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A Comparative Analysis of Culture and Personality Movement and Functionalism


Basic Dogmas of Functionalism

The anthropological theory of functionalism inspired by Emile Durkheim emerged in the early twentieth century as a response to the surpluss of the evolutionary and diffusionist theories of the 19th century and the historicism of the early twentieth ( Goldschmidt 1996 ) . At its nucleus, the theory examines different parts of a society through the usage of an organic analogy, in an effort to better understand how societies map and how they are interconnected. This organic analogy creates a “ societal being ” which compares the assorted facets of society to the internal variety meats of a life being, where establishments such as faith, affinity and economic system represent the variety meats and persons are the cells. Organisms are able to populate, reproduce and map based on the interior workings of an incorporate system composed of different parts ( or variety meats ) . Similarly, a society is able to keep indispensable procedures through the interaction of it ‘s different parts. Therefore, the function of functionalism is to analyze the societal significance of a societal phenomenon in order to understand the map it serves in keeping a peculiar society ( Jarvie 1973 ) . Additionally, in the position of functionalism, society was divided into the constructs of societal construction and societal map. Social construction was the matrix of society while societal map was the function that persons in a society played in keeping the structural whole. Functionalism proposed that the consequence of proper societal operation would be a societal construction in equilibrium, and that equilibrium was the coveted end of all societal systems ( Goldschmidt 1996 )

Cardinal PeoplesIn the Development of Functionalism

The British anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowski and A.R. Radcliffe-Brown were two of the people that had the greatest influence on the development of functionalism. Each put forth their ain versions of functionalism between 1910 and 1930 and both had a major impact in the field of anthropology in Great Britian. Malinowski’s theory of biocultural ( or psychological ) functionalism stated that every person has a peculiar set of “physiological needs” ( nutrition, reproduction, shelter, and protection from enemies ) and it was the function of societal establishments to run into those demands ( Malinkowski ) . In add-on to these physiological demands, there were other types of demands as good. First of wholly, there were the four basic “ instrumental demands ” ( assorted systems of economic sciences, societal control, instruction, and political organisation ) that were required for the equal operation of society. These demands were cosmopolitan and needed establishments to keep them. Additionally, there were besides “ culturally derived ” demands that were non cosmopolitan and varied between civilizations. Malinowski asserted that each establishment had forces, a charter, a set of norms or regulations, activities, stuff setup or engineering, and a map that it was supposed to carry through in order to run into these demands. Malinowski besides argued that any type of unvarying psychological response was the consequence of the physiological demands of an person and that satisfaction of these demands would alter the necessary cultural activity into an acquired desire, through the procedure of psychological support ( Goldschmidt 1996 ) ; Voget 1996 ) .

Unlike Malinowski who focused on biological demands, Radcliffe-Brown focused on societal construction. ( Radcliffe-Brown ) Radcliffe-Brown ‘s theory of structural-functionalism suggested that a society was a system of relationships that was able to keep itself through the procedure of cybernetic feedback. He asserted that the map of establishments was to keep the system of society through the usage of orderly sets of relationships. Further, Radcliffe-Brown proposed that these societal systems existed on a different “ degree ” of world that was clearly separate from the universe of biological signifiers and inorganic affair. Based on this thought, Radcliffe-Brown argued that any effort to explicate societal phenomena had to be done wholly on the societal degree. Because the degrees of worlds and societal systems were separate, Radcliffe-Brown asserted that persons were non of import to the survey of societal systems, functioning merely as replaceable, transeunt residents of societal functions ( Radcliffe-Brown ) . This differed greatly from Malinowski ‘s theories, which put an accent on the importance of the demands of persons ( Goldschmidt 1996 ) . Alternatively, American anthropologists following the theory of civilization and personality put an even greater accent on the survey of the person that had ne’er existed in anthropology before.

Basic Dogmas of Culture and Personality

The theory of civilization and personality ( subsequently renamed the theory of psychological anthropology ) became the cardinal focal point of American anthropology during the early twentieth century. The civilization and personality movementwas one of the responses to the nineteenth century theories of societal development and diffusionism. The theory of civilization and personality perpetuated many different point of views which made it difficult to find a centralised leading or consistent preparation plan ( LeVine 2001 ) . There is presently a argument on how precisely the field of civilization and personality emerged. Some argue that it was due to the interaction of anthropology with Freud’s theory of depth psychology ( Singer 1961 ) while Robert A. LeVine ( 2001 ) puts the beginning of the theory in 1918 with W.I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki publication of “The Polish Peasant in Europe and America” . Regardless of its point of beginning, the theory was a uniquely American part to anthropological theory and was to a great extent influenced by Freud’s surveies of depth psychology in early childhood and Boas ‘ construct of cultural relativism.

