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Download Citation on ResearchGate | GENERAL AND THEORETICAL: Theory of Culture Change: The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution. Julian H. Steward. Methodology Of Multilinear Evolution only if you are registered echecs16.infoad Evolution Book file PDF. file Theory Of Culture Change The. Free PDF Theory Of Culture Change The Methodology Of Multilinear Evolution Ebooks ebook any format,. You can get any ebooks you wanted like Theory .

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Theory of culture change; the methodology of multilinear evolution urn:acs6: theoryofculturec00stew:pdf:5adfbebc-bf6b-. Theory of Culture Change. The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution. Julian H. Steward. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, pp., 5. Theory of Culture Change: The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Ngateb, Melanie C. Submitted to: Atty. Arlene B. Aoas Date of submission: February 02, Introduction The Cultural Ecology Theory considers how environmental forces influence humans and how human activities affect the biosphere and the Earth itself. Cultural ecology theory has drawn a great deal of criticism, primarily for its strong emphasis on environmental determinism.

Ngateb, Melanie C. Submitted to: Atty. Arlene B. Aoas Date of submission: February 02, Introduction The Cultural Ecology Theory considers how environmental forces influence humans and how human activities affect the biosphere and the Earth itself. Cultural ecology theory has drawn a great deal of criticism, primarily for its strong emphasis on environmental determinism.

This has been argued to be a potentially dangerous oversimplification of social and cultural processes. Such critics state that cultural ecology theory tends to ignore the importance and power of social and individual agency. While some of the critiques lodged against cultural ecology theory are important to keep in mind and are valid, the value of the theory and its impact on the social sciences cannot be denied and today can still be used very effectively.

Cultural ecology studies the relationship between a given society and its natural environment as well as the life-forms and ecosystems that support its life-ways.

Theory of culture change ; the methodology of multilinear evolution

This may be carried out diachronically examining entities that existed in different epochs , or synchronically examining a present system and its components. Cultural Ecology focuses on how cultural beliefs and practices helps human populations adapt to their environments and live within the means of their ecosystem. Cultural Ecology views culture as evolutionary, the cultural adaptations have come as the result of a changing environment.

In this way, cultural ecology seeks to explain the social sciences by the means of the natural sciences. It uses the environmental pressures as explanations for cultural change. It therefore recognizes the ways in which different societies adapt differently not as a result of intelligence, but as a result of their climate.

Steward defined Cultural Ecology in his book, The Theory of Cultural Change, as "a heuristic device for understanding the effect of environment upon culture.

Julian Steward was born in Washington, D. C, he attended the University of California, Berkeley. Steward's first research was in archeology, then he moved on to ethnography and worked with the Shoshoni, the Pueblo, and later the Carrier Indians in British Columbia. Steward also devoted a great deal of energy to the study of parallel developmental sequences in the evolution of civilizations in the New and Old Worlds.

He termed the cultural features associated with subsistence practices the "cultural core. Cultural ecology recognizes that ecological locale plays a significant role in shaping the cultures of a region. Assess how much these patterns of behavior influenced other aspects of culture e. This belief system may not appear in a society where good rainfall for crops can be taken for granted, or where irrigation was practiced.

There arc certain problems in which man's rational and emotional potentials arc not a zero factor in the equation. Thus Kluckhohn suggests: "If a tribe's customary outlet for aggression in war is blocked, one may predict an increase in intratribal hostility perhaps in the form of witchcraft or in pathological states of melancholy resultant upon anger being turned inward against the self.

For example, among the Iroquois and their neighbors, war captives werc adopted as members of the captor's family, then tortured and killed. Raymond Scheele has suggested that this pattern provides a means of diverting latent hostilities against kin to members of an alien group.

Theory of culture change; the methodology of multilinear evolution

A similar pattern is found among the Tupinamba of South America and among tribes in other parts of the world. The kinds of parallels or similarities with which multilinear evolution deals are distinguished by their limited occurrence and their specificity. For this reason, the outstanding methodological problem of multilinear evolution is an appropriate taxonomy of cultural phenomena. Cultural Taxonomy Any science must have precise means of identifying and classifying the recurrent phenomena with which it deals.

