Talk:Culture

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Former good article Culture was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Language and culture[edit]

Well, it seems that the language and culture section was duplicated word-for-word in the section of the same name in Language. Stop me if I am wrong, but I do not believe we do that. We put in the appropriate links, usually the "main" template. Before I caught on to this extensive mimeograph, I started correcting the section in Language. Those corrections as far as they go are quite valid so I am duplicating the corrected paragraphs here. I may not get around to working on this article for a while so I am leaving them here in case you want to put them in.Dave (talk) 19:15, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

I do not know who did that. The section was originally written here. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:58, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

"The connection between the human capacities for culture and language has been noted as far back as classical antiquity. The ancient Greeks, for example, distinguished between civilized peoples and bárbaroi "those who babble", i.e. those who speak unintelligible languages.[1] The fact that different groups speak different, unintelligible languages is often considered more tangible evidence for cultural differences than other less obvious cultural traits.

The German romanticists of the 19th century such as Johann Gottfried Herder, Wilhelm Wundt and Wilhelm von Humboldt, often saw language not just as one cultural trait among many but rather as the direct expression of a people's national character, and as such as culture in a kind of condensed form. Herder for example suggests, "Denn jedes Volk ist Volk; es hat seine National Bildung wie seine Sprache" (Since every people is a People, it has its own national culture expressed through its own language).[2]

Franz Boas, sometimes called "father of American anthropology," (Lewis H. Morgan was the first American anthropologist) like his former German countrymen, maintained that the shared language of a community is the most essential carrier of their common culture. For Boas, the fact that the intellectual culture of a people was largely constructed, shared and maintained through the use of language, meant that understanding the language of a cultural group was the key to understanding its culture. At the same time, though, Boas and his students were aware that culture and language are not directly dependent on one another. That is, groups with widely different cultures may share a common language, and speakers of completely unrelated languages may share the same fundamental cultural traits.[3][4] Numerous other scholars have suggested that the form of language determines specific cultural traits.[5] This is similar to the notion of Linguistic determinism, which states that the form of language determines individual thought. While Boas himself rejected a causal link between language and culture, some of his intellectual heirs entertained the idea that habitual patterns of speaking and thinking in a particular language may influence the culture of the linguistic group.[6] Such belief is related to the theory of Linguistic relativity. Boas, like most modern anthropologists, however, was more inclined to relate the interconnectedness between language and culture to the fact that, as B.L. Whorf put it, "they have grown up together".[7]"

Locking the article![edit]

I see you are locking this article, as you did Linguistics! I begin to see a pattern. This article is not that good; in fact, it needs a good deal of long tedious work. I can only presume that you more skilled editors are going to take the opportunity to fix this article. For that not to be true would be unthinkable. In fact, there are several important articles in the same category. Well, I am glad to see I am not alone in my perceptions. It always puzzled me to see how high-quality editors could be working on such low-quality stuff. Why, to fix it, of course! I didn't get too far starting in on Linguistics, so I am not going to repeat the scenario. Unless someone invites me to work on them and can guarantee freedom from hassle while doing so I believe I shall let your locked articles alone. I dare say, it is about time you did this for the liberal arts, especially social studies. There are quite a few articles that need to be locked for this purpose. Bonjour, arrivaderci, adios amigos, best of luck. I will move around your perimeter where I can have a freer hand to achieve excellence.Dave (talk) 19:47, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Who are you talking to? Slrubenstein | Talk 16:42, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Focus on nomadic and ancient cultures?[edit]

Is there a reason why there's almost no images for western or east asian culture here? The only agrarian cultures depicted are from thousands of years agp. Wouldn't it be condusive to have pictures of chinese society, since they make up a large percentage of the world, or european or american culture, since they have both positively and negatively influenced so many others? All I see are pictures of obscure undeveloped societies--67.173.155.191 (talk) 21:33, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