Two chief subjects were present in this theoretical school, one sing the relationship between civilization and human nature and the other about the correlativity between civilization and single personality ( Schweder ) . The cardinal end of this theory was to derive a better apprehension of the relationship between the psychological facets of an person ‘s personality and their civilization, therefore seeking an reply for the inquiry of why worlds vary between different societies even though they are all hereditarily equal. Anthropologists following this theory believed that apprehension of the relationship between civilization and personality would let for a greater elucidation of how persons can lend to civilization and how the procedure of socialization can act upon and form persons. Additionally, civilization and personality theoreticians sought to understand why the construct of what is considered to be “ normal ” varied cross-culturally and whether or non different socialisation wonts would ensue in different personality types ( Devereux ) .

The inquiry of why worlds varied between societies was answered for them by Freud’s theory of depth psychology, which showed that personality development is established in childhood as a consequence of each society’s alone cultural traits. Using Freud ‘s theory, the cardinal statement of theoreticians analyzing civilization and personality was that socialisation during childhood creates personality forms and shapes the emotions, ideas, behaviours, cultural values and norms of an person as they grow, so that they can go a productive member of their society. Freud ‘s work even influenced nucleus constructs of civilization and personality theory, including: screening grownup behaviour as being “culturally patterned” , the construct that childhood experiences impacted the personality of an person at ulterior life phases, and the thought that big personality features influenced cultural establishments such as faith ( LeVine 2001 ) . In fact, many people attribute the theory of civilization and personality with greatly restricting the figure of racialist, hierarchal descriptions of civilization types that was common during the early to mid-20th century. The theoretical model set up by the theory of civilization and personality served as an option to the racialist accounts of changing human behaviours present until the theory’s constitution. Despite the hunt for a cosmopolitan apprehension of the relationship between civilization and personality, it was widely accepted that these models would change between civilizations. Therefore, this attack to understanding civilization was instrumental in traveling the focal point to the person in order to understand behaviours within a civilization instead than go oning the hunt for cosmopolitan Torahs of human behaviour.

Cardinal Peoplesin the Development of Culture and Personality Movement

The theory of civilization and personality besides drew to a great extent on Franz Boas ‘ construct of cultural relativism, and was popularized by some of Boas ‘ most celebrated pupils, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. These two, took the field of anthropology in new waies and under the influence of Boas and his pupils, anthropologists began to integrate emotions, attitudes, and other psychological provinces into their fieldwork and publications, doing the field more person-centered and prosecuting. Ruth Benedict represents the earliest ocean trips into the field of civilization and personality, get downing with her survey of the quickly deteriorating Native American societies.

Benedict opened the treatment between the subjects of anthropology and psychological science through her work on the patterning of civilization at an single degree, and her attack to analyzing civilizations centered on the ethos or the characteristic lesson, aesthetic, and emotional tones of specific civilizations ( Benedict ) . In her work,Forms of Culture, Benedict describes how a civilization, like an person, is a consistent form of idea and action, and that each civilization chooses from “ the great discharge of human potencies ” merely a few features which become the prima personality traits of those populating in that civilization ( Bernard and Spencer 1996:137 ) .

On the other manus, Margaret Mead utilized the method of civilization and personality more understood today, concentrating on the cardinal inquiry of, “why are we the manner we are? ” Mead ‘s research attempted to understand the relationship between childrearing imposts and human behaviours and her work entitledComing of Age in Samoa( 1928 ) provided “the foremost sustained consideration of the relation between personality and culture” ( Winthrop 1991:214 ) . Similar to Benedict, Mead argued that an person was merely a merchandise of their cultural values, and that those cultural values are what shaped the alone manners of a individual. However, Mead focused on how these cultural traits were learned by the person as an baby, and were reinterpreted and reinforced as the person progressed through the assorted phases of life. Therefore, the differences between societies was a consequence of cultural differences imparted during childhood. Overall Mead recognized that the interaction between an person and their civilization was dynamic and a complex procedure by which worlds learned to be human. These thoughts made Mead’s positions really different than those of the functionalist theories found in Britain during the clip.