It is symptomatic of the historical rather than the scientific orientation of cultural studies that there are few terms designating whole cultures or components of cultures which may be employed cross-culturally. A great many sociological terms, such as "band," "tribe," "clan," "class," "state," "priest," and "shaman," are used to describe features which are found repeatedly in generically unrelated cultures, but they are much too general even to suggest parallels of form or process.

The most precise terms designate very special technological features, such as "bow," "atlatl," or "ik at weaving. The present status of cultural taxonomy reveals a preoccupation with relativism, and practically all systems of classification are fundamentally derived from the culture-area concept. Basically, the culture area is characterized by a distinctive element content, which, on a tribal level at least, constitutes the shared behavior of all members of the society. Classification may give ,qual wcight to all clements, as in Klimek's statistical handling of the culture-clement lists which were compiled in the University of California survey of western tribes or as in the midwestern or McKern method of classifying archaeological complexes.

Thus South America has been grouped into five areas by Wissler , eleven hy Stout , three by Cooper and by Bennett and Bird , four by the Handbook of South American Indians Steward, , and twenty-four by Murdock Each gives primacy 10 features of interest to the individual. All these classifications arc particular to the data of South America. None endeavors to recoguizc in any of the three to twenty-four areas structural or developmental features which arc common to areas outside South America.

Classifications of cultures in terms of value system or ethos has rsscntially the same basis as that of culture areas. Such classifications presuppose a common core of shared culture traits which cause all members of the society to have thc same outlook and psychological characteristics.

Benedict's concept of pattern, Gorer's and Mead's concept of national character, and Morris Opler's concept of themes d 'five from a taxonomic approach that is basically like that of Wissler, Kroeber, Murdock, Hcrskovits, and others, If a taxonomic system is to be devised for the purpose of determining cross-cultural parallels and regularities rather than of stressing contrasts and differences, there is needed a concept which may be designated "culture type.

By the present definition, a culture type differs from a culture area in several respects. First, it is characterized by selected features rather than by its total element content. Since no two cultures arc quite alike in their element totality, it is necessary to select special constellations of causally interrelated features which arc found among two or more, but not necessarily aIllong all, cultures. Second, the selection of diagnostic features must be determined by the problem and frame of reference.

Conceivably, any aspect of culture may be attributed primary taxonomic importance. Third, the selected features are presumed to have the same functional interrelationship with one another in each case. These few, illustrative types make economic and sociological features primary because scientific interest is widely centered in such features and because socioeconomic structure has therefore been more broadly examined and more readily formulated than other aspects of culture.

Economic patterns are generally ascribed considerable importance because they are inextricably related to social and political patterns. Certain aspects of religion, however, are also included in Redfield's types. A taxonomic scheme designed to facilitate the determination of parallels and regularities in terms of concrete characteristics and developmental processes will have to distinguish innumerable culture types, many of which have not as yet been recognized.

A stage of hunting and gathering, for example - or of savagery, to use the evolutionists' term - is far too broad a category. The functional relations and cultural-ecological adaptations which led to a patrilineal band, consisting of a localized lineage, were very different from those which produced a nomadic, bilateral band composed of many unrelated families Steward, But these are only two of many types of hunting and gathering societies which developed as the result of particular cultural-historical and cultural-ecological circumstances.

Moreover, it docs not at all follow that all hunters.

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Many may be unique, except as some limited feature of t l ui r culture parallels a similar feature of another culture - for instance, the development of clans. Since hunting and gathering tribes fall into an undetermined number of cultural types, any larger developmental scheme cannot with certainty take any type as representative of a universal early stage, except in characteristics that arc so general as to signify nothing conrrctcly about any particular culture.

The absence among hunters and J. The particular forms of marriage, family, social structure, economic ro-operation, socioreligious patterns, and other features found among IIH'se primitive societies differ in each type.

