WHAT IS CULTURE? Apa Itu Budaya?

WHAT IS CULTURE? Apa Itu Budaya?

(Conrad Phillip Kottak, Mirror For Humanity: A Concise Introduction To Cultural Anthropology, Fourt Edition, (New York: McGraw-Hill: 2005), hlm 41-42)

Culture Is Learned

The ease with which children absorb any cultural tradition rests on the uniquely elaborated human capacity to learn. Other animals may learn from experience, so that, for example, they avoid fire after discovering that it hurts.
Social animals also learn from other members of their group. Wolves, for instances, learn hunting strategies from other pack members. Such social learning is particularly important among monkeys and apes, our closest biological relatives. But our own cultural learning depends on the uniquely developed human capacity to use symbols, signs that have no necessary or natural connection to the things they stand for or signify.
On the basis of cultural learning, people create, remember, and deal with ideas. They grasp and apply specific systems of symbolic meaning. Anthropologist Chilfford Geertz defines culture as ideas based on cultural learning and symbols. Cultural have been characterized as sets of “control mechanism—plans, recipes, rules, instructions, what computer engineers call program for the governing behavior” (Geertz 1973, p. 44). These programs are absorbed by people through enculturation in particular traditions. People gradually internalize a previously established system of meanings and symbols, which helps guide their behavior and perceptions throughout thei lives.

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