Why We Need To Study Cultural Differences

Cultural Differences.In today’s world there are few people who reject the phenomenon of globalization. The world is becoming increasingly global in the sense that people from diverse cultures begin to communicate more freely. Furthermore, there are ways to communicate thoughts and ideas across cultures such as television, the Internet, etc. Although it is so common to believe that knowledge, experience and science are capable of transcending all cultural differences, many people diminish the importance of these barriers and often ignore their existence.

All cultures have a set of beliefs that constitute the code of values ​​and moral laws for that particular culture. In Asia, for example, people were exposed to certain social phenomena and consequently adopted certain beliefs that now determine their behavior as a separate culture. In other countries, people share different beliefs and values ​​due to a variety of factors. Religion is one of the most important factors that shape society in terms of its cultural beliefs and traditions. Another important component is the story that can tell us about past events that could have had an influence on the further development of people in that particular country.

Cultural differences present a very interesting social phenomenon to study and understand. There are cultures that share very similar values ​​and traditions, and there are cultures that have very different beliefs. Within the limits of this document, I will focus my attention on the differences between Chinese and American cultures that, in my opinion, present very good examples for this study. There are countless differences in all aspects of social activity, and there are probably more differences than similarities in these two cultures.

Studying a particular culture is, virtually, studying people and their behavior from a sociological perspective. It is very important to build a working definition of a culture. Culture is a set of social norms, traditions, beliefs and values ​​shared by a large group of people. People who belong to that group can be considered a culture. For the same reason, they can be called society because at the moment there is not much difference between the two notions. A society is literally a group of people who share that particular set of beliefs, values, etc., while the word culture has slightly different connotations. A particular culture can also be shared by more than one nation, while the word society is generally applied to the nation that inhabits a particular country. There are slight differences between these two terms, but most sociologists and anthropologists use them interchangeably.

In other words, a culture is a set of beliefs or a particular ideology that a society shares. It is very interesting to understand how people develop a culture because it seems to be a purely social phenomenon developed by a group of people and then spread to other people who are somehow related to that particular group.

Como ejemplo, los países comunistas han culturas muy diferentes Ilustran vívidamente cómo un grupo de personas puede influir en una cultura. China no siempre fue un país comunista. Mucho antes de que los comunistas llegaran al poder, la población del país compartía una ideología diferente. El gobierno comunista influyó directamente en la cultura del país por medio de la propaganda, el sistema educativo, la televisión, etc. Posteriormente, la próxima generación absorberá la cultura modificada por el comunismo, mientras que la generación anterior no es tan probable que la acepte. Sin embargo, aunque los comunistas alteraron las opiniones y creencias de las personas, no pudieron erradicar por completo la mayoría de las tradiciones compartidas por la sociedad (Henry Rosemont, 1981).

There are many numerous differences between humans and animals. Although humans and animals are very complex creatures that have very complicated biological and chemical processes going on in their bodies, humans are more complex creatures because there is great social interaction involving relationships, mental processes, human behavior, etc. The social sciences are several related fields that basically study the interaction between human beings. This field is very broad because the social activities in which human beings participate are so numerous that it would be difficult to expose all the phenomena that cannot be explained by the natural sciences in a discipline.

The social sciences include anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, law, psychology, criminology, and social psychology. All of these sciences are very important because they try to explain why people act the way they do, why they interact with others, and why they form a global society. In reality, these disciplines cover many more social issues that are directly related to people’s behavior. The difference between the social sciences and the natural sciences lies in the fact that natural sciences like physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry study processes and objects that can be physically measured in terms of weight, speed, or other measurements.

Anthropology is a very diverse and broad discipline that deals primarily with questions such as what people think, what they do, why they interact with each other, and how they evolved over time. Most anthropologists deal with very basic questions, but it is simplicity that gives rise to more complex phenomena. This discipline also studies how people can adopt diverse cultural environments and how cultures were formed. Ultimately, the purpose of this science is to understand human life. Anthropology contains three main components that are used by scientists to unravel the mysteries of the human race. They are society, culture and evolution. Society and culture are the terms that are often confused and used interchangeably.

The basic definition of society can be found in biology, where a herd of horses, for example, is known as a society. However, society in the anthropological sense is used in reference to humans who can form a society of several billion people who share the same culture. Culture, on the other hand, is a set of rules, customs, and traditions with which people live in accord. A society that shares the same set of social rules can be called culture. Therefore there is a very subtle difference between the two terms and most of the time they can be used interchangeably due to the great similarity. There are several elements that make up a culture.

First of all, people who form a culture speak the same language and use other means to communicate complex ideas such as art, literature, cinema, etc. Thus, a culture can be passed from generation to generation. Evolution is a radically different approach and points to the evolution of human beings over time. There are numerous theories that attempt to examine the process of evolution, but most are questionable. As a separate discipline, anthropology consists of several fields including cultural anthropology that studies the elements that make up a culture and what role cultures play in today’s world; linguistic anthropology that focuses on the role of language in society; archeology that studies ancient societies, the cultures of the past and the effect they have in today’s world; and physical anthropology that focuses on the evolution of human beings in terms of biological and physiological aspects.

