We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The concept of culture in American anthropology

Arnason, Arnar (1994) The concept of culture in American anthropology. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This dissertation is a collection of essays on the concept of culture in American cultural anthropology. Culture has been a key concept in American anthropology but anthropologists have recently been criticised for representing culture as too coherent and historically static. While there is an agreement that culture must have some coherence to have any meaning, too much emphasis on coherence gives the impression that culture is static. These essays examine this problem by considering the work of leading American anthropologists to whom it has been a central concern. The dissertation assesses the various contributions made by these researches to what has been an unfolding debate. It argues that tlie problem first emerged through Boas's theory of culture history which raised the question: Has culture, in order to have any meaning, to be conceptualised as an integrated, autonomous system? That again raises the question: How can culture as an autonomous system change historically? These essays suggest that a complete answer to the question has not been given by symbolic anthropology which can be criticised for placing consciousness in a symbolic system outside the world. The dissertation concludes by considering the work of other researchers who propose that the problem might be overcome by placing the conscious social person in a continuous field of social relations. The dissertation argues that the sources of culture are to be sought in human action situated in a field of social relations.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1994
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:53

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter