Culture What?

Posted by: | January 12, 2009 | Comments Off on Culture What?

As a couple of individuals said before I found it hard to understand Williams journal entry, he word choice in describing the struggles he had with self identity in Cambridge are a little too much. I did however understand the overall message which the title clearly stated. The typical views on culture are somewhat wrong, especially those which ethnocentrism is based upon. I connected well with Raymond Williams when he makes points about how culture is whatever you make of it, because every little community, in every city or town, in every country has its own unique culture. At times Williams lost me when he had to go into intense detail about describing how Marxists view people and culture. Which he then goes on to argue are wrong and somewhat ignorant to what Industrialism has created for the majority of the world in terms of revolutionizing Culture.

Roger M. Keesing journal essay was much more complex, which I found much more interesting. He give some excellent metaphors for how to look at culture and the way culture has been shaped. The comparison of culture to a coral reef was especially well written, because it explained how cultures are a accumulation of past events and acts that have created a larger picture of identity. Keesing also writes about how the improper use of culture has been attributed to its colonial history. He states that when the first colonial powers conquered new lands they saw the peoples customs as a way to over generalize them and create a culture that was not unique to individuals. I also enjoyed his little discussion about his friend from the Kwaio, because it was a great example to show how diverse cultures still are in the world. It also showed how like Keesing states later on that some cultures will always have a ability to go against traditional views and still manage to make an individual fulfilled in his life despite how insignificant it may be.

Both these papers gave me a better understanding of culture, and showed me how culture is very dependent on what you make of it. It can be any type of small ritual/custom that is performed by an individual or a group of people. Which in turn made me think of what my own culture was?


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