Physical anthropology is similar to archeology in that they both study evolution. However, physical anthropology focuses on the physical changes that presumably occurred in human bodies over time, while archeology emphasizes the cultural aspects of evolution. As you can see, anthropology is a very broad field and is closely related to some other social disciplines (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Another very important component that I think influences the formation of a particular culture is the mythology that relates to the people of that culture. Mythology is practically a set of myths that originated in a culture and were spread by people. From then on, this set of myths became cultural traditions and beliefs that people of that culture share. A myth can be classified as a narrative or story passed down from one generation to another by word of mouth. This recounting process continues to the point where it is difficult to distinguish between a story and a true story.

Myths are usually accepted by culture as a custom or a tradition, and when this happens, it is difficult to distinguish it. reality myth. Most of the time, people unwittingly believe that myths that originated long ago form the basis of their culture (E. Evans, 1983). Myths are universal, they occur in almost all cultures. They generally date from a time before the introduction of writing, when they were passed down orally from one generation to the next. Myths address basic questions about the nature of the world and human experience, and because of their all-encompassing nature, myths can illuminate many aspects of a culture. Although it is difficult to make rigid distinctions between various types of traditional tales,

The three most common types of tales are sagas, legends, and folk tales. When a story is based on a great historical (or supposedly historical) event, it is generally known as a saga. Despite the basis of a saga in very distant historical events, its dramatic structure and characters are the product of the narrators’ imaginations. A legend is a fictional story associated with a person or historical place. Legends often offer examples of the virtues of honored figures in the history of a group or nation. The traditional American story about young George Washington and the cherry tree, in which he couldn’t lie about cutting it, is best described as a legend, because George Washington is a historical figure, but the story of the cherry tree is today recognized as fictional. Folk tales, A third variety of traditional tales are usually simple adventure narratives built around elements of character and plot, for example, the young man who kills a monster and wins the hand of a princess. Folk tales may contain a moral or observation about life, but their main purpose is entertainment (E. Evans, 1983).

Myths may include characteristics of sagas, legends, and folk tales. What makes one of these tales a myth is its serious purpose and its importance to culture. Experts generally define a myth as a story that has compelling drama and deals with basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Myths explain, for example, how the world began; how humans and animals were born; how certain customs, gestures or forms of human activity originated; and how the divine and human worlds interact. Many myths take place at a time before the world, as human beings know that it arose. Because the creation of myths often involves gods, other supernatural beings, and processes beyond human understanding, some scholars have seen it as a dimension of religion. However, many myths address issues that are not normally considered religious, for example, why landscape features take on a certain shape (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002, Deluxe Edition).

The key character in Chinese mythology is the monkey. He is a god-hero who is the cornerstone of ancient Chinese mythology (Henry Rosemont, 1981). Based on what is said in the legends, the monkey was born from a stone egg that was created from a rock as old as time and included the essence of Earth and Heaven. Monkey was endowed with a magic staff that could shrink or grow to any size. This hero also had other magical abilities. For example, there is a famous image in Chinese mythology where the monkey creates an army from its fur that blows in the air.

Subsequently, this intelligent creature creates a warrior monkey from each hair. The monkey challenged the supreme god of Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor, in his own right as the superior god. To appease the mischievous Monkey, the Jade Emperor proclaimed him King of Heaven, hiding the fact that he had only made him a guardian of the heavenly stable. Monkey discovered this deception and, enraged, returned to Earth to wreak havoc. The Jade Emperor pleaded with the Buddha for help. Buddha dropped a mountain on the Monkey, and the Monkey remained below for 500 years. On his trip from China to India to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures, the monk Tripitaka unearthed Monkey, who became Tripitaka’s escort and disciple. With two other partners, Piggy and Sandy, Both ex-officers of the Heavenly Court were reborn in monstrous bodies, Monkey accompanied the monk for 14 years, covering nine kingdoms and encountering numerous fantastic adventures. After presenting the scriptures that Tripitaka had obtained in India to the Chinese emperor in the imperial capital of Chang-an, the four travelers were taken to heaven. The monkey, with its irrepressible spirit and countless magic tricks, is generally considered a personification of the nature of the genius (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Culture is basically the patterns of behavior and the thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture distinguishes one human group from the others. It also distinguishes humans from other animals. The culture of a people includes its beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, clothing styles, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic systems (E. Evans, 1983). Culture is the most important concept in anthropology: the study of all aspects of human life, past and present. Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which many or all people live and think the same way.

