate only that in trying to see tempts to provide a specific theory through
Kowhai Maori culture as a going concern we psychoanaly tic principles.
have inevitably neglected to explore all the Marett (1) (cf. also III—f—21) strikes a chord
private worlds of all the Maoris living in Kow­ which has been developed by many later
hai. A moment’s reflection will doubtless con­ writers, perhaps most subtly and effectively
vince the general reader of the impossibility by Sapir (cf. also III—f—7). A somewhat crude
of ever presenting an absolutely true and abso­ paraphrase of this position might run as fol­
lutely objective account of Kowhai Maori life. lows: “ Let us not be so seduced by captivat­
ing abstractions that we lose sight of the ex­
21. Leighton, 1949: 76. periencing organism in all his complexity and
There exist psychological uniformities com­ variability. We must not dehumanize the sci­
mon to all tribes, nations, and “ races” of human ence of man by concentrating exclusively
beings. Each psychological uniformity has a upon ‘the outer garb.’ What we in fact observe
range through which it varies; some variants and we ourselves experience is not culture but
are characteristic of particular groups of peo­ an intricate flux that is influenced, channeled
ple and as such form a part of their culture. but never completely contained within cultural

'T h i s com m ent must be linked to that in the Individuals.”

comment on III—f, subsection entitled, “ Culture and
forms. Actual living always has an affective as Freud was merely saying that family life
tone, and each human being has a uniqueness and social life in general w ere possible only at
that is partly the product of his own special the price of surrendering many “ instinctual
biological nature, partly the resultant of his gratifications” to the control of cultural norms,
own private life history up to that point. Ab­ few anthropologists would gainsay him. Many
stractions mav be useful but thev must not be would likewise agree that culture is to a large
confused with ‘reality.’ ” Goldenweiser’s (5) degree a “sublimation” — i.e., a redirecting of
main point is an extension of this argument: bodily energies from such immediate satisfac­
culture change could not occur were it not for tions as sex and aggression (Roheim, 18).
the creative activity of concrete individuals. Freud developed a putative explanation of
It is perfectly true, as Nadel (12) insists, culture in general but hardly of the variations
that culture not onlv “ conditions” individuals between cultures. Roheim (6, 7, 17), hou'-
but is also “ conditioned” bv them. There is ever, has offered such a theory.10 This briefly
certainly a ceaseless interplay between the ten­ is that the distinctiveness of each culture is to
dencies toward standardization that inhere in be understood in terms of the infantile trau­
cultural norms and the tendencies toward varia­ mata maximized by the child-training prac­
tion that inhere in the processes of biological tices of that culture. The institutions of the
heredity and biological development. How­ adult culture are, as it v. ere, reaction-fomia-
ever, any argument over “ primacy” is as boot­ tions against the specific “ instinctual depriva­
less as any other question cast in the chicken tions” emphasized in v. hat Herskovits calls the
or the egg formula. T o be sure, there were process of “ enculturation.” Obviously', this
presumably human or at least humanoid or­ cannot serve as an explanation of the origins of
ganisms before there was culture. But as far the special features of each culture. Roheim
as the phenomena with which anthropologists (cf. also III-a-14) would have to resort to his­
and psychologists can actually deal, the issue torical accident for that. His theory may be
of “ primacy” resolves itself into a selection be­ useful in understanding the perpetuation of a
tween problems and between equally legitimate set of culture patterns. At any rate, it is a test­
frames of reference. able hypothesis, and unpublished research b§
Study of what Nadel calls “ the psycho­ John M. Whiting and others is directed toward
logical factors behind culture” is clearly essen­ determining what degree of validity this theory
tial to a satisfactory' theory of the cultural possesses.
phenomenon. For historical accident, environ­ On the whole, the last few years have seen
mental pressures, and seemingly immanent considerable improvements in communication
causation, though all important, are not ade­ betw een psychoanalysts and anthropologists
quate to explain fully the observed facts of and a re-casting of certain central propositions
cultural differentiation. Unless we are to as­ on both sides in forms more nearly acceptable
sume that each distinct culture was divinely' re­ to each of the two groups.10® Thus Roheim in
vealed to its carriers, we must have recourse his last book says:
to psychology as part of the process. . . . the theory o f cultural conditioning cannot ac­
Thus far only the psychoanalysts have pro­ count fo r certain parallelisms in w id ely divergent cul­
posed somewhat systematic theories. How tures . . . the psych ic unity o f mankind is m ore than
helpful the suggestions of Freud, Roheim, and a w o rk in g hypothesis . . . cross-cultural parallels, al­
though they may have an additional context-deter­
Kardiner are is highly arguable. Freud’s “Just
mined meaning, have an underlying meaning that is
So Stories” are contradicted, at least in detail, independent o f the social system or culture or basic
by much anthropological evidence. It also ap­ institutions and is based on the nature o f the prim ary
pears to most anthropologists that he has exag­ ‘process. T h e r e is such a thing as a potentially universal
gerated “ cultural privation” at the expense of symbolism. T h e latent content is universal, but the
the many ways in which cultures reward and sym bol itself m ay becom e verbalized b y a ce rtain in­
gratify those who participate in them. Insofar dividual o r m any individuals in m any parts o f the

*®C f. also Seligm an (1 0 ). * * C f . Kluckhohn and Morgan, 1951.

world and then accepted by others on basis of the theme in Egyptian thought, as we have re­
universal latent content . . . those who condition arc cently been assured by Frankfort,11 the convic­
subject to the same biological laws as are the others tion that the universe is static and that only
whom they are conditioning. (1950, 5, 435, 488, the changeless is ultimately significant? Did
4S9, italics Roheim’s). the Judaic conception of sin originate in the
In the Roheim Festschrift Hartmann, Kris, and Near East because this had unusual survival
Loewenstein observe: or adjustive value under the circumstances of
life in this area?
The comparative study of culture includes the ques­ It seems more likely that conceptions of
tion as to variant and invariant traits of “ human time and of the good life were largely de­
nature. . . The “biological” is neither limited termined bv* the accidents of history operating
to the innate nor identical with invariant traits in man.
through psychological mechanisms as yet un­
There is obviously a vast area in which the same
statements are part of both biological and sociological
known but including the genius and tempera­
sets of assumptions The biological approach thus ment of individuals who happened to be born
indicates a framework within which the fact that man at a crucial period and born to key positions
is the social animal becomes meaningful. Once this in the social structure. Societies make what,
has become clarified it becomes evident that the study for want of a more accurate word, we may
of human behavior can, and in many cases must, be call “ choices.” Such decisions are of special
viewed from both sides: we can characterize the rela­ importance when a new culture is being cre­
tionship between mother and child as a biological ated or when an old one has become relatively
relationship or we can characterize it as a social one:
loose and malleable under extreme stress. But
the fact that both concatenations arc overlapping con­
stitutes the human. . . . Both p^vchoanalvsts and
with societies as with individuals any crucial
anthropologists are interested in the same processes, “ choice” is to greater or lesser degree a de­
but they are partly using data of different kinds. . . terminer of later ones. Once a group starts
(1951, 6, 10). down one road, the paths that would have
opened up on another route that was “ objec­
Everyone will agree that human biology tively” available will not be traversed; even
and those aspects of human psychology which if they should be, the territory will be reacted
arise from biological potentialities set limiting to, not freshly, but in a fashion colored and
frames for cultures (Leighton, 21; Seligman, shaped by the experience upon the first road.
10). How the selections that are possible with­ The principle of “ limitation of possibilities” is
in these frames are arrived at by different peo­ operative.
ples each in a somewhat distinctive wav — this The functionalist assumption that culture is
is one of the largest questions in culture theory solely the result of response to physiological
and one which has hardly gone beyond the drives and needs as modified by acquired drives
phase of speculation and reasoning by analogy reduces culture change to the tautology of
and the illustrative example. It does seem cer­ “ culture begets or determines culture.” Un­
tain that simplistic “ functional” explanations doubtedly the systemic quality of each culture
will help us only a little. does tend to give cultures the property or at
Neither a society nor an individual will sur­ least appearance of immanence or orthogenesis.
vive unless behavior makes a certain minimum Some culture change may well be predeter­
of sense in terms of environment demands. mined once the culture has assumed its funda­
But how is one to account thus for the enor­ mental organization. Much more, however,
mously diverse conceptions of time found in culture change seems to be due to the ceaseless
the cultures of the world? The ancient Egyp­ feedback between factors of idiosyncratic and
tians were pioneers in astronomical and calen- universal human motivation, on the one hand,
drical investigations. This makes good “ func­ and factors of universal and special situation,
tional” sense, for Egyptian agriculture was on the other. Unfortunately, we lack concep­
tied to the periodicities in the inundations of tual instruments for dealing with such systems
the Nile. Why, howrever, is the dominant of organized complexity.12

“ Frankfort, 1948. “ Cf. Weaver, 1948.

Nevertheless we can consistently and expli­ the subjective side of culture (Faris, 11) repre­
citly recognize the interdependence of cul­ sents an unfortunate over-simplification. The
tural and psychological phenomena. While an­ former analogy leads to the brink of the
thropologists will always resist the tendency “ group-mind” fallacy. The latter is false be­
of some psychologists to reduce culture to cause culture is far from being the only con­
psychology (as in the Katz and Schanck defi­ stituent of personality; a unique biological
nition, D -IV -z), they increasingly acknowl­ heredity and idiosyncratic life history also
edge that psychologists and anthropologists enter in.
inevitably start from the same data. More The parallels nevertheless remain arresting.
strictly, they start from data of the same order, Of cultures as well as of personalities one can
namely human behavior. They mav start properly say: “ This culture is in some respects
from the same particular data, but often do like all other cultures, in other respects like
not, because their interests and problems usual­ some other cultures only, in a few respects
ly differ. More concretely: a psychologist completely individual.” A personality can
seldom starts with a custom considered as such, participate much more nearly in the whole of
anthropologists hardly from acts of learning a culture than in the whole of a society. The
or remembering as such. To the psychologist fact that students of personality and students
a fresco of Giotto is primarily a datum on a of culture have more in common than either
certain creative personality. To the anthro­ have with students of societies as such is at­
pologist the fresco is a datum on art style of a tested by some interesting contrasts in disci­
certain period in Italy and on culture content plinary affiliations.
(costume, house types, other artifacts, etc.). Superficially, sociologists and cultural an­
In Sapir’s (8) words, a segment of behavior thropologists appear to be studying much the
may be seen either as cultural pattern or as same things. Yet the record shows more
having a person-defining value. instances of cooperation and intellectual sym­
Moreover — and this brings us to the second pathy between sociologists and social psy­
major theme of this gmup of extracts — cul­ chologists than between anthropologists and
ture and personality are not only abstractions sociologists. Anthropologists have more often
from data of the same order; they have intrin­ been affiliated with students of personality
sic similarities. Certain definitions of culture (clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psycho­
state that it is a “ mental” phenomenon, and analysts) and hare had deeper influence upon
many definitions of personality start from the the thinking of these groups. Probably the
same premise. Both personalities and cultures fundamental difference is that social psycholo­
appear to acquire their distinctiveness at least gists and contemporary' American sociologists
as much from organization as from content are more obsessed with the quantitative and
(Woodward, 14). More and more personality more ready to pull their data out of context,
psychologists and anthropologists have had while the other two groups insist upon the
recourse to such ideas as “ themes,” and “ con­ relevance of form, of features of order and ar­
figurations,” “ orientations,” and “ implicit rangement which are not (at least as yet)
logics” in constructing their conceptual measurable. It will, however, be germane to
models. As Mandelbaum (16) says: “ The our analysis of the relationships between cul­
shape of a culture, when we probe into its es­ ture and psychology to examine a little further
sential nature, begins to look more and more the factors that have brought students of per­
like the structure of a personality.” sonality and students of culture together.
Benedict’s famous parallels were of a slightly Just as the anthropologist attempts to get a
different order — between personality types picture of the whole of a culture, so the clinical
and cultural types. Yet she seemed to many of tvpe of psychologist tries to envisage the
her readers to be saying: culture is personality whole of a personality. In both cases this en­
writ large; personality is culture writ small. tails, for the rime being at least, some deficien­
The equation of culture with the personality cy in workmanship as well as loss of rigor.
of a society (Redfield, 3) or of personality as The anthropologist cannot have enough spe­
cialized knowledge to describe music, bas­ existence unless psychologically satisfying and
ketry, and kinship with equal expertncss. Nor socially acceptable substitutes were discovered.
can the psychologist be equally well trained The essential scientific task was that of gain­
in mental and projective tests, depth inter­ ing maximal understanding of underlying de­
viewing, and techniques of the personal docu­ terminants.
ment. Nevertheless holistic, controlled im­ Finally, the dominant experience of cultural
pressionism has certain merits, at any rate for anthropologists had been as “ unscientific” —
heuristic purposes in this particular stage of in the narrow sense of that term — as that of
the development of the human sciences. the psychoanalysts. Most cultural anthropolo­
One may take as an extreme case the rela­ gists are as innocent of statistics as the psy­
tionship between psychoanalysis and anthro­ choanalysts; both groups operate with proce­
pology. For all of the extravagant dogmatism dures that are essentially “ clinical.” Ordinarily
and mystique of much psychoanalytic writing, the anthropologist working under field condi­
the anthropologist sensed that here at least he tions has as little chance to do controlled ex­
was getting what he had long been demanding periments as has the psychoanalyst who sees his
from academic psychology: a theory of raw patient for an hour a day in the consulting
human nature. The basic assumptions of the room. The skilled of both professions do make
theory might turn out to be false in general or predictions of a crude order and test them by
in detail. The anthropologist was positive that subsequent observation. But these observa­
the theory was culture-bound to an important tions do not lend themselves to presentation
degree, though the evidence of the past twenty in neat graphs and “ t” distributions. Indeed
years indicates that many anthropologists ex­ both groups would maintain, without disparag­
aggerated the extent of the distortion they ing the indispensable importance of statistics
thought produced by bourgeois Viennese cul­ for other purposes, that some of their main
ture and bv late nineteenth-century science. problems involve matters of form, position,
At all events, psychoanalysis provided anthro­ and arrangement more than of the incidence
pology with a general theory of psychological and clusterings of random variations. Such
process that was susceptible of cross-cultural problems may find an eventual solution in
testing by empirical means and with clues that terms of matrix algebra or some other form of
might be investigated as to the psychological topological mathematics but, in the nature of
causes of cultural phenomena. the case, not in an applied mathcmatic based
Moreover, there were experiential factors on probability theory. Probably in all c. Iturc,
that drew the psychoanalysts and the anthro­ as well as in that aspect known as linguistics,
pologists together. Psychiatrists of all persua­ the crucial issue is not that of size or frequency
sions were showing that there was meaning but of what point in what pattern. One may
in the most apparently chaotic and non-adap- compare the principle of the circle which does
tive acts of the mentally ill. This struck an not depend upon measurement as such but
answering chord with the anthropologist, for upon a fixed patterning, even though measure­
he was engaged in demonstrating the fact that ments are necessary to draw' any particular cir­
the seemingly bizarre patterns of non-YVestern cle to specification.
cultures performed the same basic functions And so the anthropologist, however skep­
as did our familiar customs. The same amnesty tical he may be of certain psychoanalytic dog­
that the psychoanalyst grants to incestuous mas, tends to feel in some measure at home in
dreams the anthropologist had learned to ac­ psychoanalytic psychology. He recognizes
cede to strange cultures. That is, both insisted certain similarities which confront him in de­
that the queerest behavior had significance in scribing and interpreting a culture with those
the economy of the individual or of the so­ met by a psychoanalyst in diagnosing a per­
ciety. There was no implication of moral ap­ sonality; the relationships between forms and
proval, necessarily, on the part of either psy­ meanings, between content and organization,
chiatrist or anthropologist. Both merely agreed between stability and change.
that behavior could not be legislated out of Culture is not merely a “ tissue of extemali-
tics” (Marett, i). It is “ built into” the person­ through the structuring of the present which
ality and as such is part, though only part, of previous events have produced.
the personality. From many different private Culture is manifested in and through per­
versions of a given aspect of a culture as mani­ sonalities. Personality shapes and changes cul­
fested by so many different unique personali­ ture but is in turn shaped by culture. Culture
ties, the anthropologist constructs the ideal exists to the extent to which the “ private
type of that aspect which he, perfectly legiti­ worlds” of which Sapir (8) and the Beagle­
mately, incorporates in his conceptual model holes (20) write overlap. In a complex strati­
of the total culture. This is the “ supposedly fied and segmented society' like our own these
impersonal aspects of values and definitions” “ private worlds” overlap for the majority of
which worries Sapir (8). But almost all an­ the total population only upon the broadest of
thropologists today are fullv aware that as issues. Generalized American culture, as Mer­
culture influences the concrete act of the in­ ton (22) says, has a “ differential impact upon
dividual actor it is not “ impersonal” at all. diversely situated groups.”
Concretely, culture is internalized. This is the The exploration of the mutual interrelations
basis of those resemblances between culture between culture and psychology must con­
and super-ego 13 to w'hich Opler (9) and others tinue. However, we may conclude w’ith Stern
have drawn attention. To a considerable de­ (1949, 34:) that:
gree (though nor completely) anthropological There has been considerable unrewarding con­
culture, psychoanalytic super-ego, and indeed troversy . . . around the contrast of culture as a
the conscience collective of Durkheim are all thing in itself, and culture as an activity of persons
constructs from the same data and have many participating in it. Actually both approaches are
overlapping theoretical implications. valid, and are required to supplement each other for a
There is no genuine problem as to the “ in­ rounded understanding of cultural behavior.
wardness” or “ outwardness” of culture. It is
Both culture and personality are inferential
“ outward” and “ impersonal” as an abstraction,
constructs that start (but select) from behavior
a logical construct; it is very much “ inward”
or products of behavior. Symbolization (in a
and affective as internalized in a particular in­ very broad sense) seems to be central to both
dividual. One nuist merely take care not to models, and such symbolization is carried on
confuse these two frames of reference. It is at various levels of awareness and with varying
highly convenient to construct an abstract degrees of compulsiveness. Tn the past culture
conceptual model of a culture. But this does has tended to emphasize cxplicitness of both
not mean that culture is a force like Newtonian design and content, personality theory im-
gravity “ acting at a distance.” Culture is a plic’tness and “ inrernalitv.” Now culture
precipitate of history but, as internalized in theory seems to be working “ dowmward”
concrete organisms, very much active in the toward the implicit and “ internal,” personality"
nresent. One might almost say that a culture theory “ upward” to explicit forms. Hence the
is to a society as the memory is to a person. two bodies of theory converge more and more
The past is present through memory and but w ill not, we think, fuse completely.

