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Encyclopedia > Primitive culture

In older anthropology texts and discussions, a primitive culture is one that lacks major signs of economic development or modernity. For instance, it might lack a written language or advanced technology and have a limited and isolated population. The term was used by Western writers to describe foreign cultures contacted by European colonists and explorers. It is also the title of a major work by Edward Tylor, "the founder of anthropology", in which he defines religion as "animism" which, in turn, he defines by reference to contemporary indigenous and other religious data as "the belief in spirits". Initiation rite of the Yao people of Malawi Anthropology (from the Greek word , man or person) consists of the study of humanity (see genus Homo). ... Economic development is a sustainable increase in living standards that implies increased per capita income, better education and health as well as environmental protection. ... Modernity is a term used to describe the condition of being modern. Since the term modern is used to describe a wide range of periods, modernity must be taken in context. ... The term Western World or the West can have multiple meanings depending on its context. ... Edward Burnett Tylor. ... Animism is the belief in personalized, supernatural beings (or souls) that often inhabit ordinary animals and objects, governing their existence. ...


Many early sociologists and other writers portrayed primitive cultures as noble—noble savages—and believed that their lack of technology and less integrated economies made them ideal examples of the correct human lifestyle. Among these thinkers were Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who is most frequently associated with the idea of the noble savage based on his Discourse on Inequality, and Karl Polanyi, who in The Great Transformation praised the economic organization of primitive societies as less destructive than the market economy. The belief that primitive cultures are ideal is often described as primitivism; branches of this theory include primitive communism and anarcho-primitivism. A section of Benjamin Wests The Death of General Wolfe; Wests depiction of this Native American has been considered an idealization in the tradition of the Noble savage (Fryd, 75) In the 18th century culture of Primitivism the noble savage, uncorrupted by the influences of civilization was considered... Jean-Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Genevan philosopher of the Enlightenment whose political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of socialist theory, and the growth of nationalism. ... Jean-Jacques Rousseaus Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, written for the Académie de Dijon in 1754, is an attempt to answer the question What is the origin of inequality among men, and is it authorized by natural law? Rousseau had won a previous competition with his 1st... Karl Paul Polanyi (October 21, 1886 - Pickering, Ontario April 23, 1964) was a Hungarian intellectual known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and his influential book The Great Transformation. ... The Great Transformation is a phrase used to describe the sum total of a collection of changes, possibly connected in their origin, that occurred in Europe from about 1700 to about 1900. ... It has been suggested that Free market be merged into this article or section. ... Primitivism is an artistic movement which originated as a reaction to the Enlightenment. ... Primitive communism, according to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is the original society of humanity. ... Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. ...


Many of these writers assumed that contemporary indigenous peoples or their cultures were comparable to the earliest humans or their cultures. Some people still make this assumption. The word "primitive" comes from the Latin "primus" meaning "first", and it was believed by Victorian anthropologists that the so-called primative contemporary cultures preserved a state unchanged since "stone age" paleolithic or neolithic times. This assumption has proved to be false as hunter-gatherer bands have just as much accumulated innovation as do "modern" civilised cultures. The differences are due to the fact that most of the cultural innovation in hunter-gatherer or shifting horticultural cultures is in areas of ceremonial, arts, beliefs, ritual and tradition which usually do not leave cultural artefacts, tools or weapons. The assumption too that hunter-gatherer bands and shifting horticultural tribes have more in common than they have with more complex urban or civilised societies is also denied by many modern archaeologists. Close examination of differences in culture show that these types of cultures are as different as they are from modern urban and civilised cultures. Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her Ascension to the Throne, 20 June 1837) gave her name to the historic era The Victorian Era of the United Kingdom marked the height of the British industrial revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ... Stone Age fishing hook. ... The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (Greek παλαιός paleos=old and λίθος lithos=stone or the Old Stone Age) was the first period in the development of human technology of the Stone Age. ... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools Excavated dwellings at Skara Brae Scotland, Europes most complete Neolithic village. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... For other uses, see Civilization (disambiguation). ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... Shifting cultivation is an agricultural system in which a person uses a piece of land, only to abandon or alter the initial use a short time later. ... This article is on the social structure. ... Look up urban in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Civilization (disambiguation). ...


Though belief in the "noble savage" has not disappeared, describing a culture as primitive is often considered factually incorrect and offensive today. Use of the term, especially in academic settings, has thus diminished.


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Primitive culture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (229 words)
In anthropology, a primitive culture is one that lacks major signs of economic development or modernity.
Many sociologists and other writers portrayed primitive cultures as noble—noble savages—and believed that their lack of technology and less integrated economies made them ideal examples of the correct human lifestyle.
The belief that primitve cultures are ideal is often described as primitivism; branches of this theory include primitive communism and anarcho-primitivism.
Primitive Religion (2911 words)
Primitive religion is a name given to the religious beliefs and practices of those traditional, often isolated, preliterate cultures which have not developed urban and technologically sophisticated forms of society.
Tylor's definition of primitive religion as Animism, a belief in spiritual beings, expresses his interpretation that the basis of primitive religion is the belief that detached and detachable vital forces make up a suprahuman realm of reality that is just as real as the physical world of rocks, trees, and plants.
In present cultures of this area the older layer can be seen in the Queen Mother, who is "owner of the land"; the second layer in the kingship system; and the third layer in the myths associated with egg symbolism, which on the cosmological level are a means of transmuting sexual tensions into practical harmonies.
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