Similarly, any group of people who share a common culture, and in particular common rules of behavior and a basic form of social organization – constitutes a society. Therefore, the terms culture and society are somewhat interchangeable. However, while many animals live in societies, such as elk herds or wild dog herds, only humans have culture. Culture developed alongside the evolution of the human species, Homo sapiens, and is closely related to human biology. People’s ability to have culture comes in large part from their physical characteristics: having large and complex brains; an upright posture; free hands that can grasp and manipulate small objects; and a vocal tract that can produce and articulate a wide range of sounds (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002 Deluxe Edition). These distinctively human physical characteristics began to develop in African ancestors of humans more than four million years ago.

The earliest physical evidence for the culture is raw stone tools produced in East Africa more than two million years ago. People have culture mainly because they can communicate and understand symbols. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and exchange those thoughts with others. Language and other forms of symbolic communication, such as art, allow people to create, explain, and record new ideas and information. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and exchange those thoughts with others (E. Evans, 1983). A symbol has an indirect connection or no connection to the object, idea, feeling or behavior to which it refers.

Por ejemplo, la mayoría de las personas en los Estados Unidos encuentran algún significado en la combinación de los colores rojo, blanco y azul. Pero esos colores en sí no tienen nada que ver con, por ejemplo, la tierra que la gente llama Estados Unidos, el concepto de patriotismo o el himno nacional de Estados Unidos, The Star Spangled Banner. Para transmitir nuevas ideas, la gente constantemente inventa nuevos símbolos, como fórmulas matemáticas (E. Evans, 1983). Además, las personas pueden usar un símbolo, como una sola palabra, para representar muchas ideas, sentimientos o valores diferentes. Por lo tanto, los símbolos proporcionan una manera flexible para que las personas comuniquen incluso pensamientos muy complejos entre sí. Por ejemplo, solo a través de los símbolos, los arquitectos, ingenieros y trabajadores de la construcción pueden comunicar la información necesaria para construir un rascacielos o puente. Las personas tienen la capacidad desde el nacimiento de construir, comprender y comunicarse a través de símbolos, principalmente mediante el uso del lenguaje.

Research has shown, for example, that babies have a basic language structure, a kind of universal grammar, embedded in their minds. Babies are predisposed to learn the languages ​​spoken by the people around them. Language provides a means to store, process, and communicate amounts of information that far exceed the capabilities of non-human animals. For example, chimpanzees, the closest genetic relatives of humans, use a few dozen calls and a variety of gestures to communicate in the wild. People have taught some chimpanzees how to communicate using American Sign Language and image-based languages, and some have developed vocabularies of a few hundred words. But a full English dictionary could contain more than half a million vocabulary entries. Chimpanzees have also not clearly demonstrated the ability to use grammar, which is crucial for communicating complex thoughts. Furthermore, the human vocal tract, unlike chimpanzees and other animals, can create and articulate a wide enough variety of sounds to create millions of different words.

In fact, each human language uses only a fraction of the human sounds it can make. The human brain also contains areas dedicated to the production and interpretation of speech that other animals lack. Therefore, humans are predisposed in many ways to use symbolic communication. People are not born with culture; they have to learn it For example, people must learn to speak and understand a language and abide by the rules of a society. In many societies, all people must learn to produce and prepare food and to build shelters. In other societies, people must learn a skill to earn money, which they then use to provide for themselves. In all human societies, children learn the culture of adults.

Anthropologists call this process cultural enculturation or transmission. Enculturation is a long process. Just learning the complexities of a human language, an important part of enculturation, takes many years. Families commonly protect and inculturate children in their birth homes for 15 years or more (Encyclopedia Britannica). Only at this point can children go out and establish their own homes. People also continue to learn throughout their lives. Therefore, most societies respect their elders, who have learned for a lifetime. Humans are not alone in their ability to learn behaviors, only in the amount and complexity of what they can learn.

For example, members of a group of chimps can learn to use a single food source or create some simple tools, behaviors that can distinguish them from other groups of chimpanzees. But these unique ways of life are minor compared to the rich cultures that distinguish different human societies. Lacking speech, chimpanzees are very limited in what they can learn, communicate to others, and transmit from generation to generation.

People who live together in a society share culture. For example, almost all people living in the United States share the English language, dress similarly, eat many of the same foods, and celebrate many of the same holidays. All people in a society collectively create and maintain culture. Societies preserve culture for much longer than anyone’s life. They preserve it in the form of knowledge, as scientific discoveries; objects, such as works of art; and traditions, such as holiday observance.

As noted, mythology plays a vital role in the development of a culture. Tales and sagas that originated in a particular culture are adopted as beliefs and traditions that in turn form a cultural base to which people adhere. It is not only traditions that constitute a cultural barrier that interferes with mutual understanding between cultures. People in China were able to develop different traditions and customs in part because they lived in a different geographic area and were not influenced by American culture. There are things that can only be understood by people who live in a particular area. Also, when representatives of one particular culture confront people from another culture, there are a lot of misunderstandings between them. Using sociological terminology, it can be classified as a culture shock. Such a culture shock occurs when people from two different cultures try to communicate an idea without taking into account the cultural differences that exist between them.

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