“ A case can also be made for comparing culture a highly technical consideration of psychoanalytic
at least as closely to another concept of Freud’s, that terminology.
of the ego idea). However, this would involve us in
i. Boas; 19 11: 67-68. ness, and thus give rise to secondary reason­
It would seem that the obstacles to general­ ing and to re-interpretations. It would, for in­
ized thought inherent in the form of a language stance, seem very plausible that the funda­
are of minor importance only, and that pre­ mental religious notions — like the idea of the
sumably the language alone would not pre­ voluntary power of inanimate objects, or of
vent a people from advancing to more general­ the anthropomorphic character of animals, or
ized forms of thinking if the general state of of the existence of powers that are superior
their culture should require expression of such to the mental and physical powers of man —
thought; that under these conditions the lan­ are in their origin just as little conscious as are
guage would be molded rather by the cultural the fundamental ideas of language. While,
state. It does not seem likely, therefore, that however, the use of language is so automatic
there is anv direct relation between the culture that the opportunity never arises for the fun­
of a tribe and the language they speak, except damental notions to emerge into consciouncss,
in so far as the form of the language will be this happens very frequently in all phenomena
molded by the state of culture, but not in relating to religion. It would seem that there
so far as a certain state of culture is conditioned is no tribe in the world in which the religious
bv morphological traits of the language. . . . activities have not come to be a subject of
Of greater positive importance is the ques­ thought. While the religious activities may
tion of the relation of the unconscious charac­ have been performed before the reason
ter of linguistic phenomena to the more con­ for performing them had become a sub­
scious ethnological phenomena. It seems to my ject of thought, they attained at an early
mind that this contrast is only apparent, and time such importance that man asked himself
that the very fact of the unconsciousness of the reason why he performed these actions.
linguistic processes helps us to gain a clearer With this moment speculation in regard to re­
understanding of the ethnological phenomena, ligious activities arose, and the whole scries
a point the importance of which can not be of secondary explanations which form so vast
underrated. It has been mentioned before that a field of ethnological phenomena came into
in all languages certain classifications of con­ existence.
cepts occur. To mention only a few: we find
objects classified according to sex, or as ani­ :. Sapir, 19 12 : 239 -41 ( , 9 4 9 : 10 0-02).
mate and inanimate, or according to form. We . . . Perhaps the whole problem of the rela­
find actions determined according to time and tion between culture ana environment gen­
place, etc. The behavior of primitive man erally, on the one hand, and language, on the
makes it perfectlv clear that all these concepts, other, may be furthered somewhat by a con­
although they are in constant use, have never sideration simply of the rate of change or de­
risen into consciousness, and that consequently velopment of both. Linguistic features are
their origin must be sought, not in rational, but necessarily less capable of rising into the con­
in entirely unconscious, we mav perhaps say sciousness of the speakers than traits of culture.
instinctive, processes of the mind. They must Without here attempting to go into an analy­
be due to a grouping of sense-impressions and sis of this psychological difference between
of concepts which is not in any sense of the the two sets of phenomena, it would seem to
term voluntary, but which develops from quite follow that changes in culture are the result,
different psychological causes. It would seem to at least a considerable extent, of conscious
that the essential difference between linguistic processes or of processes more easily made
phenomena and other ethnological phenomena conscious, whereas those of language are to
is, that the linguistic classifications never rise be explained, if explained at all, as due to the
into consciousness, while in other ethnological more minute action of psychological factors
phenomena, although the same unconscious hevond the control of will or reflection. If
origin prevails, these often rise into conscious­ this be true, and there seems every reason to
believe that it is, we must conclude that cul­ thesis. Another consequence is that the forms
tural change and linguistic change do not move of language may be thought to more ac­
along parallel lines and hence do not tend to curately reflect those of a remotely past stage
stand in a close causal relation. This point of of culture than the present ones of culture it­
view makes it quite legitimate to grant, if self. It is not claimed that a stage is ever
necessary, the existence at some primitive stage reached at u hich language and culture stand
in the past of a more definite association be­ in no sort of relation to each other, but simply
tween environment and linguistic form than that the relative rates of change of the two dif­
can now be posited anywhere, for the different fer so materially' as to make it practically im­
character and rate of change in linguistic and possible to detect the relationship.
cultural phenomena, conditioned by the very
nature or those phenomena, would in the long 3. Sapir, i 92}b: 152-53 ( i 949 , ‘ 55- 5 *)-
run vcrv materially disturb and ultimately en­ . . . If the Eskimo and the Hottentot ha\e no
tirely eliminate such an association. . . . adequate notion of what we mean by causa­
To some extent culture and language may tion, does it follow that their languages are in­
then be conceived of as in a constant state of capable of expressing the causative relation?
interaction and definite association for a con­ Certainly not. In English, in German, and in
siderable lapse of time. This state of correla­ Greek we have certain formal linguistic de­
tion, however, can not continue indefinitely. vices for passing from the primary act or state
With gradual change of group psychology to its causative correspondent, e.g., English to
and physical environment more or less pro­ fall, to fell, “ to cause to fall” ; unde, to widen;
found changes must be effected in the form and German hangen, “ to hang, be suspended” ;
content of both language and culture. Lan­ hangen, “ to hang, cause to be suspended” ;
guage and culture, however, are obviously not Greek phero, “ to cariy'” ; phored, “ to cause to
the direct expressions of racial psychology carry.” Now this ability' to feel and express
and physical environment, but depend for their the causative relation is by no manner of means
existence and continuance primarily on the dependent on an ability to conceive of causality'
forces of tradition. Hence, despite necessary as much. The latter ability is conscious and
modifications in either with lapse of time, a intellectual in character; it is laborious, like
conservative tendency will always maki itself most conscious processes, and it is late in de­
felt as a check to tho^e tendencies that make veloping. The former ability is unconscious
for change. And here wc come to the crux and nonintellectual in character, exercises it­
of the matter. Cultural elements, as more defi­ self with great rapidity and with the utmost
nitely serving the immediate needs of society' ease, and develops early in the life of the race
and entering more clearly into consciousness, and of the individual. We have therefore no
will not only change more rapidly than those theoretical difficulty in finding that concep­
of language, but the form itself of culture, tions and relations which primitive folk are
giving each element its relative significance, quite unable to master on the conscious plane
will be continually shaping itself anew'. Lin­ are being unconsciously expressed in their lan­
guistic elements, on the other hand, while they guages — and, frequently, w’ith the utmost
may and do readily change in themselves, do nicety. As a matter of fact, the causative re­
not so easily lend themselves to regroupings, lation, which is expressed only fragmentar.lv
owing to the subconscious character of gram­ in our modem European languages, is in many
matical classification. A grammatical system mmitive languages rendered with an abso-
as such tends to persist indefinitely. In other [utely philosophic relentlessness. In Nootka, an
words, the conservative tendency makes itself Indian language of Vancouver Island, there is
felt more profoundly in the formal ground­ no verb or verb form which has not its precise
work of language than in that of culture. One causative counterpart.
necessary consequence of this is that the forms Needless to say, I have chosen the concept
of language will in course of time cease to sym­ of causality solely for the sake of illustration,
bolize those of culture, and this is our main not because I attach an especial linguistic im­
portance to it. Every language, we may con­ vocaliquc, et le polonais: la conservation de la
clude, possesses a complete and psycholo­ mouillurc des consonnes. . . .
gically satisfying formal orientation, but this
orientation is only felt in the unconscious of its 5. Sap/r, 1929: 2 1 1 - 1 4 i t 9 4 9 : 164-66).
speakers — is not actually, that is, consciously, . . . Of all forms of culture, it seems that lan­
known by them. guage is that one which develops its funda­
Our current psychology does not seem al­ mental patterns with relatively the most com­
together adequate to explain the formation plete detachment from other types of cultural
and transmission of such submerged formal patterning. Linguistics may thus hope to be­
systems as are disclosed to us in the languages come something of a guide to the understand­
of the world. . . . ing of the “ psychological geography” of cul­
ture in the large. In ordinary life the basic
4. Trubetzkoy (1929), 1949: xxv. symbolisms of behavior arc densely overlaid
. . . une etude attentive des langues orientee by cross-functional patterns of a bewildering
vers la logique interne de leur evolution nous variety. It is because every isolated act in hu­
apprend qu’une telle logique existe et qu’on man behavior is the meeting point of many
peut etablir route une serie de lois purement distinct configurations that it is so difficult for
linguistiques independantes des facteurs extra- most of us to arrive at the notion of contex­
linguistiques, tels que la “ civilisation,” etc. tual and non-contcxtual form in behavior.
Mais ces lois ne nous diront rien du tout, ni Linguistics would seem to have a very peculiar
sur le “ progres” ni sur la “ regression.” . . . Les value for configurative studies because the pat­
divers aspects de la civilisation et de la vie des terning of language is to a very appreciable ex­
peuples evoluent aussi suivant leur logique tent self-contained and not significantly at the
interne, et leurs propres lois n’ont, elles aussi, mercy of intercrossing patterns of a non-
rien de commun avec le “ progres” . . . Dans linguistic type. . . .
ITu’stoire litteraire, les formalistes se sont cnfin . . . The regularity and typicality of lin­
mis a etudier les lois immanentes, et cela nous guistic processes leads to a quasi-romantic feel­
permet d’entrevoir le sens et la logique interne ing of contrast with the apparently free and
de revolution litteraire. Toutes les sciences undetermined behavior of human beings
traitant de revolution sont tcllcment negligees studied from the standpoint of culture. But
du point de vue methodologique que mainter the regularity of sound change is only super­
ant le “ problemc du jour” consiste a rectifier ia ficially analogous to a biological automat ion
methode de chacune d’elles separement. Le It is precisely because language is as strictly
temps de la synthese n’cst pas encore venu. socialized a type of human behavior as any­
Neanmoins on ne peut dourer qu'il existe un thing else in culture and yet betrays in its out-
certain parallelisme dans Involution des dif- I lines and tendencies such regularities as only
ferents aspects de la civilisation; done il doit the natural scientist is in the habit of formulat­
exister certaines lois qui determinent ce paral­ ing, that linguistics is of strategic importance
lelisme Une discipline speciale dcvra surgir for the methodology of social science. Behind
qui aura uniquemcnt en vue l’etude svnthetique the apparent lawlessness of social phenomena
du paralldlisme dans revolution des divers as­ there is a regularity of configuration and ten­
pects de la vie sociale. Tout cela peut aussi dency which is just as real as the regularity of
s’appliquer aux problemes de la langue. . . . physical processes in a mechanical world,
Ainsi, au bout du compte, on a le droit de se though it is a regularity of infinitely less ap­
demander, non seulement pourquoi une langue parent rigidity and of another mode of appre­
donnee, avant choisie une certaine voie, a hension on our part. Language is primarily a
£volu£ de telle mani&re et non d’une autre, mais cultural or social product and must be under­
aussi pourquoi une langue donnee, appartenant stood as such. Its regularity and formal devel­
& un peuple donne, a choisi prccisement cette opment rest on considerations of a biological
voie devolution et non une autre: par example and psychological nature, to be sure. But this
le tch£que: la conservation de la quantit6 regularity and our underlying unconsciousness
of its typical forms do not make of linguistics 8. Voegelin and Harris, 194^: 988, 990-92,
a mere adjunct to either biology or psy­ 593-
chology. Better than any other social science, The data of linguistics and of cultural an­
linguistics shows bv its data and methods, thropology are largely the same.
necessarily more easily defined than the data Human behavior, as well as (or rather, which
and methods of any other tvpe of discipline includes) behavior between humans, is never
dealing with socialized behavior, the possibility purely verbal; nor, in the general case, is it
of a truly scientific study of society' which non-verbal. Linguistics characteristically study
does not ape the methods nor attempt to only that part of a situation w hich we here
adopt unreviscd the concepts of the natural call verbal. Cultural anthropologists often seg­
sciences. . . . regate the non-verbal from the verbal, relegat­
ing the latter to special chapters or volumes
6. Bloomfield, 194^: &25- (such as folklore), as contrasted with chapters
Every language serves as the bearer of a cul­ devoted to various aspects of material culture,
ture. If .you speak a language you take part, such as house types; one might infer from
in some degree, in the way of living represented some ethnographies that houses are built in
by that language. Each system of culture has sullen silence. . . .
its own way of looking at things and people The techniques of linguistics and of cultural
and of dealing with them. To the extent that anthropology are in general different.
you have learned to speak and understand a Linguistic techniques enable a w’orker to
foreign tongue, to that extent you haye learned state the parts of the whole (for any one lan­
to respond w ith a different selection and em­ guage), and to give the distribution of the
phasis to the world around \ou, and for your parrs w ithin the whole. This provides criteria
relarons w :th people you have gained a new of relevance; it is possible to distinguish sharp­
system of sensibilities, considerations, conven­ ly between what is and what is not linguistic.
tions, and restraints. All this has come to you Such criteria are lacking in ethnographies
in part unnoticed and in part through incidents where culture traits are none too clearly dis­
which you remember, some of them painful tinguished from culture complexes and where
and some pleasurable, if the culture is remote a given segment of behavior mav be regarded
from your own, many of its habits differ very by one worker as an expression of culture, bv
widely from thovc of your community. No another as an express on of personality; another
exception is to be made here for the peopLs segment of behavior, thought to be entirely
W’hom v e arc inclined to describe as savage physiological ( as morning sickness in preg­
or primitive; for science and mechanical inven­ nancy). may later be shown to be stimulated
tion, in which we excel them, represent onlv bv cultural expectation. Accordingly, neither
one phase of culture, and the sensitivity of the historian treating of past cultures, nor the
these peoples, though different, is no less than anthropologist dealing with present cultures is
our own. ever half as comfortable as is the linguist in
excluding anv datum as irrelevant. . . .
7. Voegelin and Harris, 194$: 4^6-J7- Cultural anthropology is dependent upon
Language is part of culture. Everyone ack­ comparative considerations for finding its ele­
nowledges this theoretically and then tends to ments; linguistics is not. Linguistic analysis
treat the two separately in actual work be­ provides an exhaustive list of its elements
cause the techniques of gathering data and (thus, there are between a dozen and a score
making analyses are not the same for both. or two of phonemes for any given language);
The result of this practical divorce of lin­ cultural analysis does not.
guistic work from cultural investigation often
means that the final linguistic statements and 9. Greenberg, 1948: 140-46.
the final cultural statements are incomplete; or The special position of linguistics arises
statements covering the ethno-linguistic situa­ from its two-fold nature: as a part of the sci­
tion as a W'hole are neglected. ences of culture bv virtue of its inclusion in
the mass of socially transmitted tradition of speech community, taken more or less widely,
human groups, and as a part of the nascent sub­ as indicated bv
« such roughC* terms as language,
ject of semiotics, the science of sign behavior dialect, or sub-dialect. The definition of this
in general. That language should be included community is often undertaken in the intro­
in both of these more general sciences is no ductory portion of a linguistic description
more contradictory than, for example, the where the people are named, and population
double status of physical anthropology with figures and geographical distributions arc
its simultaneous affiliation w ith a physiolo­ given. In his choice of a unit of description
gically oriented zoology and with anthro­ the linguist resembles the cultural anthro­
pology, the general study of man approached pologist who describes cultural norms valid
bothT physically and culturally. Since lin- for a circumscribed group of people, a tribe,
ouistics faces in these two directions, it should community, or nation. Such a treatment disre­
be aware of the implications for itself both of gards— and justifiably so for the purpose in
the scmiotician’s discussions of language and of hand — relations in two directions, one towards
the general science of culture. Linguists have, the individual, and the other in the direction
on the whole, been more aware of their affilia­ of the exact determination of the membership
tions with cultural anthropology than with in this community and the relationship of its
semiotics, a state of affairs which is under­ membership to others whose speech show some
standable in view of the recency of the degree of similarity' to its own. This super-
semiotician’s interest in the general features of organic approach to linguistics I call cultural,
language. . . . as opposed to individual and social. Thus far
. . . Careful compilation of a lexicon is . . . . . . our discussion has been of cultural lin­
a field in which the linguist and ethnologist can guistics in the syntactic, semantic, and prag­
fruitfully collaborate. To the ethnologist, the matic phases. . . .
semantics v the language of the people in Social linguistics, often called ethnolin-
whom he i* interested is a subject of considera­ guistics, involves in its synchronic aspect, a
ble interest since it presents him with a prac­ whole series of significant problems regarding
tically exhaustive classification of the objects correlations between population groupings as
in the cultural universe of the speakers. For determined by linguistic criteria and those
certain morphemes whose designata are not based on biologic, economic, political, geogra­
sensually percciyable events in the space-time phical. and other non-linguistic factors. . . .
of the investigator the linguistic approach is Social diachronic studies or historical eth-
crucial. That this has been realized in general nolinguistics is the phase of the inter-relation­
bv ethnologists is evidenced by the liberal use ships of ethnology and linguistics of which
of native terms which characterize magical and there has probably been the greatest awareness.
other ideological components of culture, a The correlations between linguistic groupings
practice which has resulted in the borrowing of people and those derived on other bases,
via the ethnographic literature of such notably physical and cultural, is a standard
words as vnxna and taboo into the European problem in historic research. Fxamplrs of his­
languages. torical ethnolinguistic approaches are the trac­
The lexicon of a language holds as it were ing of former population distributions through
a mirror to the rest of culture, and the accu­ linguistic groupings, the estimate of chron­
racy of this mirror image sets a series of prob­ ologic remoteness or recency of the cultural
lems in principle capable of empirical solution. identity of groups on the basis of degree of
In certain instances, notably that of kinship linguistic divergence, the reconstruction of a
terminology, this problem is a familiar one, partial cultural inventory of a proto-speech
and has occasioned a number of specific in- community on the basis of a reconstructed vo­
vesrigations. On the whole, however, the eth­ cabulary. acculturational stud'es of the influ­
nographic problems presented by this aspect ence of one culture on another by the study of
of language remain for the future. . . . loan-words, and diffusionist studies of single
The unit of the descriptive linguist is a elements of culture in which points of primary
or secondary diffusion can be traced by a con­ distinct stocks: Shoshonean, Zunian, Keresan,
sideration of the form of the words which and Tanoan. The reverse situation — peoples
often point unequivocably to a particular lan­ speaking related languages but belonging to
guage as the source. different culture areas — is illustrated by the
It is perhaps worthwhile to note the extent Athapaskan-speaking groups in North
to which our analysis of language is also ap­ America. Here we find languages clearly and
plicable to culture traits in general. Obviouslv unmistakably related, spoken by peoples of
the distinction between synchronic and dia­ the Mackenzie area, the California area, and
chronic is relevant and it is possible to study the area of the Southwest, three very different
cultures either descriptively or historically. cultural regions.
The distinction between the cultural, the so­ The fact that linguistic and culture areas do
cial, and the individual approaches is also valid. not often coincide in no way denies the
If we adopt Linton’s convenient concept of proposition that language is part and parcel
status, then the behavior patterns themselves of the cultural tradition. Culture areas result
are the results of cultural analysis, while the from the fact that some traits of culture are
manner of selection of individuals for given easily borrowed by one group from neighbor­
statuses, whether achieved or ascribed, to­ ing groups. In essence, then, the similarities
gether with factors of sex, age, geographical in culture w'hich mark societies in the same
locations, etc., are social as here defined. The culture area result from contact and bor­
study of personality variations in the carrying rowing, and arc limited to those features of
out of the patterns is part of the individual culture which are easily transmitted from one
approach. group to another.
Language areas, on the other hand, are
10. Hoijer, /9 f.8: 333. regions occupied by peoples speaking cognate
Culture, to employ T ylor’s well known languages. The similarities in language be­
definition, is “ that complex whole which in­ tween such peoples are due, not to contact
cludes knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, law, and borrowings but to a common linguistic
custom, and any other capabilities and habits tradition. Traits of language are not readily
acquired by man as a member of society.” It is borrowed and we should not expect to find
dear that language is a pan of culture: it is linguistic traits among thoae cultural features
one of the many “ capabilities acquired bv man shared by peoples in the same culture area.
as a member of society.” If whole cultures could be g.ouped geneti­
Despite this obvious inclusion of language cally as we now group languages into stocks
in the total fabric of culture, v e often find the and families, the culture areas so formed
tw'o contrasted in such a way as to imply would be essent:ally coincident with language
that there is little in common between them. areas. This is difficult to do, since much of
Thus, anthropologists frequently make the culture does not lend itself to the precise com­
point that peoples sharing substantially the parison necessary to the establishment of
same culture speak languages belonging to dis­ genetic relations.
parate stocks, and, contrariwise, that peoples
whose languages are related may have very ii. Voegelin, 1949: 36, 43.
different cultures. In the American South­ A culture 'whole is to ethnology what a
west, for example, the cultures of the several single natural language is to linguistics. In the
Pueblo groups, from Hopi in the west to earlier ethnological and sociological theory a
Taos in the east, are remarkably alike. culture 'whole was merely a point of de­
Puebloan languages, however, belong to four parture.14 Nowadays a given culture 'whole

u tV o egelin ’s footnote] W itn ess theoretical dis­

cussions o f the nineteenth century concerned with non and devolution o f one culture in one area).
elementary ideas, independent invention o r psychic Linguistic theory and method is also concerned with
unity o f mankind, and cultural evolution; cy c lic sequential and com parative problems beside its more
history theories o f today are partly com parative in recent concern w ith exclusively synchronic state­
d ie nineteenth century sense, partly sequential (evolu- ments.
is held as a constant against which a particular we can generalize: an inescapable feature of
analysis or theory is tested; in a somewhat all natural human languages is that they are
parallel way, the linguistic structure of a given capable of multi-morphene utterances.
natural language may be said to be what
emerges after certain operations are followed. 12. Silva-Fi'enzalida, 19+9: 446.
Some writers jump from this parallel way . . . When we hear the statement that
of delimiting a single cultural community or “ language is a part of culture,” it is in fact
a single speech community to either or both meant that utterances are correctly under­
of the following conclusions: (i) that lan­ stood only if they are symbols of cultural
guage is a part of culture, which is debatable; phenomena. This implies that since experience
(2) that the techniques for analysis of lan- is communicated by means of language, a
tmage and culture are the same or closely person speaking any language participates to
similar — this is surely an error.15 It is obvious some degree in the ways of lire represented
that one does not find culture in a limbo, by that language. These verbal symbols are
since all human communities consist of human not loosely joined, but co-ordinated by means
animals which talk; but culture can be, and of a system that expresses their mutual rela­
as a matter of fact, is characteristically studied tions. Language is thus the regular organiza­
in considerable isolation; so also in even greater tion of series of symbols, whose meanings
isolation, the human animal is studied in have to be learned as any other phenomenon.
physical anthropology, and not zihat the The implication of this is that as each culture
human animal talks about, but rather the has its own way of looking at things and at
structure of his talk is studied in linguistics. people and its own way of dealing with them,
What he talks about is called (by philosophers the enculturation of an individual to a foreign
and semanticists) meaning; but for most an­ body of customs will only be possible as he
thropologists ishat he talks about is cithere . . . learns to speak and understand the foreign
If language were merely a part of culture, language and to respond with new selection
primates should be able to learn parts of human and emphasis to the w'orld abound him — a
language as they actually do learn parts of selection and emphasis presented to him by
human culture when prodded by primatolo- this new' culture.
gists. No sub-human animal ever learns anv
part of hum an languages — not even parrots. 13. Hockert, i9$o: 113.
The fact that Poliy zvants a cracker is not Tw o recent remarks concerning the relation
taken by the parrot as part of a language is of language to culture call forth this brief
shown by the refusal of the bird to use protest. C. F. V ocgelin (1949) labels “ de­
part of the utterance as a frame (Polly zvants batable” the usually accepted contention that
a . . . ) with substitutions in the frame. (For language is part of culture. S:Ua-Fucnzalida
the three dots, a speaker of a language would (1949) docs not debate the claim, but cer­
be able to say cracker or nut or banana or tainly misunderstands it; he says language is
anything else wanted.) As George Herzog part of culture because “ utterances are cor­
has phrased this, imitative utterances of sub­ rectly understood only if thev are symbols
human animals are limited to one morpheme; of cultural phenomena.”
to the parrot, then, Polly zvants a cracker is Voegelin’s claim is flatly false; Fuenzalida’s
an unchangeable unit. From this point of view, misunderstanding is unhappily confusing. We

u [Vocgelin’s footnote] Because culturalists do this in Voegelin and Harris, 1947, see also the Index
not, in actual field work [operations, analysis], find references to Typology in Kroebcr, 1948. Per
culture traits by asking what are “ irreducible ways contra, Gillin and Gillin, 1948, who equate phonemes
of acting shared by a social group;” rather, culture and culture traits, without any critical reservations
traits found in a whole culture reflect the ethnologists’ (p. 155): they say a culture trait is identifiable by
sophistication of comparative ethnography — of the being irreducible and cite a single digit (1, 2, } etc.)
area in which he works, or, more generally, of world as an example of such a trait; what then arc fractions
ethnography. Besides the explicit argument supporting and negative numbeis?
may state succinctly what it means to say that in terms of this abstract comparison. That the
language is part of culture, and prove in a few relationship of language to culture is debatable,
words why it is true . . . That our speech is then the only reasonable way to state it,
habits are thus acquired has been proved but only in the sense that “ the structure of
time and again: bring an X-baby into a Y- [man’s] talk is studied in linguistics.” And
speaking environment and there raise him, “ . . . for most anthropologists ichat he talks
and he will grow up speaking Y, not X, There­ about is culture.” (Voegelin, ms. in press.
fore language is part of culture. Proceedings, XXIX International Congress of
Since linguistics is the study of language and Americanists).
cultural anthropology the study of (human)
culture, it follows that linguistics is a branch
of cultural anthropology. It also follows 15. VoegeHn, 1990: 492.
that every linguist is an anthropologist. But Speaking only in terms of scientific usage,
it does not follow', by any means, that can it be agreed that linguistics and culture
every linguist knouts that he is an anthro­ and physical anthropology are coordinate?
pologist, or that a linguist necessarily The content descriptions of general courses
knows something about phases of culture in anthropology departments often specify
other than language, or, for that matter, that these three main divisions of anthropology
every cultural anthropologist knows that lan­ just as the content description of a general
guage is culture and that linguistics is a branch biology course might specify botany and
of his own field, even if one to which he zoology and bacteriology as the three main
chooses to pay no particular attention. The divisions of biology. Because bacteria are
historical fact is that there have been two classified as plants, and other microorganisms
distinct traditions, writh differing terminologies, as animals, while viruses remain unclassified
different great names and landmarks, differing in this respect, perhaps a biologist would not
levels of achievement, differing chief prob­ object to saying that bacteriology adjoins
lems and direction of interest. Only t\\ o men zoology as well as botany, thus paralleling
(to exclude those now living) have so far the position of culture: adjacent to linguistics
achieved reputations in both fields, and of on the one hand, and to physical anthropology
those tw o, Boas as anthropologist far out- on the other — assuming, of course, that
shadows Boas as linguist, Sapir as linguist phenotypic as well as genotypic traits are in­
probably somewhat outshadows Sapir as cluded in physical anthropology. Whatever
culturalist. the majority opinion may be on the relation­
It is probably because of the separateness of ship of language to culture, linguistic analysis
the two traditions that we have the unfortu­ characteristically proceeds without reference
nate habit of speaking of “ language and cul­ to the culture of speakers — even when data
ture.” We ought to speak of “ language in on the culture of speakers are available. If
culture” or or “ language and the rest of most anthropologists really do think that
culture.” From the fact that language is part linguistics is part of culture, then it is a very
of culture does not follow that we have, as dispensable part; it does not keep the majority
yet, anything very significant to say about from classifying the archaeological remains of
“ language in culture” or the interrelationships particular preliterate peoples as the culture
between “ language and the rest of culture.” of the people in question — despite the fact
that their culture must, by definition, be pre­
14. Bus'well, 1950: 289. sented without any linguistic data at all.
Surely it is not amiss to consider a language, It is relatively easy to abstract linguistics
as related to the body of science called lin­ from culture and to define linguistics without
guistics, in the same sense as a culture, as reference to culture, as I have done; it is
related to ethnology. This Voegelin does, much more difficult to abstract culture and
with the perfectly logical result that he can define culture or covert culture without
now speak analytically of language and culture reference to language.
,6. Olmsted, 1990: 7-8. is dependent on comparative techniques for
There is a good deal in [the 1949] article the examination of any given culture, while
of Voegelin’s that ought to evoke- comment. the linguist is not.
First, the fact that great apes can learn to
drive a car but not to speak is significant, 17. Taylor, 1990: 999-60.
but it in no way proves that language is not In ail fairness to C. F. Voegelin, it may be
a part of culture. If this be the test of questioned whether the phrase “ language and
whether something is a part of culture, then culture” is any more vicious than, for example,
surely Tylor’s or Herskovits’ definitions of “ culture and society.” Certainly, non-human
culture (to name only a couple of widely societies without culture exist; whereas lan­
accepted ones) will straightway be shot to guage and culture (or the rest of culture) are
pieces as we amass a colossal list of things that not found apart. But within the human species,
apes cannor be taught to master. society, language, and culture are concomitant;
That linguistic and ethnological techniques and it is hard to see how one is any less ac­
are not strictly comparable is one claim; that quired or learned than the other.
culture traits and phonemes are not com­ Nevertheless, there is an important differ­
parable is another. Probably few students ence between language and the other universal
would disagree with the later claim. For the aspects of culture: the latter lean heavily on
phoneme is not a piece of raw data as are precept — that is to say, on language — for
most generally recognized culture traits; a their practice and transmission, whereas the
phoneme is something inferred from raw rudiments of the former can be passed on only
data, a construct shown to have crucial lin­ by example and imitation. Not until the child
guistic value within the structure of the lan­ has gained some control of speech, by a pro­
guage under study. The linguist, in determin­ cess comparable to that by which a kitten
ing the phonemes of a language, applies cer­ learns to kill mice, can its enculturation pro­
tain standard techniques that enable him to gress far in other directions — this time by the
discover and describe the linguistically im­ instrumentality of language itself, and hence
portant sound-units. He then may go on to by a process unknown on the sub-human
compare one structure with another, always level.
being sure that he knows the relation of any Language has often been called the vehicle
of the phonemic units to the whole. The of culture; and there would seem to be no par­
culture trait (or anything like it) does not as ticular vice in distinguishing a conveyance
yet have the same status in ethnology. \\ hat from that which it conveys, even when in
is of crucial importance in one culture may be practice the two may be inseparable.
ancillary in another. It is this lack of a handy
label indicating the structural value of data COM M ENT
that lies at the roots of the deficiencies of
such a comparative project as the Cross- It is remarkable how fitfully anthropologists
cultural Survey. As Voegelin (1949) points and linguists have discussed the relation of
out, the status of phonemes is something in­ culture and language.
herent in the linguistic structure being studied, We have found no passages explicitly deal­
and, theoretically, a linguist who knew the ing with the subject in Jespcrscn’s, Sapir’s, or
techniques, even if he had never studied an­ Bloomfield’s books called Language.
other language, could study any language and In 1911 Boas (1) pointed out that linguistic
come up with the phonemes in a way that phenomena are unconscious and automatic,
would satisfy any other competent linguist. but cultural phenomena more conscious. This
However, the anthropologist, lacking any such distinction has become widely accepted. Boas
standard procedure ror determining the rela­ went on, however, to suggest that cultural
tive ethnological value of each “ culture trait,” phenomena, such as fundamental religious
must needs call on his knowledge of other notions (animism, supematuralism, etc.) may
cultures in order to investigate, in a specific in their origin have been equally unconscious,
culture, what has been found to be crucial in but have secondarily became a subject of
other cultures. In this sense the ethnologist thought and been rationalized into conscious­
ness, whereas the use of language remained ness of patterning, which occurred also in
automatic. This second suggestion seems to lesser measure in non-linguistic culture.
have been developed little further, either by Then there appears to have been a lull until
Boas or others.1® 1945, when two papers, by Bloomfield (6) and
Sapir ( 2 ) in 1912 made much the same by Voegelin and Harris (7) reopened the
point as Boas: culture changes result from subject: “ Every language serves as the bearer
processes easily made conscious, linguistic of a culture” and “ Language is part of culture.”
changes are due to minute factors beyond the These were followed by interrelated state­
control of will or reflection. Sapir in his turn ments (8-16) by Voegelin and Harris, Green­
adds a second suggestion — which also ap­ berg, Hoijer, Voegelin ( n , 15), Silva-Fuenza-
pears not to have been developed — that with lida, Hockett, Buswell, Olmsted, and Taylor.
time the interaction of culture and language Voegelin partly reversed his former position
became lessened because their rates of change with Harris, at least to the extent of speakino
were different. Cultural elements serve im­ of language as not “ merely a part of culture”
mediate needs, and cultural forms reshape ( 1 1) and suggesting that they are “ coordinate”
themselves, but linguistic elements do not (15 ); and was bluntly contradicted by Hockett
easily regroup because their classification is (13). As of early 1951, the discussion is still
subconscious. in progress, and promises to be fruitful of in­
A dozen years later, Sapir (3) returned to creased sharpening of concepts. Greenberg’s
the issue with the point that consistent gram­ appraisal is particularly broad: he specifically
matical expression of causality may occur in considers semiotic aspects, and he recognizes
languages whose associated cultures possess cultural or superorganic, social, and individual
no adequate explicit notions of causality. Lan­ approaches or emphases as valid in linguistics
guages often contain “ submerged formal sys­ as well as in cultural anthropology. His men­
tems” whose psychology is unclear and not tion of language and “ the rest of culture” is
closely related to conscious thought. This typical of the position, with various shadings,
issue was subsequent'^ revived in an opposite of most of the participants in the discussion.
sense by Whorf ana by Lee in their meta­ It is evident that culture has been used in two
linguistic papers. senses, each usually implicit in its context and
Trubetzkoy (4) in 1929 touched on the validated there: culture including language,
the me of the relation — “ purely linguistic laws and culture excluding language. It is also
independent of extra-linguistic factors such dear that language
O ^ is the most easily j separable
as civilization.” But he also submitted the part or aspect of total culture, that its pro­
claim that linguistics ought ultimately be able cesses are the most distinctive, and that the
to give the reasons why particular languages methods of linguistics are also the most dis­
followed one line of development and not tinctive as well as the best defined in the social
others. sciences. What the “ cultural” equivalent of
Sapir (5) returned to the subject in 1929. phonemes, or the linguistic equivalent of
Language patterns develop in relative self- “ cultural traits,” may be has not yet become
containment and detachment from “ other apparent: it may be unanswerable until the
types of cultural patterning.” Linguistics thus question is reformulated. Similar obscurities
has a peculiar value for configurative studies, remain unresolved as to the conceptual rela­
including Gestalt psychology. It shows the tion or non-relation of cultural and organic
possibilities open to the social sciences when concepts (culture trait, culture whole, species,
they do not ape the methods or adopt the un- genus, or family, ecological assemblage or
revised methods of natural science. faunistic area). Underlying the problem, and
It is evident that up to this point there was in a sense constituting it, is the fact, as Voegelin
fundamental consensus that language showed (15) says, that it is obviously easier to abstract
in a somewhat accentuated degree certain linguistics from the remainder of culture and
features, such as consistency and unconscious- define it separately than the reverse.

