annamarieke 2009-01-13 03:19:30

Posted by: | January 12, 2009 | Comments Off on annamarieke 2009-01-13 03:19:30

The first article describes culture as ordinary, in every society and in every mind. I found that the descriptions of social constructions and classes were similar in some ways to my own views. On page 16 the author, Raymond Williams describes how the community supported his dying father. I believe this exemplifies what he calls “the old society”, one where you know who your neighbors are and watch out for them. The way many people live today in western culture seems to be drifting away from this close knit community. People now however live even closer together in apartment buildings but yet most never know the names of their neighbors. This leads into another point that I noted regarding the assumptions people make about the “masses”. Judgments are made on those same neighbors based the television programs they watch, or the magazines they read, as well as the movies they rent and so on. People judge the “others” as being the ignorant, uneducated side of society without even meeting them or knowing anything about them. Williams goes on to say that his own father who read the Daily Herald gained much knowledge regardless of his level of training. One thing I noted in this part of the article was that unfortunately newspapers today are under no obligation to tell the truth. Many people don’t know that and take everything they read for the truth. People are misinformed and go on to misinform others. Williams describes how culture is created and changes and explains how it is not only for the elite group of people within the walls of a tea room.
The second article written by Roger Keesing defines radical alterity and cultural otherness. Anthropologist have a history of searching for the “other”, exotic, different, radical, culture that is not their own. There is a constant over stating of difference that can be extremely harmful to the very group of people that is being studied. Binaries like old vs. new are used in describing “our” culture and “their” culture. This makes them seem very far away from us as well as very exotic and captivating. Unfortunately for the “them” in this situation, their culture is being exploited and if they were to evolve and change as most every culture does they in turn loose their so called “authenticity”. Keesling states and I believe that these borders and boundaries that define different cultures and peoples are dissolving. As people become more aware of the unstable definitions of “Culture” itself, one begins to question more and more the studies that have been done, and the assumptions that are made regarding cultures different from their own. A person really has to think about the hidden agendas behind the articles they read. National Geographic for example is a popular magazine that often has two page spreads of men and women in tribal dress and articles regarding the most exotic and fascinating aspects of their lives, history and culture. Magazines like this want to catch the attention of their readers and ultimately make more money. In this way cultures are described to the world in exaggerated and exploitative ways.
Both of these articles examine the concept of “culture” and how a person is not born with it, for it is socially created and learned.


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