Essays on Analysis of Definition of Culture by Edward Tylor, IBMs Culture Case Study

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The paper 'Analysis of Definition of Culture by Edward Tylor, IBM's Culture " is a good example of a management case study. The first anthropologists who attempted to define culture were Kroeber and Kluckhoh in 1952 in America. They reviewed definitions and concepts of culture critically and compiled around fourteen dozen definitions of culture. Four decades later, in 1994, Apte in his Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics, which was a ten-volume work, remarked in a terse manner that despite umpteen number of efforts to define culture, anthropologists had had not any major breakthrough in reaching a confirmed agreement regarding its nature.

This is probably because culture, over the last century, has been seen from the perspective of the terms used to define the same. Nineteenth-century found widespread use of these terms and the difficulty in defining the same actually stemmed from three different ways the culture was attempted to define. These three ways are prevalent even today. The culture was referred to as special artistic and individual endeavours in Culture and Anarchy by Mathew Arnold (1867). Today, this is termed as high culture; one before this was termed as popular culture, which was more folkloric in nature.

This sort of culture is more aesthetic than social in nature. To this stand on the definition of culture, Edward Tylor gave a reaction in his Primitive Culture in 1870 in which he stated that culture could be defined as a quality possessed by all people in settings that are social in nature. In his definition, he espoused the transition from savagery to barbarism and finally to civilisation. Tylor's definition became, to some extent, the founding principle of defining culture.

In order to convey the actual essence of his definition of culture, it would need to be reproduced here in its entirety. He said: “ culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” . This contradicted Arnold's view on culture since it argued that everyone has culture, which he or she acquires by virtue of the affiliation with a specific group taking in its stride habits, knowledge and capabilities that group possesses.

"Complex whole" formulation in Tylor's definition is still seen as an important component of defining culture.


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