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The Importance Of Understanding Cultures In America And Other Countries

1454 words - 6 pages

When I first decided to take the Introduction to Sociology class I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or even what to think. I had never taken any classes on sociology so I was quite sure that this would be an adventure. Well, as things turned out it was an adventure, this class was fun and very insightful. This class taught me a lot about what the rest of the world is like and how the American culture is different from the cultures around the world. What america accepts as the norm is different than say what Germany accepts as the norm.

I want to start by defining what culture is, “Culture is the way of life of a people, specifically the shared and human-created strategies for adapting and responding to the social and physical environment. pg 518” I learned that culture isn’t only about what one thing is acceptable or about one way or life. Culture is about a lot of things. I learned that it includes material things that different cultures have in common for example material culture is something like a lawn mower, a car, or an ipod. These are things that other cultures other than the american culture have or consider part of their norm. The book states that this is a way for people to understand others and relate to them. Non-Material culture includes things like peoples values, values are what people think is important to them. For some cultures praying everyday at a set time is a value to them. It is something that they find important to them. Beliefs are a non-material culture. These are what people believe in, it can range anywhere from believing in a god to believing in things like santa. These beliefs help define a culture and why it is the way it is. Symbols are type of a non-material culture, they are words that are different in every culture but mean the same thing. Norms are the fourth and last type of non-material culture that I learned about. I learned that a norm is what people in a culture consider to be something typical. It is what a culture expects, for example the norm for america was that the man in the family was the “bread winner” He worked everyday and expected to come home to his wife and children with a home cooked meal. Norms also cover what is socially normal for someone in a culture in america it is expected as the norm that you dress yourself before you go into anywhere, in other countries it is normal for women to not wear a shirt or children to run around undressed.
I learned about cultural diversity, This subject in the chapter really interested me. I have noticed some cultural diversity before I took this class but I did not realize that I went to this extent. Now that I go to portland for college I have been exposed to the more obvious side of cultural diversity. Objectified, Embodied, and Institutionalized culture are all discussed, I liked learning about these most because to me they talk the most about, the things that people have, they norms, why people act certain ways, and beliefs in the easiest way for...

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