Human culture is based on the sharing of entities that are often arbitrary and conventional. People who are raised in the same culture will respond in similar ways to the things they observe. These culturally induced behavior patterns become deeply ingrained in the human mind, often operating without the individual’s knowledge. Human cultures may be radically different from those of modern chimpanzees, but they are still rooted in the same principles.
While there are many similarities between cultures, they are often very distinct. Many subcultures develop among special social groups, and others are regional. Some of these groups even transcend national borders. But what ties do all these groups have in common? Here are some examples:
Anthropological research involves fieldwork and observation in a different society. This method is known as ethnography. The goal of ethnographic research is to discover the culture of another society. This means living among its members and observing their daily activities. Since anthropologists cannot observe human interactions in a laboratory, living among the local people gives them the opportunity to learn more about the average American family. Similarly, ethnographers can observe the interactions of the people in a typical American household through ethnographic research.
Sociocultural distinctions are also common to human societies. Membership in a particular group influences an individual’s self-perception. It also imposes expectations and rules, which help the group function smoothly. These social distinctions are sometimes referred to as collective intentionality. The question of what drives these social behaviors and how can they be better understood? In many cases, the answers will surprise you. The questions that have been haunting our collective conscious will come to light in this article.