“ But see L6vi-Strauss, 19 5 1. T h is article appeared to it in Part I V . It is one o f the most arresting state­
too late to include in this section. W e have referred ments on language and culture ever published.

Wissler, 1916: 200-01. 3. Ogbum, 1922: 48.

. . when we are dealing with phenomena Kroeber has recently made an attempt to
that belong to original nature, we are quite show that the subject matter of sociology is
right in using psychological and biological culture, apparently relatively free from any
methods; but the moment we step over into consideration of the organic factor. His at­
cultural phenomena we must recognize its tempt is quite bold considering the agreement
[sic] historical nature . . . . We often read existing as to the nature of society and the ac­
that if cultural phenomena can be reduced to ceptance of society as the subject matter of
terms of association of ideas, motor elements, sociology, and is also significant because of
etc., there remains but to apply psychological his logical and consistent analysis which sets
principles to it [sic] to reveal its causes. This is forth the importance of culture as a subject
a vain hope. All the knowledge of the mech­ of science. Briefly, his thesis flows from his
anism of association in the world will not tell classification of sciences according to planes,
us why any particular association is made by the inorganic, the vital organic, the mental
a particular individual, will not explain the organic, and the superorganic.
invention of the bow, the origin of exogamy,
or of any other trait of culture except in terms 4. Case, 1924a: 106.
that are equally applicable to all. Environment and race . . . may be regarded
as in a sense original, with culture emerging
2. Marett, 1920: 1 1 - 1 3 (cf. d - 1). from [their] interaction . . . . The factor thus
It is quite legitimate to regard culture, or derived from the two preceding becomes itself
social tradition, in an abstract way as a tissue an active member of a triumvirate of forces,
of externalities, as a robe of many colors woven whose interaction constitutes the process
on the loom of time . . . . Moreover, for cer­ known as . . . social evolution or “ civilization.”
tain purposes, which in their entirety mav be
called sociological, it is actually convenient thus 5. Kroeber, 1928: 55/ (1931: 476).
to concentrate on the outer g'rb. In this case, The kite, the manner of manipulating the
indeed, the garb may well at first sight seem marbles, the cut of a garment, the tipping of
to count for everything, for certainly a man the hat, remain as cultural facts after every
naked of all culture would be no better than physiological and psychological considera­
a forked radish . . . Human history [neverthe­ tion of the individuals involved has been ex­
less] is no Madame Tussaud’s show of dec­ hausted.
orated dummies. It is instinct with purposive
movement through and through . . . . 6. Sapir, 1931: 638 (1949: 363).
According to the needs of the work lying The word custom is used to apply to the
nearest to our h.3nd, let us play the sociologist totality of behavior patterns which are carried
or the psychologist, without prejudice as re­ by tradition and lodged in the group, as con­
gards ultimate explanations. On one point trasted with the more random personal activi­
only I would insist, namely that the living ties of the individual . . . . Custom is a vari­
must be studied in its own right and not by able common sense concept which has served as
means of methods borrowed from the study the matrix for the development of the more
of the lifeless. If a purely sociological treat­ refined and technical anthropological concept
ment contemplates man as if there were no of culture. It is not as purely denotative and
life in him, there will likewise be no life in it. objective a term as culture and has a slightly
The nemesis of a deterministic attitude towards more affective quality indicated by the fact
history is a deadly dullness. that one uses it more easily to refer to geo-
graphically remote, to primitive or to bygone but the metaphysical locus to which culture is
societies than to one’s own. generally assigned.

7. Sapir {1932), 1939: 315-16. 7a. Winston, 1933: 5-7.

The so-called culture of a group of human Societal life is both social and cultural in
beings, as it is ordinarily treated by the cultural nature. The social and the cultural are inti­
anthropologist, is essentially a systematic list mately related; nevertheless they are not the
of all the socially inherited patterns of behavior same. Inasmuch as it is necessary for the pur­
which may be illustrated in the actual behavior poses of this book to grasp the significance of
of all or most of the individuals of the group. both approaches, separately and together, the
The true locus, however, of these processes distinction between the two may be analyzed
which, when abstracted into a totality, con­ briefly.
stitute culture is not in a theoretical com­ Artificial attempts to distinguish between
munity of human beings known as society, fields on the basis of word-splitting are not
for the term “ society” is itself a cultural con­ unknown phenomena in the realm of the
struct which is employed by individuals who sciences, physical or social. It is not the in­
stand in significant relations to each other in tention to add one more literary discussion to
order to help them in the interpretation of the fairly large accumulation along this line.
certain aspects of their behavior. The true It is, however, necessary for the purposes of
locus of culture is in the interactions of the adequate presentation of the cultural ap­
specific individuals and, on the subjective side, proach to differentiate, in so far as differentia­
in the world of meanings which each one of tion is possible or necessary, between the social
these individuals may unconsciously abstract and the cultural. Instances common to every­
for himself from his participation in these in­ day life afford materials for exemplification.
teractions. Every individual is, then, in a very The social interaction which takes place be­
real sense, a representative of at least one sub­ tween two individuals comes under the cate­
culture which may be abstracted from the gory of the social, in so far as it pertains to
generalized culture of the group of which he their reactions to one another as individuals.
is a member. Frequently, if not typically, he Rut where their behavior is affected by the
Is a representative of more than one sub­ patterned ways of behavior existent in the
culture, and the degree to which the socialized society of which they are a part, their own
bchavi.T of an’ given individual can be social behavior is influenced by a cultural
identified with or abstracted from the typical factor. The introduction, the tipping of the
or generalized culture of a single group varies hat and other formalized rules of politeness,
enormously from person to person. the methods of courtship and the channeled
It is impossible to think of any cultural wavs of behavior toward each other of man
pattern or set of cultural patterns which can, and wife, are all examples of patterned ways
in the literal sense of the word, be referred to of behaving. The interaction is social but it
society as such. There are no facts of political is affected by the cultural; it may largely coin­
organization or family life or religious belief cide or, as in the case of antisocial behavior,
or magical procedure or technology or aes­ it may veer away from the patterned ways of
thetic endeavor which are coterminous with behavior laid down by a given society.
society or with any mechanically or sociolo­ Turning to group behavior, wre may take
gically defined segment of society . . . . the play groups of children. Children play
. . . The concept of culture, as it is handled the world over. The chemical, the physical,
by the cultural anthropologist, is necessarily the biological, the individual, and the social
something of a statistical fiction and it is easy components in play may be separately studied.
to see that the social psychologist and the But when the play life follows a definite
psychiatrist must eventually induce him to pattern, it has become culturally conditioned.
carefully reconsider his terms. It is not the The play of children with other children, a
concept of culture which is subtly misleading psychosocial phenomenon, is affected by the
culrurally imposed n pes of play, whether it 9. Forde, 1933: 366.
be in New Guinea or in New Mexico. The differences in character and content
The interactions of individuals with others, between particular cultures have, as has been
of individuals with groups, or of group upon said, often been ascribed to one or more of a
group are exemplifications of social interac­ number of general factors, and especially to
tion. But interaction in society takes place differences of race and physical environment,
within a cultural framework. This cultural or to differences in the alleged state of social
framework influences human behavior and at or even psychological evolution. No one of
the same time is to be distinguished sharply these general factors can alone explain any­
from it, in order to analyze completely and thing, nor can their significance be analyzed in
more objectively the functions and structure isolation; for they do not operate singly or in
of society. . . . a vacuum. They fail both singly and col­
. . . Even in the social field there is still lectively because they ignore the fact that the
prevalent the error of considering behavior culture of every single human community has
as altogether a matter of social relationships. had a specific history.
There is a cultural milieu within which social
relationships always take place. This cultural 10. Ford, 1931 226.
milieu, while it has been built up as a result Culture is concerned primarily with the way
of societal life, has become, from the stand­ people act. The actions, then, of manufacture,
point of the present, the framework within use, and nature of material objects constitute
which present social relationships occur and the data of material culture. In their relation
are influenced. The relationships between hus­ to culture, artifacts and materials are to be
band and wife, between employer and em­ classed in the same category as the substances,
ployee, among members of a club or members such as minerals, flora, and fauna, which com­
of a church, are social or psychosocial. These pose the environment in which people live.
relationships are affected bv the particular Artifacts themselves are not cultural data, al­
patterns of behavior developed in a given though, to be sure, they are often the concrete
society. The relationships not only involve manifestations of human actions and cultural
sociai interaction; they also involve patterned processes. The cultural actions of a people
wavs of behaving. Thus it is that, with the cannot even be inferred from them without
same biological processes, the same chemical extreme caution, for a number of reasons.
processes, the apparently same inherited psy­ Chief among these arc the following: (1)
chological traits, the apparently same type of instead of being a product of the culture the
interaction, i.e., that of a man and a woman, artifact may have been imported; (2) the pro­
the courtship and marriage systems, differ in cess of manufacture !■> frequently not implicit
all parts of the world, and in differing affect in the artifact itself; and (3) the use or func­
differently the behavior of men and women tion of the artifact is not deducible from the
in, say, the United States, Siam, Sweden, and object alone.
Spain. There are no laws in the physical
sciences, there are no explanations in the social 11. Murdock, 1937: xi.
sciences on the purely social level to explain Patterned or cultural behavior does not,
the differing habits of peoples, so far as these however, exhaust the data available to the stu­
habits are wide-spread and not individual dent of society. Realizing that culture is
peculiarities. Failure to recognize these facts merely an abstraction from observed likenesses
leads to an inadequate explanation of human in the behavior of individuals organized in
behavior. groups, the authors of several of the articles,
especially those dealing with aspects of modem
8. Goldenweiser, 1933: 63. society, find themselves interested in the
• . . Man, being part of culture, is also part culture-bearing groups, sub-groups, and indi­
of society, the carrier of culture. viduals themselves. T o them sociology is not
merely the science of culture; it is also the than the sum” of Wallis? And answers: This
science of society. While it is perfectly legiti­ “ more,” the functioning dynamic unit, is the
mate conceptually to exclude all data save people who possess a certain complex of
cultural patterns, and while this particular traits . . . . The nucleus around which these
procedure has proved extremely fruitful in traits are grouped is the people who have
the hands of anthropologists and others, this them. Then follows the statement above.]
does not appear to exhaust all possibilities of
social science. In this respect our authors 15. Kardiner, 1939: 7.
find themselves in disagreement with certain When we have collected, described, and
American sociologists who, discouraged by catalogued all its institutions, we have the
the apparently chaotic situation with'n their description of a culture. At this point we
own discipline, have turned in desperation to find Linton’s differentiation between a society
cultural anthropology and have imported into and a culture very useful: a society is a per­
sociology a whole series of anthropological manent collection of human beings; the institu­
concepts: diffusion, invention, culture area, tions by which they live together are their
etc. Applying these to phenomena in our own culture.
culture, they believe thev have achieved an
objectivity w'hich their colleagues have missed. 16. Rouse, 1939: /<f, 18, 19.
The followers of Sumner and Keller, who . . . culture cannot be inherent in the arti­
have been “ cultural sociologists” for a much facts. It must be something in the relationship
longer time — who have, indeed, always been between the artifacts and the aborigines who
such — do not, however, see anv impelling made and used them. It is a pattern of sig­
reason why the sociologist should thus arbi­ nificance which the artifacts have, not the
trarily limit his field. artifacts themselves.
Culture, then, is merely a single one of a
12. Parsons, 1937: 762-63. group of factors which influence the artisan’s
On an analytical basis it is possible to see procedure in making an artifact . . . . Culture
emerging out of the study as a whole a division may be the most important of the intcrplaying
into three great classes of theoretical systems. factors. Nevertheless, it would not seem justi­
They may be spoken of as the systems of fiable to consider the artifacts themselves to be
nature, action and culture . . . . The culture equivalent to culture.
systems are distinguished from both the others The types and modes, then, express the
in that they are both non-spatial and a- cultural significance possessed by the Fort
temporal. They consist, as Professor White- Liberte artifacts. In effect, they separate the
heau says, of eternal objects, in the strict sense cultural factors which produced the artifacts
of the term eternal, of objects not of indefinite from the non-cultural factors which are in­
duration but to which the category of time is herent in the artifacts.
not applicable. They are not involved in
“ process.” 17. Rad cliff e-Brovm, 1940: 2.
Let us consider what are the concrete, ob­
13. Plant; 1937: 13, fn. 4. servable facts with which the social anthro­
The terms environment, milieu, and cultural pologist is concerned. If we set out to study,
pattern are used interchangeably in this vol­ for example, the aboriginal inhabitants of a
ume. part of Australia, we find a certain number of
individual human beings in a certain natural
14. Bierstedt, 1938: 211. environment. We can observe the acts of
The social group is the culture, artifacts behaviour of these individuals, including, of
and traits are its attributes. course, their acts of speech, and the material
[This bases on the passage from Wallis cited products of past actions. W e do not observe a
as IlI-tf-5. Bierstedt asks: What is this “ more “ culture,” since that word denotes, not any
concrete reality, but an abstraction, and as it the fact that human beings must adjust to
is commonly used a vague abstraction. But other human beings as well as to impersonal
direct observation does reveal to us that these forces and objects To some extent these ad­
human beings are connected by a complex justments are implemented and limited only
network of social relations. I used the term by the presence or absence of other human
“social structure” to denote this network of beings in specified numbers, at particular
actually existing relations. It is this that I points, and of specified age, sex, size, and in­
regard it as my business to study if I am telligence, relative to the actors whose action
working, not as an ethnologist or psychologist, is being “ explained.” Insofar as the human
but as a social anthropologist. I do not mean environment of action does not go beyond
that the study of social structure is the whole such inevitables of the interaction of human
of social anthropology, but I do regard it as beings with each other, it may be called “ the
being in a very important sense the most social environment.” It is imperative, how­
fundamental part of the science. ever, to isolate a fourth dimension (the cul­
tural) before we can adequately deal with the
18. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1545b: 25. total environment of human action. This
. . . human action is framed by four univer­ fourth abstraction arises from the observed
sal dimensions: (1) physical heredity as mani­ fact that any given human interaction can take
fested in the human organism, (2) the external place in a variety of ways so far as the limita­
non-human environment, (3) the social en­ tions and facilitations of the biological and
vironment, (4) a precipitate from past events impersonal environmental conditions are con­
which has partially taken its character at any cerned. Some human interactions, indeed, do
given moment as a consequence of the first seem to be subject only to the constraints sup­
three dimensions as they existed when those plied by the field of biological and physical
events occurred, partially as a consequence of forces. Such interactions may be designated
the selective force of an historical precipitate as “ social” without further qualification.
(culture) that already existed when a given However, careful observations or the words
past event occurred. and deeds of human beings make it certain that
many of their acts are not a consequence
19. Kluckhohn and Kelly, 1545b: 57. simply of physical and biological potentiali­
. . . to have the maximum usefulness, the ties and limitations. If the latter were the case,
term [culture] should be applicable to social the possible variations within a defined field
units both larger and smaller than those to of biological and physical forces w’ould be
which the term “society” is normally applied. random. The variations within different
Thus, w'e need to speak of “ Mohammedan human groups which have some historical
culture” in spite of the fact that various peoples continuity tend beyond all possible doubt to
which share this to greater or lesser extent cluster around certain norms. These norms are
interact with each other much less intensively demonstrably different as between groups
than they do w'ith othe.r societies which do not w'hich have different historical continuities.
possess Mohammedan culture. Also, it is These observed stylizations of action which
useful to speak of the culture of cliques and of are characteristic of human groups are the
relatively impermanent social units such as, basis for isolating the fourth, or cultural,
for example, membersof summer camps. dimension to action.
Often it may be desirable to refer to these The concrete social (i.e., interactive) be­
“ cultures” by qualified terms such as “ sub­ havior observed among human beings must in
cultures” or “ cultural variants.” Neverthe­ most cases be assumed to be the combined pro-
less, such abstractions are inescapably “ culture” •duct of biological and cultural “ forces."
in the generic sense. Often, then, the “ social” and the “ cultural” are
inextricably intermingled in observable acts.
19a. Kluckhohn, 1545a: 631-53. However, some social acts are not culturally
The third abstraction (social) arises out of patterned. This is one reason for including a
distinct “ social” dimension. Another arises alysis. The constant elements most usually
out of one certainly valid aspect of Durk- recognized in any social event by ethnograph­
heim’s position. If we postulate that all on­ ers are its cultural components; its structural
going human behavior must be in some sense aspect, being variable, is often overlooked. It
adaptive and/or adjustive, we must posit social should be emphasized that I am not suggesting
collectivities as the referents of some behavior a division of the facts of social life into two
systems, for these cannot be “ explained” as classes; I am referring to the data of observa­
meeting needs (biological or “ psychological") tion. “ Culture” and “ structure” denote com­
of isolated human organisms. In other words, plementary ways of analysing the same facts.
“ society,” like “ culture,” is an “ emergent” In the present stage of social anthropology all
with properties not altogether derivable from analysis of structure is necessarily hybrid, in­
a summation of even the fullest kind of knowl­ volving descriptions of culture as well as
edge of the parts. Indeed — to go back to the presentation of structure . . .
framework of “ determination” — it seems
likely that culture itself may be altered bv 21. Murdock, 1949b: 82-83.
social as well as by biological and natural en­ Since it is mainly through face-to-face rela­
vironmental forces. A plurality of indi\ iduals tions that a person’s behavior is influenced by
(of such and such numbers, etc.) continuously his fellows — motivated, cued, rewarded, and
interacting together, produces something new punished — the community is the primary seat
which is a resultant not merely of previously of social control. Here it is that deviation is
existing cultural patterns and a given im­ penalized and conformity rewarded. It is note-
personal cm ironmental situation but also of w orthy that ostracism from the community is
the sheer fact of social interaction. Suppose widely regarded as the direst of punishments
that two random samples, of, say, 500.1 and and that its threat serves as the ultimate induce­
500 persons from a socictv possessing a rela­ ment to cultural conformity. Through the
tively homogeneous culture arc set down on operation of social sanctions, ideas and be­
islands of identical ecological environment havior tend to become relatively stereotyped
(but of areas varying proportionately with within a community, and a local culture de­
the sizes of the two groups). After a few velops. Indeed the community seems to be
generations (or a shorter interval) one could the most typical social group to support a
anticipate that two quite, distinct cultures total culture. This, incidentally, provides the
would h u e ev.dvid - - partly as a re.ult of theoretical justification for “ community
“ historical accidents” but also as accommoda­ studies.” a field in which anthropologists,
tions to the contrasting number of actual and sociologists, and social psychologists alike
potential face-to-face relation .hips. Patterns have shown a marked interest in recent
for human adjustment which were suitable decades.
to a society of 500 would not work equally Under conditions of relative isolation, each
well in the society of 5000 and vice versa. community' has a culture of its own. The
Thus we must regard the emironment of in­ decree to u'hich this is shared by neighboring
teraction (abstracted from the cultural pat­ local groups depends largely upon the means
terning which prevails in it) as one of the and extent of inter-communication. Ease of
determiners of alterations in the system of communication and geographical mobility may'
designs for living (culture). produce considerable cultural similarity over
wide areas, as, for example, in the United
20. Fortes, 1919a: 57-5?. States today, and may even generate import­
The qualitative aspect of social facts is what ant social cleavages which cut across local
is commonly called culture. The concept groupings, as in the case of social classes. For
“ structure” is, I think, most appropriately ap­ most of the peoples of the earth, how ever, the
plied to those features of social events and or­ community has been both the primary' unit
ganizations which are actually or ideally sus­ of social participation and the distinctive
ceptible of quantitative description and an­ culture-bearing group.
2i. R adclifte-B r 0 1 1 *71, 1949: 3 2 1 , 32 2 . of these two words would seem to support
.Malinowski produced a variant, in which our two-dimensional schema: categorizing
culture is substituted for society, and seven thought, as expressed in language, has been
“ basic biological needs” are substituted for led towards the same twroness-in-oneness. '■
the desires, interests and motives of the The consistent distinction between these
earlier vv riters . . . . two concepts entails considerable linguistic
[The] theory of society in terms of struc­ difficulties. Mostly, when we speak of “ cul­
tures and process, interconnected by function, ture” and “society” we mean a totality of
has nothing in common with the theory of facts viewed in both dimensions; the adjective
culture as derived from individual biological “ social” especially, for example, in the familiar
needs. phrase “social facts,” or in the less familiar one,
“ things social” (which is my translation of
23. Nadel, 19)/-' 29, 19-80. Durkheim’s choscs sociales), has always this
Is there any behavior of man which is not double connotation. X or de we possess a con­
“ in society?” The (somewhat conventional) venient term summarizing this twofold reality
phraseology we used before, when we spoke as such save the clumsy word socio-cultural.
of “ man in the group,” seems to suggest that I can, therefore, only hope that the sense
there is such behaviour. But since man docs in which the terms social and cultural, society
not exist without the group (omitting Robin­ and culture, will subsequently be used will
son Crusoes, “ wolf-children,” and other become clear from their context.
dubious anomalies), this addition would seem Xow, anthropologists sometimes assign to
to be either misleading or redundant. It is, the two “ dimensions” a different degree of
however, not quite that. The qualification concreteness and reality. Radcliffe-Brown, for
has meaning in that it- distinguishes between example, regards only social relations as real
forms of acting and behaving which arc part and concrete, and culture as a mere abstrac­
of the existence of the group and those \\ hich, tion; while Malinowski’s whole work seems
though occurring in the group, arc not of it. to imply that culture is the only reality and
The distinction is essentially one between the only realm of concrete facts. Understood
recurrent and unique behaviour. The forms of jP so absolute a sense, both views are miscon­
behaviour, then, with which we arc primarily ceptions. Social relations and the groupings
concerned arc recurrent, regular, coherent, into which they merge are as much of an ab­
and predictable. The subject matter of our straction a^ is culture. Both, too, are abstrac­
enquiry is standardized behaviour patterns; tions evolved from the same observational data
their integrated totality is culture. - individuals in co-activity; but thev are not,
In this sense, then, social fac*s are two- I think, abstractions of the same level.
dimensional. Like any two-dimensional entity,
they can be projected on to one or the other CO MMENT
co-ordinate, and so view ed under one or the
other aspect. If we wish to find names also Superficially this seems like a residual group,
for the dimensions themselves, thev seem but it centers on the relation of culture to
suggested by the familiar words Society and society and extends from that on the one hind
Culture. Society, as I see it, means the totality to relation to the individuals who compose
of social facts projected on to the dimension of society and on the other to the environment
relationships and groupings; culture, the same that surrounds it.
totality in the dimens:on of action. This is not Culture and Society. The statements on the
merely playing with words. In recent an­ culture-societv relation begin in 1932 with a
thropological literature, in fact, the terms passage from a famous article by Sapir (7).
“society” and “ culture” are accepted as re­ The definitions in Part II that most consistently
ferring to somewhat different things, or, more deal with this relation of society and culture
precisely, to different ways of looking at the constitute our group C-i, which see culture
same thing. And indeed, the very existence as the way of life, or sum of the ways of doing,
by a society or group.17 These way-of-life little influence on later writers, though he was
definitions begin only three years before the a direct influence on Kluckhohn and Kelly
statements we have grouped into Section f. (19) and Kluckhohn (19a).
In the same year of 1929 Bernhard Stem pub­ Goldenweiser (8) a year later than Sapir
lished his important article explicitly dis­ speaks of society as the carrier of culture.
tinguishing society from culture and pointing .Murdock ( 11) , 1937, calls culture patterned
out conceptual deficiencies due to the am­ behavior and has some anthropologists confin­
biguity of using “ social” to cover phenomena ing themselves to it, legitimately enough, in
or both society and culture. It is evident that distinction from society. He approves less of
for a decade or more previously there had those sociologists who “ in desperation” have
been half-conscious uneasinesses and stirrings applied culture and other anthropological con­
• /T*
against the conceptual haziness and undifferen­ cepts to our own society. The Sumner-Keller
tiation of social and cultural phenomena;18 school, however, he maintains have alwavs
but the explicit partition appears not to have been “ cultural sociologists” — which last, at
come until 1929. Once it had been effected, least, seems indubitable to the present authors.
it was natural that it should soon be reflected Bierstedt (14), 1938, a year later misfired
in discursive statements as well as in formal completely in saying that the social group is the
definitions. culture, artifacts and traits its attributes. This
Sapir, however, differed from the others comes down to sa\ Ing that what has the cul­
here considered in that while he began with ture therefore is the culture. The route by
an interest in culture (including language) as which Bierstedt arrives at this position is
such, and came to add a powerful interest in equally hazy. Starting from Wallis’s remark
individual personality,19 he was never interested about culture (already cited in <7-5) that cul­
in society, just as he remained cold to non- ture is more than the sum of its parts, Bierstedt
holistic or non-personality psychology. In our confuses this “ sum” with “ the functioning dy­
citation (7), he disposes of society as a cul­ namic unit” through which culture comes to
tural construct employed by individuals in be, and decides this is society This is equiva­
significant relations to each other in order to lent to saying that the locus of a thing is the
help them in the interpretation of certain thing itself! Beyond which is the question al­
aspects of their behavior. The true locus of ready raised by Sapir in (7) whether the locus
culture he places in the interactions of indi­ of culture really is in society as such or in in­
viduals, and subjectively in the meanings dividuals. It is hard to understand these
which individuals may abstract from their strange lungings of Bierstedt except as moti­
partic:.pation in the interactions. This leaves vated by an anxiety at the spread of the con­
to the individual the primacy as regards cept of culture.
significance; to culture, something; to society, Bierstedt bases on Wallis (*2-5), 1930, as a
almost nothing. Sapir goes on to say that it is springboard to leap to his startling conclusion
impossible to think of any cultural pattern that the social group is the culture. One could
which can literally be referred to society as of course also go on to regard the society as
such. These drastic statements have had sur­ being individuals, the social organization and
prisingly little notice taken of them by social social relations constituting merely their at­
scientists. tributes; then, to assert that individual organ­
Winston (7a) was exceptionally clear at isms are organized groups of cells with bio­
an early period in distinguishing between the chemical interactions, with psychosomatic
social and the cultural but seems to have had behavior as attributes thereof; and so on. This

