- Historical particularism
- Founded by Franz Boas
- Formulated the basic concept of culture
that is widely used within other theoretical traditions
- Focuses on ideological causation - culure
is primarily a world view, a
system of knowledge and belief that organizes and guides a person's
interaction with the world.
- each culture is a unique configuration that
develops within a particular historical context
- cultures cannot
be compared or evaluated in
terms of other systems - cultural
(We will investigate some aspects of
ethnosemantics in the unit on
- Similar to historical particularism, but
focuses on language as a key to tapping and understanding different
- Currently the ethnosematic techniques are
to describe and analyze "indigenous knowledge systems".
- Founded by Claude Levi Strauss
- Focuses on ideology and knowledge systems
- Interprets particular cultural systems as
variants on general/universal themes of polar oppositions, such
vs culture, man vs woman, sky vs earth.
Structural-functionalism - a social determinist
theory which interprets cultural
institutions as a means of promoting social harmony within the group.
Marxism - another social determinist theory
that interprets cultural
institutions as a
means of underwriting class divisions within society
investigate some aspects of cultural evolution in the unit
- a materialist theory that focuses on
technology as the most important feature of society.
- Level of energy
obtained by a particular technology influences other aspects of society
- Cultures can accordingly be group together
within which they assume broadly similar characteristics.
- another materialist theory which
focuses on a group's
interaction with the environment
- interprets cultural institutions
as important for maintaining ecological balances between population and
- assumes a particularist perspective
in terms of specific local environments as opposed to cross cultural