Steward’s Approach essay

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According to Steward, the culture of a society undertook a long-term process of adaptation influenced by the environment that was responsible for its basic shape. The main goal of Julian steward was to ensure a formulation of a new methodology that would bring change in cultural regularity. Stewart had focused on the genuine purpose of probing the typical or non- recurring features of cultures. Steward was eager for a new set of cultural laws when fact-collecting and comprehensive analysis of the cultures and sequences.

            Steward did not agree with the school of thought of evolutionists, functionalists, and Boasians that regularity was existent, with emphasis on the claim that history did not repeat itself. The school of thought had a non-practical belief that the cause and effects worked in an ethnic phenomenon. Steward elaborates that culture develops since there exist a cause that could be centered on changes, individualists, facts, and beliefs. On the Contrary, those from the school of thoughts believed that culture had no cause that could determine its existence.

             Steward came up with an approach with three steps that was to be followed when formulating cultural regularity. Steward's approach had to establish a realistic and valid hypothesis that illustrates an interpretation of facts thus, a clear approach is necessary. Firstly, identification of a typology of cultures, patterns and institutions, which eventually led to the cause and effect relationship that is unique in each case of the local setting and re occurrence. Secondly, there is the existence of a causal relationship whereby a given cultural effect can be associated with the cause during analysis of a historical phenomenon. Lastly, the formulation of a sequential interrelationship of cultural phenomena is a scientific statement of regularity, laws, cause and effect. However, such formulations are theoretically possible and are inapplicable in practical terms as one cannot isolate an identifiable cause-effect relationship.

             Steward’s approach related to individual culture where he explains that culture does not exist apart from an individual. Steward explains that individual culture was as a result of the environment in which someone lived in and the surroundings. An individual culture is characterized by the basic and ultimate explanations of behavior that attributes to be cultural, psychological, neurological, and physiological, which causes someone’s culture. Steward’s approach relates universally applicable schemes of a world cultural development to be existent as a result of diffusion. Diffusion assists in avoiding coming into a grip with causes and effect that fails to provide a consistent approach to cultural history. However, Steward sees world civilization as a case of origin and diffusion, that demonstrates  the reason why society accept diffused cultures, which accounts for about ninety percent of world’s culture.

            Steward has a keen focus on a core of key features in ecology, politics, economics, major social classes and he is not interested mainly with cultural styles. Steward asserted that the society had to undergo a process of adaptation since culture is responsible for the social, political, ecological and economic structure of the society. He considers leadership patterns of the hunters that vary in relation to the differences that exist in subsistence pattern. Steward affirmed that the institutions did not have unlimited variability, intended for adaptability to the requirements of subsistence patterns established in particular, environments. Steward agrees that traits are responsible for the underlying social and political organizations.

            Steward links key environments, subsistence activities, to the rise and development of the cultural complex. Steward asserts that some cultural features could be empirically determined and closely connected to subsistence and economic activity. Steward directs that internal needs produce orderly interrelationship between interrelated institutions, which do not have unlimited variability. For this reason, the interrelated institutions must be adapted to the requirements of subsistence patterns established in particular environment, which forms social classes.

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