How do cultures develop?How do things like the environment shape a peoples customs, arts, worldview, and wider society? I understand how a few customs begin: like infanticide being practiced in resource poor areas, people who live in wide open areas tend to have a particular fear of thunder and lightning, nomads have a general tendency to lean more monotheistic, etc.I wanna try for an actual OC donut steel culture without pulling too much from any particular IRL one.
Oh shit son, anthropologist here, and I gotta tell you there's a shitload of answer to your questions. But at its most basic, cultural practices develop because they serve a certain function. I can post lots of things for you if you are interested in some basics, can even provide university level reading if you need. Just figured I'd double check before writing you an essay.
You just posted a depiction of an animal.Local megafauna will be represented in mythology.For example, Eskimo legend on Sedna:>The father, wild with terror, seized a great ivory axe and cut off the fingers clutching the boat. The girl sank into the water, while her chopped-off fingers were transformed into seals. Three times she strove to escape death, but she was lost, she was the prey of the ocean and nothing could save her. Thrice her father mutilated her wounded hands. The second knuckles gave birth to the ojuk (the deep-sea seals), the thrid became walruses, and from the remainder whales were born. When the sacrifice was completed, the sea grew calm, and the boat soon reached the shore.
>>37435483even if op dont want it i do. HIT ME UP
>>37435483>>37435498What he said.
>>37435483Thank you, beat me to it. There're actually MULTIPLE fields of study on this topic -- cultural anthropology, evolutionary psych, applied sociological analysis, and that's just for starters. A doctoral thesis in any of the above would cover a tiny subtopic of that gigantic overarching question.I'll leave the dissertation to the professionals, but in short, OP: instinctual behavior + learned collective behavior + time = culture. Cultural mores are typically a collection of behaviors which have been observed to "work" (more or less) for a given group, and which have therefore gained momentum and tend to self-perpetuate. And at that, I leave it to the Anthrofag.
>>37435483Where have you been all my life? Please post everything
>>37435498>>37435527Ok, i'll namefag for the thread. Gonna keep the posts simple enough, but feel free to ask for details on things I mention.One of the first things I would think about when "writing" a new culture for a setting is considering how inheritance works within that culture. It might not sound exciting, but the inheritance of material wealth is one of the things that most influence how most human cultures work.The typical human culture is, or at some point was, patrilineal. That is, ancestry is traced through the father. Likewise, most cultures inherit patrilnearly. What this means for small tribal groups is 2 things: 1, the legitimacy of a child is essential: Since men cannot bear children, it is of the utmost that there is a system in place for knowing who is his child and who is not, this is, in basic terms, the start of the creation of a marriage system. Secondly, in a small tribal group it is important that wealth does not leave the group by having women marry outside the tribe, as this results in wealth leaving the group by virtue of patrilineal inheritance.This basic need to keep the wealth (material goods, livestock in particular is a relevant example) within the tribal group has lead to many complex systems of marriage. In many societies, a system of what is referred to as "cross-cousin marriage" emerged, wherein, in an ideal situation, a man was married off to the daughter of his mother's brother, i.e, his cousin. This kept the family wealth within reach, as the uncle on the mother's side is often seen as a secondary father figure to young boys. This kind of marriage was extensively studied in tribal africa where it was vital for ensuring that cattle, the lifeblood of these groups, did not leave the tribe, but also in china and south asia. Interestingly, if you map this pattern, over generations, the map forms a 3D tube shape.If anyone needs to be told, the necessity of incest ALSO stems from this: I can continue on that if needed.
>>37435595Following on from this, if a culture you are writing is human or has similar reproduction to humans biologically, you will need to establish whether inheritance is patrilineal or matrilineal. As in a matrilineal culture it is theoretically possible that marriage as we know it would not develop or look extremely different.
>>37435595> the necessity of incest ALSO stems from this: I can continue on that if needed.We'll, uh, we'll save that for later.This is all terribly interesting, though. Do continue.
>>37435595Inheritance, then marriage, then - I guess - family composition.Does polygamy change anything?
>>37435595>If anyone needs to be told, the necessity of incest ALSO stems from this: I can continue on that if neededErr... Did you mean "the necessity to avoid incest" ?>>37435620Couldn't inheritance be both?
>>37435620I'm Ashanti and we're matrilineal. Marriage is still a thing amongst us. I know of quite a few matrilineal cultures that married without foreign influence.
>>37435639>avoid incestNo, pay attention to what he wrote; the point is to keep the family wealth within reach. Why would you want to split and divide the wealth to your next and current generations?
