World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Cultural determinism

Article Id: WHEBN0001452924
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cultural determinism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Determinism, Free will, Environmental determinism, Urban theory, Standard social science model
Collection: Classical Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Determinism
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cultural determinism

Cultural determinism is the belief that the culture in which we are raised determines who we are at emotional and behavioral levels. This supports the theory that environmental influences dominate who we are instead of biologically inherited traits.

Yet another way of looking at the concept of cultural determinism is to contrast it with the idea of environmental determinism. The latter is the idea that the physical world- with all its constraints and potentially life-altering elements-is responsible for the make-up of each existing culture. Contrast this with the idea that we (humans) create our own situations through the power of thought, socialization, and all forms of information circulation.

It is also used to describe the concept that culture determines economic and political arrangements. It is an idea which has recurred in many cultures over human history, from ancient civilizations through the present.


  • Cultural determinism as a political and economic influence 1
    • Examples in history 1.1
  • See also 2
  • External links 3

Cultural determinism as a political and economic influence

There are a number of theories of social development that describe culture as the factor that determines all of the others. This is distinct from theories of economic determinism such as that of Marx, namely that an individual or class' role in the means of production determines outlook and cultural roles (although some Marxists reject the label "economic determinism" as an accurate description of Marx's views). Political movements rooted in cultural determinism usually stand opposed to political and economic ideologies or consider them of lesser importance than factors such as religion, race, and nationality. However, cultural determinists do not necessarily disagree with Marx's view of social class as an important determining factor as well. The idea of cultural determinism is extremely common: numerous societies have believed that their habits, ideas and customs were what determined the shape of their political and economic arrangements, and were the source of their uniqueness above all else. This can be seen in adherence to national epics, particular religious customs, and focus on the importance of language as the determiner of national identity.

Examples in history

Romanticism had a large element of cultural determinism, drawn from writers such as Goethe, Fichte, August and Friedrich Schlegel. In the context of Romanticism, the geography molded individuals, and over time customs and culture related to that geography arose, and these, being in harmony with the place of the society, were better than arbitrarily imposed laws.

In media theory many writers take the position that political arrangements are determined by the mass media images that people see, and that these, by displacing other forms of culture, determine the economic and political arrangements.

In modern conservatism, individuals such as commentator Patrick Buchanan and economist Robert Barro argue that cultural norms determine the behavior of political arrangements. However, the cultural determinism of Buchanan and like-minded conservatives is currently a source of conflict among American conservatives.

See also

External links

  • Glen Wilson: The Science of Sex
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.