" T h e group, society, community, etc., also appear concluded with the phrase “ of man as a member of
frequendy in the class A or descriptive definitions, society.”
but more incidentally. T he C -I class really rests on “ It is interesting, however, that in 1931 (f-6) Sapir
the distinction: culture is the way of a society. sees the behavior patterns “ lodged” in the group and
“ A s there had to be, once T y lo r as far back as “ carried by tradition” — not by the individuals of
1871 had given a formal definition of culture that the group.
sort of reduction is evidently self-defeating. of social relations is “ revealed” by “ direct ob­
Another year later we find Kardiner (15) servation” ; whereas of course it is revealed by
implicitly equating culture with institutions, direct observation plus inquiry and inference
which might pass as an off-hand, by-the-way that generalize and abstract, exactly as cus­
definition; but then going on to imply that it toms and beliefs are revealed. Certainly no
was Linton who discovered the distinction complex network of structure, social or other­
between culture and society'! It was perhaps wise, is ascertainable by direct sensory observa­
from Linton that Kardiner learned of the dis­ tion. Radcliffe-Brown has cajoled himself into
tinction. the belief that his social structure rests on a
Still another year, 1940, brings us to Rad- legitimate foundation of observable reality that
cliffe-Brown (17) and one of his several at­ the vague and spuriously abstract thing called
tempts not indeed to deny culture but to be­ culture lacks. Viewed historically even in 1940,
little it, to make it unimportant as compared and of course more so today, Radcliffe-Brown
with social structure. As against observable is conducting a rearguard action against the
human beings and their observable behavior, advance of the concept of culture.
including speech and artifacts as products of Radcliffe-Brown’s 1949 statement (22) is
past behavior, he says that culture is not ob­ essentially contrastive of his own position
servable “ since that word [culture] denotes, with Malinowski’s. It is true that the two
not any concrete reality, but an abstraction” have little in common but use of function:
— and “ as commonly used a vague abstrac­ Malinowski does deal with culture and his ex­
tion.” But “ direct observation does reveal” planatory biological or psychosomatic needs
that “ human be;ngs are connected by a com­ reside in individual men, not in society. Rad­
plex network of social relations” which may cliffe-Brown deals with society in terms of its
be called “social structure.” The study of this structure, process, and function.
social structure is “ the most fundamental Fortes (20), 1949, makes a curious distinc­
part” of the science of social anthropology. tion between culture and structure. Culture
This conclusion seems indeed to follow from is the qualitative aspect of “ social facts” ;
Radcliffe-Brown’s premises that (1) culture structure, those analyzed quantitatively (!).
is only a vague abstraction and that (2) social Most often recognized arc the constant ele­
anthropology is the scientific part of anthro­ ments that constitute culture; the structural
pology, ethnology consisting merely of anti­ aspect is “ variable and often overlooked.”
quarian non-structured facts or of speculative Culture and structure arc not classes of social
sequences of such facts. The partiality of the facts but complementary ways of analyzing
second of these premises is sufficiently evident them. — This is a most puzzling statement.
to require no refutation at this date. The first Culture and structure are obviously not com­
premise does need correction, because while plementary concepts. There is no apparent
it is true that culture must be regarded as an reason why qualities should be permanent and
abstraction in that its recognition involves structure variable. The two terms are evi­
more than sense impressions,20 the same is of dently being used by Fortes with some un­
course true of social relations or structure. A usual or private meaning; or at least one of
kinship relation or an incest barrier is no more them is. Can it be that he means bv culture
“observable” than a myth or a property valua­ what it generally means, or at least its forms,
tion: social structure is inferred or abstracted norms, and values, and that his “ structure”
from behavior no more and no less than are designates the individual and personal varia­
customs. Radcliffe-Brown slides over this bility in social adherence to cultural norms?
identical conceptual status, partly by first This would make an intelligible concept; but
labeling culture as vague, and partly by then what has it to do w'ith “ structure” ?21
immediately saying that the complex network Nadel (23), 1951, another British social an-

“ Specifically, a selection of aspects of sense im­ “ As a pupil of Radcliffe-Brown, and as editor of

pressions that have a common feature. This is, of the 1949 volume of studies presented to Radcliffe-
course, the differentia of abstraction (etymologically: Brown, in the pages immediately preceding our cita­
“ drawing away from” ). tion from his own essay in that book. Fortes ques-
thropologist, voices a position not far from hand, cultural totalities of national and super-
our own. To paraphrase: society and culture national scope can contain a far greater variety
are different abstractions from data of the of content and attain to achievements of more
same order; society emphasizes “ the dimen­ profundity and intensity. There may well
sion of relationships and groupings” ; a culture have existed more cultures limited to tribes,
is a system of patterns of behavior modalities. in the history of mankind, than those of na­
We would only make explicit two small reser­ tional size. Also no doubt most nations are,
vations. First, the patterns for such relation­ historically, confluences of communities, and
ships and groupings are cultural. Second, the communities continue to persist in them. Yet
anthropologist abstracts not onlv from “ ac­ it is also obvious that in societies like our own
tion” (including, of course, verbal acts) but or the Russian, or even in the Roman Empire
also from the products of patterned action or in Egypt of four thousand years ago, the
(i.e., artifacts). total culture was of an intricacy, richness, and
Kluckhohn and Kelly (19), 1945, take for effectivenes that could not possibly have been
granted the correspondence of societies and supported by any face-to-face community.
cultures and point out that just as there are Parsons’ position (12), 1937, is expressed
societies greater and smaller than the custom­ so that it might logically be considered either
ary units of tribes, communities, and nations, here or in the culture-individual discussion
so cultures also range in size from that of that follows. Of Parsons’ great theoretical
Mohammedanism down to the sub-cultures of “ systems of nature, action, and culture” we
say cliques or summer camps.22 Murdock, take the middle one to mean “ social action,”
however (21), 1949, is inclined to regard the or what others would call society or organ­
community as the seat of soc:al control and ized interpersonal relations viewed as an ac­
as therefore the “ most typical” social group to tivity which possesses structure. This con­
support a total culture. Bv community he ception of society is Parsons’ special contribu­
seems to mean the group in which interper­ tion to social theory, but, in the framework
sonal relations are still largely, or at least of our present monograph that deals with
potentially, face-to-face. This is true for culture, his concept of society, however im­
tribes, is only partly true for peasant-like com­ portant, is obviously of only marginal con­
munities, and mostly does not apply in mod­ cern. More relevant is his assertion that cul­
em urbanized or semi-urbanized nations. Even ture systems are distinguished from natural
in peasant communities the army, the church, and action systems in being non-spatial and a-
taxes, trials, railroads, and posts, at least part temporal, consisting of “ eternal objects” to
of fashions, news, and sentiments, exist on a which the category of time is not applicable,
national and not at all primarily on a face-to- and which are not involved in process. We
face scale. The church edifice and the pastor take it that this means that the essential things
may be closely linked into the communal set­
m culture are its forms and that these ccm be
up, but dogma, ritual, the forms of marriage,
viewred timelesslv. For instance a religion or
the selection of the priest are at least nation­
wide and often super-nationwide. Undoubt­ an aesthetic product or a language can be ex­
edly greater intimacy, warmth, and holistic amined in terms of itself for its qualities or
integration attach to the community, in the values or the integration of these; or several
sense of the Toennies Gemeinschaft, than to religions, arts, or languages can be compared
any Gesellschaft organization. On the other for their relative development of qualities.

dons the validity of another d:stinction made by

Radcliffe-Brown in his 1940 article (beyond the dis­ parison, induction, and analysis, in other words, “ by
tinction just discussed by us), namely between abstraction from concrete reality” (1949, P- S<5). It
“ structure as an actually existing concrete reality” is in going on from this finding that Fortes sets up his
and genenl or normal “ structural form.” Fortes, new differentiation of culture from quantitauvely
like ourselves, challenges the dictum that structure is viewed "structure,” as a suggested replacement of
immediately visible in concrete reality, pointing out, Radcliffe-Brown s.
again like ourselves, that it is discovered by corn- “ See also Kroeber, 1951b, p. 281.
This we agree to; but we also hold that it is havior is rooted in organic structure and func­
not the only or necessary way in which cul­ tion, which can surely not be left out of “ na­
ture can be approached. Particular cultures ture” : human action is by no means all so­
do occur in particular places and at particular cial or concerned wholly with interrelations
times, and their interconnection in space and of persons. And on the other hand, even
time and content and form can be studied as after we have admitted that culture as such
well as their abstracted forms alone. That is is not concrete cause, we have only to ab­
indeed what culture history is. stract in imagination out from almost anv
We suspect that the real crux of Parsons’ situation of social action all the present and
statement lies in his assertion that culture sys­ past culture that is actually involved in it,
tems are not involved in process. To this we is phenomenally enmeshed with it, to realize
would subscribe: culture is obviously not only how relatively barren of significance the re­
a way of behavior but also a product of hu­ mainder of pure social action would mostly
man beings. Its cause in the modem sense of be. Culture can be conceded to be literally
the word, equivalent to the Aristotelian ef­ a product, and yet the claim be maintained
ficient cause, is the actions of men — human that cultureless social action, like a human na­
behavior, in contemporary phraseology. No ture not steeped in culture, would be phe­
amount of analysis or comparison of cultural nomenally a fiction and operationally nearly
forms per se will yield understanding of the empty.
specific causes of the particular forms. Aris­ Parsons’ more recent position as evidenced
totle would have called the forms of cultural in his 1949 definition (II—B—19) has moved in
phenomena, or at any rate the relationships of the anthropological direction. However, a
such forms, their formal causes. These are not still more recent work 2:1 shows a strong dis­
productive of what we call process; though position to restrict culture to values or to
they are involved in it. Existing culture is un­ “ symbol systems.” He, together with Edward
doubtedly determinative of subsequent cul­ Shils (also a sociologist), agrees that there is
ture in that it normally enters into its consti­ no such thing as either personality or social
tution to a hi^h decree. It is thus an almost system without culture. But he maintains that
inescapable precondition as well as constituent personalities and social systems are “ concrete
of any arising culture. In Aristotelian parlance systems,” whereas he regards culture as an
earlier culture could quite properly be called organization of symbols in abstraction from
the material cause of subsequent culture. But “ the other components of action, specifically
that again is not “ cause” in the modern scien­ the motivational and non-symbolic situational
tific sense: it is only conditioning material on components.”
which human activity — itself largely deter­ Our own view is that “ social system” or
mined by previous human activity conditioned “ social structure,” “ personality,” and “ cul­
by culture — impinges and operates as effi­ ture” are all abstractions on about the same
cient a^ent. We thus aijree with Parsons that level. To a lame decree, as we have indicated
if process in culture means its continuing con­ earlier, they all depart from the same order
crete causation, this does not reside in the cul­ of data, and the distinction rests primarily in
ture itself but in the actions or behavior of the focus of interest and type of question
men. asked (i.e., “ frame of reference” ). If one
How far it is proper and useful to designate thinks of “ a society” (not a “ social system” or
this behavior as specifically “ social” action, a “social structure” ) as a specific group of
and to put it into a “ system” contrasted with individuals who interact with each other more
that of nature is another matter. Human be- than with “ outsiders,” -* then, of course, “ a

“ Parsons, et al^ 1951.

“ This may mean the people of another com­ “ a society” can properly vary with the problem.
munity (locality differentiation), another tribe or But frequency of interaction is alwavs closclv cor­
nation (“ political” differentiation), people of an­ related with in-group, out-group feeling, though
other speech (linguistic differentiation), or any com­ this correlation may have negative as well as positive
bination of these criteria. The size of unit taken as aspects.

society” is more concrete than “ a culture.” pletely happy with this statement. Earlier in
It is also possible and legitimate to distinguish the same work (p. 15) Parsons also says that
“ the social” from ‘‘the cultural” by pointing culture is transmitted, learned, and shared and
to facts that are not culturally patterned but that it is ‘‘on the one hand the product of, on
which yet influence social (i.e., interactive) the other hand a determinant of, systems of
life. One may instance such phenomena as human social interaction.” These are points
population density, the location of a group, with which anthropologists would agree.
and others (cf. III-/-19 and III-/-i9a). Fi­ We can also accept Parsons’ distinction of
nally, a plurality of individuals in more or culture from social system as resting, among
less continuous interaction produces some­ other things, on the fact that culture is trans­
thing new which is a product of that interac­ missible. It is also clear in this book that Par­
tion and not merely a perpetuation of pre-ex­ sons treats the cultural dimension as an inde­
isting cultural patterns. Cultural factors influ­ pendent one in his general theory.
ence the greater part of social behavior but Our incomplete satisfaction with Parsons
social factors in their turn modify culture probably arises from the fact that his scheme
and create new culture. is centered so completely upon “ action.” This
In Parsons’ new book The Social System leaves little place for certain traditional topics
one also sees the tendency, shared by certain of anthropological enquiry: archaeology, his­
other American sociologists and many British torical anthropology in general, diffusion, cer­
social anthropologists, to restrict culture to tain aspects of culture change, and the like.
normative, idea, and symbolic elements. It What anthropologists call “ material culture”
will be well to quote at some length:2' he deals with as “ cultural objects” and “ cul­
tural possessions,” nor, again, does his ap­
Culture . . . consists . . . in patterned or ordered
systems of symbols which are objects of the orienta­
proach encompass certain aspects of the study
tion of action, internalized components of the per­ of the products of human behavior with
sonalities of individualized actors and institutionalized which anthropologists have long been con­
patterns of social systems . . . . cerned. Finally, his version of the theory of
. . . cultural elements are elements of patterned action is, in our view, overly complex for the
order which mediate and regulate communications present state of the sciences of man. His in­
and other aspects of the mutuality of orientations in tricate system of categories cuts across and,
interaction processes. There is, as we have insisted, we feel, dismembers the concept of culture.
always a normative aspect in the relation of culture
In particular, we are resistant to his absorbing
to the motivational component 1 of action; the culture
provides stmilxrds of selective orientation and order­
into “ social systems” abstracted elements
which * e think are better viewed as part of
T he most fundamental starting point for the the totality of culture.
classification of cultural elements is that of the three Raymond Firth has just published a re­
basic “ functional” problem-contexts of action-oricnta- markably clear and cogent statement:
tion in general, the cognitive, the cathcctic and the
In the description and analysis o f the group life
evaluative. It is fundamental to the very conception
of human beings the most general terms used are
of action that there must be pattern-complcxcs differ­
society, culture, and community. Each is commonly
entiated with respect to each of these major problem
used to express the idea of a totality. A s abstractions
contexts. These considerations provide the basis for thev can give only a selected few of the qualities of
the initial classification of cultural pattern types, the subject-matter they are meant to represent.
namely belief systems, systems of expressive symbols, Naturally, then, the definition of them has tended
and systems of value-oricntation. (p. 3:7) to mark contrasted rather than shared qualities. The
types of contrast made familiar by German sociolo­
In some fundamental respects (emphasis upon gists have drawn a distinction between the more pur­
patterning, symbols, internalization of cul­ poseful associations serving individual ends and those
ture on the part of individuals), we are com- arising from less-well-defined principles of aggrcga-

“ T h e ensuing definition is not included in Part of definitions with works published in 1950.
II because we found it necessary to close our survey
rion. This has value as an analytical device, to classify single individual — they are culture. It is
social relationships. But at the broadest level, to clear that these three points of the triangle
cover almost the complete range of association, this are statements of foci in a broader frame of
mutual exclusiveness is misplaced. The terms represent reference; they are not independent but each
different facets or components in basic human situa­
has Implications for the other. For example,
tions. If, for instance, society is taken to be an
organized set o f individuals with a given way of life,
culture is not motivation but it affects motiva­
culture is that w ay o f life. If society is taken to be tion and likewise is part of the individual’s
an aggregate of social relations, then culture is the “ definition of the situation.”
content of those relations. Society emphasizes the Culture and Individttals. This is a briefer 26
human component, the aggregate o f the people and group than the preceding.
the relations between them. Culture emphasizes the Wissler (1), 1916, is of importance because
component o f accumulated resources, immaterial as he was trained in psychology and was one of
well as material, which the people inherit, employ, the first anthropologists to consider relations
transmute, add to, and transmit. Having substance,
with psychology. He makes the simple and
if in part only ideational, this component acts as a
regulator to action. From the behavioural aspect,
definite and incontestable point that no amount
culture is all learned behaviour which has been of psychology as such will give historical an­
socially acquired. It includes the residual effects of swers such as why inventions and organizations
social action. It is necessarily also an incentive to or changes of culture were made when, where,
action. The term community emphasizes the space- and by whom they were made.
time component, the aspect of living together. It Marett (2), 1920, (cf. also d - 1), accepts a
involves a recognition, derived from experience and parallelism of sociology and psychology, but
observation, that there must be minimum conditions warns against a sociological treatment of man
of agreement on common aims, and inevitably some
and history done as if there were no life in
common ways o f behaving, thinking, and feeling.
Society, culture, community, then involve one an­
the subject matter: such treatment is dead
other— though when they are conceived as major and dull. No one will dissent from this.
isolates for concrete study their boundaries do not Marett’s remark about human history being
necessarily coincide. (1951, 27-28) “ instinct with purposive movement through
and through” is evidently intended as a re­
To sum up: the simple biological analogy minder that history deals with live men who
of “ organism and environment” is inadequate strove and tried. It is probably not to be
because man is a culture-bearing animal. Some construed as a claim that history itself, as an
sort of three-way paradigm is necessary since entity, has an immanent or God-implanted
we have: (a) individuals, (b) the situations purpose.
in which they find themselves, and (c) the Ogbum (3), 1922, is commenting on Kroc-
modes or ways in which they are oriented to ber’s then recent first attempt to distinguish
these situations. In terms of the intellectual planes of phenomena reducing to each other
division of labor which has generally been in one direction only, but also containing each
adhered to during this century the study of an autonomous component or at least aspect.
individual organisms and their motivations has It so happened that Kroeber at that time did
been the province of psychology and biology. not name a social level, but passed directly
Insofar as sociology has had a distinct concep­ from the cultural (“superorganic” ) to the
tual field, it has been that of investigation of mental and thence to the organic and inor­
the situation. Cultural anthropology has been ganic planes of phenomena. In fact, with all
dealing with the modes of orientation to the endeavor at “ splitting” he was not yet con­
situation. How the individual is oriented to ceptually separating cultural and social phe­
his situation is in the concrete sense “ within” nomena, being still caught in the then pre­
the actor but not in the analytic sense, for valent ambiguity of meaning of the word so­
modal orientations cannot, by definition, be cial.” Ogbum had been influenced by per­
derived from observing ana questioning a sonal contact with Boas and was sympathetic

" T h e ensuing discussion should be linked with

that in die comment on ITI-d.
to the recognition of culture, but considered other than a specifically psychological work.
Krocber’s attempt “ bold.” It was certainly It is only in the fact of their all being impinge­
only half thought through. ments on the individual psyche that these
The citation from Kroeber himself nearly three are alike.
a decade later (5), 1931, merely affirms the Culture and Artifacts. Clellan Ford (10),
existence of cultural facts over and beyond 1937, and Rouse (16), 1939, both of Yale, one
their physiological and psychological aspects. with a psychological, the other with an arch­
It is worth remarking that a specifically social aeological approach, agree that artifacts are
aspect is still not mentioned: the social facies not culture. This is a position implied in some
was being included either in the psychological of the definitions cited in Part II — those
or the cultural. which emphasize ideas, ideals, behavior;
Culture ami Environment. Environment though contrariwise artifacts are undoubtedly
as a causative factor has been less in evidence implied in many other definitions, and are ex­
in recent thinking than in the eighteenth and plicitly mentioned in several, such as A-14,
nineteenth centuries, but has of course never B—6, D-II-12, E-4, G-5. Ford’s position is that
been ruled out. VVe may begin with the latest culture is concerned wtih the way people act.
statement, that of Kluckhohn and Kelly (19), How people make and use artifacts is part of
1945, which recognizes “ four universal dimen­ culture; the artifacts themselves are cultural
sions” framing human action. They are: or­ data but not culture Artifacts stand in the
ganic heredity', non-human environment, so­ same category of relationship to culture as
cial environment, and a historical precipitate does environment. Rouse words it a little
which includes the effects of the three fore­ differently. “ Culture cannot be inherent in"
going as well as its own selectivity. In more artifacts. It is the relationship between arti­
usual but looser terminology, these four di­ fact and user, the pattern of significance of
mensions are race, environment, society', and artifacts, that is cultural, not the artifacts as
culture. such.
Case (4), 1924, already recognizes three Culture and Custom. Sapir (5), 1931, who
of these four “ dimensions” : race and environ­ apparently' never gave a full-length formal
ment interacting to produce culture, and this definition of culture,27 wrote one of his many
interacting with them to produce— a tauto­ profoundly illuminating articles in the Ency­
logical anticlimax — “ social evolution or civi­ clopaedia of Social Sciences on “ Custom.” It
lization.” Progress
O thus
_ c\rs itself smuggled
D . DO
is, he says, a common sense concept that has
in. Yet, from a sociologist, the omission of served as the matrix for the development of
society is remarkable. the concept of culture, and remains somewhat
Daryll Forde (9), 1934, attributes culture more connotive, subjective, and affect-laden.
(not human action as in Kluckhohn and The authors feel this to be a pregnant remark,
Kelly’s case) to the four factors of race, phy­ w'hich, if consistently kept in mind by all of
sical environment, society, and psychology. us, would have obviated many deviations and
However, his point is not so much to dis­ missteps in the understanding of culture.
tinguish these as to point out the fallacy of Sapir does define custom in this article. He
using any of thern alone as an explanation, be­ says it is “ the totality of behavior patterns
cause all cultures have had specific, individual which axe carried by tradition and lodged in
histories. the group, as contrasted with the more ran­
Plant’s statement that he is using “ environ­ dom personal activities of the individual.” We
ment, milieu, and cultural pattern” inter­ feel that this definition is both common-sense
changeably could hardly have been made in and precise: it hits the nail on the head.

