18.514 what culture is

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 09:40:43 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 514.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 09:31:06 +0000
         From: Alexandre Enkerli <aenkerli_at_indiana.edu>
         Subject: Re: 18.508 what is (digital) culture?

In asking about "digital culture," Willard solicits references on the=20
notion of "culture."
Though the query may seem simple enough, it's likely to open a can of worms=
in certain contexts. At least, it would do so with cultural anthropologists=
who (still) specify their approaches by devising their own definitions of=20
the concept of culture. Rather early in the game, Kroeber and Kluckhohn=20
were able to publish a survey of dozens of those definitions. The situation=
hasn't become much easier for the casual reader of works in cultural=20

Obviously, it might also open a can of worms with people familiar with (or=
involved in) "Cultural Studies," for whom defining culture is also a common=

In this situation, the likely advice is to use a specialized encyclopedia.=
Here's one such thing (available both in print and through NetLibrary):
Barnard, Alan and Jonathan Spencer (1988) Encyclopedia of Social and=20
Cultural Anthropology
London: New York Routledge ISBN: 041509996X / 0203458036

The important issues and references to classical works defining culture=20
(including E. B. Tylor's /Primitive Culture/ (1871) and Kroeber and=20
Kluckhohn's /Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions/=20
(1952)) are clearly exposed in the entry on "Culture," pages 136=AD142.
Interestingly, this entry (in a mostly British encyclopedia) does talk=20
about the reluctance of British anthropologists toward the concept of=

Does this help?

Alex Enkerli, Teaching Fellow, Visiting Lecturer
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Indiana University South Bend, DW=
1700 Mishawaka Ave., South Bend, IN 46634-7111
Office: (574)520-4102
Fax: (574)520-5031 (to: Enkerli, Anthropology)
Received on Sat Jan 22 2005 - 04:48:50 EST

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