Consequently, the objective is to ascertain the detailed processes by which hunters and gatherers wr-re converted into farmers or herdsmen and these latter into more "civilized" people, and it is necessary to deal with particular types.

Among the farming cultures there is also a large variety of cultural types which have not been systematically classified with reference to problems of cross-cultural parallels or formulations of causality.

Irrigation civilizations have received considerable attention Chapter II. But the term "tropical forest agriculture" still refers mrnlv to those who farm in the tropical rain forests rather than to specific nops, methods of farming, markets, and related cultural Ir-atu n-s. Possibly the culture areas of the rain forest in the Old and New World, including both the Mediterranean and the northern hardwood forests, developed indigenous unique culture types. It is more likely that significant parallels between such areas would be disclosed if they were compared with reference to environment, technology, and ITa of development.

At present, interest in parallels centers in the development of Old and New World civilizations. The parallels arc striking and undeniable. They include the independent development - independent, that is, according to most but not all anthropologists - of an impressive list of basic features: domesticated plants and animals, irrigation, large towns and cities, metallurgy, social classes, states and empires, priesthoods, writing, calendars, and mathematics.

Today, the many distinctive varieties of native culture areas of the world - and these inelude whole nations, subcontinents, and continents, such as China, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America - are being strongly affected by industrialization which diffuses primarily from Europe and America and secondarily from subeenters created in all continents.

Whether the particular features of industrial developments - the mechanization of farm and factory production, the cost accounting methods, corporate and credit financing, and the national and international systems of distribution and marketing - arc considered to be a single world development or a number of quasi-independent growths from a general industrial basis, there appear to be rather striking paralkls in the consequences of the diffused features.

These parallels are classifiable in terms of trends toward the production of cash commodities, purchase of manufactured articles, individualization of land tenure, appearance of a cash-based rationale in values and goals, reduction of the kinship group to the nuclear family, emergence of middle elasses of business, service, and professional personnel, sharpening of interclass tensions, and rise of nationalistic ideologies.

All these are features whieh also characterize the peoples of Euro-American I These terms and their significance have been reviewed by Julian H. Steward and Wendell C. See Julian H. Bennett ed. Detailed study of native populations discloses processes which made the development of these features inevitable, even in the absence of sustained, face-toface contacts between the native populations and Europeans which could introduce new practices and a new ethic.

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There is good reason to believe that the very fundamental changes now occurring in the 1I10St remote parts of the world are susceptible to formulation in terms of parallels or regularities, despite various local overtones which derive from the native cultural tradition. Although no very deliberate effort to formulate these regularities has yet been made, considerable cont mporary research is directly concerned with modern trends, and the substantive results are probably sufficiently detailed to permit preliminary formulations.

Not all parallels need be based essentially upon a developmental sequence. Thus Redfield's postulated regularities in the changes of a folk society under urbanizing influence can hardly be called "evolution. In each of the cultural types mentioned above, certain features arc functionally related to others, and time depth or development is necessarily implied; for, regardless of which features are considered causes and which are considered effects, it is assumed that some must always be accompanied by others under stipulated conditions.

Whether it requires ten, twenty, or several hundred years for the relationship to become established, development through time must always take place. Therefore, parallel developments which require only a few years and involve only a limited number of lcaturcs are no less evolutionary from a scientific point of view than s quences involving whole cultures and covering millenia.

The historical reconstructions of the nineteenth-century unilinear evolutionists are distinctive for the assumption that all cultures pass through parallel and genetically unrelated sequences. This disagreement concerning fundamental historical fact is reflected in cultural taxonomy.

The major categories of the unilinear evolutionists are primarily developmental stages applicable to all cultures; those of the relativists and particularists arc culture areas or traditions. The difference in point of view also involves the very logic of science. The relativists are phenomenological and esthetic. Culture is shared: A single person does not have a culture. Culture is generally understood as having to be transmitted from one generation to another and thereby reproduce itself.

