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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Culture Vs. Civilization: Difference Between

  1. Culture is by definition smaller than a civilization.
  2. Culture can grow and exist without residing in a formal civilization whereas a civilization will never grow and exist without the element of culture.
  3. Culture can be tangible or intangible whereas civilization is something that is more tangible because it is what you see as a whole
  4. Culture can be transmitted through symbols in the form of language whereas an entire civilization cannot be transmitted by mere language alone.
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According to anthropologists of 19th century, Culture is earlier and Civilization is later. Everything created by man is culture, civilization is an advanced state of cultural development. Culture developed in three stages: Savagery >> Barbarianism >> Civilization.

Alfred Louis Kroeber said Culture is super organic, he has given three forms of culture namely Social Culture (Status and Role), Value Culture (Philosophy, Morals) and Reality Culture (Science and Technology, etc). According to Kroeber civilization is a part of reality culture. Robert Redfield said culture is a totality of traditions and civilization is a totality of great and little traditions.

Kroeber (who had a lifelong interest in languages, fluent in English and German, erudite in Latin and Greek) was the student of Boas (we'll speak later about him) - which explains his directions in anthropology. Although Kroeber is known primarily as a cultural anthropologist, he did significant work in archaeology and anthropological linguistics, and he contributed to anthropology by making connections between archaeology and culture.

After a series of field studies on Mexican communities Redfield moved further into a broader synthesis of disciplines including archeology, anthropological linguistics, physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, and ethnology. Redfield wrote in 1955 about his own experience doing research in Latin America on peasants. As he did research, he realized he had been trained to treat the society as an isolated culture. However, he found people were involved with trade, and there were connections between villages and states. More than that, the village culture was not bounded. Beliefs and practices were not isolated. Redfield realized it did not make sense to study people as isolated units, but rather it would be better to understand a broader perspective. Traditionally, anthropologists had studied folk ways in the little tradition. Redfield took into account the broader civilization, the great tradition.

Difference between Culture and Civilization, Sociologists View
  • Culture is what we are --- Civilization is what we have
  • Culture has no standard of measurement because it is an end in itself --- Civilization has a precised standard of measurement. The universal standard of civilization is utility because civilization is a means

Difference between Culture and Civilization, Anthropologists View
  • All societies have culture --- Only a few societies have civilization
  • Culture is earlier --- Civilization is later
  • Culture is pre-condition for civilization to develop --- Civilization represents a stage of cultural advancement
  • Culture is super organic --- Civilization is a part of reality culture
  • Culture is a totality of traditions --- Civilization is a totality of great and little traditions (see the note on Redfield)
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(A Life in Books)



  • thanks for information its really good to understand difference b/w culture nd civilization .

    By Anonymous mithilesh, at 1:02 AM  

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