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What differences are there between the view that people are born into a culture versus the opinion that one becomes a member of a culture through a process of learning?

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There is not necessarily any conflict between the idea that people are born into a culture and the idea that one becomes a member of a culture through a process of learning. The latter statement is clearly true, and the former is also true as long as it only means that a child is born to parents who are part of a particular culture, and this is the culture they will acquire. Much of their acculturation will take place without their knowing or thinking about it (see attachment below).

The fallacy which may be associated with the first idea is that culture is genetically acquired so that, for instance, a baby from an American Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture is already an Anglo-Saxon Protestant at birth. This notion, which has no foothold in sociology or anthropology, has been disproved repeatedly by cases of children who have been brought up in cultures other than those of their parents.

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What differences are there between the view that people are born into a culture versus the opinion that one becomes a member of a culture through a process of learning?

The difference between people being born into a culture and people learning a culture is really another variation of the old nature versus nurture question. Let's look at each of these perspectives to help you better understand the situation.

Those who argue that people are born into a culture mean that from the time people are infants, they are surrounded by their culture. It becomes a part of their being. They don't think about learning culture. They absorb it. It is natural to them, normal, a part of who they are and how they live.

Those who argue that people must learn culture refer to the many elements of culture that are taught. Children learn the stories and songs of their culture, for instance. They learn how to prepare certain foods. They learn what makes their culture unique and valuable as they experience traditions and listen to their elders teach them their heritage.

Actually, we could make a case that people are both born into a culture and learn a culture. They assimilate their culture unconsciously, and they learn it consciously. Both elements are in operation at the same time.

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