What do you mean by "undeveloped?" Also, do you think that European or East Asian cultures are generally under-represented at Wikipedia? Did you know that there is an article on Chinese art already? I think the pictures are mostly meant to illustrate points in the article. The article by the way is about "culture," not about any specific culture. I see no reason why we shouldn't have articles on say Chinese culture or Japanese culture. Oops! We already do... Slrubenstein | Talk 16:48, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with 67.173.155.191. Since culture includes everything made and created by human societies, there should be much more of a balance between their representation. Only using photos from agrarian or pre-modern societies simply does not challenge readers and gives them the impression that 'culture' mostly refer to other societies. There should also be photos of everyday, European scenes, such as en walking in business suits, suburbs, electronics, toilet seats... theBOBbobato (talk) 18:11, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
From a quick glance of the imagery on Culture, the majority appear to represent pre-modern culture. While the history of culture certainly has its place in this article, it is over-represented in the imagery. The only image which represents modern culture in the article is that of Tepoztlán. Does anyone else agree that there should be more imagery representing modern culture, perhaps at the cost of removing some of the existing historical imagery? Matt (talk) 03:01, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

I absolutely agree with Matt. It is also problematic that all non-white/non-Western people represented are identified "culturally" (the name of their culture) while white/Western people are identified by name as scholars of culture or as some kind of universal archetype (the "mother and child" picture). This is a definite case of bias in representation: non-white/non-Western are represented as exotic others while white/Western are represented as individuals or universals. Millberlin (talk) 15:45, 19 November 2013 (UTC) I would really like to change the caption for the mother and child picture, but to what - Western mother and child? Modern Western mother and child?Millberlin (talk) 15:54, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Rationale[edit]

Someone keeps removing an illustration from the article. The painting illutrates the idea of "the arbitrariness of the sign." It is in a section of the article that discusses how tthe arbitrariness of the sign is central to the modern understanding of the symbols and language, which are central to the evolution of culture. Since the painting illstrates a complicated concept in the article it is useful. I added a tag to the painting to explain which idea in the article it explains. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:14, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

culture[edit]

culture determines who we are and where we comr from, therefore, wemust value them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 144.120.8.67 (talk) 03:49, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Comments on Biological anthropology section[edit]

Speaking as a reader looking for information on the subject, I found the "Biological anthropology: the evolution of culture" section much too long. The material has a great deal of information on the discussion about "primate culture" while I (and presumably most readers) are mostly interested in human culture. Since this is early on in the article, it's distracting from the rest of the information.

On cursory glance, the information in this section looks quite good. I would suggest that it's a good candidate for its own article with a shorter summary being retained within this article. Kathyfeller (talk) 20:19, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

That sounds like a good improvement. But if you look through the archives you will see several other editors who insisted that an article called "Culture" (as opposed to "Human culture" or "Culture (human)") has to include ape cultures and account for the arguments that Chimpanzees have culture and in fact there are cultural differences among chimpanzees.
Also, a number of editors wanted coverage on culture from a biological view i.e. how did culture evolve (not, how do cultures change over time, but how did a culture-bearing species evolve? What is the genetic basis for culture, or why did natural selection produce a cultural species?
In short, all sorts of people come to WP articles, and since we are not paper, we can be long and rely on a table of contents and a good introduction to orient readers and draw them to the sections they are interested in.
But I am not arguing against the basic idea of creating a separate article and having summaries here. Just bear in mind that we editors actually cannot make assumptions about what most people are interested in. Several people have argued thqat this article should actually provide descriptions of various "primitive" cultures. other editors have said there should be more about art and music and literature. Readers come here with a wid range of preconceptions and interests. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:21, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from 84.41.34.154, 14 November 2010[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}} under External links heading: replace dead URL with this one Dictionary of the History of Ideas "culture" and "civilization" in modern times 84.41.34.154 (talk) 11:18, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Done Favonian (talk) 13:30, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Meaning of this quote?[edit]

"His method begins with the supposition that culture exists in two different forms: the many distinct structures that could be inferred from observing members of the same society interact (and of which members of a society are themselves aware), and abstract structures developed by analyzing shared ways (such as myths and rituals) members of a society represent their social life (and of which members of a society are not only not consciously aware, and which typically stand in opposition to, or negate, the social structures of which people are aware). He then sought to develop one universal mental structure that could only be inferred through the systematic comparison of particular social and cultural structures." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture#1899.E2.80.931946:_Universal_versus_particular

