Conclusion: Some Advances in Culture Theory

  • Naomi Quinn
  • Karen Gainer Sirota
  • Peter G. Stromberg
Part of the Culture, Mind, and Society book series (CMAS)


This Conclusion synthesizes the volume’s advances, beginning with Roy D’Andrade’s insight that culture is organized by lifeworlds. The next chapter, by Robert Paul, supports D’Andrade’s approach to culture and the inevitable conflict between self-interest and the group concerns that culture introduces. Paul also offers the notion of the public arena, where culture is learned from its performance. Edward Lowe addresses a different kind of conflict, inner ones arising from allegiance to multiple lifeworlds, eliciting cultural amelioration. Lowe’s chapter also bridges the first two chapters and the remaining ones, indicating where a purely institutional account leaves off and a psychological one must take up. The concept of lifeworlds helps to reframe these remaining chapters as well, gracefully explaining, in addition to cultural variation and contradiction, the tendency toward cultural thematicity. The Conclusion next recounts the book’s argument about internalization: its basis in synaptic plasticity and cultural schemas, and its further cultivation by child socializers with their intent to raise children into culturally valued adults, and by therapists with their goal of healing. The Conclusion goes on to consider the roles of psychodynamic processes, psycho-biology, and, finally, methods. It closes with a summary of the “straight-edged pieces” that have been identified, and that frame the “jigsaw puzzle” of culture theory, and the remaining missing pieces of this theory.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naomi Quinn
    • 1
  • Karen Gainer Sirota
    • 2
  • Peter G. Stromberg
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Cultural AnthropologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human DevelopmentCalifornia State UniversityLong BeachUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TulsaTulsaUSA

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