Despite the argument between the adherents of belief and those of praxis, to me it seems apparent that both must be included. That is, culture contains common understandings and values, but it also consists of shared ways of doing things. The Human Mind and the Evolution of Cultural Animals Putting these together, I understand culture as an information-based system that enables people to live together in organized fashion and satisfy their basic needs Baumeister, This can benefit from elaboration.

Culture is first and foremost a system, in my understanding. Some animals live alone. Some live in social groups, and these groups have some degree of system.

Culture is a relatively advanced and complicated way of being social. It is a complex social system with special properties. These special properties include being based on information. It is no accident that all known human cultures have language, because language is the best if not the indispensable tool for using information—and in particular for using information socially, which is to say enabling more than one creature to use the same information.

The emphasis on living together in organized fashion addresses one basic purpose of culture. As a thought experiment, try to imagine what North America would look like if the culture were suddenly obliterated but all the people remained.

That is, take away the language and the social system with its rules and shared understandings. Either people would start to create culture anew quite rapidly, or chaos would ensue. Culture may sometimes impose difficulties on how we relate to each other, but in general its purpose is to facilitate peaceful and harmonious coexistence. The part about satisfying needs also speaks to a basic purpose of culture. As Marvin Harris e.

Cultures that fail to provide food and water for their people are headed for significant change if not rapid demise and replacement by others. Cultural Variation Versus Similarity At present, strong and thriving research programs in psychology are devoted to the respective influences of nature and culture.

Nature is represented most strongly by evolutionary psychology. Its primary emphasis is on continuities and similarities between humans and animals. One frequent goal of this research is to show how human behavior resembles that of the animals from whom we evolved. To be sure, there are some researchers that focus on species-specific adaptations and what is special about humans, but the main thrust of most work, and certainly most of what gets communicated to researchers outside the area, is that human nature shares many common features with the animals from whom we evolved.

Even when it turns its attention to differences, such as those between men and women, it often undertakes to show how human gender differences parallel those in other species. Meanwhile, culture is represented in psychology by cultural psychology. Its emphasis is overwhelmingly on difference.

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If you see the word culture in the title of a conference talk, book, or article, you can bet that it will be about cultural differences. A decade or two ago, this typically meant that the researchers gave out the same questionnaire in England, France, and Germany or in the United States and then wherever the researcher happened to travel e.

More recently, the study of cultural differences has zeroed in on the difference between Westerners and Easterners, such as comparing Canadians and Japanese, or North 25 26 Evolution, Culture, and the Human Mind Americans and any Asians, or sometimes North American students of European descent and those of Asian descent. Regardless, difference is the stock in trade of cultural studies. I have no quarrel with these approaches, which continue to produce important and fascinating findings.

All I want to suggest is that there is also valuable insight to be gained by switching the target criteria so as to look at the other two possible combinations, specifically evolutionary differences and cross-cultural similarities.

That is, it is worth attending not only to evolutionary similarities and continuities but also to differences: What sets humans apart from other creatures?

What makes us human? Conversely, what do all or even most cultures have in common? Crucially, these may overlap—and hold important keys to understanding human nature. To contend that nature made us for culture is thus to shift the focus to the common patterns across most cultures generally and to what makes humans different and special.

The achievements of human culture are after all quite remarkable in comparison with how most other species live. These achievements probably required some psychological capabilities that are distinctive. Culture as Biological Strategy All living things need to get certain things from their environment.

The most common are air, water, and food. Other needs typically include shelter from the elements, protection from predators, and opportunities to reproduce, which may include caring for their young until the young can take care of themselves. Much of what nature has installed inside creatures is there to enable them to get what they need to live: lungs to breathe air, eyes and noses to find food, mouths to eat, stomachs to digest, reproductive organs, and so forth.

Some creatures use sociality as a strategy for improving their prospects. A lone wolf may not be able to kill a moose or elk, but if the wolves hunt together, they can kill such large game, and so the total amount of food available to them is increased even though the environment is objectively the same. That is, the moose were there either way, but only the social wolves can hunt them successfully.