>>37435620When you have the time could you elaborate on the marriage differences in a matrilineal culture?
There are different interpretations of culture, one interpretation is the way of life of a community, another is the intellectual and artistic output of a community.
>>37435620>As in a matrilineal culture it is theoretically possible that marriage as we know it would not develop or look extremely differenNot necessarily. IIRC there were some theories that the picts practiced matrilineal inheritance. But I can't say whether or not that was disproved because pictish inheritance can be rather complex at times due to who took up the crown/interrelations etc.
>>37435684iirc the more supported view is that the Picts just didn't have a strong standard for which kid got your stuff.
>>37435621Oops, should have said "the taboo of incest"Anyway...Next up is religion, which is a tricky one, since there's no proven theory on WHY humans develop religion, or how it occurs, just lots of conflicting schools of thought.One of the old school views that is largely discredited is the idea that humans began to develop religious beliefs around the time they became intelligent enough to communicate the contents of their dreams to one another, and they began to believe that dreams were somehow connected to another, separate world.A less hated on view is the idea that the most "basic" form of religious belief is animism. That is, the idea that all things are possessed of souls, and that communication with the spirits of animals or forces of nature is possible through a variety of rituals. Animistic beliefs, it is posited, can develop to the more familiar polytheistic system by groups emphasizing the importance of particular spirits, such as the spirits of the livestock they depend on, or of particular weather events that they are at the mercy of.Animism is popular in fantasy, mostly because shamanism, a defining feature of animism (although the word itself refers to a specific culture's wise-man) is just kinda cool to westerners for some reason.As for organized religion, that is another thing entirely, of course, and there are many schools of thought about why humans develop organized religion. At its most basic, though, the two bigs ones are the idea that we like hierarchy, and that religious hierarchy is only a natural part of human nature, and the marxist approach that sees the development of religious hierarchy as a method of creating social class.Creating a religion for a fictional culture should look at the kind of environmental challenges the group faced in earlier times, and by trying to understand how a group of people might explain and understand the challengers they face.
>>37435653True, but this is about writing a fantasy culture, I was more suggesting that its possible. If OP wants to write a culture without marriage and have some realism to it, its probably going to need to be matrilineal.And yeah, i meant about avoiding incest. Most cultures don't consider cousins incest. Brother-sister is the big no no. The most supported reason being that your family needs to marry her off to someone else, and its no good if you take her (in incredibly simple terms). Just looking at how strongly people react to the idea of incest is really fascinating. Most people assume its bad cos retard babies, but the truth is its not really that likely except over generations of it, its mostly the fact that your dad can't trade her if there might be your baby in her.
>>37435696>just kinda coolI think it's a meme with its origins in the sixties and seventies, the reactionary hippy and anti-industry movements. The resurrection of the noble savage, in tune with nature, and all that.
>>37435696I've heard it said that religions reflect food gathering patterns. Hunter-Gatherers are deeply animistic and have a rather positive to neutral (as in nature can be a cruel or kind bitch) view of the world around them. Everything has a soul.Horticulturalists have an antagonistic attitude towards nature, the forest is always encroaching on their crops and villages. Their number of real "Gods" is about equal to what number of plants they raise. Spirits exist, but they're mostly assholes. Agriculturalists tend to have elaborate pantheons. Human culture has patron deities to cover them.And herders tend to see just one major deity.These beliefs mix and match all the time, of course.
Anyhow, another big thing to consider is how value and exchange functions.In many papuan cultures, pigs form a central feature not just of economic exchanges, but also of social interactions. Among the kubo, two men looking to publicly strengthen their social ties will swap piglets, and raise them by hand, then make a big deal of swapping them back once they have grown up. The logic is that the time invested in raising a pig is symbolic of the time one is willing to invest in the relationship, keep in mind for these pigs things that pigs like to eat better food than cows, papuan pigs are feed tubers, food that could be eaten by a person: they are an expense to raise. Likewise, giving someone the jawbone of a pig is a symbolic act, since a pig is valued, even though the jaw itself is not that useful. A professor I know actually raised a few eyebrows among the kubo when she asked to be given fish hooks to study, which, while actually more useful, are not a prestigious item to give and receive.Likewise, in the typical "big man" society, a mans social rank is based upon how much wealth he can bestow upon others. Going back to looking at how cultural practices develop out of function, consider that awarding social rank for material generosity would lead to an overall more equal society, and in society where excess food is considered wealth, everyone gets fed if the guy with the most food has a reason to feed everyone. Big man societies (actually a bit of an archaic term now) tend to feature lots of feasts hosted by those in power in a village, as part of being a big man is to continuously prove your ability to provide gifts.The most extreme example of value systems i can think of off the top of my head is the kwakwaka'wakw potlach, which is inter-tribal gift giving competitions. The gifts aren't even always stuff that can be used. Special tablets made from expensive materials, crafted just to be given away or broken as a sign of wealth to the hosted tribe.
