In anthropology, the cultural baseline is the state of two cultures before they come into contact with one another. It is used as a reference point to measure the changes that occur in a culture after it has been exposed to the other culture.
The cultural baseline can be thought of as the starting point from which all other changes are measured. It is useful in order to identify and record the impact of acculturation, which is the process by which a culture is changed by contact with another culture. It can also be used to study the effects of cultural diffusion, which is the spread of cultural elements from one group to another.
While the concept of a cultural baseline is useful, it is important to note that it is not possible to identify the point at which a culture starts to change through contact with other cultures, because this is happening continuously. Additionally, the changes that occur as a result of acculturation and cultural diffusion are often subtle and gradual, making it difficult to identify the point at which they began.
Culture: The social, religious, linguistic, and aesthetic traditions shared by a group of people.
Anthropology: The study of human societies and cultures.
Contact Zone: A space where two cultures come into contact with one another.
Cultural Diffusion: The spread of cultural ideas and practices from one group to another.
Acculturation: The process by which a person or group adopts the customs and beliefs of another culture.
Glossary Terms starting with C
- Capital – The Physical or Financial Resources required for Production
- Capitalism – An Economic System in which the Means of Production are Privately Owned
- Cargo Cult – Religious Movements claiming to obtain material goods (cargo) for indigenous people
- Cash Crops – Crops grown for Sale
- Caste – Social Groups Ranked Hierarchically by Birth, Marriage or Occupation
- Caudillismo – A Form of Dictatorship commonly associated with Latin America
- City, Anthropology of the – The Study of Urban Spaces and Culture
- Class Consciousness – When a Class recognises its Common Interests
- Cline – The Study of the Gradual Change in a Population over Time
- Cognatic Kinship – Tracing Descent through both the Maternal and Paternal line
- Cognitive Anthropology – The Study of How Culture impacts Human Cognition
- Colonialism – Acquiring and Maintaining Control over another Country or Territory
- Commensality – The Social Practice of Eating Together
- Concubinage – A Formalised Sexual Relationship between a Man and Women which is not equal to Marriage
- Consanguinity – The State of being related to someone by descent from a common ancestor
- Conscience Collective – The Shared Beliefs and Values of a Group or Society
- Conspicuous Consumption – Spending Money on Luxury Goods to Display Wealth and Status
- Contagious Magic – Items that have been in contact remain connected
- Creole Language – An Amalgam of the Colonial Language and Indigenous Language
- Cultural Baseline – The State of a Culture Before it Comes into Contact with Another Culture
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