World Cultures Key Concepts

Vincent Van Gogh
Some Key Concepts

The following concepts are the core of this course. We are trying to get the students to develop a conscious deep understanding of these ideas and their implications for our own lives as well as how they impact world events.

1) Culture is (the) learned and shared...behavior patterns of a group.

2) Culture includes such elements as: Language, dress, customs, rituals, marriage/courtship patterns, music, art, technology, ideas and beliefs: religion, political ideologies, philosophies, etc...

3) Cultures are the “creations” of human societies (in other words, only humans have cultures...depending on how one defines “culture”).

4) The existence of a culture depends on the human mental ability to reason and symbol.

5) Culture is very powerful...people will surrender and live their whole lives according to the “rules of their culture”...people will die for their group/culture...people will kill others because of culture...

6) Cultures Change...

7) There are layers of culture within in a culture...civilization...
culture....subcultures...(universals and particulars).

8) One explanation of culture differences is that culture is simply
adaptive (be careful here).

9) Culture is cumulative.

10) People are often not aware of their own “culture”.

11) Culture “gives” or “insists” on a range of permissible behaviors.

12) Cultures really can not exist in isolation for others anymore.

13) Within cultures there are the “ideal”, the “actual” and the “believed” behaviors.

14) The following theories are interesting to think about: “value hierarchies”, “culture worship”, globalism v. tribalism, “labels and identity”, individual v. culture, “cultural self v. true self”, “when kills, when culture cures”, culture and the “wills” (will to meaning,will to power, will to being).