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What is CULTURE?

Australian Multiculturalism Unit

Cassie O'Brien

on 20 April 2013

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Transcript of What is CULTURE?

CULTURE What is CULTURE? -Macionis, J. (2007) “Culture is the values, beliefs, behavior
and material objects that together form a
people’s way of life. [It] includes the way
we think, how we act, and what we
own…our link to the past and our guide
to the future.” According to
Francis Merril (1961) culture: Society comes first and culture first.
Culture issues from society in interaction. the prehistoric
human beings Example b. Provides socially acceptable patterns for
meeting biological and social needs. a. Is the characteristically human product of
social interaction. Cultural patterns refer to the “relation of
units in a determinate system, the
interrelation of parts as dominated by the
general character of wholes” (Kluckhohn,
1951). c. Is cumulative as it is handed down from
generation to generation in a given
society. d. Is meaningful to human beings because
of its symbolic quality. e. Is learned by each person in the course of
his development in a particular society. f. Is necessarily a basic determinant of
personality. g. Depends for its existence upon the
continued functioning of the society but is
independent of any individual or group. What CULTURE is NOT • Culture cannot be blamed as though it were a thing that can think for itself. • It does not cause us
to do things. • It does not make a normal individual a
maladjusted one. • Culture is simply
a human product. • Culture is not just
a nation. – Culture is a shared way of life.
– Nation, on the other hand, is a political
entity, a territory with designated border. • Culture is not just a society either. – Society is the organized interaction of
people who typically live in a nation or some
other territory. Australia is both a nation and a
society. Yet, just like other nations, it is
multicultural meaning, “their people
follow various ways of life that blend together” (Macionis, 2007 ,
• To understand culture we need to
understand several concepts:

1. Material and Nonmaterial culture
2. Ethnocentrism and Xenocentrism
3. Cultural Relativism • MATERIAL CULTURE refers to the
physical things created by members of the
society. • NONMATERIAL CULTURE refers to the
ideas created by members of a society. • Ethnocentrism – the act of regarding one’s
culture as the center of the universe and
hence the basis for all comparisons with
other culture. • Xenocentrism – preference of products,
styles, ideas, etc. of other culture than
• Cultural Relativism - the principle that an
individual human's beliefs and activities
should be understood by others in terms of
that individual's own culture. REFERENCES
Cultural relativism. (2011, January 19). In Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:34, February 12, 2011,
from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?

Macionic, J. (2007). Sociology, eleventh edition. Upper Saddle River,
N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Merrill, F. (1961). Society and culture: an introduction to sociology.

Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Xenocentrism. (2011, January 29). In Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:35, February 12, 2011,
from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?
title=Xenocentrism&oldid=410711511 Not only does understanding other cultures make you a more informed and empathetic person it may also affect your life in the future and how you carry out work Waltzing Matilda: Bridging cultural communication gaps Questions:
- Was there a communication break down in this video?
- Why did it occur? What assumptions were made?
-How could the 'Aussie' man have used cultural understanding in this situation?
-Explain why he was becoming impatient.
-What would you do in this situation? What was the cultural misunderstanding?
Why do you think this happened?
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