Culture a Problem That Cannot Be Solved
- List Price: $22.95
- Binding: Paperback
- Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Pr
- Publish date: 09/01/1998
French historian Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the conflict between the ideals of individualism and community defines American culture. In this ground-breaking new work, anthropologist Charles Nuckolls discovers that every culture consists of such paradoxes, thus making culture a problem that cannot be solved. He does, however, find much creative tension in these unresolvable opposites.
To demonstrate how social organization often reveals cultural values, Nuckolls first treats the Micronesian Ifaluks' opposition between cooperation and self-gratification by examining the nature versus nurture debate. Nuckolls then shifts to the values of community and individual adventure by looking at the conflicts in the identities of public figures in Oklahoma. Finally, he investigates the cultural significance of psychiatric diagnoses in the United States. He asserts that psychiatry treats genders differently, assigning dependence to women and independence to men and, in some cases, diagnoses the extreme forms of these values as disorders.
By bringing together cognition and psychoanalysis, as well as sociology and psychology, Culture: A Problem That Cannot Be Solved restores the neglected social science concept of values in the study of cultural processes.