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The Culture of South America - Coursework Example

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"The Culture of South America" paper argues that culture is dynamic and can be seen from the interaction of many things such as physical features, history, activities, and developments. It is also represented in the way people live and the elements that are found in the day-to-day interaction…
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The Culture of South America
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Download file to see previous pages The Culture of South America Culture can be defined as the system of beliefs, values, norms, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that members of a given society use to interact with the world and one another. It is that combination of thoughts, feelings attitudes, beliefs values, and behavior patterns that are shared by racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups of people (Urban Schools). The first characteristic of culture is a language which is a set of symbols that are used to assign and communicate meaning. Language is both spoken words and body movements. Language can be formal or informal depending on the environment and the people taking part in the communication process. Different dialects may symbolize different groups of people with different cultures. In non-verbal communication, different cultures have different body languages. For example, there are cultures in which eye contact is seen as disrespectful while in others it signifies honesty. The second element of culture is norms, which are rules that govern behavior in a given society. Norms include taboos and rituals, which are specific to a given group of people or region. Norms are such that what is acceptable by one may be absurd for another. Ignoring these norms makes one unacceptable unpopular or an outcast within a given culture. The third characteristic of culture is valued, which are things that members of a particular culture hold in high esteem or aspire to have. Values are not the same they change depending on the situation or the needs of people. Different cultures value different things, for example, most Americans generally agree on the following as valuable: democracy, liberty, and freedom. A typical African society values children, peace, and hard work. The fourth characteristic of culture is beliefs and ideologies. Beliefs refer to what members of a given culture hold to be true. Ideologies on the other hand refer to a set of beliefs and assumptions that are connected by a common theme. Social institutions or systems associate themselves with ideologies and they serve to make those institutions legitimate. The above two vary within cultures and serve to differentiate them. The fifth characteristic of culture is the attitude towards time. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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