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Transcript of Culture
Experience plays a large role in culture, as it is the way in which people interpret their surroundings. It incorporates into the essence of ethnographic researchers, because it is through their experience and observation of a culture, that they collect data and calculate their findings.
Defining our words is important, unpacking how we, and other institutions understand and use words is the start to fully understanding the impact of those words.
I purposefully used wikipedia, viewed as the peoples encyclopedia, to describe high culture, and Cambridge, viewed as an important academic institution. I did this to contrast the ideas of the two different spheres of culture.
Since this database is about culture, I thought it would be interesting to see how such a diverse word is defined, and originated. The following definitions were extracted from, oxforddictionaries.com.
The word culture dates back to the to the Latin word cultura, to grow and cultivate a piece of land. It wasn’t until the early 16th century that it was used in the sense of “cultivation of the soil”. This began the idea of, the cultivation of minds, faculties, or manners.
There are many different definitions to describe culture and they are as following:
Arts that displays a common collective achievement and is recognized by the general public. Example, 20th century popular culture.
Giving a sense of comprehension and gratitude towards culture. Example, the culture of man.
Within a particular society or social group, the ideas, traditions, customs and social behavior that is seen as the norm and defines the particular social groups. Example, the Italian culture.
The mannerisms that define a particular social group. Example, the emerging athletic culture.
In reference to biology, the cultivation of bacteria, cells and etc; using a controlled medium. Example, the bacteria was contained in two blood cultures.
A plant growing through cultivation. Example, flowers, fruits and vegetables.
I have regarded that older and recent definitions of culture are still used today. The older definition proposes the idea of gathering and growing through cultivation, which is used in biology today. The modern definition refers more to popular culture with identifying different society’s practices, traditions, and norms; either as a country or social group.
We have posted government policies and acts because these are the frame works that are used t define and create culture. The government has a huge effect on the outcomes of research because these policies regulate research and how this are managed. The government creates guidelines and laws around research and other aspects of academia. Public policy also affects how everyone views culture and how people think of other people and themselves.
THE ARTS AND CANADA’S CULTURAL POLICY
Before volunteering in Tanzania, Africa, I thought that people working in impoverish regions teaching and bringing western knowledge there were doing a huge amount of good. Although the children are always excited when westerners came to their village , I wondered how much of an affect I had. The second week I got there I met a man named Suma and he taught me how to really help the people. We started to buy and distribute the kinds of supplies they needed and instead of teaching them I learned much more from the people I met through travel and distribution. We decided to listen to their specific needs instead of trying to push western traditions upon them. It was the biggest culture shock of my life. The clash of these cultures in my mind was not like anything I could have thought. I never overtly thought that the western world was superior, but after that trip I realized I had thought we had something to teach them, but in reality there is a sharing of knowledge between the two cultures and, in this specific case, teaching styles.
'High culture' is a term now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is a set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture"
These are usually the researchers and the people in Academia that are studying other cultures or subcultures. This definition is important to understanding the hierarchical difference that people see between researchers and academics and the rest of the population. We discuss this idea when we were talking about the distance between researchers and subjects, and also how the perception of one another changes the results of the data.
"The way of life, customs, and ideas of a particular group of people within a society, which are different from the rest of that society."
- Cambridge English online Dictionary
These cultures are usually the ones getting studying and are seen on the outskirts of society. Similar to the High culture definition, this is important because of the relationship between researchers, who are typically viewed as part of 'high culture', and the subjects, who are usually vulnerable groups or apart of subcultures or different cultures.
I attended a Bangladeshi wedding in September, and being apart if this celebration was so much different then what I’m used to. All the girls were dressed up in different colorful sari’s, while man wore suits. The music alone made me feel like I was in Bollywood. The food was spicy, but delicious; and pared well with the fresh naan bread. This experience was different, but also demonstrates Canada’s multiculturalism; the difference between cultures within one nation.
