Cultural Anthropologists compare and contrast the vast range of cultures with the popes of better understanding "the diversity of human behavior, and ultimately to develop a science of human behavior. " - Fried,J. Cultural Anthropology. What is traditional (or folk) culture? "Traditional culture is the habitual behaviors or thoughts of any given social group, and there is not only the chance of customary behaviors occurring; customary behaviors are expected and generally required by members of the society (Smith- Seymour, 1986).
Folk culture is a model of the peasant community characterized by economic self- efficiency, intimate social ties, the strong role of ritual and tradition, and the relative isolation from urban centers. The concept of folk culture is that it represents an attempt to characterize the values and social structure of traditional, rural communities existing within complex societies. What methods do they use to study culture? Fieldwork: visiting and living among a particular people.
Mapping, inventories, census, behavior protocols, questionnaires, projective tests, collecting genealogies, kinship terminologies, oral traditions, recording cases, and racing networks" (Hunter and Whiten, 1976). In order to study these cultures, ethnographers had to become part of them. Live with the people for extended periods of time. To study different groups of people, the scientists had to become immersed in their study. One important qualification that anthropologists should possess is a strong awareness of their won culture.
Although it is necessary for Anthropologists to be as culture tendencies in order to comprehend another's culture. Therefore, absolute objectivity, which would require that the Anthropologist have biases, and in research exult no culture at all, should be given up in favor of a relative objectivity based on the characteristics of one's own culture. The Anthropologist is forced to include himself and his own way of life in his subject matter.
In order to study others, and to study culture in general, the Anthropologist uses his own culture. What is material culture? Culture involves much more than behavioral traits; it includes all produced artifacts - tools, art, books and texts, etc. "Probably no other country in the world has such high regard for material culture as the United States. "Cultural materialism is a type of analysis that looks at ecology and economics for explanation of cultural beliefs and practices.
It tries to explain cultural habits in terms of basic needs. 'A cultural materialist view of history looks for relationships between the use of new technologies, population booms, the material improvement of life, and the collapse of civilization" (fisher, 1986). What is cultural diffusion? "The worldwide tendency of human populations to share and pool creative efforts which are in origin locally known and used. " -David Hunter.