Culture #2

Uploaded by OrdinaryAnthropology on 20.04.2011

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\f0\fs24 \cf0 Welcome back to Anthropology of the Ordinary. Today I\'92m going to be
talking about one of those terms that\'92s essential to virtually everything else I\'92m
going to discuss: culture. Now every anthropologist has their own favorite definition for culture
so I\'92m going to be talking about some of the components that basically every anthropologist
would agree on.\ \
Culture can be understood as a collection of learned and shared ideas and behaviors.
To break that down, culture is learned, it\'92s not instinctual it\'92s not encoded in our
genes. Culture is shared, by a small or large group of people. And incorporates both how
we think and what we do. \ \
One of the most common mistakes people make when thinking about culture is focusing on
large groups of people and national boundaries. While you can certainly say there is French
culture or Mexican culture or US culture, within each of these nation-states you are
going to find smaller groups of people with distinctive cultures. Culture can be shared
by an ethnic group, a religious group or by any other collection of people that have something
in common; Gays and Lesbians or Deaf people. \
\ Culture influences everything we do. I\'92ve
already mentioned that culture isn\'92t biological; it\'92s not instinctual. And yet culture influences
how we satisfy basically every physical or biological urge: how we have sex and who we
have sex with, what foods we choose to eat and choose not to eat, where we live and what
kind of shelters we build for ourselves. All of these things are influenced by culture.\
\ When looking at cultural differences people
will often focus on the big issues like differences in languages or religion while overlooking
some of the more subtle variations. However, some of those variations can be equally important.
One example of this is how we gesture, how we use our bodies to indicate something or
point out where something is located. Most Europeans and Euro-Americans are accustomed
to indicating location with a finger, by pointing. However, this is not a cultural universal.
Amongst the Dine, otherwise known as the Navajo, and amongst many Filipinos, it\'92s much more
common to point with the lips. Variations like these are often taken for granted because
they feel so natural to us we don\'92t even think about them. We are only confronted with
the fact that they really are unnatural, in the sense that they are not instinctual of
biological, when we encounter people with very different cultural behaviors. In my next
lecture on culture I\'92m going to be talking about the process of enculturation: how we
as cultural beings start to internalize the values and norms of a particular society.
And also how this relate to the processes of naturalization and normalization. Thank
you for joining me on Anthropology of the Ordinary and I\'92ll see you soon.\