Events & Festivals
I went to the International Food and Beverage Soiree this past weekend. http://ottawainternationalexpo.com/international-soiree/
At one point, there was a fashion show on the stage accompanied by 4 belly dancers. All 4 of the belly dancers were white (or at least seemed to be). My friend made a tongue in cheek comment to me "Wow, what a display of multiculturalism." Since belly dancing originated in the middle east, she believed the dancers should be of one of those nationalities/races for this to be an authentic display of culture. I don't know if I agree or not
International Food and Beverage Soiree
Thanksgiving is considered to be a Canadian cultural tradition. It is referring to an event that takes place every year at the same time in Canada. When searching for the origins to thanksgiving, and the reasons for it. I came across a few traditions. First, in 1578, Martin Frobisher and his crew gave thanks to god for surviving the treacherous weather they endured, while making it safely across the Atlantic Ocean and arriving in the eastern Arctic (Bonikowsky and Mills). Second, in 1604, Samuel de Champlain and his crew held a feast and shared the food with the First nations, to give thanks (Chittley). Third, in 1621, the first American Thanksgiving took place in Massachusetts (Bonikowsky and Mills). The pilgrims celebrated their successful harvest with turkey, squash and pumpkin. Forth, in 1763, Thanksgiving was a day to honour the end of the seven-year war in Nova Scotia (Bonikowsky and Mills). Then those loyal to the celebration brought it to other parts of the country (Bonikowsky and Mills). However, in 1879, the Parliament proclaimed November 6 as a day of thanksgiving (Bonikowsky and Mills). It was announced as, “a day of general thanksgiving to almighty god for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed” (Bonikowsky and Mills).
A girl I used to work with posted this link on Facebook to VICE's "Ottawa is a Paradise". I had seen "Hull is a Paradise" in July or August and thought it was pretty funny. All I really know about VICE is that it started as a magazine in the 90's and the creators were a few Canadian guys. Stylistically they have a DIY ethos and can be quite raunchy. They went on to also create some really good (and some really weird) documentaries which usually examine those living on the fringe or at least participating in activities that go against the grain of societal norms.
Other CDNS classes that I have taken have tried to identify a specific culture that we can consider "Canadian" and what groups/cities/regions within the country act as cultural curators. I don't feel that Ottawa has ever been viewed as a primary cultural center regardless of the fact that we are the capital. I remember reading about a discussion panel that was to be hosted this summer (for Arboretum fest maybe?) that was titled something to the effect of "Ottawa - The city fun forgot." Honestly, I thought it was pretty funny and obviously addressing our reputation of being a conservative, government town. Kathleen Edwards was supposed to be on the panel as well as local journalists and other people who would have a valid opinion on the matter I guess and the point was to explore why musicians/artists/blah blah blah (cultural producers) inevitably go elsewhere
I have never lived anywhere else and I really feel some are content to bitch and moan (maybe just some people I know?) that Ottawa does not have a lot to offer in terms of culture/cultural events. Maybe these people have specific expectations, I don't know. As far as the "Ottawa is a Paradise" piece done by VICE, I just thought it was great that Ottawa was portrayed in a way that I would have never considered - seedy and "wonderfully scummy"!
Check out the link
If you don't have time, the pic below is a sample from the photo gallery. (from Shanghai on Somerset!)
I thought this was interesting to add because it was an alternate (to my own) view of nightlife in Ottawa and the images were compiled by a local photographer. My own reaction was that I also immediately felt it was created from a man’s perspective but I don’t know if it was because of the style and content or because I knew it was from VICE. Most importantly, since there are other "__insert Canadian city__ is a Paradise" pieces done in VICE, it made me wonder if you can make any place look this way if you just go looking for the right
people in the right setting...?
Ottawa Is A Paradise
It's Getting Harder to Ignore Canada's Genocide
The new Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg is stirring up a lot of controversy. I think it was obviously expected. People are contesting a lot about it like whose histories/memories/stories are being included and whose aren’t. Also how they are being represented and displayed (ie. whose account of history is this?) One news piece I read said even the location was contested: it is at the intersection of 2 rivers which is historically (and up until construction I think) a meeting place for First Nations. Concerns were that it shouldn’t be there, and then when it was the chosen site, people felt there was not enough archaeological excavation done.
This link tells about how A Tribe Called Red refused to play a free concert for the opening of the museum because they want the museum to acknowledge that aboriginals were victims of genocide. I think it is important to address how colonialism not only robbed First Nations of their cultures through various means of assimilation but actions taken by settlers and supported by government killed many people.
