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  1. 1. CULTURE The Bare Bones
  2. 2. What does the man on the street think culture is?  Food  Dress  Music  Different language from me  Different race from me  Or, God forbid, ―opera‖ and ―ballet‖— ―High‖ Culture
  3. 3. The foregoing are only “symptoms” of culture at best…and complete misunderstandings, at worst!
  4. 4. Before we decide what culture IS…  We need to consider HUMAN BEHAVIOR  We need to consider LANGUAGE  We need to consider SPACE  We need to consider TIME  We need to think about how culture is CONSTRUCTED……
  5. 5. How does culture come to be?  Culture is constructed by humans in order to communicate and create community.  Culture begins with an imagining of the world around us.  Culture is never static—it is ever-changing.  Most of culture is not visible—it’s carried around inside the heads of its members
  6. 6. What are some examples of cultures?  Family culture  National culture  Ethnic culture/tribal culture  Global culture  Work culture  Religious culture  Gender/sexual orientation culture  Ability culture College student culture – college professor culture 
  7. 7. Every culture has its own discourse What’s discourse?  – Language, including slang, jargon, ―inside talk‖ – Images (think of the ―discourse of advertising) – Song lyrics – The way a movie is put together, with its images, language, and ―flow.‖ (think of The Matrix) – Traffic signals; signs
  8. 8. Are we prisoners of our own cultures?  On one level, no. – You’re both a college student and a member of your family. – You function both in relationship to your profs and with your dorm community and friends. – You may be part of many cultures: You can be both Native American and a rugby player; debate team member and Christian; saddle bronc rider and poet.
  9. 9. BUT…..
  10. 10. We are forever, inextricably influenced by our “home” culture!  How come? – Because the differences between cultures are so internalized, unconscious, and accepted by the individual as ―the normal way‖ that we can never completely discard them, no matter how culturally sensitive we become!
  11. 11. So, what are these hidden mysteries of culture?  The difference between high context and low context cultures says it all, so let’s begin our comparison….
  12. 12. High Context … Low Context   Japan or Native Mainstream American American – Most of info about ―what’s going on‖ is in – Most of info about ―what’s going on‖ is to the explicit code—the talk surrounding an be found in the event, whether it’s a physical context. wedding, a movie, a – All cultural members football game get it without it having – Cultural members like to be explained to talk and need to talk. – Less talk
  13. 13. High Context … Low Context  Messages need to be  Messages are quickly explicit because perceived between ―what’s going on‖ is cultural members often changing, has no because much of particular context to knowledge of ―what’s help explain happening‖ is it, cultural members internalized—as a aren’t supposed to cultural member you know are supposed to know automatically, questio ning is valued.
  14. 14. High Context … Low Context Examples  Church architecture  Music videos – Designs of classic – If the viewer is not cathedrals are familiar with the artist immediately or music style, a lot of recognizable for the what is going on kind of building they doesn’t make sense— are. needs to be explained – See that architecture by someone who is brings other things to familiar mind: monks chanting, history, faith – Quickly go out of …many layers style, not ―classic‖
  15. 15. One more complicating factor   Polychronic Monochronic This ―way of being‖ and This ―way of being‖ and ―way of seeing‖ is ―way of seeing‖ is often, but not often, but not always, found in High always, found in Low Context cultures. Context cultures. It literally means It literally means multiple time One or single time
  16. 16. In what ways do we see the evidence for Polychronicity and Monochronicity?  Time  Space  Way of doings things or ―being in the world‖
  17. 17. Time How long will you wait at the doctor’s  office before you get pissed off?  When someone says ―the party starts at 7:00‖, what time do you arrive?  When you ask someone to do something with/for you and they respond ―in a while,‖ how long does that mean?  How much do you rely on your wristwatch?
  18. 18. Space  Do you mind if your roommate spreads her stuff on your side of the room?  Does your dad make you move out of his chair?  How do you feel if someone cuts in front of you in the pizza line? What if that person is older, or the President of the University?
  19. 19. Personal Space need some volunteers… I
  20. 20. A sense of place: Explain these concepts  He found a place in her heart.  She has a place in the mountains.  I’m tired of this place.  Your place or mine?  His place at the table.  We have to find a place for this new skillet.  I can’t place him.
  21. 21. Way of Doing Things or How One is in the World  Do you like to have the TV on and many people talking and moving around you while you study?  Do you like to get one thing done before you start another?  If you have a deadline and a friend wants to talk about his problems, do you stop working to listen?
  22. 22. More about Ways of Being…  Should people get into college because of their grades or because they know someone important at the school?  Do you think a meeting should start at the scheduled time, or should the people already there wait until all the people concerned get there?
  23. 23. And finally…  Individuals are still individuals.  There is always room for variation.  If there is a cultural value from your own culture that you abhor, you can work on rejecting it and eradicating it from yourself, and…  If you respect a value from another culture that you embrace, you can work on internalizing it.