Theoretical Differences

One of the cardinal differences between the theories of civilization and personality and functionalism is the importance of the person in anthropological research. In civilization and personality, the person is the cardinal focal point of survey. This is due to the fact that the chief focal point of this anthropological theory is finding the relationship between civilization and the person and to what extent the two influence each other. Over the old ages, the civilization and personality anthropologists came to recognize that both civilization and persons influence each other, and therefore it is critical to analyze the person ( Erikson and Murphy ) . However, in the theory of functionalism the relationship is more complicated, ensuing in differing point of views between two of the theory’s cardinal figures. In Malinowski ‘s biological functionalism, the person is of import to analyze because the chief focal point of societal systems is to run into the demands ( both universal and cultural ) of a peculiar person. However in Radcliffe-Brown ‘s structural functionalism, persons were non of import to the survey of societal systems, functioning merely as “replaceable, transeunt residents of societal roles” ( Goldschmidt 1996:510 ) . This is farther reflected in the organismal analogy, where worlds are considered to be single cells in the over-arching societal system. In this analogy, the inside informations and beliefs of the peculiar person are non of import every bit long as they fulfill the specific societal function that is assigned to them in order to maintain the system traveling.

Another of import difference is the changing temporal focal point of the two theories. Synchronic is the survey of something at one peculiar point in clip, while diachronic is the survey of something over clip. Culture and personality surveies, every bit good as other theories in American anthropology incorporated both synchronous and historical focal points into their research. However, functionalism is entirely synchronous and no attending is paid to how societal systems change over clip. This thought is farther reflected in differing constructs used by functionalist anthropologists, where the British apprehension of “ society ” was significantly different from the American apprehension of “ civilization. ” American anthropologists understood civilization to consist economic, societal, political, and spiritual ideas and behaviour, with both synchronous and historical dimensions. In contrast, British anthropologists focused more narrowly on the synchronous survey of society and the assorted societal systems that comprised it ( Erikson and Murphy ) .

Additionally, these different research attacks reflect the differing positions of society and civilization between American and British anthropologists. American anthropologists analyzing civilization and personality borrowed from the evolutionists the thought that civilization was prone to alter and in a changeless province of flux and these alterations ( although non ever to the benefit of persons ) were considered normal. On the other manus, British anthropologists tended to see society as harmonious and stable, neither prone to alter or conflicted and society was in an ideal province when everything was in equilibrium.

Key demographics of research is another country of contradiction between the two theories. A big sum of the research used in the theoretical school of civilization and personality was to happen the correlativity between childrearing patterns and grownup personality types. Therefore, anthropologists paid a big sum of attending to childrearing in different societies and compared the consequences cross-culturally, seeking out the typical features of people in different civilizations and imputing these differing features to the differences in childrearing. In contrast, ffunctionalism merely focused on grownups because they were the members of society most frequently make fulling societal functions.

Theoretical Similarities

The most obvious similarity between the theories of civilization and personality and functionalism is that both were a response to old anthropological theories. Culture and personality was one of the reactions against the nineteenth century theories of societal development and diffusionism. Franz Boas and some his pupils argued against the positions of the early evolutionists, such as Louis Henry Morgan and Edward Tylor, who believed each civilization goes through the same hierarchal evolutionary system. Additionally, functionalism was a reaction to the surpluss of the evolutionary and diffusionist theories of the 19th century and the historicism of the early twentieth ( Goldschmidt 1996 ) . Although they established wholly different theories and integrated different facets of the old theories, both were a response to the additive thought found in 19th century anthropology.

Additionally, another cardinal similarity between the theories is their damaged position in the modern societal scientific disciplines. Although the theory of civilization and personality has been reincarnated in recent old ages as psychological anthropology, the original theory every bit good as functionalism were finally replaced by other anthropological theories. Further, it should be noted that both the theories of civilization and personality and that of functionalism are anthropological theories, and therefore, both serve to clarify the human status in antecedently undreamed ways. Although this is done through different mediums ( with a psychological reading in civilization and personality theory and an organismal analogy in functionalism ) both theories attempt to understand the operation of human society and better understand the differences that exist between them.

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