Why Kids Sext
I will preface this entry by mentioning I am not an early adapter of technology. I do not own a smart phone. Because of this, I am often the butt of many jokes with my friends. Our class discussion today got me thinking of the correlation between technology and culture. It seemed like some general assumptions were that technology doesn’t make for more inclusive environments, like when it was mentioned the garage door opener made it so neighbours were less likely to interact. Smart phones make me think of how many conversations never happen. Rather than ask a stranger or a friend or a family member a question or collectively ponder something, people look it up on their phone. To this point, I wonder when is an acceptable age for kids to have phones? In my mind, the only 2 reasons I would want my hypothetical child to have a phone would be so that they are not the odd one out in their social circle and so that I could get ahold of them whenever I wanted. I think smart phones/computers offer kids/teens many opportunities, both positive and negative. I think this can be troublesome though, giving them to ones so young, and I feel that being connected to gadgets fosters really undesirable traits in people.
Made by the American Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this small video is really trying to show that culture is something that is a uniting force. Their obvious agenda is to get a singular idea of American culture. They continuously use words like Us and We, which, as we have discovered, is not only inclusive words, but also exclusionary to other cultures. It really shows how the US is a melting pot of different cultures.
Storytelling for Social Change
Storytelling is such an important and powerful means of social change. Each of these stories depicts our own experiences with experiences of clashing with a different culture. This is important because it is not only a powerful researching tool, but its also something that we do every single day. We read this article in class and it was extremely important because as Razack states, storytelling “represents different perceptions of reality that are intended as an opposition to established knowledge.” This is so important because often it is people on the outskirts of society or apart of a different culture who's stories captivate people and make the most change. Razack’s article is more about storytelling in law and education, while our stories were just about clash of cultures and sharing those experiences.
Since Giuliana discussed a wedding experience I thought I would share a similar story. One of my first trips abroad was to Hong Kong for my cousins marriage to a local Chinese girl. The wedding was done in traditional Chinese fashion. My cousin's wife also had many cousins so we got to interact a lot with them and they told us all about the traditions that were so foreign to us. The wedding process took all day, beginning with a gift giving ceremony where my cousin had to wear a traditional chinese outfit which was yellow and red with a massive red bow on his chest. Then there were ceremonies with just the parents and siblings of the bride and groom and the official ceremony. Between the different ceremonies we played Mahjong and attempted to learn a bit of the language. The interesting part was when it came to the twelve course dinner that included shark, pig skin and more unknown foods. It could have been the other cousins playing a prank on us, but we also ate fish eyeballs and checks, I'm still not sure if it really is a tradition. After the huge meal we had a dance with a mix of western and chinese pop music. I didn't find out until a few months later that having a dance wasn't typical for a chinese wedding but was our input into the wedding. This was important because we hadn't realize but we had effected their traditions and culture without even realizing it, my cousins hadn't even known until after, he had just said that he wanted one of our aunts to sing at the wedding and that turned into a western dance at the end of a very traditional wedding. We had changed this customs without even realizing it, which I think is a huge idea we have talking about this semester, because we don't often try to change, but foreign presence is enough to change the locals.
This is an interesting article about one of the staples of Christian Canadian’s Holiday season. There were a few strange facts I didn't know, firstly, the voice actor Paul Soles who played Hermey the elf, was Jewish and grew up in Toronto. I thought this was interesting because this is obviously a movie for Christian children around Christmas time. I also enjoyed how he explained how the story was about fitting in and how everyone should get along. the actual show is predominately white christian characters. It connects to the course because we are looking at a movie that is played many times around the holiday season that promotes the white christian ideal. It has been on air for 50 years now, meaning it has clearly has huge success and influence. The beginning discussion with Sole is the most important part, there is a lot more about the legacy of the story and parodies which just shows how the story and this christian idea has spread.
The Surprising Legacy of Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer
I thought this article and video would be insightful to include for considering cultural appropriation. Using Ellie Goulding’s Native Headdress Halloween costume as the main example, I think what I was the most shocked about was the language used by UK news sources. SOOOO POLITICALLY INCORRECT! Who the hell says “Red Indian” in 2014? The articles that come to her defense are obviously from old geezers from the political right, but the language they use would just never in a million years be published in Canada! I guess what the article made me realize is that the inherent racism in acts of cultural appropriation is completely lost on entire bodies of people who have had no connection with certain groups (First Nations populations in the UK). The link I have included isn’t even the worst one I read. It makes me wonder what is taught in the UK regarding the British Empire and colonialism. Some of the language regarding Ellie Goulding’s costume suggested sentiments that certain cultures allowed themselves to be victimized and that they continue through history to “play the victim”. Any of the articles I found from UK sources that were supporting her were overtly racist.
