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What Is Culture?. How does culture link the individual to society? 1. Ralph Linton’s definition: Problem: To what extend can the cultural progamming socialize the individual into the society (to make him meet the norms and requirements of the society)?. What is Culture?.

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What is culture
What Is Culture?

  • How does culture link the individual to society?

  • 1. Ralph Linton’s definition:

  • Problem: To what extend can the cultural progamming socialize the individual into the society (to make him meet the norms and requirements of the society)?


What is culture1
What is Culture?

  • What use is culture to the individual?

  • 2. Goodenough’s definition:

  • Problem:


What is culture2
What is Culture?

  • How to define the ‘borders’ of a culture?

  • Child and Kiese’s definition:

  • Question: to what extent do the characteristics of the groups, say ‘Texans’, ‘Parisians’, or ‘docs’, or ‘showbiz’, relating to certain patterns of thought, belief or behaviour, really differentiate them from other cultural groups?


Elements of culture
Elements of Culture

  • The element which derives from biological needs:

  • Eating: Muslim, Buddhism, Jewish, …

  • http://www.jewishfamily.com/lifestyles_a.php?text=http://www.jewishfamily.com/lifestyles/health/Shavout.txt

  • http://www.muslimconsumergroup.com/hfs.htm

  • Sexual behaviour: circumcision and clitoridectomy

  • Death: funeral, mourning, …


Elements of culture1
Elements of Culture

  • Language:

  • Whorf-Sapir hypothesis:

  • The language we learn in the community where we are born and raise shapes and structures our world-view and our social behaviour. (could be challenged, in many cases language simply reflects culture.)


Elements of culture2
Elements of Culture

  • Language:

  • Example 1:

  • business

  • negocio

  • 商業

  • Example 2:

  • See Handout 1


Elements of culture3
Elements of Culture

  • Social institutions, material and symbolic production

  • Social institutions: 7 universal types by Malinowski)

  • 1. Family; clan (Scotland, 氏族, 宗親會…)

  • 2. A horde of nomads, village, town, region, province, the ‘mega-tribe’

  • 3. 晚晴協會, boy/girl scout, 中華民國殘障協會

  • 4. Freemanson (http://www.cdn.com.tw/daily/1998/09/07/text/870907i1.htm), Rotary Club, 洪門,


Elements of culture4
Elements of Culture

  • Social Intuitions:

  • 5. American Medical Association (AMA) http://www.ama-assn.org/

  • 6. Social class system, caste system

  • 7. State, nation-state (Tibetans in China; gays/lesbian in Catholic countries; Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland)


Elements of culture5
Elements of Culture

  • Productions:

  • 1. Material productions: food, clothing, ornaments,

  • 2. Productions of intellect, artistry and service:

  • Credit card; world wide web; War and Peace; Aquina, Hume,莊子; Music;http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?aid=85097&item=308509

  • http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?aid=85097&item=376287


Elements of culture6
Elements of Culture

  • Symbolic and sacred elements:

  • symbol

  • Physic world metaphysical world

  • Example:

  • Fire; color; cross; 八卦; Swastika; OM; serpent;


Culture and nationality
Culture and nationality

  • culture ≠ nationality

  • one culture → one nation → state (nation state)

  • (theoretically desired but practically impossible)

  • Example:

  • India: one nation, sub-cultures

  • Swiss: one nation, multi-culture

  • Singapore: one nation, multi-culture

  • Kurds: one culture, multi-nation


Sources of culture
Sources of Culture

  • Sources of culture (at the individual level):

  • language(s); nationality; education; profession; group (ethnicity); religion; family; sex; social class; corporate or organizational culture

  • Example: Chinese American, female, playwright, Christian, …


Culture and competence
Culture and competence

  • What influence the competence of people in different cultures?

  • Environmental variables, e.g, climate; continental v.s. oceanic: only an indirect influence

  • Physiological variable: scarcely credible now

  • Education systems and rearing practices:

  • Feeding and nourishing, weaning, personal hygiene and toilet training, the degree and modes so socialization into various parts of the community (with other children, with adult, with the opposite sex), the reward/sanction systems


Culture and social representations
Culture and social representations

  • Social representation:

  • 1. a class of psychic and social phenomena that relate the individual to the social aspect of collective life.

  • 2. Miniatures of behaviour, copies of reality and forms of operational knowledge in order to reach and implement everyday decisions.


Culture and social representations1
Culture and social representations

  • According to what criteria do you make your health-care decision?

  • If you want to make yourself look more beautiful, what will you do?

  • family violence: Do people see violence in their own or others’ families differently before and after the enforcement of ‘家庭暴力防治法’?


Culture and social representations2
Culture and social representations

  • Cultural representations (orientations):

  • Being or doing

  • Power distance: hierarchical or egalitarian

  • Linerity or cyclicity of time

  • Collectivism or individualism

  • Categorical or holistic thinking

  • Logic: straight or curve


Culture and social representations3
Culture and social representations

  • Social presentations:

  • Less profound, constantly updated through social situations, individual behaviour and social activities (ten to twenty years); more suited to the urgent need for collective and individual adaptation to reality.

  • Culture presentations—change over centuries


Assignment 1
Assignment 1

  • http://www.zompist.com/amercult.html

  • Search the website listed above. After reading the writings (at least for five countries/regions) about different country, write your own ‘How to tell if you’re a Taiwanese (or Chinese, Hukanese, …whatever you would like to call yourself)’


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