>>37435696>Animism is popular in fantasy, mostly because shamanism, a defining feature of animism (although the word itself refers to a specific culture's wise-man) is just kinda cool to westerners for some reason.We have monotheistic religions and polytheistic mythologies.There is nothing like shinto here so animism is exotic.Animism is exotic even to tabletop RPGs, which is strange given magic is everywhere in fantasy settings, you have things like elementals, etc.I found Tenra Bansho Zero's shinto and onmyoudo to be extremely interesting.>>37435795We're getting into the meat of this, where bizarre customs based on things other than practical values begin to shape social relationships.
>>37435784Yeah, there has historically been correlations like that, but its pretty much impossible to say definitively why. But its the sort of thing that should be taken in to account if you are writing a culture for fiction.>>37435753Well, that and the bit where animists often like to take hallucinogenic substances to aid them in visiting the spirit world. Ayahuasca, booze, peyote, magic mushrooms, even huge amounts of tobacco. All used in combination with ritual devices such as chanting, dancing, music, etc, in order to achieve a spirit trance. Shamanism is a feature of many cultures, but its also got that sixties hippy appeal.
>>37435808I dunno. Beliefs are extremely hard to kill.Classes of lesser animistic nature spirits exist in virtually all mythology.
>>37435795That reminds me of the "Giver of rings" deal the germanic kings had going on
>>37435808>getting to the meat of thisExactly. Cultural practices start out as practical exercises, but develop in to complex practices often somewhat divorced from practicality. The potlatch, which I do recommend looking up if you are interested in exchange practices, seems the opposite of practical at first glance, but it does provide a tribe with several benefits: It enables constant contact with neighbouring tribes, it allows the tribes to assess how their neighbouring tribes are doing financially, it provides a sense of tribal unity, and of course, no matter how much you give away, the other guys are obliged to try and top it, so you might just turn a profit or have them go extinct trying to top you.Likewise, the tsembaga of Papua had a very specific pattern of hoarding pigs, having a gigantic pig slaughter and feast, and then going on the warpath and invading some neighbouring tribes, before settling back down to raise pigs. From within their own cultural understanding, the time for the change is determined by the tribes ancestors, whose hunger for pig meat is enormous, and when the tribe finally has enough pigs to satisfy the ancestors, they sacrifice them, eat them, and go to war to raid and steal their neighbours pigs. However, ethnographers have noted that it the amount of pigs needed to satisfy the ancestors is around the maximum possible number of pigs the tribe can sustain per household. The tsembaga do not acknowledge that there is an ecological factor in their actions, but it most likely influences the process quite a bit.
>>37435667Because a restricted genetic pools results in hindering the next generations. And because you also get the wealth of the other family if you marry one of its members
Is dat some pathologic I see
>>37435483>university level reading if you need.YEs please.
So we start to come back to the beginning; a societies basic needs, like determining who gets what when someone dies, who gets to be in charge, who to blame when the crops die or the hunt goes badly, these are all met with cultural practices that address them. At first glance, however, the need served by a cultural practice is not immediately apparent. So when writing a culture, consider the physical environment in which the culture developed: what ecological challenges did they face? This should give you an idea of the principle spirits/gods they would favour. What was their most valued economic good? This should help you develop social practices for exchange. Did they develop a class based society? That's usually seen as being a result of a larger population needing the increased efficiency of division of labour, and with it comes more standardised forms of exchange. The basics will fill themselves in as you try to understand their lives.As for the rest of the thread, how about I describe interesting features of various cultures for people to use as tools for writing their own? I got witchcraft stuff.
>>37435963>The basics will fill themselves in as you try to understand their lives.This right here is the beginning and the end of culture creation.>As for the rest of the thread, how about I describe interesting features of various cultures for people to use as tools for writing their own? I got witchcraft stuff.Do it!