Whats the author trying to say here? BTW, there is a "by which" missing, right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.121.38.240 (talk) 15:28, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

I see some mistakes I will try to fix. Beyond that one would need to read the structuralism or Levi Strauss articles. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:32, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Fiji[edit]

Fiji is a wonderful place so I was told they say you can hear music wherever you go. They also say that the people are very very kind also they say that the beaches are so beutiful. one day I wish to go there. So if you have a chance to go there you should. It's a chance worth taking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.55.233.6 (talk) 09:38, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Sense development vs. articles on individual senses[edit]

The article makes it very clear that 'culture' has meant a variety of things over time, including high culture, folk culture, archaeological cultures, culture in biological anthropology, and culture in the sense of cultural anthropology. The development of the concept of culture is important and encyclopedic, and this article should certainly cover it. However, as an umbrella article discussing the evolution of the idea, I don't think it makes sense to have long sections on the individual meanings, which are better covered in individual articles. This is not just because the article is currently much too long (which it is), but because the meanings have diverged so much that a reader interested in one may well not be interested in the other. I suggest this article be split into multiple articles along those lines, keeping this article for discussion of the history and relationships of the various concepts of culture. Discussion? --Macrakis (talk) 22:25, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

A lot of large articles end up having parts summarizd within the article and spun of to other articles. I have no objection to doing that here, although frankly I think any one part of this article could perhaps be improved and it would be good to have a complete and excellent article before summarizing parts and spinning them off. For example, the opening should have a paragraph at least on French romanticism, the tradition from Rousseau to Durkheim, both of whom really influenced later views of culture. Also, the section at the end on culture and change is terrible - few anthropologists accept the concept of "acculturation" today, and virtually all think that cultures are always change. So there is actually a split among people who use the word culture, some for whom culture is that which does not change (and is thus opposed conceptually to history) and those for whom culture is always in flux. I am not sure the article handles this well, and maybe the last section is the place to do it, but my point is that there are some issues that perhaps should be addressed before following your plan. Ultimately, however, I do agree with you. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:01, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

I think, I've got it completely correct. Here's my definition of culture:

I belive it's the shortest and most complete definition of the word "culture". I'm not sure how well it may fit with several types of sentences about culture, though. I think the word is largely misinterpret and used where it shouldn't have been, so it should have a solid definition with an "amen" and a dot, before it got even more confusing and stopped having some meaning that is socially recognisable. So that people can understand what you're talking about when you're using the word. Thanks. 62.221.56.166 (talk) 11:39, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

What is your source? I know many who would reject this definition ... who accepts it? Is it a significant view from a reliable source? Slrubenstein | Talk 18:56, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Who has to be a source? God? Well, there's actually none, so I'm afraid we'll have to figure things out on our own. The fact that you know many who wouldn't agree doesn't mean much. There also are many who would agree, so what? The question is is it correct and if it isn't - why? Give me some democratic debate. 62.221.56.166 (talk) 20:55, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Please read WP:RS. Tomeasy T C 21:02, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
A set of traits? In an individual, that could be personality, no? And how would you distinguish between a social group, subculture, culture, civilization or race with such a definition? Sunray (talk) 11:34, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that the difference between an encyclopedia and a blog is, as Tomeasy suggests, reliable sources. In a blog they are optional; in an encyclopedia... not so much. Sunray (talk) 11:44, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Memetics is based on the same assumption as I did. I scaled it up to also include genetical stuff, but it might have been too wide though. Searching the web I don't find no genetical use for it in English language unlike in Ukrainian, though. Anyways, I, probably, have to make a best-selling book and wait a couple of decades to get this included into encyclopedia.. =D And it will still only be "Next of kin" and none of those other incomplete explanations will get deleted. Explanations which can easily and correctly be united using memetical thinking. 62.221.56.166 (talk) 10:25, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Is Bodylanguagecards.com really the best place to get a definition of culture? This is the citation we want people to see if they come here looking for a definition? Their first definition is "excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities", but I see that part was left out. This wiki needs a better definition. Maybe from an anthropology or culture studies textbook. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.125.142.67 (talk) 13:08, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Tomasello[edit]