™ His B -i, B - j, G - i in Part II are brief as well as


The two following passages are added to than to the details of its cultural expression.
extend completeness of documentation. They Thus one, or a partial, interpretation of an­
were received when the manuscript was al­ cestor worship might be to show how it is
ready' in the hands of the editor and hence the consistent with family or kinship structure.
comments and subsequent tabulations have The cultural, or customary, actions which a
not been revised to include them. But they man performs when showing respect to his
bear, clearly enough, upon central issues ancestors, the facts, for instance, that he makes
touched upon many times in the course of this a sacrifice and that what he sacrifices is a cow
work. or an ox, require a different kind of interpre­
tation, and this may be partly both psycho­
a) Evans-Pritchard, 1951: 17-18. logical and historical.
Among the older anthropological writers, This methodological distinction is most evi­
Morgan, Spencer, and Durkheim conceived dent when comparative studies are under­
the aim of what we now call social anthro­ taken, for to attempt both kinds of interpreta­
pology to be the classification and functional tion at the same time is then almost certain to
analysis of social structures. This point of lead to confusion. In comparative studies
view has persisted among Durkheim’s followers what one compares are not things in them­
in France. It is also well represented in British selves but certain particular characteristics of
anthropology today and in the tradition of them. If one wishes to make a sociological
formal sociology in Germany. Tylor, on the comparison of ancestor cults in a number of
other hand, and others who leant towards different societies, what one compares are sets
ethnology, conceived its aim to be the classifi­ of structural relations between persons. One
cation and analysis of cultures, and this has necessarily starts, therefore, by abstracting
been the dominant viewpoint in American these relatiors in each society' from their par­
anthropology for a long time, partly, I think, ticular modes of cultural expression. Other­
because the fractionized and disintegrated In­ wise one will not be able to make the com­
dian societies on which their research has been parison. What one is doing is to set apart
concentrated lend themselves more easily to problems of a certain kind for purposes or re­
studies of culture than of social structure; search. In doing; this, one is not makincr a dis-
partly because the absence of a tradition of tinction between different kinds of thins —
intensive field work through the native lan­ society and culture are not entities — but be-
guages and for long periods of time, such as tween different kinds of abstraction.
we have in England, also tends towards studies
of custom or culture rather than of social re­ b) Infield, 1951: 5 12 -1;.
lations; and partly for other reasons. It would seem that the first step in this di­
When a social anthropologist describes a rection w’ould have to be a sociological defi­
primitive society the distinction between so­ nition of culture. Such a definition would
ciety and culture is obscured by the fact that have to specify the functional interrelations
he describes the reality, the raw behaviour, in between the mode of interaction, or as Lewin
which both are contained. He tells you, for w'ould call it the “ structural configuration of
example, the precise manner in which a man socio-dynamic properties,” and both the ag­
shows respect to his ancestors; but when he gregate of acquired meanings on the one side
comes to interpret the behaviour he has to as well as the needs of individuals on the other.
make abstractions from it in the light of the In this sense, it could be possibly formulated
particular problems he is investigating. If as follows: Culture is an acquired aggregate
these are problems of social structure he pays of meanings attached to and implemented in
attention to the social relationships of the per­ material and non-material objects which de­
sons concerned in the whole procedure rather cisively influence the manner in which human
beings tend to interact so as to satisfy their true functional interrelation, the one pre­
needL sented in our definition can be analyzed by
By “ aggregate of acquired meanings” we starting from any of its terms. Taking its
understand something equivalent to what con­ starting point, for instance, from the acquired
stitutes culture in the eyes of anthropology. meanings, the analysis can show how, by way
The “ whole of material and non-material of the mode of social interaction, they affect
values together with the vehicles of their im­ the nature of the needs. Or, by starting from
plementation,” as anthropology likes to define the needs — taking them generally as being
it, is a somewhat static complex. By substitut­ of the kind that can be satisfied by acting
ing for values the term “ meanings” we at once mainly for oneself or of the kind that can be
open the possibility of relating the cultural satisfied by acting mainly together with others
element to what interests the sociologist most: — it can be shown how they influence the
the mode of sociation. In this way, a place is mode of social interaction which in turn de­
also accorded to that factor which the natural termines the selection, acceptance, and culti­
science point of view tends to neglect, the ac­ vation of specific meanings attached to ma­
tive element in human nature. Acquired terial and non-material objects. Finally, the
meanings are both those accumulated and analysis can set out from the mode of social
transmitted by former generations, the social interaction and show how this interaction
heritage, as well as those which the present forms, so to speak, a relay system between
generation makes actively its own, the cul­ meanings and needs. Wherever we start from,
tural activities of the present. In this manner, it is clear that the sociologically relevant char­
the nature of the acquired meanings has a acter of a given group’s culture can be under­
direct functional relation to the mode of social stood fully only if the analysis is capable of
interaction. In its turn, the mode of social accounting not only for the main terms of the
interaction is functionally related to and culture but for the functional interrelation of
oriented toward the satisfaction of needs of these terms as well.
the interacting individuals. Actually, like any
Beaglehole and Beaglehole, d - io (1946) Merton, d - 1 1 (1949)
Benedict, d -4 ( *93i > Mumford, a-10 (1938)
Bidney, a- '7 (* 9 4 7 ). *-«> (* 9 4 9 ) Murdock, a-6 (1932), a-i2a (1940), b-3 (1932), b - 5
Bierstedt, /-14 ( ' 9 3 8 ) ( 1 9 4 1 ) ,/ - 11 (1937), f - i 1 (1949b)
Bloomfield, e-6 (1945)
Boas, b -4 (1938), e -i (19 11) Nadel, d - n (1937a), d - 13 (1937b), f - i j (1951)
Bose, a- 3 (* 9 *9 ). * -* («9 I 9 >* c~3 ( ' 9 * 9 )
Buswell, e-14 ( ' 95°) Ogburn, a -i (1922), /-3 (1922)
Olmsted, e-16 (1950)
Case, c -i (19 17 ). f~ 4 ( 1 9 *4 *) Opler, e-6 (1944). d - 9 (1935)
Osgood, e-9 (19 51)
Dennes, a-13 (1942)
Parsons, /-12 (1937)
Ellwood, o -i (1927a), c—i (1927b)
P la n t,/ - i3 (1937)
Evans-Pritchard, III, Addenda-a (19 51)

Radcliffe-Brown, a-4 (1930), a-21 (19 4 9 ),/-17 (1940),

Faris, a- 9 (1937). * - 4 ( ' 9 3 7 ). ( '937)
/—22 (1949)
Firth, a -n (1939). ^ ( '944)
Redfield, d-3 (1928)
Ford, f -1 0 (1937)
Roheim, a-14 (1943), d-6 (1934), d - 7 (1934), d -17
Forde, a-7 (1934). f~9 (* 9 3 4 ) (19 4 1), d -18 (1942)
Fortes, f-20 (1949a)
Rouse, /-16 (1939)
Freud, d-2 (1927)

Sapir, d-8 (1934), e-2 (19 12 ), e-3 (1924b), e-5 (1929),

Goldenweiser, e-5 (1937), d-5 (1933), f —
S (1933)
f-6 (19 3 1), /-7 (1932)
Greenberg, e-9 (1948)
Schapera, a-8 (1935)
Seligman, d - 10 (1936)
Herskovits, e-7 (2948) Silva-Fuenzalida, e-12 (1949)
Hinshaw and Spuhler, a-18 (1948)
Hockett, e-13 (1950)
T aylor, e-17 (1950)
Hoijer, e-10 (1948)
Trubetzkoy, e-4 (1929)

Kardiner, d -15 (1939), /—15 (1939)

Voegelin, e -11 (1949), e-15 (1950)
Kluckhohn and K elly, a - 15 (1945a), a-16 (1945b), /-
Voegelin and Harris, e-7 (1945), e-8 (1947)
18 (1945b), f- 19 (1945b), /- 19a (1945a)
von Wiese, a-12 (1939)
Kluckhohn and M owrer, d - 19 (1944)
Kroeber, a-19 (1948a), /-5 (1928)
Wallis, a-5 (1930)
W hite, £-7 (1947), e-8 (1949a)
Leighton, d - it (1949) Winston, /-7a (1933)
W issler, f - i (1916)
Mandelbaum, d - 16 (1941) W oodard, d -14 (1938)
Marett, d - i (1920), f - i (1920)
Menghin, b - i (1931) Zipf, a -11 (1949)
as it is aggregated in its societies. This con­
cept of culture (and/or civilization) did not
h e history of the concept of culture as
exist anywhere in 1750. By 1850 it was de
T used today in science is the story of the facto being held in some quarters in Germany,
emergence of an idea that was graduallythough never quite explicitly, and with con­
strained out of the several connotations of an siderable persisting wavering between the
existing word. The word culture, in turn, emerging meaning and the older one of cul­
goes back to classical or perhaps pre-classical tivating or improvement. In 1871 the first
Latin with the meaning of cultivation or nur­ formal or explicit definition of the new con­
ture, as it still persists in terms like agriculture, cept which we have been able to find was
horticulture, cult, cultus, and in recent forma­ given by the anthropologist Tylor. This his­
tions like bee culture, oyster culture, pearl tory of the emergence of the concept within
culture, bacillus cultures. The application of its existing terminological matrix is still far
culture to human societies and history was late from clear in detail, but its main course can
— apparently post-1750 — and for some rea­ be traced.
son was characteristic of the German language The Middle Ages looked backward toward
and at first confined to it. perfection as established at the beginning of
The Romance languages, and English in Time. Truth was already revealed, human
their wake, long used civilization instead of wisdom long since added to it; there was no
culture to denote social cultivation, improve­ place left for progress. The Renaissance felt
ment, refinement, or progress. This term goes itself achieving great things, but could hardly
back to Latin civis, civilis, civitas, civilitas, as yet formulate how these achievements dif­
whose core of reference is political and urban: fered from those of the past. Toward 1700
the citizen in an organized state as against the the idea began to dawn in western Europe
tribesman. The term civilization does not oc­ that perhaps “ the Moderns” were equalling or
cur in classical Latin, but seems to be a surpassing “ the Ancients.” T o this daring idea
Renaissance Romance formation, probably several factors probably contributed: the
French and derived from the verb civiliser, channeling, constricting, and polishing of lan­
meaning to achieve or impart refined manners, guage, manners, and customs under the lead­
urbanization, and improvement. An Italian ership of France; the positive achievements
near-counterpart civilta is as early as Dante; of science from Copernicus to Newton; the
and Samuel Johnson still preferred civility surge of a philosophy finally conscious of new
to civilization. problems; an upswing of population and
7 Thus both terms, culture and civilization, wealth; and no doubt other influences. By
began by definitely containing the idea of bet­ about 1750 not only was the fact of mod­
terment, of improvement toward perfection. em progress generally accepted, but the cause
They still retain this meaning today, in many of it had become clear to the times: it was the
usages, both popular and intellectual. How­ liberation of reason, the prevalence of rational
ever, in science as of 1952, the word culture enlightment.
has acquired also a new and specific sense
(sometimes shared with civilization), which
can fairly be described as the one scientific de­
notation that it possesses. This meaning is that In 1765 Voltaire established the term “ the
of a set of attributes and products of human philosophy of history.” An earlier and longer
societies, and therewith of mankind, which work by him on the generalized history of
are extrasomatic and transmissible by mechan­ mankind, dating from 1756, was the famous
isms other than biological heredity, and are Essai siir les Moeurs et f Esprit des Nations.
as essentially lacking in sub-human species as This title pointed the two paths that led out
they are characteristic of the human species from Voltaire. One emphasized the spirit of
peoples and led to a sort of philosophical com­ aiming to cover the totality of the known
mentary or reflections on human history. In w'orld of custom and ideology. The first use
this tradition were the Swiss Iselin’s 1768 His­ of “ history of culture” is by Adelung, of “ cul­
tory of Humanity; Condo rcet’s Sketch of a ture history” by Hegew'isch, 1788.
Historic Survey of the Progress of the Human The Adelung-Herder movement experi­
Spirit, posthumous in 1801, and the final if enced a sort of revival a half-century later at
belated culmination of the movement in the hands of Klemm, who began publishing a
Hegel’s Philosophy of History, also posthum­ many-volumed General Culture History in
ous in 1837. In all tnese the effort v as to seize 1843, and a General Science of Culture in
the spirit or essence, the esprit or Geist, of 1854 Klemm’s ability to generalize, let alone
human progressive history. It is history as theorize, was limited. He was interested in in­
distilled deductively by principles; documen­ formation and he was industrious. He has
tation is secondary; and the course of thought far less swreep and empathy than Adelung and
shears awav from comparative recognition of Herder. He describes instead of narrating, O1
many cultures or civilizations, whose inherent history begins to dissolve into ethnography in
plurality and diversity tend to interfere with his hands. Vet his use of the term culture
formulations that are at once compact and shows the drift of the times. The sense of
broad. “ cultivating” has receded. There is a great
deal about stages of culture. And there are
USE OF C U LT U R E IN G E R M A N Y a number of passages in which the word cul­
ture can be without strain construed in its
The second path emphasized the “ moeurs,” modern scientific meaning — though we pro­
customs, which are variable, particular, plural, bably cannot be completely sure that in any
and empirical rather than rational. Custom, of these passages Klemm did so construe it,
as Sapir says,1 is indeed a common-sense con­ because he seems never to have given a defini­
cept that has served as a matrix for the de­ tion of the term. He probably had attained —
velopment of the scientific concept of culture. at times at least — to the implicit recognition
The best-known early exponents of this line of the scientific concept; he certainly stood at
of inquiry are Adelung, 1782, Herder, 1784- its threshold. After him, beginning with
1791, Jenisch, 1801. The movement was es­ Burckhardt, i860, and going on through a
sentially Germ in and the weighting w as defi­ scries of historians, philosophers, anthropolo­
nitely historic and even in parts ethnographic gists, and others — Hellwald, Lippert, Rick-
rather than philosophical, though aiming to ert, Frobenius, Lamprecht, Yierkandt, and
cover the entire human species throughout its Simmel — there is no longer any question of
duration. The titles of the works of the three wide German recognition of the scientific
authors mentioned all contain the term His­ concept of culture, whether defined or not.
tory and the term Humanity (or Human
Race). Adelung uses Culture in his title, SPREAD OF T H E CO N CEPT
Jenisch in a sub-title. Herder puts Philosophy A N D RESISTAN C ES
ato his title, but speaks constantly of culture,
humanity, and tradition as near-equivalents. Even more important, however, is the
Culture is defined as a progresshe cultivation spread of the concept from Germany to other
of faculties by' Herder, as an amelioration or countries. Danilevsk\'’s “ culture-historical
refinement by Adelung. But in context of ty'pes” of 1869 are major cultures or civiliza­
usage, many statements by' both authors u'hen tions as surely as are Spengler’s and Toymbee’s.
they use “ culture” have a modem ring — not T ylor explicirv acknowledged his use of and
because Adelung and Herder had really at­ obligation to Klemm. In his 1865 Researches
tained to the modem scientifically generalized he had occasionally' ventured on the term cul­
concept of culture, but because their approach ture, though he mostly' used civilization. But
was historical, pluralistic, relativistic, and y'et in 1871 he boldly called his major book Primi-

1 Part III—f —5.

Cm acre and in .cs op-en ng sentence gave the cultural, much as in Durkheim’s d^y. It
nrsc. formal explicit tkfirabOn of cu rare. is not r’ear 10 what degree this old-fashioned
Th-s rrav be jet down as the rtvOt dab c dace and antbnruous terminology is a minor svmp-
of birth of the sciertrrc concept though the rom o- a contributing factor of a certain back­
^rocreaooo **ad been German. wardness in spots of contemporary French
Sc"... in the retmsoect o* e gh.ty years, it is theoretical thinking in the social and cultural
'rm-irtar c bow slowly Tyloris formulation field.
in i terrr. were accepted. Two years be font. Oui^ldc these two countries acceptance of
Matthew Am rid bad de.med culture as the the term culture is universal and undcrstani-
ocrsuit of perfection, characterized by sweet- irg of the concept v ide: in Russ;a, other
ess ard ! rht. A gererat n or m o later, a S'avic Lands. Scandinavia. Holland. Latin
hemired stx-ahers of Efti’iih w zdd sti have America much as in Germany and the LTnircd
zemred Am i's definition. ro one that c\en 'Lares.
tiew of T v e r ’s, directly or at second-hand.
The Oxford Dictionary referred ro Arnold CULTURE AtXD CIVILIZATION
_n *93. to Tv r r t until t e 19 ;; > -? ? - -
meat1 T e first th ugh sa il rr. pen set pene­ Much as Tvlor for a time wavered between
tration of the sc.-“ tire or Tylorian concert culture n d c.v.Lzatim and perhaps finally
• cvt-ve into the world of died:nines was cfcse the former as somewhat less burdened
ir. the Webster of i t : : , sod its earliest aie- \v th connotation of h gh degiee of advance­
ment the tv o terms have continued to be
"ear-svnonvTrs ro many students writing in
E re -h- both Fetish and American. The con­
tents a"cached to the two words in usage
have teen c ose enough to make choice be-
cween them to a large extent a matter of pref­
erential to :e.
In German, how e . er, three separate attempts
have .an made to c ~ris: culture and
c.v: ari n. The rrsc of these, whose bc-
rlr.r. r r ; are attributed to Wilhelm von Hum­
boldt and which was carried on bv Lippert and
Farch. makes evirate concerned with the
techr.alorlcal-economic activities or the “ ma­
terial" sphere; but civilization, with spiritual
can blem.em or enricv nr Th s view found
re—: mrv reflection in American socioloev
n Lester Ward and Albtor. SrralL around 1900.
N a t S :c-r!er used civilization to denote
the hn rttrfvir.g. non-creative phase which
was the old age or winter of his unique
m- mdaL fate-charged cultures. This usi"e
had wide terrq rary repercussions *n Ger­
many. t ur few echoes outside

1 . J trees. See “ PrTriples of O a fcanon,” pp. 1, j , 3,

2r d “ On the Evolution of Culture ” pp. 21, 23, 24 (3
c u e s ) , z6 (tw ice). 31 (tw ice), 4^-, these pigc ref­
e r s zes b e > z to :~e 1906 reprint b y the Clarendon
Press. O rfm d . c~i cr the brie: T ^ e F., :.iuion of
C u .r ^ e 1s r j o:htr E n iy s. ed red b y J. L Mvres (in
' :h the plrcts of o r e "al p-blicat^n are cited).
Finally there is the Alfred Weber reaction in The Superorganic in 1917: even to a
of 1920 to Spengler, still rraintained by Tbum- diagram sh o w in g superpt :d divergent .r
wald as of 1950, identifying civilization w;th e rre rge rt levels. M o re recently, W arden
the objective technological and informational am ong psychologists, and W h i t e 1 am ong an­
activities of society, but culture with subjec­ thropologists, have concerned themselves with
tive religion, philosophy, and art. Gvilization culture as an em ergent.2*
is accumulative and irreversible; the cultural A s betw een all levels, it is the lo w er ones
component is highly variable, unique, non- that sec the fram e in w h ich phenomena of
addidve. This view has found somewhat superior level operate. T h e “ law s” o r forces
modified reflecdon in Maclver, Odum, and o f the lo w er level do not per se “ ; r c u c c ” the
Merton among American sociologists. upper-level phenomena; at an ,’ r»re, the.t
The tenacity of these several German efforts cannot be w h o lly derived from b e lo w ; there
to drive through to a distinction between cul­ is alw ays a specific residuum, a rum o f tre
ture and civ1 ization is as marked as their parts, a com bination c r organization, that is of
variety of pos'tion. It scerrs almost as if, there and in tb.c level Le.n g c.n sid ered . T h u s or­
being two words close in sense, a compulsion ganic processes o f events con fo rm w h o lly t
arose to identify them with contrasting aspects physico-chem ical process, t cannot t e r.on-
of the major meaning which they shared. residually resolved imro them. L o w er-le vel
facrcrs adequately explain centum constants
and uniform ities in u k n1se t-le vel »pher —.eta.
but tiiev do not w h o lly explain, nor even 'e s ­
cribe, tre distinctive properties specific to
Once culture had been recognized as a phenomena o f the u rp e r leveL
distinctive product of men living in societies, C ulture constitutes the ropm . t phen ;m e m !
or as a peculiar, coherent, and continuous set level y e t recognized — o r fo r that matter, now
of attributes of human behavior, it was prob­ imaginable — in the realm o f cam re. T h is of
ably only a "|uestion of time until the claim course does not com cel the predicti n that
was advanced that culture constituted a sep­ em ergence into our consciousness o f a re
arate “ level,” “ dimension,” or “ aspect” of and higher level is nrecluded.
phenomena, analogous to the distinctive organ­ T h e d i r g e " m the construal o f culture as t~
ization or patterning characteristic of organic em ergent level evidently* lies in tilt consequent
phcnomc a in addition to their physico­ ten den cy to r e ify o r hypcstasize cu lm re, to
.- *. , * l 7
chemical basis. C. Lloyd Morgan’s Emergent view* .t as a c_stm cr.ve su : stance r acrua*
Evolution of 19:3 is perhaps the best-known superorganism , and m en to assume that r
w ork developing the principle of emergence, m oves th rough autonom ous, im m in e n t f -res.
though wholly without reference to culture. Spengler certainly* beheved this; so d'd Ttio-
Alexander’s Space, Time m i D eity— issued benius. at least at times; and K rc e b e r has be:*'
in 1920 — is the first book cn the subtict b y hath* charged wnth r~ c same err rs b y E us.
a philosopher and has publication priority over Benedict, and Bid r e v . besides in cu rr—u
■ , . - . 4i
Morgan but was evidently influenced by him. tion to tne c o r c e p t o f m e su p e ro rrsm r mem
The autonomy of the cultural level was ap­ Sap ir and G o ld en w eiser. T o o fe w anthrt r : 1
parently first advanced by’ Frobcnius 2s early gists have, h ow ever, ac m r c i o 1 c t e i in the tils-
as 1898 in Ursprung der A*rikmiscken cussion c f this p ^ e n o :rc n o I:r-c a I sc : o f r r : : -
Kultur cn und Nituncissensckzftliche Kultzr- lems to render it clear w h eth er r e : r I tit" c :
lehrre, and restated in Paidcurra, 19 :1. It was a culm m l level o r aspect necessarily c c —pels
of course completely assumed and asserted by’ die reification o f culture as a sub stance con­
Spengler in 1918. It is advocated by Kroeber taining its o w n self-m o vin g forces, o r w hcther

author of the present —: "''graph is in comr’ ete acree-

•W h ite 's gerenl theorv of culture has been dis­ merr with this crno :t.
cussed at length by one of us a few years ago (Kroe- “* Se< also Znar ecki, 1952, w**ich arneared -wh--!e
ber, 1948b). With minor reservations the od er die present monograph war in galley procf.
it is possible to take the first step and refrain
from the second. To put it differently, is the
The few twentieth-century definitions
value of recognition of a cultural level essen­
earlier than 1920 are also interesting, both
tially methodological and operational, or is it
with reference to the profession of the authors
misleading because it must lead to substantifica-
and to the class to which we have assigned
tion and stark autonomy? Sociologists have
the definitions.
been of little help on this point because their
specific approach being through the social 1871 Tylor Anthropologist A -i, Ennumeradve
aspects of phenomena, they tend to treat the [9°3 Ward Sociologist F—II—1, Ideas
cultural aspects as an extension or secondary, 1905 Small Sociologist D -I-i, Adjustment
so that the problem is marginal to them. 1907 Ostwald Chemist F-IV -i , Residual
Philosophers on the whole have shown no 1915 Ostwald Chemist F-IV -i , Residual
1916 Wissler Anthropologist D -II-i, Learning
great interest in the issue. This very fact,
1916 Wissler Anthropologist F-Il-2, Ideas.
however, suggests that the recognition of
levels does not necessarily have ontological For the period 1920-50 we submit a tabular
implication, but is essentially an operational list of definition groups or classes arranged in
view arising within empirical scientific prac­ the chronological order of their earliest post-
tice.4 1920 definition, with mention of the author of
this first post-1920 one, and citation of the
DEFINITIO N S OF C U LTU R E number of definitions in each group during
each of the three decades 1920-50.
In Part II we have cited one hundred sixty- It is evident that once a post-1920 definition
four 4a definitions of culture. The occurrence with a certain new emphasis has been made,
of these in time is interesting — as indeed the others in the same group follow pretty
distribution of all cultural phenomena in steadily, in fact usually increase in numbers.
either space or time always reveals significance. For the three decades (1940-50 comprising
Our earliest definition, TylorTs of 1871, eleven instead of ten years) the total definitions
seems not to have been followed by any other are 22, 35, 100.
for thirty-two years. Between 1900 and 1919 In contrast, the time gap between the seven
(actually 1903 and 1916), we have found only pre-1920 definitions and the first post-1920
six; but for 1920 to 1950, one hundred fifty- ones (w'ithin the same emphasis groups) runs
seven. In other words, the distribution is: in from nine to forty-nine years and avenges
the first three-fifths of our eighty years, less twenty-eight years. The length of this inter­
than four per cent; in the last two-fifths, val inevitably raises the question whether an
ninety-six per cent. The long wait after isolated statement, so f ir ahead as this of all
Tylor is particularly striking. The word cul­ the rest in its group, can have been actuated
ture was by then being bandied about by all by the same motivations as these; that is,
kinds of German thinkers; and one has only whether in spite of formal or verbal resem­
to turn the leaves of the 1888-98 Old Series blance to them, it actually “ meant” the same
of the American Anthropologist to find the — whether it was aimed at the same sense or
term penetrating even to titles of articles — was a chance shot.
in 1895, Mason on Similarities in Culture; in For instance, when the chemist Ostwald in
1896, Fewkes on Prehistoric Culture of 1907 and 1915 defined culture as that which
Tusayan; in 1898, McGee on Piratical Ac­ man alone among animals possesses, his state­
culturation. The point is that the word culture ment is evidently not part of the same specific
was being used without definition. current of thought that led the sociologist

* For a more extended discussion of “ levels,” see hundred “definitions” in these pages. However, sam­
Kroeber, 1949. pling indicates that the main conclusions we draw
** Actually, if additional definitions in Part III, in from the one hundred and sixty-four would not be
footnotes, and in quotations throughout the mono­ substantially altered if we had retabulated to include
graph are counted, there are probably close to three every possible “ definition.”
pre-1910 Fint post 1910 Definition group, Number of Definitions
Definition Definition By Emphasis on 19*0-29 1930-39 1940-30 Total*
A . Beginning 1910-29
(1871) 19:0 Wissler Enumeration, A 5 5 9 20
— 1921 Park-Burgess, Sapir Tradition, Heritage, B 6 5 12 13
— I9 Z I Sapir Incomplete, G 2 2 3 7
(1916) 192ft Hart-Panrzer Learning, D-Il 1 — <«3> ( ' 5)
(1903) • 917 Sumner-Kcller Adjustment, D-I 2 5 9 17
— ' 9*7 Willey Product, F-I 3 6 12 21
— 1919 Wissler Rule, W ay, C-I K 4 •5 20
— 1919 Willey Patterning, E 1 1 7 9
— pre-1930 Tozzer Habit, D-III I 1 1 4
B. B e g in n in g a f t e r 1930
'934 Roheim Purely Psychological, D -IV _ 2 1 2
— '935 Carver Ideals and Behavior, C-II — 2 4 6
(1903, 1916) '937 Schmidt, Blumenthal Ideas, F-II — 2 6 10
C. B e g in n in g a f t e r 19 4 0

(1907, 1915) ' 94 ' Blumenthal Residual, F -IV 3 5

(1916) 194't Miller-Dollard Learning, D-I I (1) — '3 '5
— 1942 Bain Symbols, F-FII — — 5 5
* Includes all definitions frotn Tylor's onward,
t Repeated, because of long interv al 19:3 to 1941.

