Ethnology: Relating cultural facts to anthropogical theories

Basic Alternatives in Interpreting culture


  1. Ideological Determinism (also known as the "interpretive approach").

  2. Social Determinism

    1. Focuses on how culture influences and relates to the social order,
      how it supports the continuity of groups, such as communities and classes, and adherence to social norms and role expectations.

  3. Material Determinism

    1. Focuses on environment and basic subsistence technology and how they affect social and cultural institutions.
  Assigning Meaning
    1. Emic Approach - Assign meaning to cultural traits and patterns on the basis of the informants  perspective within the internal meaning system of their culture.

    2. Etic Approach - Assign meaning on the basis of cross culturally applicable concepts, principles, and theories.


  1. Particularism - Cross-cultural comparison and generalization is of limited value and may be impossible
  2. Comparative approach - Cross-cultural comparison and generalization is necessary and valid
Individual Schools