Important things to note: socio-cultural rituals and events have often for goal to divert our urges toward ends productive to society. Like politeness or sport, which dissipate aggressivity and create links
>>37435963Would it be correct to say that ceremonial/ritual items are former tools who lost their primary function?
>>37435963>I got witchcraft stuff.Yes pls. I'm particularly interested in NA Southwest witchcraft or really any animism level society "black" magic.
>>37436013Its certainly true in some cases. Take the christian crucifix as an obvious example. But its not always as simple as that. Symbols have power because of what they invoke, but sometimes an object has power in and of itself: we call this a "fetish", and that is the original meaning of the term btw. The reasons for an objects power are myriad, often stemming from the idea that objects affect similar objects (sympathetic magic, the reason why chinese men think snorting rhino horn will give them an erection). The original studies in fetishism in west africa were colonial pieces and steeped in the views of the time, but still valid in some respects.>>37435928Lets see what /tg/ will let me upload here, not sure what the size limit on pdfs are.
Step 1: Be a dumb chucklefuck in a community of dumb chucklefucks.Step 2: Notice a lot of dumb chucklefucks are dying doing something. Maybe they eat undercooked meat or they get sick from touching a plant or whatever.Step 3: Be the smartest dumb chucklefuck and tell people to not touch that plant or eat that animal.Step 4: Become chief. Get all the bitches.Step 5: Do something only a dumb chucklefuck would do, die from it, and inspire the next dumb chucklefuck.Step 6: Repeat.Not a great system but it works.
Civilizations developed along river valleys. The people have to better organize in order to bring in a huge harvest and dam up the rivers.Writing is merely the result of a need for record keeping like taxes. Invasions tend to replace the upper nobility of a society. It typically wasn't a wholesale rape and slaughter of the natives.The old nobility adopted the language of the conquerors over time, and it spread down to the peasants after a very long time.
Well, since people like witchcraft, I guess I'll do the typical anthropologist bit and go to the Azande first.Traditional Azande beliefs held that witchcraft was an important part of causality in everyday life. Witchcraft was hereditary in the male line, and actually stored in a physical organ within the body. A witch was capable of sending out his witchcraft substance to affect the world around them in malicious ways.In the most authoritative ethnography on Azande witchcraft belief, posted here, Azande explain that witchcraft is a manipulation of causality: A skilled hunter is killed by an animal he has hunted many times before, a skilled potter finds his ceramics cracked when being fired, a granary collapses from termite damage as people take a quick break under it, these events are caused by real world things; dangerous animals, irregularities in clay, termites eatin shit, but they happen BECAUSE of witches. Termites are HOW an event occurred, witchcraft is WHY it occurred. Of course, the social conventions for dealing with witches are incredibly complex. A man might accuse another man of attacking him with witchcraft, but, since the organ containing it is inside the body, a man cannot be checked until he is dead. A man accused of witchcraft always denies the accusation, although the accuser may consult oracles to determine his suspicions.If a witch is responsible for, say, a family members death, you might swear revenge, but without absolute proof, you cannot kill him. His death, whenever that may be, will be blamed on the machinations of another witch.Traditional Azande witchcraft beliefs are the subject of many theses on social conflict mechanisms and understandings of causality, but here is the book with nothing but the info.Also contained are Azande beliefs regarding oracles, a type of magic anyone can perform (most often by asking a chicken a question, poisoning it, and seeing if it lives) and sorcery, which is different from witchcraft.
>>37436271Oh wait, that's not the full text, the full one is too big i think. Have to see if i can upload it elsewhere. In the meantime, something about witchcraft in rural france and its invocation by language.
>>37435908>Because a restricted genetic pools results in hindering the next generations.You don't start seeing the effects until generations of close inter-breeding.Also, being rich but slightly sickly beats being poor and with diverse genes.
Here's an article that was groundbreaking at the time, "The Dreaming", by W.E.H Stanner. Its about indigenous australians, and their understanding of the nature of time and the temporal relationship between the present, and the "dreamtime", the mythical before times in which their myths and legends occur. Really fascinating if you can get past how dry it gets and the tiny eyestrain font. The gist of it is that "time" and "history" were much different concepts, since the Dreaming was not a historical period, but "everywhen".
