Personal tools
You are here: Home Anthropology Cultural Anthropology Chapter 2: Culture

Chapter 2: Culture

Document Actions
  • Content View
  • Bookmarks
  • CourseFeed

Reading Assignment: Chapter 2: Culture

In this assignment you will learn about culture, the shared system of beliefs and feelings that guides people's customary behavior as members of society and that gives each society its unity and unique identity. You will learn to distinguish between ideal and real culture, You will become familiar with the role of feelings such as ethnocentrism in perpetuating people's allegiance to their way of life while inhibiting understanding of other cultures.

You also will learn about culture shock and about the anthropological concept of cultural relatively as an anthropological tool for better understanding the meanings of customs. Finally you will learn about the two basic approaches anthropologists use to understand cultures: humanistic interpretation of cultures and scientific explanation of cultures.

Assignment Overview

MCQ   ::  Matching   ::  True/False  ::   Short Essay

MCQ - Chapter 2: Culture

1. Which of the following best defines culture?

a. the pattern of ideas and feelings of a people and the customs that are related to them.
b. the pattern of a people’s ideas and the customs based on them
c. a people’s customs and rules for living, based on a pattern of legal concepts
d. biologically predetermined behavior patterns

2. Which of the following best characterizes culture?

a. Cultures are homogeneously shared by members of society.
b. Diversity within a culture exists primarily because different specialists require different
c. “Culture” is really just an abstraction, since each individual has his or her own culture.
d. Although culture is said to be shared, everyone in a society does not share it equally.

3. A regional or social variant of a culture is called a(n) _______________.

a. subculture
b. ethnic group
c. minority group
d. local culture

4. Which of the following is NOT an example of ideological communication?

a. small talk
b. greetings
c. a lecture on physics
d. being sworn in before giving testimony in court

5. Which of the following is true of belief systems?

a. Scientific beliefs are found only in complex societies.
b. Scientific beliefs are a distinctive trait of western cultures.
c. All cultures include beliefs that may be characterized as scientific.
d. Scientific beliefs are simply beliefs that are objectively true.

6. According to the text, religious beliefs are _____________.

a. not based on real experiences
b. truths from a higher source
c. expressions of human feelings
d. beliefs that are informally organized

7. Ruth Benedict’s book Patterns of Culture illustrated which of the following:

a. Cultures do not differ much in the kinds or amounts of emotions they encourage a people to express.
b. Cultures differ in the kinds and amounts of emotions they encourage a people to express.
c. Cultures provide guidelines that mold people’s behavior, but many members in any society deviate from those guidelines.
d. Cultures encourage emotional reactions to similar situations but cannot control emotional intensity.

8. How are the terms morality and piety related in this text?

a. Piety is a form of morality.
b. Morality is a form of piety.
c. Morality controls relationships between people, while piety controls relationships with the supernatural.
d. Both are kinds of beliefs.

9. Etiquette is best defined as _______________.

a. rules that define good and bad treatment of other people.
b. rules about religious obligations.
c. rules that govern manners and define what are considered courteous or civil ways of communicating.
d. any kind of value.

10. Which of the following is NOT a cultural universal?

a. youthful vitality and health are regarded as sexually attractive.
b.parents are expected to care for their young. and play-fighting function to establish status hierarchies.
d.a preference among men for women with high social status as mates.

Matching Exercise - Chapter 2: Culture

1. society
2. culture
3. subculture
4. ethnic group
5. ideology
6. belief
7. emotion
8. attitude
9. values
10. morality

11. etiquette
12. piety
13. aesthetics
14. real culture
15. ideal culture
16. acculturation
17. assimilation
1 8. culture shock
19. ethnocentrism
20. cultural relativism
21. super-organic



the idea that culture is a system that is governed by rules that are not explainable in terms of human biology but that must be studied as a phenomenon in its own right to identify the lawful characteristics that govern cultural processes



feelings about what should be considered good, bad, moral, or immoral; the ideals that people long for but do not necessarily pursue



the rules by which beauty is to be evaluated in a culture



an idea a person holds about what is factual or real



a group whose identity is based on shared customs, especially of immigrants



the attitude that one’s own culture is the only good one and that the more other cultures differ from one’s own, the more inferior they are



the ways people perceive their own customs and behaviors, often more a reflection of their feelings and ideals about what they should be than an accurate assessment of what they are



cultural change that results from borrowing



the process by which a society experiencing acculturation changes so much that it is hardly distinguishable from a more dominant one



values concerning the treatment of nature and attitudes that define our relationship to the supernatural



the consciously shared beliefs and feelings that members of a society consider characteristic of themselves



values concerning proper and improper ways of treating other human beings



the geographical or social variations that occur within the cultures of societies with large populations



a groups of human beings who conceive of themselves as distinct from other such groups



the loneliness and depression that are often experienced when one is in a foreign cultural setting



a pleasant or unpleasant subjective reaction to an experience, characterized by varying degrees of muscles tension and changes in respiration and heart rate



a learned system of beliefs, feelings, and rules for living around which a group of people organize their lives; a way of life of a particular society



culture portrayed in terms of the actually observable behaviors of a people



values that govern manners and define what is considered courteous or civil ways of communicating with others



principle that cultural traits are best understood in the context of the cultural system of which they are a part



likes and dislikes

True/False - Chapter 2: Culture






1. Society is a synonym for culture.



2. Culture is a shared system of learned ideas, feelings, and survival strategies.



3. The culture of each society is homogeneously shared by all of its members.



4. According to Jules Henry drives are the motives that people actually pursue, sometimes at great cost, rather than those they merely give lip service to.



5. Formal learning involves explicit teaching that expresses disapproval of behavior and suggests an alternative way as the proper, moral, or good way to act.



6. Customs that are learned formally tend to be slow to change.



7. The strongest emotional responses are often caused by the violation of customs that are learned informally.



8. Culture contact often has devastating effects on the less powerful of two societies.



9. Culture shock is a common experience of people when they spend time in a society whose culture differs from their own.



10. Cultural relativism is the idea that no values should command our respect.

Short Essay Questions - Chapter 2: Culture

1. How does a society's ideology differ from the other beliefs and feelings of its culture?

2. How does ideological communication differ from other forms of communication?

3. What is the difference between a belief and a feeling?

4. What is the major criticism that has been leveled at Benedict's portrayal of cultures as expressions of particular themes?

5. What is the relationship between values and drives?

6. How do the three kinds of learning that occur during socialization differ in their impact on the ease with which different customs may change?

7. What adaptive functions might ethnocentrism have had in earlier, small scale societies? Why do anthropology students need to learn to recognize their own ethnocentrism and try to overcome it?

8. How did Toelken's experience among the Navajo help him realize that there were aspects of his own culture that he took for granted but could not really explain?

9. How is the relationship between culture and the human individual viewed differently by those who view culture as a superorganic phenomenon differ and those who see culture as the domain of human communication and human interaction?

10. Why is it important to consider cultures both in terms of their distinctive qualities and in terms of their similarities to other cultures? What are cultural universals?

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, January 04). Chapter 2: Culture. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License