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Tacit culture in Anthropology refers to parts of culture that are explicit or directly observable. Social scientists have argued that it is at points of conflict that tacit culture becomes visible.

For example, think of a checkout queue at a store. There is no signage that explicitly tells you to wait behind the people already standing in line, or any information on how close you should stand to the person in front of you. However, you have probably learned these rule via observation in your day to day life.

When someone doesn't follow tacit cultural rules there is normally some form of sanctioning. This can be things like glaring at people who cut in line, or moving away from someone who stands too close to you.

Also, tacit culture goes beyond rules. It includes language use (ever heard an older person misuse slang) and object use (how we use cultural artifacts), etc.

Edward Hall discusses this concept in his books The Silent Language (1959) and Hidden Dimensions (1966). Arguably, this is what was also meant by Durkheim when he discusses cultural fact.

I hope this is helpful.

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2009-10-14 12:37:28
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Q: Tacit culture in anthropological terms
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