This video isn’t the greatest, but it begs to ask the question when is cultural appropriation okay (if ever)? Are there certain contexts in which white North Americans can dress in a sari and wear a bindi, dress as a geisha, or really just in any traditional garb that is not their own? Is it okay if you are in that country? Does it make it okay if you have friends from that culture? Are their special circumstances or is it just 100% of the time never cool and disrespectful.
Recently, my friend’s 10 year old son (who has been wanting a smart phone of his own) was using her phone to text with another 10 year old girl who was asking him to hang out. He replied that he couldn’t because his mom was going out and he had to stay in when his aunt came over to babysit. The 10 year old girl replied “ Too bad. U should send me a pic of your d…” My friend, 30 year old mother of 2 and owner of the phone, saw this conversation and almost had a stroke. At first we were like "Did she mean what we think she means?" And then "Hell yes! What else could it mean?" It spawned this hole discussion that kids are growing up too fast, and how when we were her son's age, maybe like 1 in 50 kids at school had pagers and that was the cool techy gadget to have back then(sad, I know.) It was just a real eye-opening WTF moment.
Anyhow, I saw this article today after class, WHY KIDS SEXT. Interesting well-written article. Makes me scared for my friends kids. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/11/why-kids-sext/380798/?single_page=true
Cultural festivals and events are important because they are meant to showcase different aspects of culture. They are an important part of a culture and a good way of seeing into the society is through different festivals and events, even the weddings that were previously mentioned showcase a the culture, highlighting the important aspects of their society. Thanksgiving, for example, showcases different Canadian traditions around that holiday, and if someone from another culture came to your family thanksgiving, they would get an idea of your values, beliefs and traditions. Experiences festivals in another country is an amazing eye opener to that society, but of course there are issues since the culture knows it is being watched it performs these events, therefore showing something that may not be a perfect reflection of their society.
Culture is something that can be extremely personal to individuals, something contested, hard to define and is different for everyone.
Culture can connect people across the world though common characteristics: history, location, language, religion and ethnicity. It can also divide people and cause conflict on these exact same aspects. Culture is studied though many interdisciplinary lenses and researchers use a range of different theories and methods to do so.
This database consists of variety of different ways in which we interact with culture, including our own experiences, the government influence on culture, and academia's influence. We have illustrated culture in five different groups, through experience, events, mainstream definitions, academic and media's articles and government policy. We have put in a variety of pictures that we have acquired through our life that demonstrates cultures through our experiences. We have looked at these different experiences with a new knowledge that we got through the course. We have different lenses to use now, the feminist lens, a structuralist lens, postmodern lens, post-colonial lens, and other lenses discussed throughout the semester. Compiling this database we identified different lenses when conducting qualitative ethnographic research.
Articles we compiled for our database can be seen as influencing our notions of culture in a few ways First, sources from which they are taken have a strong bearing on there sentiment ex. The Atlantic is known to have more liberal views. News sources are known for having their own biases and this is something we must be critical of when conducting qualitative research. Even more so, bloggers include their personal opinions. Consideration of these aspects is particularly important in ethnographic research to ensure that the researcher is providing the most accurate cultural representations possible.
I added this because, it demonstrates different types of cultures, and also relates to the definition of culture in an earlier entry. In reference to: “the ideas, customs and social behavior that is seen as the norm and defines the particular social groups.” In this case I was immersed in the Bangladeshi culture, which if compared to Italian is very different. When I took part and attended this wedding, I felt as if I were a ethnographic researcher studying this culture. However, I knew I held a sense of bias, because I didn’t attend the wedding with a subjective few. I related it to what I knew about Indian weddings, off of television shows and movies like, Bend it like Beckham. Furthermore, I did experience how it was like to be an outsider, taking part in these cultural traditions. It gave me a new perspective towards researchers, and the struggles they must have. Such as: participating, being welcomed, and trying to realize if you have truly embraced that culture tradition.
