Ben Damian Anthropology 310 21Jan2018 Professor Mills 2. Why is the concept of culture difficult to define? What do you think are the most important elements of culture? Culture is difficult to define because the “complex whole” of it is ever expanding and changing. Cultural Relativism says that cultures cannot be objectively understood since all humans see the world through the lens of their own culture. This makes objectively studying a culture tricky because culture is more than just empirical data, yet it may still be skewed by one’s own cultural lens. The best way someone may understand the cultural other is through Participant Observation and Going Native (though even that is tricky because it blurs lines on both sides of culture. Tylor’s definition being the standard still allows for some further definition to include language, “specific practices and social institutions that give structure to daily life and allow human communities to function”. 4. In the twenty-first century, people have much greater contact with members of other cultures than they did in the past. Which topics or concerns should be priorities for future studies of culture? There are many topics which come into question because of the world wide web. The constant disappearing of some cultures as “a people” lose or abandon their biological/regional cultural identity due to a social push to conform is a major concern. The idea that these new online cultures are constantly changing and reinventing themselves (including new languages and customs) makes creating borders to define each culture nearly impossible. Some question ” Is the cyber world a real or virtual culture?”. There is a constant creation of subcultures within each culture which may relate directly to the culture but have their own ideals or identities. With the inability to truly verify who you are (due to lack of identifiable data i.e. fingerprints, facial recognition) or even the inability to verify who someone is due to a cultural awakening (with respect to human rights) (I.e. newer options of gender, gender vs sexuality etc.) virtual online cultures may be populated with people’s moods, aliases, or fantasies.