How do Anthropologists Today Account for Culture Change?

Nowadays, the argument around the forces that affected cultural development of different civilizations is heated.

Nowadays, the argument around the forces that affected cultural development of different civilizations is heated. The question is whether the most progressive nations managed to succeed by courtesy of biological advantages, such as genotype, or other factors affected cultural advancement. While numerous anthropologists continue to defend their position that western civilizations had a better progress due to genotypic differences, the growing number of other prominent specialists proves that the main reason for progression was in advantageous geographic position. Another important question that boggles the minds of anthropologists around the world is how culture, technology, and advancement interact in making a particular civilization the leading one. The following paper aims at discussing how today anthropologists account for culture change and what the effect of unequal types of technology when culture comes together with mutual interest in land and natural resources.
Today, anthropologists have a tendency to believe that culture is greatly influenced by geographical variables. In this vein, prominent scientist, Jared Diamond expressed an opinion that the success of Eurasian civilizations is explained by the favorable geographical position they managed to occupy. This is very different from a traditional idea that the achievements of races depended on genotypic peculiarities. In his book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Diamond explains that the cultural progress of western societies came as a result of their favorable habitation place. According to Diamond, such excellent location enabled western societies to escape from numerous dangers of germ origin. In addition, due to a good localization, Eurasian civilizations had an access to hard raw materials such as ironstone. This, in turn, resulted into creating weapons of significant affecting power. Having better health and stronger weapon power, western nations managed to achieve better economical progress that caused the speed up of cultural development. Cultural development became critically important for further achievements by the western nations.
Cultural development of western civilizations had an important role in their expansion in the world. When European settlers came to the New World and faced the necessity to compete with the local nations, their cultural and technological growth became critically important for their victory. Since the representatives of the European civilization had better weapons and healthcare protection skills, they were able to overthrow Indians in the war for the land. The same situation took place in the South America and Australia where indigenous ethnic groups lost in their fight for their own land because they had inferior technological and cultural development.
Technological progress has interplay with cultural advancement. For instance, European settlers in the lands of the New World had written language as a precious part of their culture. This cultural privilege served the development of technology since specialists from different branches of science and workmanship could exchange their knowledge and experience. As a result, these people managed to consolidate their efforts to survive in the new lands. Moreover, they succeeded in conquering the local civilization that did not have a written form of communication, was slow in technological development, and did not unite to fight for their future in their own land.
In conclusion, modern anthropologists have different opinions regarding the connection between culture, geographical location, technology, and progress. Also, while numerous scientists studying anthropology and related disciplines believe in the significance of genotype for achieving better progress in cultural and technological development, the growing number of modern specialists considers geographical factors the most important accelerators for advancement. Among the eminent anthropologists, Jared Diamond is especially remarkable for his explanation of the connection between cultural and technological development and the potential for possessing valuable lands and natural resources by different nations and civilizations.

156 Views