Social life thus emerges as a better way for the animals to get what they need to live. The downside is that social beings require more extensive inner structures than do solitary ones. They need to be able to recognize conspecifics, to want to live and work together with them, to participate in group decision making, and to resolve disputes between them. Thus, using sociality as a biological strategy can pay big dividends, but it requires some infrastructure in the form of more advanced psychological capabilities.

Culture is another step. Culture is a better way of being social. It uses systems of information, communication, and organization to enable social interaction to reach a much higher and more advantageous level of complexity. In an effective culture, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

That means that the members of the group live survive and reproduce much better within the culture than they would if they had remained solitary. The basis for this is what can be called system gain. The system confers advantages. The Human Mind and the Evolution of Cultural Animals It must be acknowledged that not everyone always benefits from culture.

At the extreme, cultures do execute some of their members occasionally, and so these individuals would arguably have done better to live alone in the woods by themselves.

By and large, though, the benefits far outweigh the losses for the vast majority. What are the biological advantages of culture that are responsible for system gain?

Four main ones were outlined by Baumeister They may not be exhaustive, and they overlap somewhat, but together they make a powerful basis for using culture as a biological strategy. Indeed, any one of them might have been enough to push natural selection in favor of cultural competencies. Groups that could use these systems would fare better than groups and individuals who could not.

And, more important for an evolutionary argument, individuals who were more capable of functioning in these cultural groups would survive and reproduce better than their less capable peers and rivals. It is important to make clear that my arguments here are based more on mutual, reciprocal causality than one-way, linear effects. Reciprocal influence has been argued as a useful approach to understanding coevolution of biological and cultural realities e.

I have said that people created culture because of its material advantages. To do so, they needed the capabilities to function in a cultural environment. As they developed the capabilities, the culture could develop further and provide more of its advantages. To illustrate, consider language. People clearly need biological capabilities to speak.

Neither one-way causal explanation seems plausible. It would be silly to suggest that languages existed there in the environment and people gradually developed the ability to talk. Conversely, it is also implausible to suggest that people developed these advanced language hardware capabilities first, for no apparent reason, and then suddenly one day started creating language.

Coevolution seems by far the most plausible scenario. That is, rudimentary communication if only by grunts and snorts provided some advantages, and so some creatures got better at grunting and snorting, including differentiated grunts for different meanings. These developed slowly into single words, then more words, then perhaps simple combinations of words.

Once groups started to have these simple and preliminary forms of language, individuals who could speak a little better than their peers would likely have reproductive advantages. In that way, culture in this case, language became part of the environment and provided factors that would influence natural selection and thereby biological evolution e. Put another way, as long as no language existed in the world, being born with the biological hardware for a gift for gab would not bring any benefit, and being born without it would leave one no worse off than the proverbial fish without a bicycle.

But once a community had language, the young man with such a gift might well score better with the ladies than his relatively tongue-tied peers, and so the next generation would show an increase in its average verbal capabilities. Nonetheless, the benefits created by these four constitute important reasons that our species converged on culture as its biological strategy for facilitating survival and reproduction.

Accumulation of Knowledge A first advantage of culture is the accumulation of knowledge. In most species, learned information is stored in individual brains, and when the animal dies, the knowledge dies with it.

In human societies, knowledge is stored in the group, and so what any member learns can be shared with others. To be sure, some animals learn from each other, but this is far more systematic and extensive in humans. Most important, acquired knowledge can be passed on to the next generation, and so it accumulates. The accumulation of knowledge makes progress possible in a way that is essentially unknown outside of the human species. It is what some regard as the passing of the torch of progress from nature to culture, with a huge resultant increase in speed of change.

