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Patrick See

on 27 March 2013

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Transcript of Enculturation

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli Learning the ropes. Enculturation Invasion!!! Infants are born with no morality, language, or conception of world
Everything they need to learn to live is acquired through enculturation (sociologists call this socialization) Teaching & Learning Infants grow up in the midst of the accumulated wisdom of their social group (Tomasello 1999)
How to teach infants about their world?
Typical infants given innate tools to learn about culture:
- Joint Attention (6 months)
- Imitative Learning (1 year, Carpenter 1998)
- Language Acquisition

These tools help child learn in cultural context Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Values Learn who you may be violent with (boxing competitor) and who not (little girl down the street)
Learn what are and how to respect national symbols (stand up for anthem)
Learn your rights & obligations and the rights of others
Acceptable ways of speaking based on situation (social skills)
How to use cultural artifacts
Roles Where Learning Takes Place Family
- Acceptable forms of interaction, language
- What else?

School System
In what ways are cultural values taught in school?

On your own
- Habituation

Where else? Cultural Change Accumulated wisdom over generations slow to change (i.e. language)
Not rigid, but slow change normally
When habits or roles change, culture does
Technology Acculturation Learning appropriate behaviour in host culture
May never become fully integrated member
Culture shock & Culture Strain

Fuller integration, lengthier, all-encompassing “The birth of each new generation of children is a recurrent barbarian invasion” - Talcott Parsons Enculturation: The process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that enable them to become functioning members of their societies/culture. Imagine a child grows up on a desert island, miraculously supplied with nutritional and emotional sustenance but in total absence from human contact. Does that child develop language? Technology? Social institutions? What happens if instead of one child, it was a group of children, with the same circumstances. What happens now? "Human cultures are historical products built up over many generations" Tomasello 1999 How close would they get to replicating modern society? The creation of language & other symbols, technology, social institutions are a collective product developed over time to form "culture" “Culture is a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of a society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning” - Bates & Plog 1990 Where do you think cultural learning takes place in society? What cultural values do you feel you have learned in school? How were they taught? Enculturation Does not always work
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