Rethinking culture: The social lineage account

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35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Persuaded by the critique of cultural essentialism, many critics believe that there is no defensible way of identifying distinct cultures, or of distinguishing cultural loss from cultural change, that is compatible with the normative agenda of multiculturalism. This article challenges this widely shared belief by developing a concept of culture that can withstand the critique of essentialism and support the positive claims of multiculturalists. Culture, in the view developed here, is what people share when they have shared subjection to a common formative context. A division of the world, or of particular societies, into distinct cultures is a recognition that distinct processes of socialization operate on different groups of people. Because culture in this view is the precipitate of a common social lineage, the view is called the social lineage account of culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-749
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Volume105
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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