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Discussion: Culture Critical Thinking Essay

Discussion: Culture Critical Thinking Essay

 

The concept of culture is one that permeates our everyday life. The prevalence of the idea of culture makes. The analysis of culture occurs in multifaceted layers. However, in sociology, culture principally relates to the way members of a given group of people behave in the manner that they do. In order to do this, it is imperative to look at the values that govern the behaviors of the groups mentioned above. Nevertheless, values are imperceptible, which makes it difficult to observe them directly. As a result, it becomes imperative to infer them using techniques such as interviews that were discussed in Chapter 2. Further, it is lucid from multifarious analyses and evidence that culture impacts the way that the society lives.

The identification of the values leads to the realization that they accurately denote the espoused or manifest values of a culture. If you were to ask people questions regarding their cultures, they would say that they behave in a certain way because of certain reasons. Further, people will give answers that would demonstrate what they would ideally like as these reasons as well as offer rationalizations fas to why they behave in the manner that they do. However, culture is a complex concept and the above aspects only form what is referred to as assumptions. The reasons for people behaving in a certain manner in much more complex hence why culture is dynamic. A quintessential example of the dynamism of culture entails the wide-spread adoption and usage of social media as a means of communication by the millennial communication. In the prior generations, people used means such as postal letters to have conversations. Now, whereas the reasons given for the millennials’ behavior may be attributed to the existence of cell phones, the real reason for it is far from the prima facie assumptions made by most people. Indeed, the transformation of the means of communication demonstrates the societal propensity to evolve with the times and adopt different cultures as the times dictate.

Incidentally, the issue of culture shocks as discussed in the book is one that the present author relates to given her background. Culture shock denotes an incapacity to comprehend a way of life that is not familiar to someone. In addition, culture shock also refers to the experience a person may have when they move into a new environment that is varied from their own environments. To this end, I experienced a real cultural shock when I moved into the United States in relation to various facets of value. The United States comprises of people multicultural ethnicities; however, the author noticed that the patriotism that they display it otherworldly. Americans display of patriotism was particularly apparent during public holiday such as The Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. By contrast, where I come from, public holidays, especially the ones that required patriotism, were never greeted with such zeal. Whereas one would apportion a simplistic view as the cause of this indifference, a sociological examination through sociological imagination may reveal that the situation may be caused by the prevalent economic and social pressures in my country.

In addition, the author was surprised by the level of liberty that Americans had as regards possessing firearms. When she first came to the USA, it was like almost everybody had a firearm in their neighborhood. The reasons given by owners of such guns was that it was consistent with the First Amendment of the United States constitution, which behooves them to protect their freedoms. By contrast, the author’s country of origin had varied laws and views concerning ownership of guns. As a matter of fact, it was illegal for people to own guns without the express permission of the administration. Even when they owned the gun, they were legally required to conceal them and not sling them as it happened in the United States. As such, the lacuna in the behaviors and laws of the United States concerning gun ownership compared to the author’s country of origin was a culture shock.

The issue of disparate values between societies was also comprehensively addressed in the course reading. According to sociologist Robin Williams, the American culture is centered around certain cultural values. However, while the author agrees with all the other values, the issue of democracy and free enterprise is contestable. Largely, the American political process gives the impression of a free and fair process. The country has cultivated a political image of free and fair elections while supporting free expression. Nevertheless, all of these are facades. The United States, while being democratic, is deeply divided along ideological lines. The liberalism and conservatism that people identify with to assert that the country is democratic lose credibility. Due to the identities mentioned above, Americans belong to two political parties- The Grand Old Party also known as the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. During elections, people are presented with these two options. As such, the country is not truly democratic as the political space is limited to the two parties.

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Moreover, the American Union is not truly a free state as Robin Williams would like us to believe. Undoubtedly, the respective administrations post-Civil rights era have attempted to create the existence of the freedom of expression. However, the author feels

Discussion Culture Critical Thinking Essay

Discussion Culture Critical Thinking Essay

that the intervening period between those times and the present times only succeeded in suppressing the actual situation of the state of the American Union. The election of President Donald Trump revealed the level of intolerance that characterizes the United States society. The behaviors on both sides of the political aisle are extreme in the sense that each side does not tolerate opposing views. The examination of the issues through a sociological perspective will reveal that the country was not free. In fact, the freedom that people supposedly enjoy here is cosmetic as interest groups have asserted so much influence in the way of life through legislative capture that American freedom that external people marvel about is a mirage.

Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism are also imperative facets of culture. Whereas the former uses its very standards to judge the cultures of other people, the latter uses the characteristics of a culture in question to judge itself. A classic example of cultural relativism entails the fact the people from developing countries hope that their children will go to school, get jobs after graduating, and support them. As a matter of fact, these societies expect their children to support them when they come of age. Whereas this is unheard of in Western countries such as the United States, it is common practice in countries such as Kenya. For example, the author is expected to support her relations back in her country of origin. A variety of reasons exist for this situation. In developing countries, social support systems do not exist. The absence of such systems exposes the populace, especially the aging population, to economic challenges. As a consequence, children are forced to step in and help them out as a matter of necessity and not option. By doing this, the children are bridging a lacuna that is a preserve of functional systems in Western countries such as the United States.

Cultural clashes are evident in the concept of ethnocentrism. In the developed world, it is criminal for children to drop out of school and do menial jobs to sustain themselves. In fact, laws have been formulated that prescribe severe punishments for a situation that they call child labor. However, the practice of children staying out of school to help parents with certain responsibilities is normal in developing countries. The economic and social conditions existent in such nations make education a privilege for children. Studies done by reputable agencies such as the World Bank indicate that a majority of people living in developing nations survive with less than a dollar a day. Therefore, people from high-income nations condemning individuals in low-income countries for what they call child labor is purely ethnocentric. The folly of these condemnations lies in the assumption that all countries belong to the same social and economic class. However, the view is myopic and does not meet the threshold of sociological perspective as mitigating factors exist in low-income countries making the practice necessary to some level as much as it is abhorable.

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