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By Chris Jenks

Even though a trendy time period, ``culture'' has however remained an ill-defined one. during this booklet, Chris Jenks makes an attempt to extra outline this daunting topic, reading this idea within the context of either idealism and materialism, picking out its courting to the suggestion of social constitution, and assessing its former dominance inside of literary reports. Jenks discusses suggestions of cultural polarization (high vs. low) and cultural replica in addition to tradition relating to postmodernism.

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The continuity is maintained by the process of social life, which consists of the activities and interactions of individual human beings and of organized groups into which they are united. 14 It is not hard to imagine why the organic analogy is not in current use in the social sciences; its exponents, like Herbert Spencer, seemed more concerned to preserve the model rather than employ it as a source of explanation. However, Radcliffe-Brown uses it rigorously in order to justify the application of the concept of ‘function’ in his analyses.

This development – which (in its original form) American anthropology knows as the ‘Boas Revolution’ – instanced, among other things, a move to an empirically grounded rather than a universal theory of explanation. It also reveals a quantum leap in the politics of social science’s claims for veracity: a modest and self-effacing retreat from speculative universalism to a new faith in the accuracy and ruthless honesty of face-to-face encounters. Finally, we might suggest that it shows an affirmation of the belief in the self-sustaining ‘goodness’ of difference; which finds a further contemporary resonance in the invocation of ‘community’ as a unit of action by the modern-day social services.

What cultural unities might exist could now only be constructed with the aid of the elaborate mosaic of data gradually being accumulated from numerous, exhaustive, and often repetitive ethnographies. Ethnography, or ‘fieldwork’, rather than ‘grand theory’, was to set the pattern for much subsequent anthropology and was, indeed, destined to re-emerge as the avant-garde model for methodology in both sociology and cultural studies in the 1980s. This development – which (in its original form) American anthropology knows as the ‘Boas Revolution’ – instanced, among other things, a move to an empirically grounded rather than a universal theory of explanation.

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