World Cultures General Glossary
Civilization

General Glossary
Abstraction
Civilization is simply the organization of social groups into urban and corporate bodies; cultural identity and social relations are largely if not entirely abstract rather than physical or biological. That is, urbanized social groups tend to be organized by abstract principles, such as occupation, class, or citizenship, rather than real biological kinship ties to other members of the community. Civilization is not necessarily better than the "uncivilized." For the purposes of this course, we will use the term "tribal" as the contrary term to "civilized"; in a tribal culture, social groups tend to be organized by biological and material principles, such as kinship.

Richard Hooker



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1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 10-3-97