British and American Anthropology and the Concept of Culture

British and American Anthropology and the Notion of Culture
Culture, is one of the most significant concepts in the field of anthropology, as well as in sociology. In the lecture by Sahlins (1999), he discussed the enduring significance of culture as an anthropological concept and the significance of its e    qndurance among the peoples anthropologists study (Ibid, 339).

 Here, he started the main difference between American and British Anthropology lie in Peter Murdock and Raymond Firths debate on the issue found in journal American Anthropology, wherein the latter saw that American cultural anthropology and British social anthropology had two different  scientific objectives the first studied culture, the second, social systems. Thus, British anthropology was given a notion that it mainly is a sociology...than anthropology as the conceptual territory of which is the kind not yet redeemed by a concept of culture (399). Conversely, American anthropologys conception of cultural construction of ethnicity and other such culturological talk is not an actual social science, but rather a venture in the humanities.

Various theoretical views on culture were presented, including Whites (1949), saying human existence is symbolically constituted, which is to say culturally ordered whereas the symbol is the origin and basis of human behaviour. Alternatively, Radcliffe-Browns and other structural-functionalists, argue rather that culture was the ...ideational content of the real stuff, being social structure or the system of social relations. (400).

Many others argues and points out different perspectives with regards to culture and its role to anthropology and sociology throughout the lecture, which boils down that there cannot be an agreed-upon definition of culture. These were also pointed out by Linton (1936), stating that the average individual himself cant even hold a whole series of conflicting beliefs, so how even could cultures be uniform and To think in terms of a single pattern for a single culture is to distort reality... (Herskovits).


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