That is, evolution via natural selection creates progress, in that creatures gradually adapt better to their environment, and later generations are better than their ancestors. But the process of working via genetic change is quite slow. In contrast, cultural progress can be quite rapid, and it is generally agreed that the speed of change has escalated remarkably over the centuries. Knowledge accumulation has been one major engine of culture. Many basic aspects of human life are thinkable only on that basis, including cooked food and anything beyond the most basic tools.

Tomasello noted that many primates can come up with creative solutions to problems and even manage mostly by mimicry to spread them through a small circle of friends, but then the innovations get lost. As a result, each new generation of nonhuman primates starts pretty much from the beginning, whereas each generation of human beings can take up where the previous one left off.

Cooking provides a useful example e. Cooking food has contributed greatly to human reproduction and survival. Indeed, probably more human beings have lived off rice as their staple than any other food—but rice is inedible without cooking, and so those multitudes would have gone hungry. Yet it is unlikely that cooking was fully invented by a single person.

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Rather, cooking almost certainly developed over many generations, as the often disastrous results of trial and error enabled knowledge to accumulate about how best to cook various foods. Language The second advantage is language. Language exists not within individual brains but in the collective.

Rudimentary communication is found in many social animals, but most linguists refuse to call it language. Human communication is thus much more powerful than the communication that is found in any other species. Culture is essentially based on information, and language greatly facilitates working with information: storing it, operating on it e. The accumulation of knowledge and its transmission to future generations, discussed previously, is greatly facilitated by language.

Language also facilitates group projects, insofar as members can communicate with each other more effectively and thereby coordinate their activities, producing better performance. Groups of reclusive monks may take vows of silence, but I doubt hunting or military groups ever do. Language also improves the power of thought. Undoubtedly some thought occurs without language see Carruthers, But I would bet on language to improve the quality of reasoning.

Also, crucially, language enables people to share their thoughts, ideas, and reasons with other people and in that process to learn about mistakes. Lone thinkers even with language may be prone to error, but by talking through a problem with a friend or colleague, one can reach objectively more correct answers. One further and powerful advantage of language is that it liberates the person from the immediate stimulus environment.

Skinner and the behaviorists were quite right to point out that animal behavior is mainly responses to here-and-now stimuli, informed perhaps by reinforcement history. But human beings can respond to facts that are far removed from the here and now, including in the remote future. We take this for granted, but its adaptive significance could scarcely be overstated.

As prime examples, agriculture, schools, religion, and national political government all depend on the ability to conceptualize and respond to factors beyond the immediate stimulus environment. Language enables the mind to represent these distant realities. Roles and Division of Labor The third advantage of culture is division of labor.

Having different people do different things, especially different parts of a collective task, produces vast and undeniable improvements in the quality of work. It is no accident that one of the seemingly universal laws of cultural change is steady progress toward ever-greater specialization. This continues even today, not just in the corporate world imagine a company that refused to rely on division of labor! The competitive advantage that comes from division of labor stems from the fact that it is possible to be an expert at one thing but not, usually, at everything.

If each person performs all different functions, he or she is not usually able to become highly practiced and skilled at any of them.

In contrast, splitting a task into parts and having different people specialize in different parts enables each of them to become highly expert at his or her part. The result is that the task is performed by experts, and because of that the quality of the product or performance rises sharply.

For example, most of us live in houses that were built by teams 29 30 Evolution, Culture, and the Human Mind of specialists, including carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. If a single person built the entire house, it would be quite inferior. It would also, ironically, be much more expensive, because the person who built it would have to have a wide array of knowledge and so his or her labor would cost more, hour by hour, than the labor of the specialists.

Division of labor enables things to be done faster, cheaper, and better, and so groups that could exploit that principle outperformed and supplanted those that could not. Exchange Relationships The fourth advantage of culture lies in a network of exchange relationships, also known as a market economy.

Trade is conceivable without division of labor, but it is much more powerful and effective with it. It redistributes resources through the group in an optimal manner. I assume it is uncontroversial to assert that throughout history, places and groups that engaged in economic trade tended to advance and flourish, whereas those that eschewed economic relations stagnated and declined.