In reading this article on "Culture" I was struck by the number of times the developmental psychologist Michael Tomasello is mentioned (35). Is he really that central to the topic? Note - it appears that all these references were added by Slrubenstein on 01:32, 3 February 2009‎ Tcolgan001 (talk) 20:51, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Use rp template?[edit]

It seems to me that the notes section is exceedingly long due to the same sources being listed multiple times for different pages. However, I'm unsure what the preferred method of dealing with it is. Rp looks like it would do the trick, but the documentation for it suggests sfn might be better. 786b6364 (talk) 06:31, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Pictures[edit]

Pictures are too much and sometimes not corresponding to text, while it is good to show different pictures of the world it is not a good idea to illustrate with them sections that talk on different topics. Also the intro section has a lot of place for different cultures of the world to be shown, somthing that is not done by now. --Aleksd (talk) 06:10, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Unbalanced text[edit]

American anthropoligy is a naming I'm not quite agreable with. Any anthropology and ethnology is interested in cultures. That means anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss too, the paragraph should be Anthropology, and if you need to be diveded by countries let it be so but American anthropoligy as an only paragraph where Claude Lévi-Strauss as a French anthropolgist is included, thats quite interesting. I am changing this, but the whole must be rewritten as it is utterly incorrect. --Aleksd (talk) 06:21, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

And by this I mean that Lévi-Strauss has a significant influence on European studies on culture. I am not sure if this should be separated and observed as a school of its own but still. --Aleksd (talk) 06:25, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Too much wording in Language and culture that says almost nothing except for repeating Boas. And how exactly the Language and culture, as part of American anthropology takes onto semiotics, where study of language and culture is done in the USSR. And the structuralist approaches to Saussure that were largelly developed in Prague school (linguistics) still goes in Am anth section without anything being concrete on specific American linguistics "Second, in Europe, Saussure influenced the Prague School of Roman Jakobson and Nikolai Trubetzkoy, whose work would prove hugely influential, particularly concerning phonology, and the School of Louis Hjelmslev. Structural linguistics also had an influence on other disciplines in Europe, including anthropology, psychoanalysis and Marxism, bringing about the movement known as structuralism." (Structural linguistics)--Aleksd (talk) 06:39, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Current Lede state[edit]

I've done some cleanup, up to the point of dealing with a suspected confabulated and apparently unsourced (I doubt the source given supports what the text purports) etymological sketch. Breaking off here though noting same. 72.228.189.184 (talk) 03:46, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

etymological sketch historical precis of the term. 72.228.189.184 (talk) 03:47, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I just did a major rewrite. -- Beland (talk) 21:18, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Which I reverted. It is not an improvement to reduce a the definition of a complex and contested concept to a couple of lines based on the wiktionary definition.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:45, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Uncited 'Aspects'[edit]

The 'Aspects' section, wholly uncited, appears little more than a set of WP:OR opinions arranged as a haphazard group of lists. In other words the material lacks both thought and verifiability. It might be partially recoverable but it probably needs to be replaced entirely by better-organized material. Here it is:

"== Aspects of culture =="

"Aspects of human expression include both material culture and ephemeral elements. These include:

"Cultural regions are often defined with respect to an ethnolinguistic group or religion; the larger cultural groupings are sometimes referred to as "civilizations". Subcultures have distinct aspects, but share a connection with a larger culture (whether by virtue of inhabiting the same society or by inheriting certain cultural elements). Individuals can participate in multiple cultures and subcultures; countercultures specifically reject at least some aspects of mainstream culture."

"Cultural identities and subcultures can be defined along any of these lines, or others; for example:

"Mutual communication (whether through technology or transportation of people or goods) is an essential activity which maintains the coherence of a cultural group. This explains why cultural boundaries can follow divisions in language and geography, why globalization has created larger cultural spheres, and highlights the role of mass media in defining and maintaining culture. Education and tradition communicate culture through time."

"A given nation-state or society may have a single, dominant culture to which immigrants assimilate (the melting pot model), or be multicultural (the salad bowl/cultural mosaic model)."

"Cultural conflict can arise within a society or between different societies with different cultures."

