Models of Culture

Mark Risjord

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392753
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Models of Culture

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The new models of culture have opened different possibilities for the explanation of action, and they present interesting challenges to the familiar ways of understanding agency. In this article, the Boasian model and the functionalist model of culture are elaborated. The neo-Boasian model, the epidemiological model, and practice theory can map the contemporary literature. Practice theory tries to split the difference between theories that treat social structures as the primary determinant of action and those which prioritize individual choices. With respect to the structure-and-agency issue, both epidemiological models and practice theories have something analogous to structure, even if they have dispensed with a conception of culture/society as a system of rules. Contemporary models of culture are a fertile ground for redeveloping the epistemological and metaphysical issues of the social sciences.

Keywords: culture; social sciences; Boasian model; functionalist model; neo-Boasian model; epidemiological model; practice theory; contemporary models

Article.  10618 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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