Blumenthal to say’ in 1941 that culture is ail tion; especially’ as his own training was largely
non-gcnct'callv produced means of adjust­ psychological. Srill, Wissler did not pursue
ment (F-IV -i, 3). Osrwald was not think­ this approach — in fact abandoned it for
ing of adjustment, nor of its means; and he orhcrs. So it is as much as twenty-one years
accepted culture as a property or result, after Wissler that a continuing stream of
rather than inquiring into the process that definitions yvith idea emphasis (F-II-4 to 9,
produced it. r.ine in number including variants) first begins
Again, Small’s 1905 statement (D-I-i) to be produced, from 1937 to 1949. The half-
centers on attainment or promotion of ends, dozen authors involved in this continuity evi­
individual or social; which is characteristic of dently in part influenced one another, in part
the psychologizing sociology of his day — yverc responding to the times.
vaguely psychologizing it seems in the retro­
spect of a half-century. But, beginning with THE PLACE OF TYLOR AND WISSLER
Sumner and Keller in 1927, the emphasis comes
to rest on a new basis, which instead of being The case of Tylor as a precursor is some­
limited to the subjectively psychological, is what special. It yvas almost a half-century —
concerned with adaptation to total environ­ from 1871 to 1920 — before his earliest of all
ment. definitions had a successor in the enum-
Similarly’, in the emphasis-on-ideas group eratively descriptive class “ A.” As usual,
F-II, Ward’s 1903 statement refers to ideas, Wissler was first, after Tylor; anthropologists
but the central concept is that culture is a predominate among the successors; and Tylor’s
social structure or organism; to which there is influence is traceable, sometimes even in turns
then appended the supplementary’ remark “ and of wording, to as late as Kroeber, Herskovits,
ideas are its germs” —whatever “ germs” mav and Thumwald, 1948-50. The reason for this
mean in this context. Wissler, thirteen years continuity’ is not only that Tylor possessed
later, w h en he says that culture is a definite unusual insight and wisdom, but that he was
association complex of ideas, is undoubtedly deliberately’ establishing a science by defining
trying to give a specific psychological defini­ its subject matter. That he made this definition
the first sentence of a book shows that he \vai> was fifty-three, was called The M ini of
conscious of his procedure. Primitive Alan; his last, a selection from his
Yet why T jlo r was so long in being fol­ articles and papers, chosen bv himself at the
low ed even by Wissler remains a problem. The age of eightv-two, he named Rare, Language,
reasons evidently were multiple. First, Tvlor and Culture. So far as there is a central theme
was introducing a new meaning from a foreign in both works, it is that one cannot infer or
lanmiage for an established F.nglish word, and deduce between environment, race, language,
English idiom was resistant. Then, concur­ and culture; that spontaneous or inherent
rently, the older English sense of the vcrd developments cannot be proved and must not
culture was being given an ultra-humanistic be assumed, and that so far as they tend to
sharpening by Matthew Arnold; and as against occur thcv are generic and subject to varia­
this literary significance, with its highly tion or even suppression; that as regards human
charged connotation in a country where higher groups different influences can produce similar
education was classical, a contrary effort in an effects, and that causes arc multiple and must
incipient science had little force. In fact, the be independently ascertained in each case
names of Lang and Frazer suggest how with due regard to the specificity of its history.
little extricated from belles lettres the new The upshot was a far more critical approach
science of anthropology remained in Britain than had been displayed by any predecessor,
for more than a generation after Tylor. and results that were positive as regards many
Then, the whole orientanon of the evolution­ particular problems, but as regards generalities
ary school, whose productivity’ began just ten were largely methodological or negative. Boas
years before 1871 and of which Tvlor him­ was interested in the complex interactions of
self formed part, and which led anthropology culture, language, race, and environment; he
out of the fringe of philosophy, history, was much less interested in the nature and
geography, biology, and medicine into an specific properties of culture. As Boas in one
autonomous activity with problems of its own way or another influenced almost all his suc­
— the orientation of this evolutionary school cessors in American anthropology, the result
was toward origins, stages, progress and sur­ was that directly he contributed little to
vivals. and spontaneous or rational operations Tvlor’s attempt to isolate and clarify the con­
of the human mind. Culture entered consid­ cept of culture as such, and that indirectly he
eration chiefly as an assemblage of odd cus­ hindered its progress bv diverting attention to
toms and strange beliefs used to substantiate oths“r problems.
the broad principles advanced as to origins and This interpretation is strengthened bv the
progress. In short, the assumptions as well as fact, that Wissler, whose anthropological train­
the findings of the “ evolutionists” were ing stemmed from Boas, but who broke per­
schematic and, except for Tylor, the men sonally with him about 1906, by 1916 had
themselves remained uninterested in culture offered two definitions of culture (D -II-i,
as a concept. F-II-2) and was the first to follow w’ith
Finally, it is probable that the influence of definitions of different emphasis (A-2, C -I-i)
Boas was a factor. As we have seen, American in 1920 and 1929. Wissler was lunging rather
anthropologists were using both the concept than consistent in these tries. But it is evident
and the word culture fairlv freely in the that he was concerned with the problem of
eighteen-nineties, perhaps already in the what culture was and what characterized it,
eighties beginning with the establishment of
more than Boas ever was; and the parting of
the Bureau of Ethnology. Boas, coming from
Germany in the eighties, w'as certainly familiar the personal ways of the tw o men may have
with both idea and w’ord. However, Boas was freed Wissler for this interest. As in so much
interested in dealing with culture, not in of his other work, he was somewhat casual,
systematically theorizing about it. He gave his imprecise, and perhaps unintense in his attack
first definition of it at the age of seventy-two, on the problem; but he possessed an explora­
in an encyclopaedia article on the scope of tory and pioneering mind. Of Wissler’s four
anthropology’. His first book, issued when he definitions which we cite, all are the first of
their class except fo r the precedence o f one four definitions by anthropologists — the last
b y T y lo r . four, from 1948 to 1950.
A year later, in 1929, Wissler initiated the
THE COURSE OF POST-i9 2 o Rule or W ay type of conceiving of culture
DEFINITIONS (C-I). With “ way” close to custom, and
L e t us revert to our tabulation. A fte r the again to tradition or heritage, one might ex­
Enum erative class ( A ) o f definitions launched pect this formulation to come mainly from
b y T y l o r and revived b y W issler, the next to anthropologists. It does: they made or par­
be initiated w as the H istorical one w h ich em­ ticipated in thirteen of the twenty statements
phasized Tradition or Social H eritage ( B ) . assembled.8
T rad ition ” goes back to H erder, w h o co n ­ Patterning or Organization as an empha­
sistently usea the term alongside C u ltu r and sized factor in culture (E) might be looked
Hum anitaet, almost as a syn o n ym . Social H e r­ for as also an anthropological view, in view of
itage o f course is culture — the m atrix in w h ich Benedict’s influence; but it is not so in origin.
culture as a technical term o f science g re w up, Willey, Dollard, and Ogbum and Nimkoff
according to Sapir. Sapir himself and Park are the only representatives from 1929 to 1940.
and Burgess lead o ff the chain in 1921; eight However, the emphasis is not yet sharp. The
of the first ten definitions, to 1917, are by an­ word pattern 6 is not used; correlation, inter­
thropologists, and seven o f the remaining relation, interdependence, system do occur.
thirteen. With 1941 the anthropologists join in. Red-
Passing over the Incomplete Definitions (G ), field speaks of “ organization,” Linton of “ or­
and for a moment those that emphasize Learn­ ganized” and of “ configuration,” Kluckhohn
ing (D -II), we come to those stressing Ad­ and Kelly of a “system of designs for living.”
justment or Problem Solving (D -I). Here The word “ patterned” appears only since 1943,
Sm all had pointed the wav as early as 1903 with Gillin and Tumev-High. W e believe, as
w ith his stress on “ ends,” and it was the sociolo­ intimated in our Comment on group E, that
gist Keller, editing and continuing Sumner’s the concept .s likely to have greater weighting
w o rk in 1927, that established Adjustment (or in the future, whatever the terms may be that
Adaptation in 1915) as a factor in culture. will be used to designate it.
This is a characteristic sociological type of From 1930 to 1934 no new types of defini­
definition. Onlv four of the seventeen ex­ tions were launched. In 1935 Carver, an econo­
amples found bv us emanate from anthro­ mist, made a statement that does not fit any of
pologists: in 1942, Clellan Ford, who was our groups too well but is perhaps nearest our
trained also in sociology and psychology at Idcals-plus-Bchavior class C-II. Two eminent
Yale, and who varied adaptions to problem- sociologists, Thomas and Sorokin, and the
solutions; in 1946, Kluckhohn and Leighton; philosopher Bidney, have produced the re­
in 1949 Turney-High with maintenance of maining five statements which we have col­
“‘equilibrium as a psychological organism” lated. “ Behavior” is of course a mechanis­
as a variant of adaptation; and in 1950 the tically-charged term given its wide vogue in
British anthropologist, Piddington. post-World-War-I psychology, The older
O u r group next in time, beginning in 1928, anthropologists spoke of activities, reactions, or
w ith emphasis on culture as a P ro d u ct or A r ti­ practices. Values or norms, on the other hand,
fa ct ( F - I ) , is again dom inantly the result o f have probably long been a covert constituent
sociological thinking. A p a r t from the pre- of conceptions of culture, which have only
historian M enghin’s statement o f 1934 that recently begun to be acknowledged.
culture is the objectified, materialized result In 1937 the anthropologist Pater Schmidt
(E rg eb n is) o f spiritual activ ity, there are only and the sociologist Blumenthal independently

• A n additional definition o f this type, discovered which it translates. That is, it signifies any way of
too late to include in Part II, is b y the classical scholar life distinctively human, however far from civiliza­
and student o f com parative religion. H . J . Rose. It tion or refinement.” (Translator’s preface to Schmidt,
b only a y ea r later than W issler: “ T h rough out, the 1930. p. ix). ^
w o rd 'culture* b used in the sense o f Germ an Kultur, •It does occur in Winston, 1933 (F-I-4).
revived an interest in ideas as a characteristic development in early man of the faculty for
component of culture (group F-II) which had symbolizing, generalizing, and imaginative
lain dormant since the sociologist Ward in substitution. Another decade ought therefore
1903 and the anthropologist Wissler in 1916. to see a heavier accentuation of this factor in
All the remaining statements of the class, ex­ our thinkingOabout culture. =
cept one by the philosopher Feibleman and one
by the sociologist Becker, are from anthro­ R A N K ORDER OF ELEM EN TS
pologists. E N T E R IN G IN TO PO ST-1930
Interest in culture being learned (D-II) has D EFIN IT IO N S1
two roots. One is old, and rests on the recogni­
tion that culture is non-instinctive, non- Let us now consider conceptual elements
crenetic, acquired by social process, whether from the point of view of entrance into defini­
that process be called tradition, imitation, or tions in any explicit form rather than from the
education. This is reflected, as early as 1871, exclusive point of view of emphasis. We shall
in Tylor’s “ acquired by man as a member of include only those elements which occur most
society.” The second interest is much more frequently or which (as just indicated above)
recent, and is a reflection of emphasis on seem to have special importance in more recent
learning theory in modern psychology. While developments of the concept. The rank order
all culture is learned, most culturelcss animals for the pre-1940 decade is as follows:
also learn, so that learning alone can never Group reference (“social” etc.) 23
suffice either to define or to explain culture. Historical product (“ heritage,” “tradition,"
The mention of learning by anthropologists etc.) 18
like Benedict. Opler, Hoebel, Slotkin, and Totality 16
Kluckhohn thus evidences the growing rapport Behavior (“ acts,” etc.) 12
between anthropology and psychology. Non-genetic transmission _ 11
Patterned (“system," “organized,” etc.) 11
In the tabulation we have ventured to group Adjustive-adaptive (“gratification," etc.) 10
this class as essentially post-1940 and beginning Ideas 8
with Miller and Dollard in 1941. This implies Carriers of culture (“ individuals,” “ persons,”
that we construe the Hart and Pantzer 1925 etc.) 7
definition as historically premature to the main Group product j
current, like the 1916 Wissler one. Actually. Values and ideals 4
Wissler says “ acquired by learning;” Harr and Learning 3
Pantzer mention imitation, tuition, social ac- Wav or mode 3
quisrion, and transmission; but in both cases
The same breakdown of elements entering
the point is the fact of acquisition (as against
explicitly into definitions of the 1941-yo (in­
innateness), rather than the precise manner of
clusive) period gives-
acquisition. On the contrary, Miller and
Dollard in 1941 dwell on the srimulus-response Group reference 43
and cue-reward underlay of the manner of Behavior 35
acquisition and do not even mention learning Non-genetic 32
as such; which first reappears with Kluckhohn W ay or mode 26
in 1942. Patterned 24
Our F—III group emphasizing Symbolization Adjustive-adaptive 23
Carriers of Culture 22
dates only from 1942. We may have missed Learning 22
some extant statements that belong here. Cer­ Totality 20
tainly there is as of 1951 a wide recognition Historical product ij
among philosophers, linguists, anthropologists, Ideas 13
psychologists, and sociologists that the exist­ Group product 13
ence of culture rests indispensably upon the Values and ideals 12

1 Excludes Residual Category and Incomplete secrions which were obviously not intended by their
Definitions (both those in G and a few in the earlier authors as full definitions).
T h ese counts are o n ly r o u g h 8 because in stressing the “ style of life” o r “ over-all
some cases w ords o r phrases had to be in­ pattern” idea.
terpreted, perhaps arbitrarily. Nevertheless,
a f W l y tru stw o rth y picture emerges o f con­
stancies and variations during these tw o N U M BER OF ELEM E N T S E N T E R IN G
decades. O f the one hundred thirteen defini­
tions here considered, thirty-three fall into In another conceptual respect, however,
the first decade and eigh ty into the second. there appears a real trend — nam ely, toward
In both groups the attribution o f culture to a creating m ore sophisticated definitions that
g ro u p o r social gro u p is the single element include a larger number o f criteria.
most often given explicit mention. H o w e v er,
it o ccu rs in about tw o-thirds o f the earlier 1931-40 1941-50
Based on one criterion 9 • 2 3
definitions and in o n ly about half o f the m ore
Based on two criteria 9 4
recent ones. T h e historical dimension drops Based on three criteria 12 22
fro m second place in the rank order to tenth, Based on four criteria 7 J7
appearing in less than a fifth o f the definitions Based on five criteria 3 16
o f the last decade. T o ta lity drops almost but Based on six criteria 6
not quite as sharply proportionately but per­ Based on more than six criteria — 2
haps here m uch o f the same notion is ex­
pressed b y “ system ” (and other w o rd s and
()hrases subsumed under “ patterned.” ) Simi-
arly, perhaps “ non-genetic” (which climbs to Society being presupposed by culture, it is
third place in the second list) conveys part of not surprising that reference to the group
what was previously designated as “ historical” appears in so many of our definitions of
or “ traditional.” The two most striking shifts culture. Sometimes the reference is to human
are with respect to “ learning” and “ way or society generally, or “ the social;” more often,
mode.” The former is largely to be attributed to a society or group or community or seg­
to a contemporary intellectual fashion. If ment within the human species; sometimes the
culture was considered a social heritage and members of the society or the fact of “ sharing”
non-genetically transmitted (as it was in a high are emphasized.
proportion of the 1931-40 defin:,ions), it Fairly frequent explicit reference to human
clearly had to be learned. The real difference culture — or for that matter the culture of any
probably rests in the greater emphasis upon one society — as constituting a sum or whole
learning as a special kind of psychological or total, in distinction from particular customs,
process and upon individual learning. The ways, patterns, ideas, or such, is probably also
trend toward thinking of culture as a dis­ expectable. It may have been reenforced bv
tinctive mode of living, on the other hand, realization ot the variably composite origin of
is genuinely new. the content of most or all cultures.
M a k in g allow ance fo r changes in the favorite Custom is most frequently mentioned in the
w o rd s o f intellectuals from one decade to the broad type of definition — weighted for in-
next, w e feel that this examination indicates clusivencss rather than sharpness — that orig­
m ore con stan cy than variation in the central inated with Tylor and was continued by Boas
notions attaching to the con cept o f culture. and Dixon. However, the concept is retained
T h e r e are interesting differences in emphasis also in a series of recent definitions by stu­
and shading, but the conceptual core has dents under specific psychological influencing:
altered significantly o n ly in the direction o f Linton, Dollard, Gillin, Thomas, LaPiere.

* A finer but more complicated analysis can be

based upon tabulating the actual words used (as additional elements as “ symbols,” “ habits,” and the
listed in Index B of Part II). like. An enumeration is counted as one element, but,
• T h e criteria included here go beyond the thirteen in addition, such elements as “ ideas” and “ values"
in the tw o previous lists. They take account of such are counted separately.
The use of the word pattern was almost These three seem to antedate formal psycho­
certainly furthered by the title of Benedict’s logical influencing.
famous book of 1934- At the same time, Even Linton, Mead, and Thomas, who cer­
pattern is conceptually not very far from tainly were psychology-conscious by 1936-
way, just as this overlaps with custom. Part 37, qualify behavior, when they mention it, so
of the recent drift toward pattern thus ap­ that its emphasis seems subsidiary and in­
pears to be linguistic fashion. However, the cidental, compared with that of the remainder
connotation of selectivity seems to be sharper of the phrase. Their wordings are, respec­
in the term pattern. And the idea of selection tively, “ pattern of habitual behavior;” “ com­
becomes explicit in various recent definitions. plex of traditional behavior;” “ values . . . [i.e.]
“Selectivity” and “ a distinctive way of life” institutions, customs, attitudes, behavior.”
are obviously very close. “ A selective orienta­ Whether behavior is to be included in culture
tion toward experience characteristic of a remains a matter of dispute. The behavior in
group” would almost serve as a definition of question is of course the concrete behavior of
culture. individual human beings, not any collective
A historically accumulating social heritage abstraction. The two present authors incline
transmitted from the past by tradition is men­ strongly to exclude behavior as such from
tioned in thirty-three cases. None of the culture. This is on two grounds. First, there
group-A definitions, those in the Tylor tradi­ also is human behavior not determined by cul­
tion, are here included: it is evident that they ture, so that behavior as such cannot be used
view culture as a momentary dynamic cross- as a differentiating criterion of culture. Sec­
section rather than as something perpetually ond, culture being basically a form or pattern
moving in time. There are also no “ product” - or design or way, it is an abstraction from
definitions of class F -i formally represented concrete human behavior, but is not itself
in the heritage group. Terms like products, behavior. Behavior is of course a pre-condition
creation, formation, precipitate are ambiguous of culture; just as the locus or residence of
as between preponderance of dynamic or his­ culture can only be in the human individuals
toric connotation. from whose behavior it is inferred or formu­
Traditional heritage roots in custom and lated. It seems to us that the inclusion of
way, but with more or less implication or some­ behavior in culture is due to confusion be­
times consciousness of the mechanism of trans­ tween what is a pre-condition of culture and
mission and acquistion. When emphasis shifts what constitutes culture. Since behavior is the
from the long-range process and from its first-hand and outright material of the science
result in culture, to a close-up view of the of psychology, and culture is not — being of
mechanism operative in the ultimate participat­ concern only secondarily, as an influence on
ing individual, the interest has become psycho­ tin's material — it is natural that psychologists
logical and new terms appear: acquired, non­ and psychologizing sociologists should sec be­
genetic, learning. These are primarily post- havior as primary in their own field, and then
1935, mostly post-1940, and at least in part extend this view farther to apply to the field
represent specific influence of psychological of culture also. Linton seems to be the only
thinking on anthropology and sociology. anthropologist who has made culture consist
The same may be said of the largish group of responses and behavior (C-I-9, 1945a); and
of definitions which mention behavior, re­ this he did in a work written in an explicit
sponse, and stimulus. These were probably context of psychology, whereas in another
touched off by Linton’s, Mead’s, and Thomas’ essay of the same year (C-I-8, 1945b) he sees
statements of 1936 and 1937. One of the few culture as a way of life, a collection of ideas
previous mentions of behavior is by Wallis in and habits. As a matter of fact, Linton wavers
*93°* in his lengthy, piecemeal adumbration somewhat even in his psychological book. The
of a definition, and there it is by no means core of his briefer statement there is that
emphasized. Wallis also uses reactions, along culture is “ organized repetitive responses;” the
with Boas, 1930; and Dixon, 1928, activities. core of his longer formulation is that culture
is “ the configuration of learned behavior.” is true of symbols (mediation, understanding,
Since a configuration is a pattern or form or communication).
design or way, the emphasis here is really no All in all, it is clear that anthropologists have
longer on the behavior but on a form ab­ been concrete rather than theoretical minded
stracted from it.10 about culture. Their definitions of it have
Bidney, whose specialty is the application tended either to be descriptively and enum-
of philosophical method to anthropology, has eratively inclusive like Tylor’s original one; or
culture (C—II—3) consist both of acquired or to hug the original concept of custom or near­
cultivated behavior and of ideals (or patterns derivatives of it like ways or products. Al­
of ideals). This seemingly paradoxical com­ though more occupied than sociologists with
bination rests upon the assumption of a polarity the past and with changes in timer they have
which leaves room for creativity and ex­ mostly not stressed seriously the influence of
pression— Bidney is an avowed humanist — the past on culture or its accumulative char­
and is meant to allow the reconciliation of acter — formally perhaps less so than the
materialistic and idealistic interpretations of sociologists. Heritage and tradition, it is true,
culture. Bidney’s argument in reiterated sup­ do involve the past; but their focus is on the
port of this position must be read in the reception bv the present, not on the perduring
originals to do him justice. We content our­ influence of the past as such. At two important
selves with pointing out the uniqueness of his points the sociologists have in general antici­
view. No one among anthropologists has pated the anthropologists: recognition of
shared it; in fact they seem to have sheered off values as an essential element, and of the
from “ ideals” up to date, though “ values” are crucial role of symbolism. Learning, responses,
increasingly mentioned. and behavior have come into the consideration
The degree to which even lip-service of culture through direct or indirect influenc­
to values has been avoided until recently, ing from psychology. Of these, learning,
especially by anthropologists,11 is striking. which extends to culrureless animals, is
Tnomas explicitly read values into social obvio:; !y too undifferentiated a process to
study in the Polish Peasant thirty years ago. serve as a diagnostic criterion for culture; and
The hcstitation of anthropologists can perhaps behavior seems rather — as we have also
be laid to the natural history tradition which already said — to be that within whose mass
persists in out science for both better and culture exists and from which it is conceptually
worse. The present writers are both con­ extricated or abstracted.
vinced that the study of culture must include The proportion of definitions of culture bv
the explicit and systematic study of values and non-anthropologists in the pre-1930 period is
value-systems viewed as observable, dcscrib- striking. This is partly a reflection of the
able, and comparable phenomena of nature. relative lack of interest of anthropologists in
The remaining conceptual elements which theory, partly a result of the enormous in­
we have encountered occur rather scatteringly fluence of Tylor’s definition. This is not al­
in the definitions: adjustment; efforts, prob­ together remarkable when one considers how
lems, and purpose; artifacts and material much T ylor packed into his definition. Take,
products; even environment. None of these for example, the phrase “ acquired bv man as
appears to have forged completely into com­ a member of society.” This, in effect, links
mon consensus among scientists as an essential heritage, learning, and society. It also implies
ingredient or property of culture. The same that culture is impossible without the bio-

“ Harris (1951: 314) has put it well: “What the

anthropologist constructs are cultural patterns. What u As far back as 1921 the sociologists Park and
members of the society observe, or impose upon Burgess (II—B—1) emphasized the social meaning com­
others, are culturally patterned behaviors.” Lasswell ponent of the social heritage, but anthropologists
(1935: »}6) hinted at much the same idea in have been as backward in recognizing meaning
saying: “ When an a ct conforms to culture it is (other than for traits) as they have been slow to admit
cond uct; otherwise it is behavior.” values.
logically inherited potentialities o f a particular being rewarded or punished fo r; w h a t con­
kind o f mammal. stitute rewards and punishments; w h at types
VVe do not propose to add a one hundred o f activity are held to be inherently gratifyin g
and sixty-fifth form al definition. O u r mono­ or frustrating. F o r this and fo r other reasons
graph is a critical review o f definitions and a (e.g., the strongly affective nature o f most
general discussion o f culture theory. W e cultural learning) the individual is seldom
think it is premature to attempt encapsulation emotionally neutral to those sectors o f his
in a brief abstract statement w h ich would in­ culture w h ich touch him directly. Culture
clude o r im ply all o f the elements that seem patterns are felt, emotionally adhered to or
to us to be involved. Enum erative definitions rejected.
are objectionable because never complete. A s H arris has recently remarked, “ the
W ithout pretending to “ define,” how ever, w e ‘w h o le’ culture is a com posite o f v aryin g and
think it proper to say at the end o f tivs sum­ overlapping subcultures.” 12 Sub-cultures m ay
mary discussion o f definitions that w e believe be regional, economic, status, occupational,
each o f our principal groups o f definitions clique groups — or v aryin g combinations o f
points to something legitimate and important. these factors. Som e sub-cultures seem to be
In other words, w e think culture is a product; prim arily traceable to the temperamental
is historical; includes ideas, patterns, and similarities o f the participating individuals.
values; is selective; is learned; is based upon E a ch individual selects from and to greater or
symbols; and is an abstraction from behavior lesser degree systematizes w h at he experiences
and the products o f behavior. o f the total culture in the course o f his form al
T h is catalogue does not, o f course, exhaust and informal education throughout life:
the meaningful and valid propositions w h ich
Sapir speaks of “ the world of meanings which each
can be uttered about culture. Lest silence on one of these individuals may unconsciously abstract
our part at this point be misinterpreted, it is for himself from his participation in these interac­
perhaps as w ell to restate here some fe w tions.” . . . In some cases, as in social organization or
central generalizations already made b y us linguistic usage and vocabulary, the individual carries
or quoted from others. out only a part of the socially observed pattern . . . ,
A ll cultures are largely made up o f overt, and we cannot say that his selection of behavior is
patterned w a v s o f behaving, feeling, and the same as the social pattern. In other cases, as in
grammatical structure, the individual’s behavior is
reacting. B u t cultures likewise include a
virtually the same as that which is described for the
characteristic set o f unstated premises and
society as a whole . . . Sapir shows how the speaker
categories ( “ im p lic't culture” ) w h ich v ary of a particular language uses the particular pattern
greatly betw een societies. T h u s one group of that language no matter what he is saying . . . the
unconsciously and habitually assumes that social pattern (i.e_, the behavior of the other individuals
every chain o f actions has a goal and that in society) provides experience and a model which
when this goal is reached tension will be is available to each individual when he acts. Just
reduced or disappear. T o another group, how he will use this model depends on his history
thinking based upon this assumption is b y no and situation: often enough he will simply imitate it,
means automatic. T h e y see life not prim arily
but not always."
as a series o f purposive sequences but more as
made up o f disparate experiences w h ich m ay STATEMENTS ABOUT CULTURE
be satisfying in and o f themselves, rather than O u r quoted Statements about culture in
is means to ends. Part III are longer but fe w e r than the D efini­
Culture not o n ly m arkedly influences h ow tions o f Part II. W e did include e v e ry defini­
individuals behave tow ard other individuals tion w e found, including even some incom ­
but equally w h at is expected from them. A n y plete ones. T h a t is w h y th ey increased geo­
culture is a system o f expectancies: w h at m etrically through recent decades: more w-cre
kinds o f behavior the individual anticipates attempted w ith g ro w in g conceptual reco gn i-