I'd suggest we don't put any of this back without citations, and preferably incorporation into structured text.Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:11, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Copyright[edit]

This "Culture" article, with the exception of the first paragraph, the Change section and the Sociology section, matches Multiculturalism by Syed Ali Raza, pages 22 thru 62. My guess is that Multiculturalism was copied from Wikipedia rather than vice versa, as some linked names were omitted from the book, perhaps because there was a technical problem with copying them. But I don't really know. I tried WP:COPYRIGHT but that system assumes everybody is a copyright lawyer (I have edited Wikipedia 9 years, and I'm not a lawyer yet.) So I'm reporting it here. Art LaPella (talk) 20:28, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

In either case it is a serious problem. In the first case for Wikipedia, in the second case for Oxford University press (plagiarism is considered a "mortal sin" in academia, just shy of outright fraude with data - full professor have been sacked for plagiarism (a Dutch top economist is now even under investigation for selfplagiarism - i.e. re-use of own texts)). Even if Wikipedia texts are free to reuse under CC, as far as I know this require referencing. Perhaps we should raise this to the Wikipedia foundation, who may have a point of view on this, and who may want to inform OUP about this ? (If not to protect Wikipedia from Copyvio claims than perhaps also to ensure integrity of the scientific process at OUP)
I don't have time to write a report, but if you can quickly check whether the problem already existed before the first edition of the book was published (2011) using the last version of our article from 2010 [1] we could at least make a very strong case that Wikipedia cannot have plagiarized the book (as our information was online before the book was made public). Arnoutf (talk) 21:25, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that version of Wikipedia also matches the book (that is, I compared the beginning and end of each paragraph, and they usually match. A couple sections are reversed, and the missing "Sociology" section didn't exist back then.) I reported it here. Art LaPella (talk) 01:20, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Proofreading[edit]

I did a lot of proofreading. Here are some things I couldn't fix without easy access to the original documents.

Search the article for "unique and distinctive pattern". That is the end of a quote, but there is no corresponding quote mark to show where the quote begins.

Fixed that one. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:55, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Search for "pp. 687–6874". Does the reference really mean 6188 pages? That is theoretically possible, but a typo is much more probable, considering how many other typos I found. The right statistic is likely to be something like 6872–6874 or 687–688.

Each passage was already wrong when it was originally added in 2009, so I didn't get any clues from that. Art LaPella (talk) 04:29, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Split out 'American anthropology'[edit]

The American anthropology section, and the 4 sections after it, form an extended essay introduced like this:

"American anthropology is organized into four fields, each of which plays an important role in research on culture: 1. biological anthropology 2. linguistic anthropology 3. cultural anthropology 4. archaeology"

What looks like 5 separate sections in the article in fact therefore represents one very long aside to the explanation of Culture. While anthropology (from all countries) has some relevance, the essay has already been labelled as WP:OR, probably correctly. I suggest we split it off, leaving a "{{main|American anthropology}}" and a modest section "in summary style". The Culture article will be a lot better for it. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:55, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

What is the topic?[edit]

This article is a mess. It seems to be about the history of the word rather than about the anthropological meaning. The awful first paragraph sets the vague tone for the rest of the article. Bhny (talk) 16:52, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Baepler 2003, p. 91.
  2. ^ Quoted in Anderson, Benedict Richard O'Gorman (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso (New Left Books). pp. 67–68. 
  3. ^ Sapir 1921:228
  4. ^ Sapir 1995: 59
  5. ^ e.g. Von Humbolt, Wilhelm. 1820. Über das vergleichende Sprachstudium in Beziehung auf die verschiedenen Epochen der Sprachentwicklung.
  6. ^ e.g. Whorf, Benjamin Lee. 1941. "The relation of habitual thought and behavior to language." In Language, Culture, and Personality: Essays in Honor of Edward Sapir. Menasha, WI: Sapir Memorial Publication Fund.
  7. ^ Whorf, Benjamin Lee. 1941. "The relation of habitual thought and behavior to language." In Language, Culture, and Personality: Essays in Honor of Edward Sapir. Menasha, WI: Sapir Memorial Publication Fund. p. 293. See also, e.g. Boas, Franz. 1911. "Introduction." Handbook of American Indian Languages. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology.