What Does A Cultural Historian Study?
Cultural history brings to life a past time and place. In this search, cultural historians study beliefs and ideas, much as intellectual historians do. In addition to the writings of intellectual elites, they consider the notions (sometimes unwritten) of the less privileged and less educated.
- These are reflected in the products of deliberately artistic culture, but also include the objects and experiences of everyday life, such as clothing or cuisine.
- Culture” can also imply everyday attitudes, values, assumptions and prejudices, and the rituals and practices that express them, from magical beliefs to gender roles and racial hierarchies.
In this sense, our instincts, thoughts, and acts have an ancestry which cultural history can illuminate and examine critically. Historians of culture at Yale study all these aspects of the past in their global interconnectedness, and explore how they relate to our many understandings of our varied presents.
- Cultural history is an effort to inhabit the minds of the people of different worlds.
- This journey is, like great literature, thrilling in itself.
- It is also invaluable for rethinking our own historical moment.
- Like the air we breathe, the cultural context that shapes our understanding of the world is often invisible for those who are surrounded by it; cultural history allows us to take a step back, and recognize that some of what we take for granted is remarkable, and that some of what we have thought immutable and natural is contingent and open to change.
Studying how mental categories have shifted inspires us to think how our own cultures and societies can evolve, and to ask what we can do as individuals to shape that process.
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- 1 What is cultural historical approach?
- 2 What is the difference between social and cultural history?
- 3 What is an example of cultural studies?
- 4 What are 7 examples of cultural?
- 5 What are the 4 approaches of cultural studies?
- 6 What are the benefits of cultural history?
- 7 What are the key concepts of Cultural Studies?
- 8 What are the objectives of Cultural Studies?
- 9 What is a PhD in Cultural Studies?
- 10 What are the 5 main cultures?
- 11 Is religion a part of culture?
- 12 What is a real world example of cultural?
- 13 What is personal cultural history?
What is an example of a cultural history?
There are also many examples of histories of cultural developments like music, art, literature, and ideas, that could be counted as cultural history defined broadly. For instance, Jacob Burckhardt’s Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (1860) is often considered a founding work of modern art history.
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What is cultural historical approach?
Introduction – In the United States, archaeology has two intellectual homes: the classics, in which the focus is Greek and Roman culture in the Mediterranean world, and anthropology, which encompasses everything else from ancient times, as well as certain approaches to more modern eras.
Classical archaeology is definitely allied with the humanities, but anthropological archaeology, hereafter simply called archaeology, is firmly within the social sciences. The methods and ideas used in archaeology are drawn from the natural sciences ( 14 C dating, neutron activation studies of artifact composition, and so forth), the humanities (art historical analysis; some postmodern approaches to interpretation), and the social sciences.
There is a relationship between theory in anthropological archaeology and other social science theories, i.e., cultural anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, history (arguably a social science), geography, and women’s and gender studies (also a discipline that straddles the humanities and social sciences).
The focus here is more on the theories derived from the social sciences than on methods, for the simple reason that archaeology shares few actual methods with other social sciences: most procedures are either unique to the field, or similar to procedures from other field-based disciplines, particularly geology.
The common roots of American archaeology and anthropology lie in the particularities of the New World, in which colonists encountered societies with demonstrable ties to prehistoric cultures. The juxtaposition of “primitive” Native Americans and “advanced” Europeans led to the development of cultural evolutionary frameworks for evaluating and classifying contemporary and extinct peoples, theories used by archaeologists and cultural anthropologists alike.
For archaeology, the presence of living decedents of ancient peoples gave rise to the direct historical approach, that is, using contemporary people and their cultures as analogies for interpreting the past. Interpretation using analogy remains a common method in contemporary archaeology. In the 20th century, the evolutionary approach of 19th century practitioners withered and died, but the direct historical approach lives on, informing much current interpretation.
The earliest school of archaeological thought in the 20th century, the cultural historical approach, focused on the systematics of space (where groups were located, how they migrated through time, and how sites and regions were organized) and time (dating).
To gather spatial data, archaeologists in the early 20th century developed basic methods used to this day, including ground survey (generally on foot) and recording by mapping the site and determining the geographic location. Lacking the precise dating techniques developed after World War II, culture historians in the first half of the century developed regional chronologies based on stratigraphy (the study of the natural and cultural layers found in sites) and cross-dating through artifact similarities and traded items; both of these methods are borrowed from geology, but adapt well to archaeology.
Artifacts, for example, substitute for geology’s type fossils in comparisons. Artifacts, botanical and faunal samples and other materials, and stratigraphic profiles are obtained through controlled excavations, a method not employed by other social sciences.
- The first chronologies developed were imperfect (e.g., Stonehenge was thought to date to the time of the Phoenicians, although it is 3000 years earlier), but they laid the framework for later work.
- Though it is unlikely that any modern archaeologists would characterize themselves as culture historians, space–time systematics are still fundamental to archaeology, as is the social science theory that cultural historians borrowed from history: the present situation of a site or area can be explained in terms of its antecedent conditions.
This is sometimes known as genetic explanation, not due to any connection to biology, but because of the relationship through descent of modern and ancient cultures. After World War II, technical dating methods, largely based on newly understood atomic decay processes, brought refinement to cultural historical sequences.
At the same time, American archaeologists became dissatisfied with the normative picture of the past delineated by culture history. That approach did not deal well with behavioral variation within cultures, nor did its practitioners seek to explain change except by antecedent conditions or supposedly self-evident processes such as population migration or diffusion of objects and, to a lesser extent, ideas.
The school developing in the 1960s and onward was self-named the “new archaeology” to emphasize its break with the past. The goal was explicit explanation, development of covering laws to aid both in explanation and the deduction of hypotheses and test implications, and a greater understanding of human–ecology relationships.
Many of the ideas borrowed from other social sciences (see later) became part of “normal science” during the heyday of the new, or processualist, archaeology (because of its interest in the processes of cultural change and adaptations), which was considered a science modeled after natural sciences, particularly physics and chemistry.
The inevitable backlash against the excesses of processualist approaches is the unfortunately named postprocessual archaeology. This set of diverse approaches has a number of goals, among which are looking at decision making and agency; understanding sites in their particular landscapes; looking at identity, including the components of individual identity such as gender, age, sexual orientation, and ability/disability; and promoting the idea that knowledge is contingent, and that we cannot escape the ideas and language of our own era.
- Thus what we say about the past is as much about our times as ancient days.
- Inspiration is drawn from both the social sciences and the humanities.
- The following discussions highlight the models and theories drawn from other social sciences that have been particularly important to anthropological archaeology since World War II.
The text is telegraphic, and citations are at a minimum; nonetheless, readers should obtain enough background to follow up on particular approaches. Read full chapter URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0123693985003169
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Social history is the study of societal structures, social change, and individual experiences, whereas cultural history is the study of everyday life, experiences, values, and norms attached to cultural production.
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What is the difference between history and cultural studies?
Aphorisms on Cultural Studies Institutionally speaking, cultural studies is a field of academic inquiry that developed in Great Britain in the 1960s-80s and has been taken up and transformed by various academic movements in various ways since the 1980s.
- Cultural studies is explicitly interdisciplinary, employing the methods of both the humanities and the social sciences, and drawing upon materials and theories from disciplines such as literary studies, sociology, psychology, history, economics, and politics.
- Conceptually speaking, cultural studies originates in the idea of textuality – that is, in the idea that our world is full of texts, or things that we humans have created, and that we can interpret those “cultural texts” in the same way that we interpret ” literary texts” more traditionally understood.
If a literary text is the product of an individual author, a cultural text is the product of an entire society, or at least a sub-culture within a society. The definition of a text in cultural studies is significantly broader than the definition of a text in traditional literary studies.
In cultural studies, a text is not simply a book. In fact, in cultural studies, a text need not be a material document at all. The text can be a literary document (a novel or poem), or some other artistic document (a film or photograph), or what is called a “cultural artifact” (a hairstyle or political slogan), or an event (a campus riot or ) In other words, cultural studies does history as literary studies.
From the perspective of cultural studies, for example, there are genres of culture: a culture could be tragic or comic based on its congruence with the literary genres of tragedy and comedy. Moreover, cultures have their own rhetorics: a culture could rely upon the logic of a metaphor, or it could invoke the pastoral mode.
In contrast to history, which addresses the particular facts of a society – who did what when – cultural studies attends to the conceptual implications of a society. Why did a certain culture emerge out of a certain society? How does a certain culture work? What’s the logic at play in a certain society? Where did a certain cultural formation come from? How does a culture perpetuate itself? How does cultural change occur? Cultural studies attends to the social and political context in which a culture develops and manifests.
Cultural studies attends to the assumptions, motives, commitments, and structures of social life. It asks why we do the things we do – “we” as particular individuals living in societies, and “we” as cultures and sub-cultures developed by societies. Popular culture has become a central concern of cultural studies.
In other words, while much history attends to the “high culture” of the ruling class and elites in a society, many cultural studies shift their focus to the “low culture” of the general public. As such, it is often necessary, when doing a cultural studies project, to determine whether the culture you’re looking at is a mainstream culture (sometimes called a dominant culture) or a subculture.
How do you do cultural studies? Inevitably, there are various ways. The way I like doing cultural studies is to treat a culture like a text, and to treat the society like the author of the text. And then I ask, “What was the author’s intent?” In other words, what was the society trying to accomplish? Why was it trying to accomplish this? And what steps did it take in order to accomplish this? Perhaps the basic unit of cultural studies is the reception study.
- Reception studies is a variant of reader-response literary theory, which attends to the reader’s subjective and situated response to a literary text.
- Reader-response theory contends that the circumstances of a reader condition and influence meaning, perhaps even more so than the intent of the author.
Receptions studies extends this idea to say, “If meaning is conditioned by the situation of a reader, then how a particular cultural moment shape the interpretation hazarded by a particular reader or set of readers?” As with many disciplines and movements, there is a broad distinction to make between cultural studies that are ethical and cultural studies that are analytical.
- When ethical, cultural studies seek to expose the injustices of a certain cultural formation.
- This kind of cultural studies was popular in Britain in the 1960s-80s and was sometimes called “cultural materialism.” When analytical, cultural studies seek to identify and describe the structure and logic of a certain culture without trying to change it or even rendering a judgment of it.
: Aphorisms on Cultural Studies
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What is an example of cultural studies?
For example, from the cultural studies perspective, things like race, gender, or disability don’t really exist but are instead concepts or beliefs that people have created in order to organize their cultures or societies.
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What are 7 examples of cultural?
They are social organization, customs, religion, language, government, economy, and arts.
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What does a cultural historical theory focus on?
Key Points –
- Cultural-Historical Activity Theory posits that human activities can be described and analyzed by considering the dynamics of motivation, societal structures and rules, and the means of doing activities.
- Activity Theory, in its original form, has three key principles: the subject, or the person who carries out the activity; the object, or the objective; and the artifacts, or the tools used to achieve an object. Later, theorists added a plethora of new factors to this model.
- Activity Theory developed in the 1920s primarily as a way of describing child development, but stayed constrained to the Soviet Union until the 1970s, after which it spread to domains as diverse as education and human-computer interaction.
What are the 4 approaches of cultural studies?
on November 23, 2016 • Arising from the social turmoil of the 1960-s, Cultural Studies is an academic discipline which combines political economy, communication, sociology, social theory, literary theory, media theory, film studies, cultural anthropology, philosophy, art history/ criticism etc.
to study cultural phenomena in various societies. Cultural Studies researches often focus on how a particular phenomenon relates matters of ideology, nationality, ethnicity, social class and gender. Discussion on Cultural Studies have gained currency with the publication of Richard Hoggart’s Use of Literacy (1957) and Raymond Williams’ Culture and Society (1958), and with the establishment of Birmingham Centre for is Contemporary Cultural Studies in England in 1968.
Since culture is now considered as the source of art and literature, cultural criticism has gained ground, and therefore, Raymond Williams’ term “cultural materialism”, Stephen Greenblatt’s “cultural poetics” and Bakhtin’s term “cultural prosaic”, have become significant in the field of Cultural Studies and cultural criticism.
- The works of Stuart Hall and Richard Hoggart with the Birmingham Centre, later expanded through the writings of David Morley, Tony Bennett and others.
- Cultural Studies is interested in the process by which power relations organize cultural artefacts (food habits, music, cinema, sport events etc.).
- It looks at popular culture and everyday life, which had hitherto been dismissed as “inferior” and unworthy of academic study.
Cultural Studies’ approaches 1) transcend the confines of a particular discipline such as literary criticism or history 2) are politically engaged 3) reject the distinction between “high” and “low” art or “elite” and “popular” culture 4) analyse not only the cultural works but also the means of production.
- In order to understand the changing political circumstances of class, politics and culture in the UK, scholars at the CCCS turned to the work of Antonio Gramsci who modified classical Marxism in seeing culture as a key instrument of political and social control.
- In his view, capitalists are not only brute force (police, prison, military) to maintain control, but also penetrate the everyday culture of working people.
Thus the key rubric for Gramsci and for cultural studies is that of cultural hegemony. Edgar and Sedgwick point out that the theory of hegemony was pivotal to the development of British Cultural Studies. It facilitated analysis of the ways in which subaltern groups actively resist and respond to political and economic domination.
The approach of Raymond Williams and CCCS was clearly marxIst and poststructuralist, and held subject identities and relationships as textual, constructed out of discourse. Cultural Studies believes that we cannot “read” cultural artefacts only within the aesthetic realm, rather they must be studied within the social and material perspectives; i.e., a novel must be read not only within the generic conventions and history of the novel, but also in terms of the publishing industry and its profit, its reviewers, its academic field of criticism, the politics of awards and the hype of publicity machinery that sells the book.
Cultural Studies regards the cultural artefact like the tricolour or Gandhi Jayanti as a political sign, that is part of the “discourse” of India, as reinforcing certain ideological values, and concealing oppressive conditions of patriarchal ideas of the nation, nationalism and national identity. In Cultural Studies, representation is a key concept and denotes a language in which all objects and relationships get defined, a language related to issues of class, power and ideology, and situated within the context of “discourse”. The cultural practice of giving dolls to girls can be read within the patriarchal discourse of femininity that girls are weaker and delicate and need to be given soft things, and that grooming, care etc.
- Are feminine duties which dolls will help them learn.
- This discourse of femininity is itself related to the discourse of masculinity and the larger context of power relations in culture.
- Identity, for Culture Studies, is constituted through experience, which involves representation – the consumption of signs, the making of meaning from signs and the knowledge of meaning.
Cultural Studies views everyday life as fragmented, multiple, where meanings are hybridized and contested; i.e., identities that were more or less homogeneous in terms of ethnicities and patterns of consumption, are now completely hybrid, especially in the metropolis.
With the globalization of urban spaces, local cultures are linked to global economies, markets and needs, and hence any study of contemporary culture has to examine the role of a non-local market/ money which requires a postcolonial awareness of the exploitative relationship between the First World and the Third World even today.
Cultural Studies is interested in lifestyle because lifestyle 1) is about everyday life 2) defines identity 3) influences social relations 4) bestows meaning and value to artefacts in a culture. In India, after economic liberalization, consumption has been seen as a marker of identity.
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What is cultural-historical context?
Historical Context Definition – Historical context is the social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental situations that influence the events or trends we see happen during that time. Therefore, if we are unfamiliar with the traditions, culture, thinking, or events happening at any time in history, we could misinterpret or lose the meaning of a piece of writing we are reading.
Who is the author ?When was it written?Are there any references or languages you don’t understand? Could they be specific to the time period?Were there any religious, cultural, political, or economic events happening at the time that could have influenced the writer and their piece?
What are the benefits of cultural history?
By examining ‘cultural history’ – the beliefs, ideas, objects and experiences of everyday life, as well as the attitudes, values, rituals and practices of individuals and societies – we can develop a deeper understanding of how past societies and peoples understood themselves and the world around them.
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How is cultural history different from anthropology?
• Categorized under Career & Education, Miscellaneous | Difference Between Anthropology and History Anthropology Vs History Anthropology, by mere definition, is the study of human beings. On the contrary, history is the study of history, period! Basically, studying history is learning about the past of human civilizations. Everything that has occurred in the past is history and every event that is bound to happen will eventually become a part of it.
- This includes the oral and written accounts of history, although there is more emphasis with written records.
- History is definitely broader than anthropology.
- The latter can be part of history because in actuality anthropology is indeed a sub component of history.
- Viewing history itself won’t make you focus into much detail about man’s culture as opposed to how specific anthropology can be when it comes to studying man’s religion, shared myths, and even folklores.
History will not go into that much detail. However, you cannot avoid studying anthropology when you delve into history because you will eventually bump into anthropology when you deal with the study of past events. The one who studies history or writes something about a piece of history is called a historian whereas the one who studies anthropology is called an anthropologist.
- In an objective manner, the study of history involves finding out the cause and effect of certain events.
- In anthropology it is only about defining an entity, for example what defines humans and who are their ancestors? In the anthropologist’s view, answering such a question will only lead to more questions on how the answer will affect the trait, behavior and associations of human beings.
Thus, anthropology is specific to studying human beings alone across all periods of time. Overall, the general goal of history is to know what have happened including all events that involved the humans. Conversely, anthropology has only one central goal and that is holism.
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What is the difference between cultural heritage and history?
Some definitions – History tells us what happened in the past; Heritage describes surviving materials of the past – evidence that exists now – in the present. Although Heritage includes ‘intangibles’ such as language, customs or belief, it more often refers to physical stuff; a brooch, art, images, books, that piece of land donated to the town for public use, or buildings or structures that remain from a previous era such as village stocks or a group of WW2 air raid shelters,
Our valued buildings are doorways to history. They are the physical remnants of where we have come from, the culture and ideas that society has passed onto us, and the reminder that every period fluctuates and varies according to the demands and passions of the day. The history encapsulated within those places and objects reveals and justifies their significance as examples of heritage – and may support a case from protection or conservation.
There will always be some tension between what is deemed to be of importance to the nation and what has significance to local communities. That’s one of the reasons why the introduction of the Local Heritage List was so important. Made up of local people working or interested in heritage and history, they researched and scrutinised buildings, applying national assessment methods within a local context.
An example of why rigorous research is so important can be seen on the High Street. After the demolition last century of the building now replaced by WH Smith, evidence emerged to show that it had probably been the site of Halstead’s ancient guildhall. The loss of a building with such an important civic past occurred due to the lack of accurate historic detail available about the building and its purpose at the time the decision to demolish it was made.
And just a few years ago, the only remaining building from Halstead Railway Station was demolished in 2016 to make way for the Lidl supermarket. Such examples highlight the need for rigorous research and show how history contributes to the protection of the historic environment,
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What are the key concepts of Cultural Studies?
Eight Key Concepts – Cultural studies is mainly concerned with eight key concepts namely: signifying practices, representation, materialism and non-reductionism, articulation, power, popular culture, texts and readers, subjectivity and identity. Writers are constantly in debate about how to deploy theses key concepts and which is the most significant one.
- Culture and signifying practices are focusing on the production of meaning in order to make sense of the world. Here the importance of language becomes apparent as language is a way to produce signs and hence, meaning.
- Representation refers to the construction of meanings through several means such as images or sounds. However, meanings are connected to specific social contexts and are therefore understood differently according to distinct circumstances.
- Materialism and non-reductionism are two interrelated concepts in cultural studies. Materialism is tied to the production of cultural meanings. At this point several questions arise such as who controls the production, how is it distributed and how does that affect the cultural environment. Hence, as already mentioned before, cultural meanings are related to a specific context with its own particularities. Such meanings cannot be reduced what is described as non-reductionism.
- Articulation describes the relation of several elements in cultural studies. Hence, certain subjects are constructed through other subjects which are context dependent.
- Power stands central in cultural studies as it highly influences, generates and determines social relationships.
- Popular culture includes the concept of power generated through ideology and consent which results in hegemony. Ideology invisibly maintains power by presenting certain norms and values as universal truths. If a large group of people consents to a certain structure in society, hegemony is created which reproduces certain meanings and practices as forms of power over the subordinated group.
- Texts and readers are culturally constructed such as sounds, images or practices and can generate power through produced ideology and hegemony. Hence, as people consume such cultural texts, they create meanings which again depends on the environment and context the people are currently in.
- Subjectivity is related to identity as subjectivity refers to the person itself, whereas identity refers to how it feels to be such a person. Hence, we humans are not essential, existing subjects but are influenced by our surroundings and are constructed through it. This argument is also described as anti-essentialism.
What are the topics of Cultural Studies?
Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the political dynamics of contemporary culture (including popular culture ) and its historical foundations. Cultural studies researchers generally investigate how cultural practices relate to wider systems of power associated with, or operating through, social phenomena.
These include ideology, class structures, national formations, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and generation. Employing cultural analysis, cultural studies views cultures not as fixed, bounded, stable, and discrete entities, but rather as constantly interacting and changing sets of practices and processes.
The field of cultural studies encompasses a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives and practices. Although distinct from the discipline of cultural anthropology and the interdisciplinary field of ethnic studies, cultural studies draws upon and has contributed to each of these fields.
Cultural studies was initially developed by British Marxist academics in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and has been subsequently taken up and transformed by scholars from many different disciplines around the world. Cultural studies is avowedly and even radically interdisciplinary and can sometimes be seen as anti-disciplinary.
A key concern for cultural studies practitioners is the examination of the forces within and through which socially organized people conduct and participate in the construction of their everyday lives. Cultural studies combines a variety of politically engaged critical approaches drawn including semiotics, Marxism, feminist theory, ethnography, post-structuralism, postcolonialism, social theory, political theory, history, philosophy, literary theory, media theory, film/video studies, communication studies, political economy, translation studies, museum studies and art history /criticism to study cultural phenomena in various societies and historical periods.
Cultural studies seeks to understand how meaning is generated, disseminated, contested, bound up with systems of power and control, and produced from the social, political and economic spheres within a particular social formation or conjuncture. The movement has generated important theories of cultural hegemony and agency,
Its practitioners attempt to explain and analyze the cultural forces related and processes of globalization, During the rise of neoliberalism in Britain and the US, cultural studies both became a global movement, and attracted the attention of many conservative opponents both within and beyond universities for a variety of reasons.
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What are the objectives of Cultural Studies?
The objective of the field of cultural studies is to investigate and evaluate the social origins, the institutional transmissions, and the ideological repercussions of community activities, organisations, and artefacts.
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What is a PhD in Cultural Studies?
A PhD in Cultural Studies, a dynamic, growing field of inquiry, equips you with the cultural expertise and critical research methods needed to transcend disciplinary boundaries as you examine ideological dimensions of culture and power struggles among competing systems of representation.
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What is Cultural Studies anyway?
Cultural studies concern with whole societies (or broader social formations) and how they move. It looks at social processes from another complementary point of view. To abstract, describe, and reconstitute in concrete studies forms through which human beings live, become conscious, sustain themselves subjectively.
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Is Christianity considered a culture?
Christian culture generally includes all the cultural practices which have developed around the religion of Christianity, There are variations in the application of Christian beliefs in different cultures and traditions. Christian culture has influenced and assimilated much from the Greco-Roman, Byzantine, Western culture, Middle Eastern, Zoroastrianism, Slavic, Caucasian, and possibly from Indian culture,
- During the early Roman Empire, Christendom has been divided in the pre-existing Greek East and Latin West,
- Consequently, different versions of the Christian cultures arose with their own rites and practices, Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches,
- Christianity played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization, in particular, the Catholic Church and Protestantism,
Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture. Outside the Western world, Christianity has had an influence on various cultures, such as in Africa and Asia. Christians have made a noted contributions to human progress in a broad and diverse range of fields, both historically and in modern times, including science and technology, medicine, fine arts and architecture, politics, literatures, music, philanthropy, philosophy, : 15 ethics, humanism, theatre and business.
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What are the 5 main cultures?
Frequently Asked Questions – What are 5 different cultures? Indian, Chinese, Korean, Swiss and American are the 5 different cultures of the world. What are cultural views? Every culture consists of a different view. So as a whole we can say that cultural views vary depending on countries, history, demographic conditions, political views, and ideologies.
What are the main cultures? Asian culture, American culture, Arabian culture, Chinese culture, African culture are some of the main cultures around the world. What are the 12 elements of culture? Language, religion, clothing, architecture, food, agriculture, gender relations, tolerance, technology, music, art and education are the 12 elements of culture.
Which country has the most traditions? Spain has the most traditions all around the world.
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Is religion a part of culture?
Abstract Cultures or cultural values, which are described as constructively created behaviors based on collective beliefs, are omnipresent at multiple levels in every human behavior and interaction, including in the sphere of religion. Scholars described religion as a cultural system of symbols, which establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations and naturalized conceptions of a general order of existence.
Thus, religion is considered to be a part of culture and it acts as one among many forms of overtly expressing and experiencing spirituality that is inward, personal, subjective, transcendental, and unsystematic. In other words, cultural values are seen as a foundation to religiosity. Based on this assumption, this paper reviewed the literature to provide empirical evidence to the overt practice of religiosity that is embedded in particular cultural experiences and values as a form of expressing and experiencing the human universal of spirituality.
Share and Cite: Edara, I. (2017) Religion: A Subset of Culture and an Expression of Spirituality. Advances in Anthropology, 7, 273-288. doi: 10.4236/aa.2017.74015,1. Introduction Arnet (2008) indicated that much of the research in social sciences in the Western sphere focused on a philosophy of science emphasizing the fundamental Western values, which ignored the cultural contexts.
Arnetthus suggested that a pertinent goal for social science research should be one that represents a demographic profile of humans in a broader and culturally diverse context, and place an emphasis on understanding human functioning in a cultural and ethnic context. Pedersen (1991) calls it a multicultural perspective, which “combines the extremes of universalism and relativism by explaining behavior both in terms of those culturally learned perspectives that are unique to a particular culture and in the search for common-ground universals that are shared across cultures” (p.6).
In elaborating the rationale for cultural research and multicultural perspective, scholars maintain two broad views, of which one is a culture-free perspective and the other is a culture-embedded perspective ( Pedrotti, Edwards, & Lopez, 2009 ). The researchers with a culture-free perspective argue that there are universal attributes that transcend particular cultures and politics ( Seligman & Csikszenmihalyi, 2000 ), whereas those with a culture-embedded perspective argue that human functioning can only be viewed from within a cultural context ( Constantine & Sue, 2006 ).
Recently, many scholars have been endorsing the culturally embedded view of human affairs, and in particular, those operating from a multicultural framework argue that human functioning has to be understood in a given cultural context rather than in vacuum ( Christopher, 2005 ; Constantine & Sue, 2006 ; Pedrotti et al., 2009 ), because cultural values are omnipresent at multiple levels in every human behavior and interaction.
The complex human behavior or interaction can be explained by Kluckhohn and Murray’s (1953) tripartite model, which describes human beings as simultaneously like all others, suggesting the universal dimension; like some others, suggesting the cultural or social dimension; and like no other, suggesting the uniqueness of each individual.
There are many ways that human beings are like all other human beings. People are much more alike than they are different ( Augsburger, 1986 ). This essential humanness is the fundamental basis for all empathy and all human relationships ( Cooper-White, 2007 ). Yet, human beings are not isolated, but relational ( Cooper-White, 2007 ), because they are shaped, formed, and patterned by the cultural community ( Augsburger, 1986 ).
People are not only born into cultures, but they also participate in and co-construct the cultures in which they are embedded ( Cooper-White, 2007 ). Finally, every individual human being is unique ( Cooper-White, 2007 ), with a distinctive developmental sequence, experience, life-style, and personality ( Augsburger, 1986 ).
- Augsburger (1986) indicated that many socio-psychological theories focus primarily on the unique and idiographic aspects and thus neglect the culturally defined expectations or universally accepted natural laws.
- Some other theories focus on the nomothetic aspects―common experiences or similar characteristics of all people―and thus neglect the individual peculiarities.
Augsburger maintained that all three dimensions of the tripartite model should inform the culturally valid research and helping professions. He said that “only when the universal is clearly understood can the cultural be seen distinctly and the individual traits respected fully; only when the person is prized in her or his uniqueness can the cultural matrix be seen clearly and the universal frame be assessed accurately” ( Augsburger, 1986: p.49 ).
- Further, he said that “the universal unites us as humans, the cultural identifies us with significant persons, and the individual affirms our identity” (p.50).
- Based on the aforementioned model, this paper reviewed the literature to validate the model on how the overt practice of religiosity that is embedded in particular cultural experiences and values is a form of expressing and experiencing the human universal aspect of spirituality.2.
Spirituality: The Universal Dimension Before explaining spirituality as the universal dimension and given the recent polarizing developments in the understanding of religion and spirituality, it appears necessary to delineate these two concepts. Recent developments in the psychology of religion and spirituality have reified religion into a fixed system of ideological commitments with or without dynamic personal elements, and relegated spirituality to the personal dynamics and subjective experience of religion ( Hill & Pargament, 2003 ).
- Based on these developments, scholars proposed three broad approaches to understanding the meanings of spirituality and religion.
- The first approach is that spirituality and religion are seen as a single construct, in which spirituality and religion or religiosity are interchangeable (see Hill et al., 2000 ; Hill & Pargament, 2003 ; Musick, Traphagan, Koenig, & Larson, 2000 ; Zinnbauer & Pargament, 2005 ).
The second approach is polarization, in which religiosity represents an institutional, formal, doctrinal expression, and spirituality represents a personal, subjective, inward, and unsystematic expression ( Hill & Pargament, 2003 ; Moberg, 2002 ). The final approach is viewing them as related constructs, where religiosity and spirituality represent related rather than two independently polarized constructs ( Hill et al., 2000 ).
According to Zinnbauer and Pargament (2005), both spirituality and religiosity include a significant search for the sacred. This search for the sacred occurs in a larger religious context, one that may be traditional or nontraditional ( Hill et al., 2000 ); nontraditional implying a search for the sacred in alternative spirituality practices, such as yoga, astrology, tarot, and horoscopes ( Glendinning & Bruce, 2006 ).
Based on the approaches and the tripartite model being considered here, spirituality and religion are seen as polarized constructs belonging to different dimensions. Religion is considered to be a part of culture and acts as one among many forms of overtly expressing and experiencing spirituality that is inward, personal, subjective, transcendental, and unsystematic.
As a separate construct from systematic and overt religion, spirituality is seen by many social scientists as an essential dimension of human life ( Ortiz, Villereal, & Engel, 2000 ), an ontologically existent phenomenon ( Moberg, 2002 ), and an innate drive in humans to have a connection with a deeper source of wisdom ( Jerry, 2003 ).
Citing sociologist Sturzo who asserted that every person and all of society exist within a supernatural atmosphere, Moberg (2002) said that spirituality could be seen as an aspect of universal human experience. Given this universal dimension to spirituality, scholars rendered spirituality various descriptions, some of which included the presence of a relationship with a Higher Power; the human response to God’s call to a relationship with himself; the search for existential meaning; the way a person relates to the ultimate conditions of existence; a transcendent dimension within human experience; and a subjective experience of the sacred ( Zinnbauer & Pargament, 2005 ; Zinnbauer, Pargament, & Scott, 1999 ).
Spirituality is also defined as a search for the sacred ( Pargament, 2007 ); the engagement with the sacred ( Barry, Nelson, Davarya, & Urry, 2010 ); an innate capacity and tendency to move towards connectedness and transcendence ( Fukuyama & Sevig, 1999 ); and as a subjective relationship to larger and transcendental realities ( Piedmont, Ciarrocchi, Dy-Liacco, & Williams, 2009 ).
Not only the descriptions of spirituality, but also the research on spirituality has been assuming that all people are spiritual beings and a normative value judgment of universal spirituality has been dominant in research on spirituality. For instance, a research study by Dy-Liacco and colleagues (2009) established the generalizability of spirituality as an aspect of universal human experience across different religious and psychological cultures by providing support for the hypothesis that spirituality has similar meanings and functions for Filipino Catholics as for American Protestants.
A study by Piedmont and Leach (2002) has indicated that spirituality is a basic element of who we are as human beings and it represents a universal aspect of the individual that is recognizable among people of different faiths and cultures. In other words, human beings’ desire to connect with some larger and sacred reality has been a constant force in various human societies over the centuries.
Regarding religion as a cultural tool to experiencing and expressing the innate and the universal spirituality, all the major religions in the world teach that spirituality represents a uniquely human and universal capacity that is present in all persons to engage in a personal relationship with a supreme transcendent reality.
Moberg (2002) theorized that spirituality’s central core universally characterizes all people, no matter how its specifics may have been defined, verbalized, adapted, and ritualized. For example, God is described in Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic traditions as a Personal Divine, theistic or theistic-relational in nature.
The Hebrew tradition talks about a close and intimate covenant relationship of the Divine with people. The Christian tradition views a loving and personal relationship with God through the manifestation of Jesus as essential for wholeness. The central beliefs in Islamic tradition include the unity of God and all things (see Fukuyama & Sevig, 1999 ; Richards, Keller, & Smith, 2004 ).
- In the Eastern traditions, God is described as the Impersonal Divine or non-dual in nature, with an emphasis on no separation of self from the Divine.
- For instance, a profound Hindu prayer “Aham Brahmasmi” translated into English as “I am Brahman or God,” is a prayer of openness to one’s consciousness so that the Transcendent presence within may emerge to assume the devotee’s true identity as the self-centered ego diminishes.
The Buddhist perspective encourages mindful awareness through which a person dissolves all illusions of separateness and gains insight into the impermanence of life (see Catoir, 1985 ; Fukuyama & Sevig, 1999 ; Richards et al., 2004 ). Thus, the essence of universal spirituality is a transcendent quality that cuts across cultures and infuses all of the core dimensions of religiosity and human functioning with meaning ( Moberg, 2002 ).
Moreover, there seems to be an empirical support with respect to the possible innateness of spirituality ( D’Onofrio, Eaves, Murrelle, Maes, & Spilka, 1999 ; Kendler, Gardner, & Prescott, 1997 ; Miller, Weissman, Gur, & Adams, 2001 ). Particularly, in a human being who is goal-oriented and intrinsically motivated ( Emmons, Cheung, & Tehrani, 1998 ), spirituality reflects an individual’s innate orientation toward a larger transcendent reality ( Piedmont, 1999 ).
In fact, Baumeister (2002) and Stark (2001) construed spirituality as the highest level of motivation that arises out of an innate and unique human quality behind humankind’s search for meaning in life, and they therefore argued that spirituality definesculture.
On the other hand, because spirituality is still a part of specific religious doctrinal and dogmatic formation, it raises the question of whether or not the universal appeal of spirituality is culturally determined ( Nagai, 2007 ), and whether it is in many ways a multicultural issue ( Oman & Thoresen, 2005 ).
In other words, the contexts in which spirituality is reflected are the religious practices that are heterogeneous, dynamic, and culture-specific ( Chatters, 2000 ). For example, a study by Krause, Ingersoll-Dayton, Liang, and Sugisawa (1999) demonstrated the importance of cultural variability and offered evidence that religious service attendance may be less relevant to health in Japanese culture than in American culture.
On the other hand, a study by Hood et al. (2001) demonstrated the significance of cultural similarity by offering evidence of similar factorial patterns underlying mystical experiences in Christian and Islamic cultures. These studies suggest that religion, although one form of experiencing and expressing the universal spirituality, is heterogeneous and culture-specific, suggesting that religion is an aspect of a larger cultural framework of the peoples.3.
Religion: A Subset of Culture Broadly speaking, since culture permeates the whole social fabric of people, it can be described as a way of life ( Smith, Richards, & Granley, 2004 ), and it is an important area of interaction and understanding among people ( Gasimova, 2008 ; Miller & Kelley, 2005 ).
- Cultures can be learned and acquired, because they consist of ideas, attitudes, values, beliefs, and philosophies of life shaped by the upbringing of the people in specific cultural contexts ( Fukuyama & Sevig, 1999 ).
- In other words, cultures reflect the patterns of thinking, feeling, acting and reacting, values and other meaningful systems for people.
Culture is usually transmitted through the principle of cultural succession ( Gasimova, 2008 ) and collective programming of the mind ( Hofstede, 1980 ), which distinguish members of one group from another with a broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs and values to others.
- Thus, culture is described as constructively created behaviors based on collective beliefs ( Nagai, 2007 ).
- Defining culture in broader terms helps us to assume that religious culture is asubset of culture at large, with meanings that are although overlapping with yet distinguishable from other subsets such as educational culture, entertainment culture, economic culture, political culture or media culture.
In this line of thinking, Geertz (1973) described religion as a cultural system of symbols, which establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations and naturalize conceptions of a general order of existence (p.91). In the recent past, Zinnbauer and Pargament (2005) compiled the past and present definitions of religion or religiosity used by various researchers.
Some of these definitions included: a system of beliefs in a divine power and practices of worship directed towards such a power; the inner experience of an individual when she or he senses a Beyond and active attempts to harmonize his or her life with this Beyond; a community of faithful people who follow certain teachings that enhance their search for the sacred.
The relation of culture to religiosity means that in spite of the universalism perspective on spirituality, people experience and express spirituality in diverse ways based on their social and cultural worldviews that are composed of attitudes, values, concepts, and philosophies of life.
- For example, the Kluckhohn model for worldviews provides a structure for understanding cultural values as a foundation to religiosity and as expressions of spirituality within a cultural context ( Fukuyama & Sevig, 1999 ; Fukuyama, Siahpoush, & Sevig, 2005 ).
- The model includes five value dimensions: a) human nature, which can be seen as good or bad or mixed; b) relation of humans to nature, which is seen by different cultures where humans are subjugated by or in harmony with or have mastery over nature; c) activity orientation, which is viewed as doing or being or becoming; d) time orientation, which is the differential focus on the past or present or future; and e) relational, which emphasizes either individual or group.
These value dimensions provide a cultural framework in conceptualizing the religiosity and experiencing the spirituality of people of different cultures. For instance, the European is likely to hold a value system of mastery, doing, future orientation, and individualism that influences his or her understanding of religiosity and the experience of spirituality ( Fukuyama & Sevig, 1999 ).
Epstein (1995) emphasized the value of experiential illusions in the Eastern traditions as opposed to the Western understanding of illusion as perceptional distortion of objective reality. Epstein further clarified his point by stressing the Buddhist principle that we are nothing but experience. In helping professions, for example in clinical practice, the experiential illusions of culture, religiosity, and psyche help us “being” in therapy rather than overemphasizing “doing”, a Western- value that rushes to eliminate symptoms.
The understanding through cultural framework also helps us to be aware of differences between the Western practice of “working-through” and the Eastern practice of “working-toward” ( Epstein, 1995 ). One of the ego functions that is valued more in the Western cultures and less in the Eastern cultures is the mastery of nature ( Yi, 1995 ).
The Eastern cultures encourage being contained within nature, while the Western cultures seem to encourage the mastery over nature ( Nagai, 2007 ; Yi, 1995 ). Further, some of the Eastern cultures influenced by Buddhist thought emphasize being in the present moment; Indian yoga traditions view doing as a means to higher spiritual consciousness; and people who embrace New Age religious values focus on the becoming aspect of religious development.
The differences are further defined by the Western cultural perspective of God or Higher Power as a Personal Divine and theistic-relational in nature, whereas the Eastern traditions view God as Impersonal Divine and non-dual in nature ( Fukuyama et al., 2005 ).
- In reference to the relational aspect, Eastern cultures use more autoplastic adaptations in order to accept the demands of others in society ( Nagai, 2007 ).
- In this same regard, the defense mechanism of suppression is more commonly observed in the collectivist cultures in order to maintain harmony, whereas repression may be more commonly observed in the individualist cultures ( Hsu, 1949 ; Nagai, 2007 ).
Along the same line of thinking comes the Eastern concept of self that is viewed as a constellation of internal representations of relationships with others, thus leading to multiple self and object representations experienced as the extensions of families and communities ( Tisdale, Key, & Edwards, 1997 ).
The concept of self in the individualist Western cultures is constrained by self- awareness, self-control and self-esteem, so much so that the Dalai Lama, who is said to embody the Asian culture and Eastern religion and spirituality, could not grasp the meaning of self-esteem (see Epstein, 1995: p.177 ).
Thus, the Eastern self makes a healthy development by dependency on others and through the feeling of fusion, while the Western self develops through the process of separation ( Okonogi, 2005 ). This contrast is illustrated by Nagai’s (2007) comparison of the punishment for misbehavior in the Asian and Western cultures.
Nagai said that punishment for misbehavior among the Asian cultures is banishment from the family, indicating separation from the primary objects, while children in the Western cultures are more opt to be grounded, indicating the restriction of autonomy and independence. Moberg (2002) attributed the above variations in value systems to three different approaches: a) theological or dogmatic interpretations, b) anthropological understandings, and c) historical-contextual approaches.
Understanding religion and spirituality from a cultural perspective falls under the anthropological interpretations and historical-contextual approaches. In other words, many of the variations in the expression of religiosity and the experience of spirituality flow from the aspects of cultural influences.
- That is, particular features of religiosity dwell upon the richness of certain cultural content.
- For example, the religiosity in the Eastern culture can be described as introverted that is primarily oriented toward the inner life of the human being, whereas in the Western culture it is described as extroverted.
In other words, culture builds up a social mechanism that maintains the type of religiosity that is acceptable in a given cultural context ( Gasimova, 2008 ).3.1. Empirical Evidence As indicated earlier, culture is a way of life, consisting of differing worldviews, ideas, values, beliefs, and philosophies.
- Hence, it is no wonder that the researchers have been emphasizing that the study of people should be done in their cultural context, for it is rare for any individual to behave without responding to some aspect of culture ( Pedersen, 1991 ).
- One of the cultural constructs that has been of a great interest to a wide range of researchers has been that of individualism-collectivism ( Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk, & Gelfand, 1995 ).
In the following paragraphs, this construct is briefly described and its relationship to religion and spirituality is explained by citing some of the empirical studies.3.2. Individualism-Collectivism Hofstede (1980) defined individualism as having emphasis on personal autonomy and self-fulfillment, and the basing of one’s identity on one’s personal accomplishments.
- Later research on individualism expanded it to include a focus on personal responsibility and freedom of choice ( Sampson, 2001 ).
- Thus, individualism is a cultural worldview that centralizes the personal aspects of people ( Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002 ; Shulruf, Hattie, & Dixon, 2007 ), and emphasizes “I” consciousness, autonomy, emotional independence, and individual initiative ( Brewer & Chen, 2007 ).
On the other side, the core element of collectivism is the assumption that the groups bind and mutually obligate individuals ( Oyserman et al., 2002 ); and that the individuals are interconnected and are embedded in interdependent social relationships ( Brewer & Chen, 2007 ).
The collectivist societies are communal societies in which common goals and common values are centralized ( Oyserman et al., 2002 ; Shulruf et al., 2007 ). People in the collectivist cultures stress “we” consciousness, emotional dependence, group solidarity, duties and obligations ( Brewer & Chen, 2007 ).
Hofstede (1980) conceptualized individualism-collectivism as bipolar opposites. A review of the literature highlighted that cultures are not pure and individualism-collectivism constructs are not unidimensional, and therefore, it was proposed to make the distinction between vertical and horizontal individualism and collectivism ( Singelis et al., 1995 ; Sivadas, Bruvold, & Nelson, 2008 ; Triandis & Gelfand, 1998 ).
- The horizontal aspect emphasizes equality and the vertical emphasizes hierarchy.
- According to the horizontal patterns, one’s understanding of self is more or less like other selves; in contrast, in the vertical patterns, one’s self is different from other selves ( Chiou, 2001 ; Singelis et al., 1995 ; Triandis & Gelfand, 1998 ).
Combinations of relative emphases with individualism-collectivism produce four distinct patterns: horizontal collectivism (HC), vertical collectivism (VC), horizontal individualism (HI), and vertical individualism (VI) ( Chiou, 2001 ; Singelis et al., 1995 ).
Horizontal collectivism (HC) implies valuing social relations with equals ( Schimmack, Oishi, & Diener, 2002 ). Well-being of in-groups is important for HCs, but there is no feeling of being subordinate to their in-groups or authority ( Chiou, 2001 ). HC also emphasizes common goals and interdependence ( Triandis & Gelfand, 1998 ).
Vertical collectivism (VC) implies valuing social relations with superiors including parents ( Schimmack et al., 2002 ). Vertical collectivists submit to the structures of their in-groups and are willing to sacrifice their personal identities and goals for the in-group stability ( Chiou, 2001 ).
Horizontal individualism (HI) reflects a person’s tendency to have an independent self-concept, to value uniqueness ( Schimmack et al., 2002 ), and to be distinct from groups ( Triandis & Gelfand, 1998 ). Horizontal individualists seek individuality rather than distinctiveness ( Chiou, 2001 ). Finally, vertical individualists (VC) stress the importance of competition ( Chiou, 2001 ; Schimmack et al., 2002 ); are concerned with comparing themselves with others ( Chiou, 2001 ); and want to acquire status ( Triandis & Gelfand, 1998 ).
These two cultural constructs with four distinct patterns categorize the largest concentrations of the population of the world, predominantly the individualist Europe and the collectivist Asia. Scholars assume that individualism is more prevalent in the industrialized Western societies than in more traditional and developing societies ( Sampson, 2001 ).
Research also suggested that the cultures of Western Europe, Canada, and some ethnic groups in the United States tend to be individualistic, whereas those of Africa, Asia, and Latin America tend to be collectivistic ( Hofstede, 1980 ; Sivadas et al., 2008 ; Triandis, 1989 ). With regard to the four-fold typology of individualism-collectivism constructs, for example, Denmark represents the HI culture in which people consider it inappropriate to stand apart from their in-group by aiming at status or achievements ( Sivadas et al., 2008 ; Triandis, 2004 ).
The United States represents the VI dimension in which people want to be the best and strive for achievement ( Sivadas et al., 2008 ). India is a VC culture, probably influenced by its historically embedded caste system in the society. Japan also represents a VC culture ( Singelis et al., 1995 ).
- Israel and China represent the HC culture ( Sivadas et al., 2008 ).3.3.
- Religion/Spirituality and Individualism-Collectivism Various studies have indicated the significant relation between religion/spirituality and the cultural constructs.
- For example, a study by Dy-Liacco et al.
- 2009) with 654 Filipino samples indicated a significant correlation between faith measured by Faith Maturity Scale that is crossed with vertical and horizontal dimensions, religion measured by the Religiosity Index, and a single dimension of Individualism-Collectivism scale.
The estimates of correlations with the cultural dimension of individualism indicated moderate significant negative correlations with vertical faith, horizontal faith, and religiosity. Multiple regression and incremental validity analyses in the Dy-Liacco and colleagues’ research indicated that faith and religion were still significant after controlling for personality in predicting the cultural constructs and explained 4% of the incremental variance.
Other studies by Dy-Liacco, Kennedy, Parker, & Piedmont (2005) with 261 Filipino subjects and by Piedmont et al. (2009) in a study with 467 college students from a Midwestern state university in the United States who were predominantly Catholic, also reported significant correlations between spiritual transcendence, religious sentiments, and a unidimensional measure of individualism-collectivism, with correlation estimates ranging from small to moderate values in magnitude.
In contrast to the above studies, which were mainly based on the Christian samples from the United States and the Philippines, Cukur, de Guzman, & Carlo (2004) examined the relationships among subjective religiosity and individualism- collectivism in 475 college students in Turkey, the United States, and the Philippines.
- They found that greater religiosity was related to greater horizontal collectivism and vertical collectivism in all three countries, with the average correlations ranging from 0.24 for horizontal collectivism to 0.33 for vertical collectivism.
- Turkey had the highest estimate of correlation (0.41) between religiosity and vertical collectivism and the Philippines had the strongest correlation (0.40) between religiosity and horizontal collectivism.
Horizontal individualism was insignificant for the participants in all three countries. The analyses by Cukur et al. (2004) also revealed that for vertical individualism, the American participants and the Turkish participants scored higher than the Filipinos.
On vertical collectivism, the Philippine participants scored higher than the Turkish and the American participants. The above results were also supported by the measurement of values and their relation to individualism-collectivism ( Cukur et al., 2004 ; Oishi, Schimmack, Diener, & Suh, 1998 ). For example, collectivism ( Cukur et al., 2004 ) and vertical collectivism ( Oishi et al., 1998 ) were significantly and positively correlated with tradition and conformity, which are also values of people high in religiosity.
Vertical individualism was negatively correlated with the value of universalism ( Dy-Liacco et al., 2005 ; Oishi et al., 1998 ; Piedmont et al., 2009 ). Further, Cohen and Hill (2007) provided a systematic evidence for differing religious collectivistic and individualistic identity and motivation among three religious cultural groups (Catholics, Jews, and Protestants) in the United States and thus proposed the theory that religious cultures vary in the individualistic and collectivistic aspects of religiousness and spirituality.
They considered the individualistic religious identity and motivation as emphasizing the individual feelings, faith and personal relationship with God, and the collectivistic religious identity and motivation as emphasizing the social integration, ritual, and tradition. Cohen and Hill’s (2007) research results produced an evidence that differences in religious groups can be understood as differences in culture, and that groups of people who share religious identity could be meaningfully viewed as sharing different cultural models.
Their results evidenced that the American Jews and Catholics resonated more with the collectivistic aspects of religion and spirituality than do Protestants. In several studies, using quite different measures, Cohen and Hill showed that the religious and spiritual identities, motivations, and experiences of Catholics and Jews are more socially and collectivist oriented than those of Protestants who are more religiously individualistic oriented.
In contrast to Cohen and Rozin’s (2001) research that found that the American Jews and Protestants did not differ in the independent/interdependent self- construal scales, indicating that perhaps Jews and Catholics are more community oriented only in the domains of religion or spirituality ( Cohen & Hill, 2007 ).
Thus, Cohen and Hill proposed that the religious identity and motivation must be understood within a cultural framework, and that religious group differences must be conceptualized as cultural differences. Under this perspective, Cohen and Hill advocated to view religions as subcultures (such as viewing Protestantism as a subculture in America).
Like in Cohen and Hill’s (2007) work that focused on three religious groups (Catholics, Jews, and Protestants) in the United States, Edara’s (2012) study also compared various religious groups (Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish) in the United States and found significant differences on the selected religious and cultural measures.
For example, Catholics had the higher mean scores on religious motivation, followed by Christians and Jews. Also, Catholics had the highest mean scores on spirituality, followed by Jews and Christians. Buddhists were high on individualism and Catholics were high on collectivism.
These results once again suggest to view religions as subcultures of a broad national culture.4. Conclusion Cultures can be described as constructively created behaviors based on the collective beliefs that reflect the patterns of thinking, feeling, acting and reacting, values and other meaningful systems for people, thus distinguishing one group of people from another with a broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs and values to others.
These beliefs and values are usually transmitted through the principle of cultural succession and collective programming of the mind. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the humans and their systems in a cultural and ethnic context that requires a multicultural or culture-embedded perspective, which attempts to combine the elements of universalism and relativism by explaining behavior and values both in terms of the culturally learned perspectives that are unique to a particular culture and the search for common- ground universals that are shared across cultures.
Defining the culture in such broader terms and understanding the humans in a cultural context helps us to assume that religious culture is a subset of culture at large, with meanings that are although overlapping with yet distinguishable from other subsets such as educational culture, entertainment culture or economic culture.
Hence, along this line of thought, religion can be described as a system of collective beliefs in a divine power and practices of worship directed towards such a power. Religion as a cultural system of symbols and values assists in establishing the communal, pervasive, and long-lasting motivations and behaviors in expressing one’s innate desire for a connection with a transcendental reality.
- Therefore, many of the variations in the expression of religiosity and the experience of spirituality flow from the aspects of cultural influences.
- That is, particular features of religiosity dwell upon the richness, values, and beliefs of certain cultural content.
- In other words, culture builds up a social mechanism that maintains the type of religiosity that is acceptable to a group of people and can be collectively practiced in a given cultural context, thus making religion a subset of culture.
Conflicts of Interest The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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What is an example of cultural examples?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to culture: Culture – a set of patterns of human activity within a community or social group and the symbolic structures that give significance to such activity.
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What is a real world example of cultural?
Six Ways to Use Culture in Everyday Life Culturology is a socio-humanitarian science that studies the development and existential influence of the spiritual and material culture of human communities. Cultural studies, in simple words, represent a set of values, a way of being and organizing human life, creativity, and activities, that develop with the world.
Examples of culture in everyday life include clothes, food, holidays, music, knowledge and beliefs, traditions and innovations, family life, and much more. These examples of everyday culture with established cultural norms affect the lives of each social group, each of us. There are many classifiers of culture.
We can take popular culture and elitism as an example. Popular culture as daily life is what we face on a daily basis: commercially successful cultural practices that have a strong impact on the general population. This is all about consumption, entertainment, mass media, commercial recreation culture, sports, popular music, literary, and cultural practices.
- It focuses on the requirements of the “average person,” transforms the cultural context when creating a clichéd mass consumption product, and widely uses the mass media to promote its values.
- The so-called low culture of the masses is opposed by a high culture of elites – original, complex in meaning, and designed for smaller, more exclusive circles.
Elite culture is far from everyday life, created by the method of creativity, and focuses on the tastes of a privileged social class. This is a narrow circle of connoisseurs who can perceive artistic concepts and creative human activities from the point of view of aesthetics, intelligence, and spiritual realms.
For instance, worthy examples of the culture of elites are ballet, opera, avant-garde music and fashion, arthouse, classical, and modern visual art. What are examples of cultures still worth your attention? Let’s find out.1. Clothes. Culture in fashion is based on creativity and represents a synthesis of different customs and traditions.
It emphasizes changing standards, artistic ideals, and current social norms.
- Researchers often study how people dress during different historical stages and analyze their respective cultures in each historical period.
- The global fashion industry is the creative epicenter of cultural creativity.
- What is the social significance of clothing:
- ● socialization – identification of “own” and distance from “other people’s” specific groups;
- ● social support giving the concept of acceptability in clothing culture;
- ● a sense of belonging to the subculture, when clothes mark a participant in the youth culture movement or another group that opposes itself to the generally accepted cultural norms of society; at the same time, subculture is an important part of the culture, because it enriches society with new ideologies, styles in fashion, music, is a cultural platform for creating new creations at the stage of early development;
- ● demonstration of religious beliefs;
- ● clothing as an element of traditional culture;
- ● even everyday clothes can be regarded as an indicator of taste, cultural values, and patterns of behavior.
Fashion does not just affect dressing, but also performs an economic function. Many different clothes are in high demand in society, a working industry, and a developed sales market.
- These revolutionary trends in clothing culture are gradually moving from the level of high culture to everyday life:
- ● the line between the male and female culture of the outfit is slowly erased;
- ● fashion shows have become full-fledged cultural events
- ● it also affects wide sections of society and trends of the mass market;
- ● openness, rejuvenation, equal rights, freedom, and convenience – fashion trends that make everyday life easier.
- ● in modern times, fashion is also focusing on convenience and ease of use, which wasn’t the case in other historical periods.
- 2. Food
Food was viewed as a living condition by humans. It’s true these days, too. However, the cultural background is now attached to the process of choosing, preparing, and consuming food.
- Culture and food have become irresistible concepts, especially in the cultural context of traditions, national ownership, and heritage of different countries.
- The cultural impact of food is so significant that UNESCO preserves traditional food culture as a legacy of non-material world culture.
- For example,
- ● Ukrainian borsch;
- ● Armenian lavash;
- ● French wines and traditional gourmet cuisine;
- ● natural Mediterranean cuisine and own culture of festivals;
- ● sauerkraut Beijing cabbage kimchi;
- ● Croatian gingerbread licitaries;
- ● Turkish coffee.
Food is one of the most common examples of culture in everyday life. The relationship between food and culture nowadays can be described in this way – gastronomic culture is a set of rules and standards that determines how to cook and consume food. Gastronomic cultural practices are part of a more extensive food culture system.
How does culture affect nutrition yet? In Western culture, the art of table setting is considered a sign of high culture. How does culture affect food choices? The selection process is related to tradition, geographical location, and seasonality. Today, humanity studies cultural differences in the food of other cultures and actively tries exotic products.
Representatives of Western cultures have a large selection of food and restaurants that present the traditions of other peoples, but also their own.3. Events A man is a social and collective creature. Despite epidemics, geopolitical crises, climate change and other events around the world, a person continues to gather in groups and develop an organizational culture.
- Pros of online meetings:
- ● a clear targeted request and response;
- ● safety;
- ● saving time;
- ● effective search for like-minded people.
On the other hand, you have live events like festivals, folk celebrations, and exhibitions, which are the best way to continue the traditions of live communication and the study of cultural objects. It can be interesting and cultural everywhere! 4. Music Culture and music are inextricably linked.
- Here are a few more examples of how culture affects music and how musical styles are enriched:
- ● religious music helps to survive the emotional experience. Rhythmic elements, hymns, and festive chants came from folk elements to the music of a religious cult;
- ● academic music developed, among other things, through an interest in traditions (Schubert, Mozart, Mahler);
- ● folklorism of the 20th century – composers studied examples of the culture of peoples and transformed them into their own cultures (Stravinsky, Bartok, Kodai, Gershwin, Shelsi);
- ● popular music styles borrow traditional sounds and tend to influence large numbers of people.
Let’s summarize how music affects culture: it develops genres of epic, lyrics, and drama and improves everyday life and labor activity. In the individual aspect, beloved music enriches our cultural background.5. Knowledge Traditional culture conveys unwritten rules, meanings, values, and norms from generation to generation.
A culturally significant phenomenon is the everyday wisdom of representatives of the ethnos, the memory of historical events, and the idea of abstract concepts (good, evil, ideal, honor, valor, loyalty). Culture may include codes of manners, dress, language, art, religion, folklore, and rituals. All ways of life transmitted through generations can be considered a tradition.
Scholars number more than 3,800 different cultural traditions. It’s a huge research field. Different cultures in the process of globalization influence our own cultures. In fact, culture can influence all areas of life, from family and work relationships to individual preferences to national/social-wide proportions.
You can show personal, group, team, functional, organizational, and social culture.6. Lifestyle Under the influence of culture, a cultural code is emerging – a set of standards and norms, as well as expectations familiar to representatives of one society. One culture gives categories and structure to assess the world surrounding the community.
Essential aspects of culture are ethnic language, the language picture of the world, and traditional values.
- These days, health has become part of the lifestyle. A modern healthy lifestyle is part of the culture and includes cultural things:
- ● proper nutrition;
- ● sport;
- ● the absence of harmful factors at work and home;
- ● prevention of diseases;
- ● cultural activity;
- ● personality hygiene.
- The latter factor is extremely important and consists of personal, labor, information hygiene, as well as communication hygiene.
Many people continue to lead a different lifestyle, and support the traditions of the community. The traditional way of life is often of religious origin and is only acceptable to selected participants. This lifestyle is influenced by the cultural components of the people.
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What is personal cultural history?
They are presented histories and generalized characteristics of racial and cultural groups, such as ‘Asian Americans value family ties,’ which often serve only to reinforce old stereotypes or form new ones and to maintain a distance as the Other.
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What are some specific examples of cultures?
Cultures are groups of people who share a common set of values and beliefs. They may also share cultural elements like languages, festivals, rituals and ceremonies, pastimes, food, and architecture. Examples of cultures include western culture, youth culture, counterculture, and high culture.
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