“ Harris, 1951, p. 323. “ Harris, 1931, pp. 316, 320.

tion of culture. Of “ statements,” however, we • 1924-29; 1945-50; but different problems were
included only the more significant or interest­ being argued in these three periods.
ing or historically relevant ones. Their num­ When all returns were in, we discovered
ber could easily have been doubled or trebled. that the three of our cited statements which
On the whole the six groups or classes into antedate 1920 were all made by anthropologists
which we have divided the statements show who were admitted leaders of the profession:
about the same incidence in time. Only the Boas, Sapir, Wissler.
relation of culture to language (group e) was Throughout, anthropologists constitute some­
discussed at these separate periods: 19 11-12 ; what over half of those cited.
s t h e statements quoted have been dis­ terpretation is just as synthesizing as a func­
A cussed in some detail in the Comments
on the six groups, it seems unnecessary to re-
tional interpretation. The principal difference
is that the historical interpretation uses one
review these Comments further here. additional dimension of reference, the dynamic
It does remain to us, however, to discuss dimension of time. Two synchronous, con­
systematically, if briefly, certain general fea­ nected activities in one culture, or two suc­
tures or broad aspects of culture which have cessive, altered forms of the same activity in
entered to only a limited degree or indirectly one culture a generation or century apart,
into the Definitions and the Statements we both possess interrelation or integration with
have assembled. These aspects of culture may each other. The particular significance of the
be conveniently grouped under the headings relations may be different; but it would be
Integration, Historicity, Uniformity, Caus­ erroneous to suppose that the degree of con­
ality, Significance and Values, and Relativism. nection was intrinsically greater in one case
than in the other.
As of 1951, there seems to be general agree­
ment that every culture possesses a consider­ This brings us to the question of how far
able degree of integration of both its content anthropology or the study of culture is,
and its forms, more or less parallel to the ten­ should be, or must be historical or non-his-
dency toward solidarity possessed by socie­ torical.
ties; but that the integration is never perfect There is general agreement that every
or complete, Malinowski and the functionalists culture is a precipitate of history. In more
having overstated the case, as well as Spengler than one sense “ history is a sieve.”
and Benedict with their selected examples. In the early “ classical” dayf of anthropology,
Institutions can certainlv clash as well as the beginning with Bachofen, Morgan, Tylor,
interests of individuals. In any given situation, Maine, and their contemporaries, the question
the proper question is not, Is integration per­ did not arise, because their “ evolutionistic”
fect? but, What integration is there? philosophies of developmental stages, essen­
It is aLo plain that while a broad, synthetic tially deductive and speculative however much
interpretation is almost always more satis­ buttressed by elected evidence, posed as being
factory than an endlessly atomistic one, a historical or at least as surrogate-historical in
validly broad interpretation can be built up realms on which documentary historical evi­
only from a mass of precise knowledge dence was lacking.
minutely analyzed. Nor does it follow that it In the eighteen-eighties and nineties there
has been only unimaginative “ museum moles” began two reactions against this school: by
and poor stay-at-homes debarred from con­ Ratzel and by Boas. Ratzel was and remained
tact with strange living cultures who have done a geographer sufficiently entangled in en­
“atomistic” work. Very little reliable culture vironmental determinism that he never got
history would ever have been reconstructed wholly mobilized for systematic historical
without the willingness to take the pains to aims. Boas also began as a geographer (after
master detail witn precision. This is no training in physics) but passed rapidly over
different from functionally integrative studies: into ethnologv, becoming an anti-environ­
both approaches have validity in proportion mentalist, and insisted on full respect being
as they are substantiated with accurate evi­ given historical context. In fact, he insisted
dence. That some intellects and temperaments that his approach was historical. It certainlv
find one approach more congenial than the was anti-speculative; but a certain “ bashful­
other, means merely that interests are differ­ ness,” as Ackcrknecht recently has aptly
ently weighted. A significant historical in­ called it in a paper before the New York
Academy of Sciences, prevented Boas from w hose acceptance tended to make observed
undertaking historical formulations of serious historical change seem superficial and unim­
scope. portant in comparison.
A third effort in the direction of historical It w as in reaction partly to this functionalist
interpretation of culture occurred around the view , and p artly to Boas’s com bination o f pro­
turn of the century in Germany. It seems to fessed historical method w ith skepticism of
have been first presented in 1898 by Frobenius, specific historical interpretations, that Kroeber,
who however was unstable as a theoretician about 1930, began to argue that cultural
and vacillated between historical, organicist, phenomena w ere on the w h o le more amenable
and mystic positions. Graebncr, Foy, and to historical than to strictly scientific treat­
Ankcrmann in 1904 developed Frobenius’s ment. T h is position has also been long main­
suggestions into the Culture-spherc principle; tained b y Radin, and w ith reference to “ social
which assumed a half-dozen separate original an th ro p o lo gy” w as reaffirmed b y Evans-
cultures, each with its characteristic inventory' Pritchard in 1950.
of distinctive traits, and whose persistences, K ro eb er’s v ie w rests upon W indelband’s
spreads, and minglings might still be unraveled distinction o f science, in the strict sense o f the
by dissection of surviving cultures. After w’ord, as being generalizing o r nomothetic,
initial criticism, Father Schmidt adopted this but o f history as particularizing or idiosyn­
scheme and carried it farther under the name cratic in aim. R ickert, another Neo-K antian,
of “ the” Culture-historical .Method. The attributed this difference to the kind o f phe­
method was indeed historical in so far as it nomena dealt w ith, the subject matter of
reconstructed the past, but it w as also science being nature, whereas that o f history
schematic, and therewith anti-historical, in that w as wrhat it had been custom ary to call “ Geist”
the factors into which the earlv h'storv of but w h at really w as culture. N a tu re and
culture was resolved were selected arbitrarily culture each had their appropriate intellectual
or dogmatically, and received their validation treatment, he argued, respectively in scientific
only secondarily during the resolution. B y and in historical method. K ro e b e r modified
about 1915, repercussions of this German- the R ick ert position b y connecting it with
Austrian movement had reached Britain and the rcccgn itio n o f “ levels” o f conceptualiza­
resulted in the formulation of a simplified one- tion ( “ em ergence” ) o f phenomena, as already
factor version by Rivers, Elliott Smith, and discussed, and b y rejecting an all-or-none
Perry: the “ Heliolichic” theory of transport d ich o to m y betw een science and history. Th is
by treasure-seeking Phoenicians of higher cul­ gradualist view' left to cultural history an
ture as first developed in Egypt. identity o f procedure w ith the admittedly
The excesses of these currents gave vigor, historical sciences that flourish on sub-cultural
soon after 1920, to the anti-historical positions levels — palaeontology and phylogenetic bi­
of Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown, which, o lo g y , g e o lo g y , and astronom y. O n the other
for a while at least, were almost equally ex­ hand, the possibility' o f scientific uniformities
treme. Actually, the two had little in common, o r law s on the sociocultural level w as also not
as Radcliffe-Brown subsequently pointed out, precluded. Cultural phenomena sim ply were
besides an anti-historical slant and the at­ m ore resistive to exact generalizations than
tributed name of “ functionalism.” Malinowski w e re physical ones, but also m ore charged
was holistically interested in culture, Radcliffe- w'ith individuality and unique values. Physical
Brown in social structure. The latter’s ap­ science “ dissolves” its data out o f their
proach aimed to be and was comparative; phenom enality, resolves them into processes
Malinowski compared very little, but tended involving causality w h ich are not at­
to proceed directly from the functional exposi­ tached to particular time o r place. A his­
tion of one culture to formulation of the prin­ torical approach (as distinct from conventional
ciples of all culture. The result was a “ H is to ry ” ) preserves not o n ly the time and
Malinowskian theory of culture in manv place o f o ccurrence o f its phenomena but
ways parallel to standard “ economic theory” also their qualitative reality. It “ interprets”
— a set of permanent, autonomous principles b y putting data into an ever-w id en in g con­
text. Such context includes time as an implicit impressive attempts at demonstrating correla­
potential, but is not primarily characterized by tions that are more functional than historical.
being temporal. In the absence of chrono­ It is certainly more desirable to have both
logical evidence a historical interpretation can approaches actively cultivated than one alone.
still develop a context of space, quality, and It cannot be said that the foregoing point of
meaning, and can be descriptively or “ syn- view has been widely accepted by anthropolo­
chronically historical” — as even a professional gists and sociologists. It could hardly be held
historian of human events may pause in his while the theory of levels remained generally
narrative for the depiction of a cross-sectional unaccepted, and as long as the method of
moment — may indeed succeed in delineating physics14 continues to be regarded as the
more clearly the significant structural rela­ model of method for all science, the only con­
tions of his phenomena by now and then ab­ ceded alternative being an outright approach
stracting from their time relations. through art toward the “ aesthetic component”
It is an evident implication of this theory of the universe.
that a historical approach tends to find the Students of human life who pride them­
aimed-at context primarily on the level of selves on being “scientific” and upon their
its own phenomena: the context of cultural rigor 15 still tend, consciously or unconsciously,
data is a wider cultural frame, with all culture to hold the view of “ science” set forth in Karl
as its limit. The “scientific” approach on the Pearson’s famous Gramm ar. In other words,
contrary, aiming at process, can better hope they not only take physics as their model but
to determine cause, which may be attain­ specifically nineteenth-century physics. Here
able only contingently or implicitly by his­ problems of measurable incidence and inten­
torical method. The “scientific” approach has sity predominate. Such problems also have
achieved this end by translevel reduction of their importance in anthropology, but the
phenomena — reduction, for instance, of cul­ most difficult and most essential questions
tural facts to causes resident on a social, about culture cannot be answered in these
psychological, or biological level. At any rate, terms. As W. M. Wheeler is said to have
the possibility of exact and valid and repeat- remarked, “ Form is the secretion of culture.”
able findings of the nature of “ laws” in regard Form is a matter of ordering, of arrangement,
to culture is not precluded, in this epistemo- of emphasis. Measurement in and of itself will
logical theory, but is explicitly admitted. It seldom provide a valid description of distinc­
is merely that the processes underlvir^ phe­ tive form. Exactly the same measurable en­
nomena of the topmost level can be of so many tities mav be present in precisely the same
levels that their determination might be ex­ quantities, but if the sequences or arrange­
pected to be difficult and slow — as indeed it ments of these entities differ, the configura­
has actually been to date. tions may have vastly different properties.
Accordingly there is no claim in this Linguistics, which is, on the whole, the most
position that one approach is the better or rigorous and precise of the cultural sciences,
more proper. The historical and the scientific has achieved its success much more by con­
methods simply are different. They point at figurational analysis than bv counting.
different ends and achieve them by different Experimental psychology (with the partial
means. It is merely an empirical fact that thus exception of the Gestalt variety) and various
far more reasonably adequate and usable social sciences have made of statistics a main
historic findings than systematic processual methodological instrument. A statistic founded
ones appear to have been made on cultural upon the logic of probability has been and
data. It is not at all certain that this condition will continue to be of great use to cultural
will continue. Indeed Murdock’s (1950) book anthropology. But, again, the main unre­
on social structure and Horton’s (1943) mono­ solved problems of culture theory will never
graph on alcoholism already constitute two be resolved by statistical techniques precisely

“ And especially of nineteenth-century physics. tend to take an attitude of superiority to historical

"Laboratory or experimental scientists strongly problems — which, incidentally, they can’t solve.
because cultural behavior is patterned and Some anthropologists have described cultures
never randomly distributed. Mathematical as if culture included only a group’s patterns
help may come from matrix algebra or some for living, their conceptions of how specified
form of topological mathematics.18 sorts of people ought to behave under speci­
None of this argument is intended to depre­ fied conditions. Critics of Ruth Benedict, for
cate the significance of the mathematical and example, have assumed that she was making
quantitative dimensions in science generally generalizations as to how Zunis in fact do be­
and in anthropology in particular. Quite the have whereas, for the most part, she is talking
contrary. Our point is two-fold: the specific of their “ ideals” for behavior (though she
mathematic applied must be that suited to the doesn’t make this altogether clear). In our
nature of the problem; there are places where opinion, as we have indicated earlier, culture
presently available quantitative measures are includes both modalities 17 of actual behavior
essential and places where they are irrelevant and a group’s conscious, partly conscious, and
and actually misleading. unconscious designs for living. More precisely,
Ethnographers have been rightly criticized there are at least three different classes of data:
for writing “ The Hopi do (or believe) thus (1) a people’s notions of the way things ought
and so” without stating whether this generali­ to be; (2) their conceptions of the way their
zation is based upon ten observations or a hun­ group actually behaves; (3) what does in fact
dred or upon the statement of one informant or occur, as objectively determined. The anthro­
of ten informants representing a good range pologist gets the first class of data by inter­
of the status positions in that society. No viewing and by observing manifestations of ap­
scientist can evade the problems of sampling, proval and disapproval. He gets the second
o f the representativeness of his materials for class from interviewing. The third is estab­
the universe he has chosen to study. However, lished by observation, including photography
sampling has certain special aspects as far as and other mechanical means of recording. All
cultural data are concerned. If an ethnogra­ three classes of data constitute the materials
pher asks ten adult middle-class Americans in from which the anthropologist abstracts his
ten different regions “ Do men rise when ladies conceptual model of the culture.13 Culture is
enter the room on a somewhat formal occa­ not a point but a complex of interrelated things.
sion?” and gets the same reply from all his
informants, it is of no earthly use for hi n — U NIFO RM ITIES
so far as establishment of the normative mid­
dle-class pattern is concerned — to pull a ran­ M ost anthropologists w o u ld agree that no
dom sample of a few thousand from the mil­ constant elemental units like atoms, cells, or
lion American men in this class. genes have as y e t been satisfactorily c-siablisheii
Confusion both on the part of some anthro­ w ithin culture in general. M a n y w o u ld insist
pologists and of certain critics of anthropolo­ that within one aspect o f culture, nam ely lan­
gical work has arisen from lack of explicit guage, such constant elemental units have been
clarity as to what is encompassed by culture. isolated: phonemes,19 and morphemes. It is

“ Perhaps a completely new kind of mathematic Lazarsfeld’s latent stru 'ure analysis (see Chapters 10
is required. This seems to be the implication in and 11 in Stouffer, G Tman, Suchman, Lazarsfeld,
Weaver, 1948. But some forms of algebra seem more et al.. Measurement c '• Prediction, Vol. IV of
appropriate to certain anthropological problems than Studies in Social Psyc £ -Jg y in World War II,
probability statistics or the harmonic analysis used bv Princeton University Pressi 1950).
zipf and others. (Cf. the appendix by Weil to Part "T h is implies, of course, an abstraction from con­
I of Lcvi-Strauss, 1949.) Mathematicians have com­ crete events — not the behavior itself.
mented orally to one of us that greater develop­ “ The problem considered in this paragraph is
ment of the mathematics of non-linear partial differ­ essentially that discussed by Ralph Linton under the
ential equations might aid materially in dealing with rubric “ real culture" and “ culture construct.” Our
various perplexing questions in the behavioral and answer, of course, is not exactly the same as Linton’s.
cultural sciences. The only contemporary statistical “ Jakobson (1949, p. 113 ) remarks, “ linguistic
technique which seems to afford any promise of analysis with its concept of ultimate phonemic entities
aiding in the determination of implicit culture is signally converges with modem physics which revealed
arguable whether such units are, in principle, ferentiating large masses of specific phenomena
discoverable in sectors of culture less auto­ as respectively religious and magical — sup­
matic than speech and less closely tied (in some plicating a powerful but unseen deity in the
wavs) to biological fact. We shall present heavens, for instance, as against sticking a pin
both sides of this argument, for on this one into an effigy. In short, concepts like religion
point we ourselves are not in complete agree­ and magic have an undoubted heuristic utility
ment.20 in given situations. But they are altogether
One of us feels that it is highly unlikely that too fluid in conceptual range for use either as
anv such constant elemental units will be dis­ strict categories or as units from which larger
covered. Their place is on lower, more basic concepts can be built up. After all, they are
levels of organization of phenomena. Here in origin common-sense concepts like boy,
and there suggestions have been ventured that youth, man, old man, which neither physiolo­
there are such basic elements: the culture gists nor psychologists will wholly discard,
trait, for instance, or the small community of but which they will also not attempt to in­
face-to-face relations. But no such hints have clude among the elementary units and basic
been systematically developed by their pro­ concepts upon which they rear their sciences.
ponents, let alone accepted by others. Culture This conclusion is akin to what Boas said
traits can obviously be divided and subdivided about social-science methodology in 1930:
and resubdivided at wilL, according to occa­ “The analysis of the phenomena is our prime
sion or need. Or, for that matter, they are object. Generalizations will be more signifi­
often combined into larger complexes which cant the closer we adhere to definite forms.
are still treatable, in ad hoc situations, as uni­ The attempts to reduce all social phenomena
tary traits, and are in fact ordinarily spoken to a closed system of laws applicable to every
of as traits in such situations. The face-to-face society and explaining its structure and history
community, of course, is not actually a unit do not seem a promising undertaking.” 21 Sig­
of culture but the supposed unit of social ref­ nificance of generalizations is proportional to
erence or frame for what might be called a definiteness of the forms and concepts analyzed
minimal culture. At that, even such a social out of phenomena — in this seems to reside
unit has in most cases no sharply defined ac­ the weakness of the uniformities in culture
tual limits. heretofore suggested; they are indefinite.
As for the larger groups of phenomena like A case on the other side is put as follows bv
religion that make up “ the universal pattern” — Jufim S-ew.ird in his important paper: Cul­
or even subdivisions of these such as “ crisis tural Causality and L a v : A Trial Fomrulation
rites” or “ fasting” — these are recurrent in­ of the Development of Early Civilizationsr2
deed, but they are not uniform. Any one can
It is not necessary that any formulation of cultural
make a definition that will separate magic from regularities provide an ultimate explanation of culture
religion; but no one has vet found a definition change. In the physical and biological sciences,
that all other students accept: the phenomenal formulations are merely approximations of observed
contents of the concepts of religion and magic regularities, and they arc valid as working hypotheses
simply intergrcde too much. This is true even despite their failure to deal with ultimate realities.
though **___almost everyone
* would agree
C? in dif­ So long as a cultural law formulates recurrences of

the granular structure of matter as composed of

elementary particles.” Wiener has remarked in conversation with one of us
"W iener (1948) and Levi-Strauss (1951) also that he is convinced of the practicability of devising
present contrasting views on the possibilities of dis­ new mathematical instruments which would permit
covering Lawful regularities in anthropological data. of satisfactory treatment of social-science facts.
V\ iener argues that (a) the obtainable statistical runs Finally, note Murdock’s (1949, p. 159) finding:
arc not long enough; and (b) that observers modify M. . . cultural forms in the field of social organization
the phenomena by their conscious study of them. reveal a degree of regularity and of conformity to
Levi-Strauss replies that linguistics at least can meet scientific law not significantly inferior to that found
these two objections and suggests that certain aspects in the so-called natural sciences.”
of social organization can also be studied in ways “ Reprinted in Boas, 1940, p. 168.
that obviate the difficulties. It may be added that “ Steward, 1949, pp. 5-7.
similar inter-relationships of phenomena, it expresses atoms and o f different cells is b y no means
cause and effect in the same way that the law of identical. Th ese are constant elemental units
gravity formulates but does not ultimately explain
o f form. T h e same m ay be said fo r linguistic
the attraction between masses of matter. Moreover,
units like the phoneme. One o f us suspects
like the law of gravity, which has been greatly
modified by the theory of relativity, any formulation that there are a number, perhaps a considerable
of cultural data may be useful as a working hypothe­ number, o f categories and o f structural princi­
sis, even though further research requires that it be ples found in all cultures. F o r t e s 23 speaks of
qualified or reformulated. kinship as “ an irreducible principle o f T ale
Cultural regularities may be formulated on different social organization.” It probably is an irreduci­
levels, each in its own terms. A t present, the greatest ble principle o f all cultures, h ow ever much
possibilities lie in the purely cultural or superorganic its elaboration and emphasis upon it m ay varv.
level, for anthropology’s traditional primary concern
W h e n F o r t e s 21 also says that “ E v e r y social
with culture has provided far more data of this kind.
system presupposes such basic moral axioms,”
Moreover, the greater part of culture history is
susceptible to treatment only in superorganic terms. he is likewise pointing to a constant elemental
Both sequential or diachronic formulations and syn­ unit o f each and e v e ry culture. T h e se consider­
chronic formulations are superorganic, and they may ations w ill later be elaborated in our discussion
be functional to the extent that the data permit. o f Values and Relativism below . It is clear
Redficld’s tentative formulation that urban culture that such problems are still on the frontier of
contrasts with folk culture in being more individual­ anthropological inquiry because the anthro­
ized, secularized, heterogeneous, and disorganized is pologists o f this cen tu ry have o n ly begun to
synchronic, superorganic, and functional. .Morgan's face them system atically.
evolutionary schemes and White’s formulation con­
W e cannot better close this section then by
cerning the relationship of energy to cultural develop­
ment arc sequential and somewhat functional. quoting an extrem ely thoughtful passage from
Neither type, however, is wholly one or the other. F o rte s:25
A dme-dimension is implied in Redfield’s formula­ What lies behind all this? What makes kinshin an
tion, and synchronic, functional relationships are im­ irreducible principle of Tale social organization? . . .
plied in White's . . . . W e know from comparative studies that kinship bears
The present statement of scientific purpose and a similar stress (though its scope is often more
methodology rests on a conception of culture that limited) in the social organization of peoples with far
needs clarification. If the more important institutions more highly differentiated social systems than that
of culture can be isolated from their unique setting of the Tallensi.
to as to be typed, classified, and related to recurring The usual solution to this question, explicitly stared
antecedents or functional correlates, it follozcs that by Malinowski, Firth, and others, and implicit in the
it is possibh to consider the institutions in question descriptive work of most social scientists who v rite
as the basic or constant-net, ncher< as the features tnat on kinship, puts the emphasis on the facts of sex,
lend uniqueness are the secondary or ariable ones. procreation, and the rearing of offspring. There is
For example, the American high civilizations had obvious truth in this view. But like all attempts to
agriculture, social classes, and a priest-templc-idol explain one order of organic events by invoking a
cult. As types, these institutions are abstractions of simpler order of events necessarily involved in the
what was actually present in each area, and they do first, it borders on over-simplification. It is like trying
not take into account the particular crops grown, the to explain human thinking by the anatomy of the
precise patterning of the social classes, or the con­ brain, or modem capitalist economy by the need for
ceptualization of deities, details of ritual, and other food and shelter. Such explanations, which indicate
religious features of each culture center. the necessary pre-conditions of phenomena, are apt
to short-circuit the real work of science, which is
T o am p lify and generalize w h at Stew ard the elucidation of the sufficient causal or functional
has said, there are adm ittedly fe w , if an y abso- determinants involved in the observed data of be­
ute uniform ities in culture content unless one haviour. They are particularly specious in social
states the content in extrem ely general form — science. It is easy and tempting to jump from one
e.g., clothing, shelter, incest taboos, and the level of organization to another in the continuum of
like. B ut, after all, the content o f different body, mind, and society when analysis at one level

■Fortes, 1949b. p. 344.

