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What’s the Deal with Culture?

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Presentation on theme: "What’s the Deal with Culture?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s the Deal with Culture?

2 What is Culture? Culture is anything that shapes your daily life: what you do, how you do it, when you do it, and where you do it. Culture: The behaviors, beliefs, arts, and products (things) shared and learned by a group of people. Culture is a shared, learned, symbolic system of values, beliefs and attitudes that shapes and influences how you see things and how you act -- a "mental blueprint" or "mental code.” Culture must be studied "indirectly" by studying behavior, customs, material culture (artifacts, tools, technology), language, etc. of any given time and place.

3 Discuss values, beliefs, & attitudes that you have learned and share
What are things you respect and take care of? What is something you believe to be true? (about yourself, your future, when someone dies?) What is your attitude toward people who seem different? Traveling to far away places? Spending money on yourself? Giving gifts? Treating your enemies?

4 How did you learn this stuff?
What words or customs do you think of when you talk about your beliefs? Who teaches you what to value and how you think of yourself and treat others? How do they teach you? (rules, examples, stories…?)

5 What Else? Culture is learned. Process of learning one's culture is called enculturation. Culture is shared by the members of a society. There is no "culture of one.” Culture is patterned. People in a society live and think in ways that form definite patterns. Culture is made up through a constant process of social interaction. Culture is symbolic. Culture, language and thought are based on symbols and symbolic meanings. Culture is random. Culture is not based on "natural laws" external to humans, but created by humans according to the "whims" of the society. Example: standards of beauty. Culture is internalized. Culture is habitual. It is taken for granted, and it is perceived as "natural."

6 So What Can Be a Culture? Some Definitions
Culture can be considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture, Japanese culture, the culture of poverty. Culture can be considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages, musical culture, oral culture. Culture can be the most common attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization: SGS culture, lacrosse team culture, troop culture.

7 What’s Cultural Identity?
Your Cultural Identity is what shapes your culture depending on various groups you identify with: Family Order Place of Birth Handedness Parent/Non-Parent Majority/Minority Vegetarian/Non-Vegetarian Alcoholism in the Family More… Race Ethnicity Religion Class Background Age Gender Sexual Orientation Ability

8 Race & Ethnicity: What’s the Difference?
Ethnicity refers to… Shared cultural practices and perspectives that set apart one group from another Shared culture (customs, values, stories, etc…) Most common characteristics of various ethnic groups are: Ancestry (who are your relatives?) A sense of history (shared past experiences?) Language Religion Forms of dress Ethnic differences are learned, not inherited & can change for all people

9 Race & Ethnicity—What’s the Difference?
Race refers to… Biological traits that society has decided are socially significant, meaning that people treat other people differently because of them. Skin color has been and is treated as socially significant. Race doesn’t define a single culture Race implies knowledge of racism and racial stereotypes Doesn’t require the person to do anything to belong

10 So…? We have shared cultural identities and not shared cultural identities. We have some common things, and many uncommon things. Understanding our own and others’ cultural identity helps understand differences in actions, values, and beliefs. Understanding our own and others’ cultural identities helps us make friends and develop relationships across many differences. Stop here for integrating slideshow into “Who Are We?” interviews.

11 Make a map of yourself that includes all your cultural identities.
Make an outline (could be of something you love: a dragon or a guitar) for the border of her map. It might be wise to draw this outline in pencil first, then use something bolder, like a marker, to make it stand out clearly. 3. Then, using a pencil, students fill the inside of their map outline with smaller objects: the things that make up their identity and culture (referring to their handout). Label these objects. Remind them to remember how Sara Fanelli did this using simple shapes and block print labels. Stick figures are fine. They can also use symbols, such as a peace sign, or a religious symbol, etc. 4. When all of the posters are reasonably complete, have students do a silent gallery walk or scavenger hunt where they will be looking for: Photo by Devin Hibbard • One thing that surprised them • One thing that is very different from their own identity • One thing that is similar to their own identity • One thing that they do not understand 5. Have a few volunteers report to the class on what they found: Surprises? Differences? Similarities? Confusion? 6. Discussion: Why are there differ- ences in our identities? Why is that a good thing? (You may wish to share the Native American metaphor of the Central Fire, which, like culture, has a life of its own, but is created by diverse individuals and everyone who brings wood to it.)

12 My Map Book by Sarah Fanelli

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