>>37436207>The old nobility adopted the language of the conquerors over time, and it spread down to the peasants after a very long time.Or vice-versa.Top down: Hungarians, Turks, romanised dacians, etc.Down-top: English, bulgarians, proto-romanians under cumans
>>37435928I can't upload the MacDaddy OG ethnography here since its too big, but if you want to learn about one of the most interesting exchange systems in the world, here's a link to "Argonauts of the western pacific". If you don't have time to skim 500 pages of ethnography, google the "kula" ring, an exchange system of two rings running in opposite directions along which trading of very specific items is conducted, with one type of item always going in one direction in exchange for the other, going in the other direction. Of course, one of the most interesting things about the Kula is that the individuals participating in it when it was first observed by outsiders were not aware of the entire system, only those with whom the personally traded.http://monoskop.org/File:Malinowski_Bronislaw_Argonauts_of_the_Western_Pacific_2002.pdfOh, and anyone interested in the Potlatch described briefly here >>37435795, check out "The Gift", by Marcel Mauss. Its a long essay/short book, and is very easy to read.
Here's another little piece of ethnography. Traditional Nuer marriage practices. Its not really trying to make a point, but then, an ethnography isn't about making academic points.
Is this thread archived? I don't have time to read the PDFs at the moment but witchcraft is something I'm really interested in and never understood beyond the level of "unpopular person gets blamed for mysterious hardships"
>>37435908>restricted genetic pools results in hindering the next generationsThis was not something commonly understood until fairly recently. It was common for kingly families to be married brother to sister as with the pharaos of Egypt and, yes, they became completely disfigured eventually, but it wasn't as if the connection that this was because of the incest was made before modern genetic science became a thing.
>>37435668Its hard to say for sure what all the potential effects could be, although I have seen it argued that in at least a couple cultures in Tibet and Sri lanka, polyandry (woman having multiple husbands) being the predominant form of marriage is an outcome of both men and women having equal inheritance rights. Obviously its a rare case, since humans are biologically ill suited to polyandry, but a non-human race might have something significantly different.As another point, the Huaorani in the Amazon region live in matrifocal house groups, and some very unusual, from a western perspective, things occur. Men marry in to the female's household, and often are married to several women in the household (families live in large housegroups in longhouses). The society has a very high focus on reproduction, and adulthood is considered to be "about" the creation of children. The only curse word in their language equates to "lets make some babies", and men perform "couvade", which is sort of a set of ritualised phantom pregnancy rites as part of the gestation. The act of birthing a child as much an act performed by the father as by the mother. Here's a paper on them.Obviously, I'm not trying to say that if you are making a matrilinear society, have a huge focus on reproduction, or make them polyandrous. Rather, consider some possible effects of the different methods of inheritance. A society where boys cannot inherit land at all from their mothers may not have marriage at all, after all, a woman KNOWS that her children are her own. A society like that didn't occur in human history to my knowledge, but its theoretically possible provided that their is some kind of cultural practice in place that satisfies the men, although in a fantasy setting the options for that are much greater.Sorry to take so long to reply to you, bro.
>>37436623Ooh, I got a request for archival, I knew there was a reason I went to university.Anywho, here's something that will probably interest you if you get the chance. A paper on the Tenme and their witchcraft beliefs.The Tenme traditionally believed in the land of the Witches, a sort of separate world in which witches interact and travel, and while we obviously cannot ask 16th century tenme what they though witchland looked like, we can ask modern Tenme. You know what it is? A highrise city, never ending, where the witches drive around in Mercedes buying and selling souls from each other while wearing armani.Its also about how Tenme adjusted their witchcraft beliefs to fit with their practical reactions to the slave trade, which involved selling witches to slavers. It just so happened that around that time, the idea of what a "witch" might look like started to change...Its a really fascinating paper on the interaction between traditional beliefs and the outside world.
>>37436958>A highrise city, never ending, where the witches drive around in Mercedes buying and selling souls from each other while wearing armani.
All right, its 3AM here, so its time for me to go. One more pdf for you so you can get an idea about how different cultures might perceive of individuality and personhood.
>>37436958Based beyond belief.> They often described a prosperous city where skyscrapers adjoin houses of gold and diamonds; where Mercedes-Benzes are driven down fine roads; where street vendors roast "beefsticks" (kebabs) of human meat; where boutiques sell stylish "witch gowns" that transform their wearers into animal predators in the human world (no-ru); where electronics stores sell tape recorders and televisions (and, more recently, VCRs and computers); and where witch airports dispatch witch planes-planes so fast, I was once told, that "they can fly to London and back within an hour"-to destinations all around the globe.Something like this needs to be part of a campaign.
>>37437311Sounds like some kind of WoD wraith thing for sure.
>>37435551Evolutionary psych is not psychology, not scientific, and not respected in academia. It's a crock.