“ Fon.cs, 1949b, p. 346. ■Fortes, 1949b, pp. 344~46-
leems to lead no farther. As regards primitive kin- human society, though the kind of behaviour and the
ihip institutions, the facts of sex, procreation, and the content of the values covered by them vary enor­
•earing of offspring constitute only the universal mously. Modem research in psychology and socio­
■aw material of kinship systems. Our study has logy makes it clear that these axioms are rooted in
;hown that economic techniques and religious values the direct experience of the inevitability of inter­
iave as close a connexion with the Tale lineage dependence between men in society. Utter moral
rvstem, for example, as the reproductive needs of the isolation for the individual is not only the negation of
.ociety. Indeed, comparative and historical research society but the negation of humanity itself.
eaves no doubt that radical changes in the economic
arganization or the religious values of a society like C A U SA L IT Y
:hat of the Tallensi might rapidly undermine the
lineage structure; but some form of family organiza­ So far as cultural phenomena are emergents,
tion will persist and take care of the reproductive their causes would originate at depths of dif­
needs of the society. The postulate we have cited ferent level, and hence would be intricate 2r,a
overlooks the fact that kinship covers a greater field and hard to ascertain. This holds true of the
of social relations than the family. forms of civilization as well as of social events
The problem we have raised cannot be solved in
— of both culture and history in the ordinary
the context of an analytical study of one society; it
requires a great deal of comparative research. W e
sense. There are first the factors of natural en­
can, however, justifiably suggest an hypothesis on vironment, both inorganic and and organic, and
the basis of our limited inquiry. One of the striking persistent as well as catastrophic. Harder to
things about Tale kinship institutions is the socially trace are internal organic factors, the genetic
acknowledged sanctions behind them. When we ask or racial heredity of societies. While these
why the natives so seldom, on the whole, transgress causes clearly are far less important than used
the norms of conduct attached to kinship ties, we to be assumed, it would be dogmatic to rule
inevitably come back either to the ancestor cult or them out altogether. There is also the possi­
to moral axioms regarded as self-evident by the
bility that the congenitally specific abilities of
Tallensi. T o study Tale kinship institutions apart
from the religious and moral ideas and values of the
gifted individuals traceably influence the cul­
natives would be as one-sided as to leave out the ture of the societies of which they are mem­
facts of sex and procreation. On the other hand, our bers. Then there are strictly social factors:
analysis has shown that it is equallv impossible to the size, location, and increase rate of societies
understand Tale religious beliefs and moral norms, or populations considered as influences affect­
apart from the context of kinship. A very close ing their cultures. A n i finally there are cul­
functional interdependence exists between these two tural factors already existent at any given
categories of social facts. The relevant connecting period of time that can be dealt with; that is,
link, for our present problem, is the axiom, implicit
in our explanations of any particular cultural
in all Tale kinship institutions, that kinship relations
are ess; illy moral relations, binding in their own
situation, the just enumerated non-cultural
right. Every social system presupposes such basic causes must always necessarily be viewed as
moral axioms. They are implicit in the categories of impinging on an already existing cultural con­
values and of behaviour which we sum up in con­ dition which must also be taken into account,
cepts such as rights, duties, justice, amity, respect, though it is itself in turn the product in part
wrong, sin. Such concepts occur in every known of preceding conditions. Though any cul-

** Cf. Coulbom, 1952. n. 113: “The fantastically scientists, latterly anthropologists, have argued vigor­
simple, monistic view of cause necessary to a thorough­ ously against this opinion, some even wishing to es­
going rcductionism is none other than the cause which tablish a new monism contrary to it. But the truth
served the physical sciences from the seventeenth is that cause actually operates in all sorts of wavs:
century to the nineteenth and was foisted upon other it can, as to certain particulars, be entirely on the cul­
sciences by reason of the egregious success of the tural level, but, as to others, it operates both upwards
physical sciences in that period. Difficulties in nuclear and downwards, and perhaps round about, between
physics and astrophysics have driven the physicists the levels . . . Aristotle’s concept of formal cause is
themselves out or that stronghold, and it might be enlightening without being at the same time mislead­
supposed that the efforts of such a philosopher as ing, but his efficient cause — and this is surely gen­
Whitehead would have destroyed it completely. But erally agreed — is a harmful conception: any item in
this is not so: some non-physicists still lurk in it — a causal structure ran be regarded as efficient, for, if
a case of cultural lag! From Durkheim onward social any item is missing, the event will be changed."
ture can variably be construed as being at companied by a modal personality type. But
once adaptive, selective, and accumulative, there is then a temptation to portray the devel­
it never starts from zero, but always has opment of individuals of this type as if it were
a long history. The antecedent conditions this development that produced the particular
enter in varying degrees, according to their quality of content of the culture; which is
nearness and other circumstances, into the equivalent to dogmatically selecting one of two
state of culture being examined; but they al­ circularly interacting sets of factors as the de­
ways enter with strength. terminative one.
This variety of factors acting upon culture Rather contrary is the habit of many anthro­
accounts for its causality being complex and pologists of treating cultural facts in certain
difficult. It is also why, viewed in the totality situations without reference to the people pro­
of its manifestations, culture is so variable, and ducing these facts. For instance, archaeologists
why it generally impresses us as plastic and ascertain much of the content and patterning
changeable. It is true that cultures have also of cultures, and the interrelations of these cul­
sometimes been described as possessed of iner­ tures, without even a chance, ordinarily, of
tia. Yet this is mostly in distant perspective, knowing anything about the people through
when the constant innumerable minor varia­ whose actions these cultures existed, let alone
tions are lost to view and the basic structural their individual personalities. It is true that
patterns consequently emerge more saliently. this deficiency constitutes a limitation of the
Further, it would seem that a full and open- scope of archaeological interpretation, but it
minded examination of what brought about certainly does not invalidate the soundness or
any given cultural condition would regularly significance of archaeological study within its
reveal some degree of circular causality. This scope. In the same way linguists consider their
is both because of the degree co which antece­ prime business to be determination of the con­
dent conditions of culture necessarily enter tent and patterns of languages and the growth
into it, and because of the relations of culture and changes of these, mainly irrespective of
and persons. It is people that produce or the speakers either as individuals or as person­
establish culture; but they establish it partly ality types. Culture history, again, largely
in perpetuation and partly in modification of dispenses w’ith the personalities involved in its
a form of existing culture which has made them processes and events; in part because they can
what they are. The more or less altered cul­ no longer be known, for the rest, because as
ture which they produce, in turn largely influ­ particular individuals they possess only minor
ences the content of subsequent personalities; relevance. Similarly, ethnography can be ade­
and so on. This perpetual circularity or con­ quately pursued as a study of the classification,
tinued interaction was first recognized among interrelations, and history of cultural forms
students of culture; but in the past two or three and culture-wholes as such; what it gains from
decades, psychiatrists and psychologists also the addition of personalities is chiefly fullness,
became increasingly aware of the influence of texture, color, and warmth of presentation.
culture on personalities. It is clear from these several cases that cul­
This awareness of interrelation has consti­ ture can be historically and scientifically in­
tuted an advance, but has also brought about vestigated without introduction of personality
some forced causalities and exaggerations, par­ factors. In fact, the question may fairly be
ticularly by those using psychoanalytic ex­ raised w'hether ordinarily its study — as cul­
planations. Thus the influence of toilet and ture— does not tend to be more effective if
other childhood training has quite evidently it is abstracted from individual or personality
been overemphasized. That a particular kind factors, through eliminating these or holding
o f training should have specific consequences or assuming them as constant.
is to be expected. But to derive the prevail­ It is, of course, equally legitimate to be in­
ing cast o f whole national civilizations from terested in the interrelations of culture and
such minute causes is one-sided and highly personality. And there is no question that
improbable. Again, it is legitimate to think there is then an added appeal of “ livingness”
that any established culture will tend to be ac­ of problem; and understanding thus arrived
at ought to possess the greatest ultimate depth. range of distinct cause and effect as certainly as the
At present, however, the well-tried and mainly facts of mechanics. (1871, 17)
impersonal methods of pure culture studies
For reasons indicated above and elsewhere in
still seem more efficiently productive for the
understanding of culture process than the this study, we do not anticipate the discovery
of cultural laws that will conform to the type
newer efforts to penetrate deeper by dealing
of those of classical mechanics, though “ sta­
simultaneously with the two variables of per­
tistical laws” — significant statistical distribu­
sonality and culture — each so highly variable
tions— not only are discoverable in culture
in itself.
and language but have been operated with for
What the joint cultural-psychological ap­
proach can hope to do better than the pure- some two decades.29
Nevertheless, cultural anthropologists, like
cultural one, is to penetrate farther into caus­
all scientists, are searching for minimal causal
ality. This follows from the fact of the im­
mediate causation of cultural phenomena neces­ chains in the body of phenomena they investi­
sarily residing in persons, as stated above. gate. It seems likely at present that these will
What needs to be guarded against, however, be reached — or at any rate first reached — by
is confusion between recognition of the area paths and methods quite different from those
in which causes must reside and determination of the physical sciences of the nineteenth cen­
of the specific causes of specific phenomena. tury. The ceaseless feedback between culture
It cannot be said that as vet the causal explana­ and personality and the other complexities that
tion of cultural phenomena in terms of either have been discussed also make any route
psychoanalysis or personality psychology has through reductionism seem a very distant one
yielded very clear results. Some of the efforts indeed.
in this direction certainly are premature and The best hope in the foreseeable future for
forced, and none, to date, seem to have the parsimonious description and “ explanation” of
clear-cut definiteness of result that have come cultural phenomena seems to rest in the study
to be expected as characteristic of good of cultural forms and processes as such, largely
archxologv, culture history, and linguistics. — for these purposes— abstracted from indi­
Finally, the question may be suggested — viduals and from personalities. Particularly
though the present is not the occasion to pur­ promising is the search for common denomina­
sue it fully — whether certain personality- tors or pervasive general principles in cultures
and-culture studies may be actuated less by of which the culture carriers are often unaware
desire to penetrate into culture more deeply or minimally aware. Various concepts27 (Op-
than by impulses to get rid of culture by re­ ler’s “ themes” ; Herskovits’ “ focus” ; Kroeber’s
solving or explaining it away. This last would “ configurations of culture growth” ; and
be a perfectly legitimate end if it were Kluckhohn’s “ implicit culture” ) have been de­
admitted. veloped for this kind of analysis, and a refine­
Let us return, however, to causality once ment and elaboration of these and similar ap­
more. In a sense we are less optimistic than proaches may make some aspects of the be­
was Tylor eighty years ago when he wrote: havior of individuals in a culture reducible to
generalizations that can be stated with increased
Rudimentary as the science of culture still is, the
symptoms are becoming very strong that even what
economy. The test of the validity of such
seem its most spontaneous and motiveless phenomena “ least common denominators” or “ highest
will, nevertheless, be shown to come within the common factors” 28 will, of course, be the

" A s in the correlations of the Culture Element graphs seems thoroughly congruent with that ex­
Survey o f native western North America directed by pressed by Levi-Strauss (1951). Compare: “ . . . thus
one of the present authors, to mention but one ascertain whether or rot different types of com­
example. munication systems in the same societies — that is,
* Cf. Kluckhohn, 1951a. kinship and language — are or are not caused by iden­
" Although the approach is from a somewhat tical unconscious structures” (p. 161). “ W e will be
different direction and the terminology used is not in a position to understand basic similarities between
the same, the point of view w e express in these para- forms of social life, such as language, art, law, religion.
extent to which they not only make the sisting of any desired, and, through still finer analysis,
phenomena more intelligible but also make infinitely increasing number of successive parts
possible reasonably accurate predictions of (Jakobson, 1949, 210, 2 11, 212)
culture change under specified conditions. Our basic assumption is that every language
One attempts to understand, explain, or pre­ operates with a strictly limited number of under­
dict a system by reference to a relatively few lying ultimate distinctions which form a set of
organizing principles of that system. The stud) binary oppositions. (Jakobson and Lotz, 1949, 151).
of culture is the study of regularities. After
field work the anthropologist’s first task is the The fundamental oppositions in culture
descriptive conceptualization of certain trends generally may' turn out to be ternary or qua­
toward uniformity in aspects of the behavior ternary. Jakobson has indicated that language,
o f the people making up a certain group (cf. though constructed around simple dichotomic
Ill— a—16). The anthropological picture of the oppositions, involves both an axis of success­
explicit culture is largely as Firth (1939, III— iveness and an axis of simultaneity which cuts
a -i 1 ) has suggested “ the sum total of modes 29 its hierarchical structure even up to symbols.
o f behavior.” Now, however, anthropologists Certainly the analyses of Jakobson and Lotz
are trying to go deeper, to reduce the wide involve complex multi-dimensional interrela­
range of regularities in a culture to a relativelv tionships. The resemblance of their graphic
few “ premises,” “ categories,” and “ thematic representations of French phonemic structure
principles” of the inferred or implicit culture.30 to similar drawings of the arrangements of
So far as fundamental postulates about struc­ atoms in organic
molecules is striking.D

ture are concerned, this approach resembles The work of Jakobson and Lotz concerns
what factor analysts are trying to do. The only one aspect of culture, language. At pres­
methods, of course, are very different. ent only the data of linguistics and of social
A model for the conceptually significant organization are formulated with sufficient pre­
in these methods is suggested in the following cision to permit of rigorous dissolution of ele­
excerpts from Jakobson and Lotz: ments into their constituent bundles of dis­
tinctive features. But there is abundant pre­
Where nature presents nothing but an indefinite sumptive evidence that cultural categories are
number of contingent varieties, the intervention of not a congeries; that there are principles which
culture extracts purs of oppos:'e terms. The gross cut across. Aspects of given events are often
sound matter knows no oppositions. It is the human clearly meaningful in various realms of cul­
thought, conscious or cnconscious, which draws from ture: “ economic,” “ social,” “ rehgious,” and
it the binary oppositions. It abstracts them by elim­
the like. The difficult thing s to work out a
inating the rest . . . As music lays upon sound matter
systematic way of making transformations be­
a graduated scale, similarly language lavs upon it the
dichotomal scale which is simply a corollary of the
tween categories.
purely differential role played by phonemic entities
This direction is so new — at least in its con­
. . . a strictly linguistic analysis \i hich must specify temporary dress — and so basic to the anthro­
all the underl) ing oppositions and their interrelations pological attack upon cultural “ causation” that
. . . Only in resolving the phonemes into their con­ the discussion must be extended a little. The
stituents and in identifying the ultimate entities ob­ prime search is, of course, for interrelationships
tained, phoncmics arrives at its basic concept . . . between the patterned forms of the explicit
and thereby definitely breaks with the extrinsic and implicit culture.
picture of speech vividly summarized by L. Bloom­ The problem of pattern is the problem of
field: a continuttm which can be viewed as con- symmetry, of constancies of form irrespective

that, on the surface, seem to differ greatly. \ t the

same time, we will have the hope of overcoming the and space modalities of these universal laws v hich
opposition between the collective nature of culture make up the unconscious activity of the mind" (p
and its manifestations in the individual, since the 163).
so-called ‘collective consciousness’ would, in the final "Italics ours.
analysis, be no more than the expression, on the plane " F o r one try at this kind of analysis, see Kluc’ ;-
of individual thought and behavior, of certain time hohn, 1949b.
of wide variations in concrete details of ac­ are rather easily heard by any listener, but it
tualization. So far as biological and physical takes a more technical analysis to discover the
possibilities are concerned, a given act can be key or mode in w hich a melody is written.
carried out, an idea stated, or a specific artifact The forms of the explicit culture may be 301
made in a number of different wavs. How­ compared to the observable plan of a building.
ever, in all societies the same mode of disposing As Robert Lvnd has said: “The significance
of many situations is repeated over and over. of structure for a cultuie may be suggested
There is, as it were, an inhibition alike of the bv the analogy of a Gothic cathedral, in which
randomness of trial and error behavior, of the each part contributes thrusts and w eights rele­
undifferentiated character of instinctive be­ vant not only to itself alone but to the whole.”
havior, and of responses that are merely func­ Patterns arc the framework, the girders of a
tional. A determinate organization prevails. culture. The forms of the implicit culture are
By patterning in its most general sense we more nearly analogous to the architect’s con­
mean the relation of units in a determinate sys­ ception of the total over-all effects he wishes to
tem, interrelation of parts as dominated by the achieve. Different forms can be made from
general character of wholes. Patterning means the same elements. It is as if one looks at a
that, given certain points of reference, there series of chairs which have identical propor­
are standards of selective awareness, of se­ tions but which are of varying sizes, built of
quence, of emphasis. As the physical anthro­ a dozen different kinds of wood, with minor
pologist H. L. Shapiro has remarked: ornamentations of distinct kinds. One sees
the differences but recognizes a common ele­
It is perhaps open to debate whether the variations
ment. Similarly, one may find in two indi­
should be regarded as deviations from a pattern, or
the sequence be reversed and the pattern derived
viduals almost the same personality.’ traits. Yet
from the distribution o f the variates. But b y which­ each has his own life style which differentiates
ever end one grasps this apparent duality, the in­ the constellation of traits. So, also, a culture
evitable association of a central tendency with the cannot be fully understood from the most com­
deviations from it constitutes a fixed attribute of plete description of its explicit surface. The
organic life. Indeed, in a highly generalized sense, organization of each culture has the same kind
the exposition o f the central tendency and the under­ of uniqueness one finds in the organization of
standing of individual variation furnish the several each personality.
biological, and possibly all the natural sciences, with
Even a culture trait is an abstraction. A trait
their basic problem. So pervasive is the phenomenon,
it is dlmcult to conjure up any aspect o f biok ? i c J
is an “ ideal type” because no two pots are
research that cannot ultimately be resolved into these identical nor arc two marriage ceremonies
fundamental terms. ever held in precisely the same way. But when
we turn to those unconscious (i.e.. unvcrba-
The forms of the explicit culture are them­ lized) predispositions toward the definition of
selves patterned, as Sapir has said, “ into a com­ the situation which members of a certain so­
plex configuration of evaluations, inclusive and cial tradition characteristically exhibit, we
exclusive implications, priorities, and potenti­ have to deal with second-order or analytical
alities of realization” which cannot be under­ abstractions. The patterns of the implicit cul­
stood solely from the descriptions given by ture are not inductive generalizing abstrac­
even the most articulate of culture carriers. tions but purely inferential constructs. They
To use another analogy from music: the melo­ are thematic principles which the investigator
dies (i.e., the patterns of the explicit culture) introduces to explain connections among a

"* For some purposes a better simile is that of a large of culture; and a more developed or specialized organi­
oriental rug. Here one can see before one the in­ zation of the content of the culture — in other words,
tricacy o f patterns — the pattern o f the whole rug more numerous elements and more sharply expressed
and various patterns within this. T h e degree of in­ and interrelated patterns. These two properties are
tricacy of the patterns of the explicit culture tends to likely to go hand in hand. A greater content calls
be proportional to the total content of that culture, for more definite organization; more organization
as Kroeber has remarked: “Such a climax is likely makes possible the absorption of more content-”
to be defined b y two characteristics: a larger content (1936, p. 114.)
wide range of culture content and form that that the theoretical structure does not collapse
are not obvious in the world of direct observa­ with the production of doubtful or transitional
tion. The forms of the implicit culture start, cases. In a highly self-conscious culture like
of course, from a consideration of data and the American which makes a business of study­
they must be validated by a return to the data, ing itself, the proportion of the culture which
but they unquestionably* rest upon systematic is literally implicit in the sense of never havinp
extrapolation. When describing implicit cul­ been overtly stated by any member of the so­
ture the anthropologist cannot hope to become ciety may be small. Yet only a trifling per­
a relatively objective, relatively passive instru­ centage of Americans could state even those
ment. His role is more active; he necessarily implicit premises of our culture which have
puts something into the data. Whereas the been abstracted out by social scientists. In the
trustworthiness of an anthropologist’s por­ case of the less self-conscious societies the un­
trayal of explicit culture depends upon his re­ conscious assumptions bulk large. They are
ceptivity, his completeness, and his detachment whit VVhorf has called “ background phenom­
and upon the skill and care with which he ena.” What he says of language applies to many
makes his inductiv e generalizations, the validity other aspects of culture: “ . . . our psychic
of his conceptual model of the implicit culture make-up is somehow adjusted to disregard
stands or falls with the balance achieved be­ whole realms of phenomena that are so" all-
tween sensitivity of scientific imagination and pervasive as to seem irrelevant to our daily
comparative freedom from preconception. lives and needs . . . the phenomena of a lan­
Normative and behavioral patterns are spe­ guage are to its own speakers largely . . . out­
cifically oriented. The forms of the implicit side the critical consciousness and control of
culture have a more generalized application the speaker. . . .” This same point of view is
but they are, to use Benedict’s phrase, “ uncon­ often expressed by historians and others when
scious canons of choice.” The implicit cul­ they say: “The really important thing to know
ture consists in those cultural themes of which about a society is what it takes for granted.”
there is characteristically no sustained and sys­ These “ background phenomena” are of ex­
tematic awareness 31 on the part of most mem­ traordinary importance in human action. Hu­
bers of a group. man behavior cannot be understood in terms
The distinction between explicit and im­ of the organism-environment model unless
plicit culture *> that of polar concepts, not of this be made more complex. No socialized hu­
the all-or-none type. Reality, and not least man being views his experience freshly. His
cultural reality, appears to be a continuum very perceptions arc screened and distorted by
rather than a set of neat, water-tight compart­ what he has consciously and unconsciously
ments. But we can seldom cope with the con­ absorbed from his culture. Between the stimu­
tinuum as a- whole, and the isolation and nam­ lus and the response there is always interposed
ing of certain contrastive sections of the con­ an intervening variable, unseen but powerful.
tinuum is highly useful. It follows, however, This consists in the person’s total apperceptive

“ “ Awireness” has here the special and narrow

sense of “ manifested by habitual verbalization.” The before they can verbalize (a) that they are operating
members of the group are of course aware in the on a principle, or (b) that the principle is thus-and-so.
sense that they make choices with these configurations Culture learning, because so much of it takes place be­
as unconscious but determinative backgrounds. Pro­ fore very much verbal differentiation has occurred in
fessor Jerome Bruner comments from the standpoint the carrier and because it is learned along with the pat­
of a psychologist: “ The process by which the im­ tern of a language and as part of the language, is bound
plicit culture is ‘acquired’ by the individual (i.e., the to result in difficulties of awareness. Thoughtways
way the person learns to respond in a manner con­ inherent in a language are difficult to analyze by a
gruent with expectation) is such that awareness and person who speaks that language and no other since
verbal formulation are intrinsically difficult. Even there is no basis for discriminating an implicit thought­
in laboratory situations where we set the subject the way save by comparing it with a different thought-
task of forming complex concepts, subjects typically way in another language.” (Letter to CK, September
begin to respond consistently in terms of a principle 7, iQ$i.)
mass which is made up. in large part of the more world. Patterns are forms — the implicit cul-N
generalized cultural forms.32 ture consists in interrelationships between
Let us take an example. If one asks a Navaho forms, that is, of qualities which can be predi­
Indian about witchcraft, experience shows that cated only of two or more forms taken
more than seventy per cent will give almost together.
identical verbal responses. The replies will Just as the forms of the explicit culture are
vary only in this fashion: “ Who told you to configurated in accord w:ith the unconscious
talk to me about witchcraft?” “ Who said that system of meanings abstracted by the anthro­
I knew anything about witchcraft?” “ Why pologist as cultural cnthymemes, so the enthy-
do you come to me to ask about this — who memes may bear a relation to an over-summa-
told you I knew about it?” Here one has a tive principle. Every culture is a structure —
behavioral pattern of the explicit culture, for not just a haphazard collection of all the dif­
the structure consists in a determinate inter- ferent physically possible and functionally ef­
digitation of linguistic symbols as a response fective patterns of belief and action but an in­
to a verbal (and situational) stimulus. terdependent system with its forms segregated
Suppose, however, that we juxtapose this and and arranged in a manner which is felt as ap­
orher behavioral patterns which have no in­ propriate. As Ruth Benedict has said, “ Order
trinsic interconnection. Unacculturated Nava­ is due to the circumstance that in these socie­
ho are uniformly careful to hide their faeces ties a principle has been set up according to
and to see to it that no other person obtains which the assembled cultural material is made
possession of their hair, nails, spit, or any other over into consistent patterns in accordance
bodily part or product. They are likewise with certain inner necessities that have devel­
characteristically secretive about their per­ oped with the group.” This broadest kind of
sonal names. All three of these patterns (as integrating principle in culture has often been \/
well as many others which might be men­ referred to as ethos. Anthropologists are
tioned) are manifestations of a cultural enthy- hardly ready as yet to deal with the ethos of
meme (tacit prem'se) which may be intellec- a culture except by means of artistic insight.
tualized as “ fear of the malevolent activities The work of Benedict and others is suggestive
of other persons.” Only most exceptionally but raises many new problems beside those of
would a Navaho make this abstract generaliza­ rigor and standardized procedures. As Gur-
tion, saying, in effect, “These arc all ways of vitch 33 has said: “ Unc des caracccristiques cs-
showing our anxiety about the activities of sentielles des symboles est qu’ils revclent en
others.” Nevertheless, this principle does or­ voilant, et qurils voilent en revelant.”
der all sorts of concrete Navaho behavior and,
although implicit, is as much a part of Nava­ SIG N IFIC A N C E AND V A L U E S 34
ho culture as the explicit acts and verbal sym­ We come now to those properties of cul­
bols. It is the highest common factor in di­ ture which seem most distinctive of it and most
verse explicit forms and contents. It is a princi­ important: its significance and its values. Per­
ple which underlies the structure of the ex­ haps we should have said “ significance or
plicit culture, which “ accounts for” a number values,” for the two are difficult to keep sepa­
of distinct factors. It is neither a generaliza­ rated and perhaps constitute no more than v
tion of aspects of behavior (behavioral pattern) somewhat different aspects of the same thing.
nor of forms for behavior (normative pattern) First of all, significance does not mean mere-
— it is a generalization from behavior. It looks ly ends. It is not teleological in the traditional
to an inner coherence in terms of structuraliz- sense. Significance and values are of the es­
mg principles that are taken for granted by sence of the organization of culture. It is true
participants in this culture as prevailing in the that human endeavor is directed toward ends;

" A possible neurological basis of universals and “ Gurvitch, 1950, p. 77.

of the culturally formed and tinged apperceptive mass “ For a more extended treatment of values by
has only recently been described. one of us, see Kluckhohn 1951b.
but those ends are shaped by the values of cul­ tural values and also certain highly personal
ture; and the values are felt as intrinsic, not goals and standards developed in the vicissi­
as means. And the values are variable and rela­ tudes of private experience and reinforced by
tive, not predetermined and eternal, though rewards in using them. But these latter are
certain universals of human biology and of not ordinarily called values, and they must in
human social life appear to have brought about any case be discriminated from collective
a few constants or near-constants that cut values. Or, the place of a value in the lives of
across cultural differences. Also the values are some persons may be quite different from that
part of nature, not outside it. They are the in the cultural scheme. Thus dav-dreamino
>roducts of men, of men having bodies and
( iving in societies, and are the structural es­
or autoerotic practices may come to acquire
high value for an individual while bem^
sence of the culture of these societies of men. ignored, ridiculed, or condemned sociocul­
Finally, values and significances are “ intan- turally. These statements must not be con­
gibles*’ which are “ subjective” in that they can strued as implying that values have a substan­
be internally experienced, but are also ob­ tive existence outside of individual minds, or
jective in their expressions, embodiments, or that a collective mind containing them has any
results. such substantive existence. The locus or place
Psychology deals \vith individual minds, and of residence of values or anything else cultural
most values are the products of social living, is in individual persons and nowhere else. But
become part of cultures, and are transmitted a value becomes a group value, as a habit be­
along with the rest of culture. It is true that comes a custom or individuals a society, only
each new or changed value takes its concrete w'ith collective participation.
origin (as do all aspects of culture) in the psy­ This collective quality’ of values accounts
chological processes of some particular indivi­ for their frequent anonymity', their seeming
dual. It is also true that each individual holds the spontaneous result of mass movement, as
his own idiosyncratic form of the various cul­ in morals, fashion responses, speech. Though
tural values he has internalized. Such matters the very first inception of any value or new
are proper subjects of investigation for the part thereof must take place in an individual
psychologist, but values in general have a pre­ mind, nevertheless this attachment is mostly
dominantly historical and sociocultural dimen­ lost verv quickly a-* socialization gets under
sion. Psychology de ’’s mainly w ith processes wav, and in many values has been long since
or mechanisms, and values are men'-il content. forgotten. The strength of the value is, how­
The processes by which individuals acquire, ever. not impaired bv this forgetting, but
reject, or modify values are questions for psy­ rather increased. The collectivization may
chological enquiry — or for collaboration be­ also tend to decrease overt, explicit awareness
tween psychologists and anthropologists or so­ of the value itself. It maintains its hold and
ciologists. The main trend, however, is evi­ strength, but covertly, as an implicit a priori,
denced by the fact that social psychology', as a non-rational folkway, as a “ configuration”
that bridge between psychology and sociology, rather than a “ pattern” in Kluckhohn’s 1941
recognizes a correspondence between values distinction.35 This means in turn that func­
and attitudes, but has for the most part con­ tioning with relation