By: Steph Dewolfe, Meredith Gallinger, and Giuliana Zucconi
The government is educating the future generation about the past through, heritage moments. They are creating a collective memory as discussed in an article by Emily it from threats from both without and within (West 213).” The government chooses which historical moments to focus on and is considered important. Just like cultural policy, the government sets out ways to control culture through a collective memory. They West. The government hopes will “contribute to strengthening the nation, and save are educating about history, which contributes to a culture; in this case, the Canada culture. These heritage moments contribute to collective memory, because they keep the past present. In this heritage minute, James Naismith a Canadian invented basketball, a sport that is enjoyed by many around the world. I believe this is supposed to make Canadians proud. I trust the content of the historical moment provided, however I do not trust the historical moment chosen, because it is a form of social engineering.
West, Emily. "Selling Canada to Canadians: Collective Memory, National Identity and Popular Culture." Criticle Studies in Media Communications June 2012: 212-229.
Culture policy is the measures taken by the government. To either encourage or protect activities; and institutions that can be defined as culture. This policy has been put in place primarily because, the concern to the allocation of government funding; and promotion of the arts. In addition, to create an environment that encourages Canadian creativity. As it has been pointed out in earlier posts, culture is hard to define; due to the endless definitions. The government regulates and administers programs that are related to cultural industries, through this culture policy.
This made we wonder, how the government and policies such as this one affects ethnographic researchers. If these policies would affect their results, by either the regulations put in place; or not truly experiencing in the cultural tradition.
The link below is the Canadian cultural policy, for those who are interested in reading the policy.
What is 1 girl 5 gays contribution to culture?
1 girl 5 gays is a talk show with a rotating panel of five gay men, or five lesbians; with a female host. They discuss topics deemed as inappropriate, controversial, and personal. The panel is filled with a group of individuals with unique personalities, which have different perspectives on these various topics. In the video clip, they discussed feminism. This then remind me of a discussion in class; about male researchers doing feminist research, seeing how they are unable to relate. However, I believe just as they have pointed with gay rights, that you do not need to be gay to support equal rights. Like, you do not need to be a female to support gender equality. I think that 1 girl 5 gays is considered a subculture, a group of people that are different from the rest of society. The homosexual community is a minority group within Canada. This program educates viewers of the culture within the homosexual population of Toronto.
Most people probably wouldn't consider many modern music festivals as cultural festivals but I would argue that they are, specifically the famous Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts in England. Not only is in a huge music festival, but it has a range of art installations, including a Banksy bus exhibit this past year. There is an amazing atmosphere that has pieces of different British society. For the festival, Worthy farm is transformed into a city of culture, different areas show off different cultures within England and the range of food options show the multiculturalism of the country. The festival was founded in 1970 and since then has grown into a very well known artistic festival where a huge range of styles and cultures come together to share their art. This would be an amazing place to study the intermingling of different genres and subcultures of British society. It is another example of a place in which studying clashing cultures would be extremely interesting and successful.
Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts
The Canadian Broadcasting Act is so important to Canadian culture because it mandates the information that we are fed through our media. There are many critiques and advantages to the Act, but indisputably, it is a powerful force within the Canadian media. It mandates certain criteria for the Canadian radio and television stations. It has interesting intentions, which include to “safeguard, enrich and strengthen the culture, political, social and economic fabric of Canada. This is important because we need to understand these elements when looking at the Canadian culture especially when examining our media. Culture is influenced by so many things, and especially in the modern era the media is a huge influence, which itself is influenced by this document.
Canadian Broadcasting Act
It was after the First World War, thanksgiving and Remembrance Day were celebrated during the same week (Bonikowsky and Mills). This made Canadian famers upset, because they felt that the holiday was being taken away, and replaced with Remembrance Day (Bonikowsky and Mills). In response; to this concern the parliament then changed the date for thanksgiving to the second Monday in October (Bonikowsky and Mills). After the American Revolution, loyalist moved to Canada, they brought the tradition of turkey and pumpkins (Chittley).
I can upon many traditions, I’m still not quite sure which one to believe, and if the holiday was started by Canadians or Americans. I added this entry, because I thought it was interesting. I always thought that Canadians adopted Thanksgiving from the Americans, however that may not be the case. Many Canadians celebrate this holiday every year and give “thanks”. But, what are they really giving thanks to, and do they understand the reason for this tradition?
Bonikowsky, Laura Neilson and David Mills. Thanksgiving Day.The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation. 28
January 2014. 15 October 2014. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/thanksgiving-day/>.
Chittley, Jordan. Canadians share their reasons to be thankful. 14 October 2014. 15 October 2014. <http://