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What are the major problems with the evolutionist practice of classifying cultures into stages of progressive development - Essay Example

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In addition, these cultures continually develop in regards to the time progression. In light of this, early anthropologists and social scholars held…
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What are the major problems with the evolutionist practice of classifying cultures into stages of progressive development
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What are the major problems with the evolutionist practice of classifying cultures into stages of progressive development

Download file to see previous pages... 87). This evolutionary progression of societies and cultures was highly applauded, as most anthropologists touted it as the preeminent means of truly understanding the societal setting in terms of development.
Through this, such social anthropologists and theorists as Henry Morgan highly relied on this conception of social evolutionism to describe the various developmental stages that societies and cultures were undergoing. This position perceived societal and cultural differences as being the result of the given societies undergoing varied stages of the social evolutionistic phases (Evans-Pritchard 2004, p. 112). However, with the continued research and analysis, speculations have arisen over the realism of this social theory of classifying cultures into varied developmental stages. The emerging contemporary view on this was that the theory has imperfections and cannot be fully referred to in explanation of the cultural diversities and differences that exist (Kuper 1988, p. 199). While the earlier anthropologists held the view that societal development took place as a single entity, subsequent social anthropologists are of the view that this societal development is variant upon each society, with each exhibiting its own levels of developmental stages distinct from others.
In delimiting the shortcomings of the evolutionist practice of classifying cultures into subsequent stages of progressive development, classical theorists argue that the theory fails to look at the varying environments in which the different societies are traced. This provides a possible perspective from which the social evolutionism theory fails to fully capture the manner in which societies are set. Furthermore, such early anthropologists as Edward Taylor specifically relied upon information from indigenous cultures, and drew conclusions from such findings and generalizing them to the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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