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GEOG 3050 (1)

Human Culture (2).doc

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GEOG 3050
Claudio Colaguori

Human Culture - Culture is one of the most complex concepts in the social sciences. The term has a wide variety of uses and meanings. - Cultural values, beliefs and behaviours serve as the program that determines how we construct our social realities. Society itself is a product of culture. Definitions of “culture”: - “culture” is one of the most complex concepts in our language - the essence of culture is to cultivate, sustain, and preserve human life - The complex pattern of lifestyle, beliefs and social practices that are specific to a human group and which define the identity of its members. - Culture often determines who we are, our self and identity, our values, our worldview, and can determine our behaviour in a given situation. - Culture shapes human temperament and patterns of group behaviour: Margaret Mead: A cultural comparison of Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies : The Arapesh, Mundugumor, and Tchambuli. The comparison illustrates “the flexibility of human nature” and how differences between group behaviour is based not on heredity but on cultural values and social learning. - Culture includes material and ideational elements: Material: the technologies and physical objects which aid in human survival, tools, buildings, shelters, aqueducts and other manipulations of landscape and geography, food, objects to aid in living, art objects, (texts and signs), Ideational: knowledge, beliefs, norms, values, beliefs, information, symbolic forms of communication, shared meanings, art and literature - is culture something unique to humans? - Animals are ruled by instinct while humans are guided by culture. - culture as second nature - culture is complex, universal, relative, situational, deterministic, contradictory Culture as an enabling force - Culture as a disabling force Culture as a force of preservation - Culture as a force of domi
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