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Key Theoretical Concepts to Understanding Culture. THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE CULTURE. Part of the challenge to understanding human development relates to the specific characteristics of one’s respective culture.

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the symbiotic relationship between the individual and the culture
THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE CULTURE
  • Part of the challenge to understanding human development relates to the specific characteristics of one’s respective culture.
    • Failure to consider culture leads to flawed theories which lack generalizability
  • Cultural expectations can stimulate or stagnate human development.
cultural values and competencies to consider
Cultural Values and Competencies to Consider

Rite of

Passage

Indian

Intelligence

Asian

African

Developmental

Competencies

Cultural

Factors

Attachment

Family

Roles

Russia/

Ukraine

Responsibility

Latino/

Hispanic

Gender

Roles

cultural values and competencies to consider4
Cultural Values and Competencies to Consider

Asian

Intelligence

Indian

Rite of

Passage

Developmental

Competencies

Cultural

Factors

Attachment

Family

Roles

African

Gender

Roles

Responsibility

Latino/

Hispanic

Russia/

Ukraine

cultural values and competencies to consider5
Cultural Values and Competencies to Consider

Gender

Roles

Asian

Intelligence

Indian

Rite of

Passage

Attachment

Cultural

Factors

Developmental

Competencies

Russia/

Ukraine

African

Family

Roles

Responsibility

Latino/

Hispanic

age grading and social structure
Age-grading and Social Structure
  • Age-Grading. The early 1900s (industrial age) represented a time of intense segregation of individuals along developmental lines
    • Prior to this point, people rarely knew their age
    • Educational advancement was a function of demonstrated competence
  • Social Organization/Integration
    • In what way do our cultural practices prepare us for our integration into society?
    • Vertical: Clear distinctions between children and adults
    • Horizontal: Little distinctions between children and adults
orienting concepts to understanding cultural processes
Orienting Concepts to Understanding Cultural Processes
  • According to Lev Vygotsky (1987), rather than trying to “reveal the eternal child,” the goal is to discover “the historical child.” (EXISTENTIALIST ARGUMENT)
    • It becomes key to investigate people’s use and transformation of cultural tools, technologies, and their involvement in cultural traditions related to the family and the community
    • Development must be understood from a social and historical context. It cannot be understood in the moment. If this is true, then perhaps
      • Humans develop their changing participation in the socio-cultural activities of their communities, which also change.
margaret mead cultural relativism
Margaret Mead & Cultural Relativism
  • What do children inherit respective to culture and community?
  • Post-figurative (Past)
    • The child will grow into a world that very much is modeled after the past
    • Elders rather than peers begin to represent a key source of knowledge
  • Co-figurative (Present)
    • The child will grow into a world modeled after the present
    • Current historical events (i.e., migration, technological advances, intercultural contact, commerce increase) force modifications respective to one’s culture
    • Peers rather than elders begin to represent a key source of knowledge
  • Pre-figurative (Future)
    • The child will grow into a world modeled after the hopes and dreams of the future
    • Social and technical change is occurring so fast that adaptation is endless. Children tend to have a greater knowledge base than parents.
understanding cultural processes
Understanding Cultural Processes
  • Culture isn’t just what other people do; it is everything to which we become directly and indirectly exposed.
  • Understanding one’s own cultural heritage and the heritage of others requires taking the perspective of people with contrasting backgrounds.
    • Sometimes our own cultural perceptions can inhibit us from seeing the beauty of others
  • Cultural practices fit together and are connected
    • The individual practices cannot be singled out for judgment as they relate to multiple factors respective to a particular culture (i.e., baby wrap attachments; baby leash)
understanding cultural processes11
Understanding Cultural Processes
  • Cultural communities continue to change, as do individuals
  • There is not likely to be one best fit way to culture
    • Mead: The Mountain Arapesh (Read Scenario)
  • The challenge of assumptions
beyond ethnocentrism and deficit models
Beyond Ethnocentrism and Deficit models
  • Ethnocentrism refers to imposed value judgments from one’s own community on the cultural practices of another without understanding how those practices make sense in that community.
    • Assumptions of immorality or inferiority
  • Deficit model refers to the view that cultures other than the ones we are a part of are limited in scope or character.
    • Euro American views on Afro Americans (The Bell Curve)
    • Often programs are developed and designed to address cultural variations
beyond ethnocentrism and deficit models continued
Beyond Ethnocentrism and Deficit models Continued
  • Oftentimes cross comparative research is conducted using Euro American samples as the control group.
    • Variation is a function of EuroAmerican anomalies
    • We search for differences, which, when found, serve as proof that the problem exists (Cauce & Gonzles, 1993)
      • Intelligence, Sexuality, Social Welfare
cultural repercussions
Cultural Repercussions
  • Sometimes representatives of minority cultures tend to believe the stereotypes projected onto them—Beliefs sometimes translate into behavior.
  • Majority group representatives can lose the potential of valuable knowledge growth.
culture ethnicity the family
Culture, Ethnicity, & the Family
  • Separating Value Judgments from Explanations
    • It is key to be objective observers and researchers
    • Interpreting the activity of people without regard for their meaning system and goals renders observations meaningless.
    • Move beyond the view that one way is better
  • From the standpoint of science, it is within our best interest to understand why cultures evolve in their unique ways—these are the themes of human social behavior.
diverse goals of development
Diverse Goals of Development
  • Theory and research typically assume that development proceeds toward maturity.
  • Lewis Henry Morgan (7 stages of human progress/cultural siciety)
    • Lower savagery
    • Middle savagery
    • Upper savagery
    • Lower barbarism
    • Middle barbarism
    • Upper barbarism
    • Civilization
      • Key markers are monogamy, family structure, agriculture, and private property as the basis of economic and social organization (Adams, 1996).
group process
Group Process
  • Discuss your personal experiences related to culture (ethnicity, gender, geographic location)
    • Explore lessons learned from the family regarding beliefs, values, and customs.
    • Explore any culturally related experience which has been instrumental towards shaping your character.
    • Discuss how being exposed to the practices and values of other people impacted you.