Anthropological definitions of 'culture' - and there are many - do vary, but all disagree with Manguel's notions of it. 'Culture', as used by ethnologists, is a human universal, though its variations are infinite. Anthropologists and ethnologists tend to see 'civilisation' as an inherently ethnocentric, bordering on racist, term in the ways it has been used: eg, more advanced societies have achieved it; others have yet to do so. This is a variation of social Darwinism which we presumed had long ago died a well-deserved death.
Susan Pattie, Ruth Mandel, Lin Foxhall, Allen Abramson
Department of Anthropology