chapter  15
Culture as Interpersonal Process
Pages 16

C ulture is often construed as a pattern of ideas, practices, and artifacts shared by people. This working conception of culture serves us well under most circumstances. When we fly from one part of the world to another, as we move from one terrain to another terrain of a continent when we travel, or even when we cross the Harbor Bridge from one side of Sydney to the other, we see subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences in landscape, street design, architecture, dress code, mannerism, and so on. As we notice these differences between social settings and people that populate them, we say this culture is different from the other. Indeed, this is the kind of conception of culture that Edward Burnett Tylor (1871/1996) gave as the first definition of culture in anthropology: “Culture or Civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man [sic] as a member of society” (p. 1). In a profound sense, then, culture is the repository of the sum total of social thinking and knowledge that informs and regulates everyday interpersonal behavior, the topic of this volume.