7 Culture

Diversity Literacy Week 7
Prepared by Claire Kelly
Use: Miller, H.M. (1956) Body ritual among the Nacirema.
American Anthropologist, 58 (June),503-507.
Insert: pictures of stereotypical notion of who has culture.
For example the Masai:
“They have culture, we have psychology.” (Rosaldo,
Prepared by Claire Kelly
 …is a system of patterned values, meanings, and beliefs that
give cognitive structure to the world, provide a basis for
coordinating and controlling human interactions, and
constitute a link as the system is transmitted from one
generation to the next (Berger and Luckmann, in
Smelser, 1992, p. 11).
 …is a set of expressive symbols of ethos – a worldview
constructed through active human interaction (Eisenstadt,
1992, p. 65).
 …exists only in its variations and transitions. Culture in
itself, then, is the result of past, present, and future
processes of creolisation (Wicker, 1997, p. 38).
 etc.
Prepared by Claire Kelly
Of continuities and
changes… (Appiah)
 “What makes a cultural expression authentic?” (p.
 “…trying to find some primordially authentic
culture can be like peeling an onion…” (p. 108)
 “Cultures are made of continuities and changes…”
 “Cultural purity is an oxymoron” (p. 113)
Prepared by Claire Kelly
Cultural imperialism… (Appiah)
 Cultural imperialism as the consumption of
cultural products made available by a world
system of capitalism
 “…it is the imagery and cultural perspectives of the
ruling sector in the center that shape and
structure the consciousness throughout the
system at large.” (p. 108)
 “Passive vessels” and “dupes”? (p. 110)
 Local expression of global flows….
Prepared by Claire Kelly
Japanese “Ganguro”
 Insert: pictures of Japanese “Ganguro” (Ganguro
literally means “black face”)
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjnCrz-fBFw
 http://www.blogofasia.com/wpcontent/uploads/ganguro.jpg
 http://farm1.static.flickr.com/57/156878386_cea5706
 http://japanesefashiontrends.files.wordpress.com/20
 “ganganguro”: exceptionally dark
Prepared by Claire Kelly
 What do the Appiah and Cornyetz articles
illustrate about culture?
 Culture is…
globalised / local articulations
fluid & contested
infused with power relations
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 “Cultural identity is a matter of becoming as well a
being.... Cultural identities come from somewhere,
have histories. But like everything which is
historical they undergo constant transformation. Far
from being externally fixed in some essentialised
past, they are subject to the continuous 'play' of
history, culture and power”.
(Stuart Hall, 1990, p. 394)
Prepared by Claire Kelly
Extra references used
 Eisenstadt, S. N. (1992). The Order- Maintaining and Order- Transforming Dimensions of Culture. In R.
Münch & N. J. Smelser (Eds.), Theory of culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. [64-87]
 Hall, S. (1990) Cultural identity and disapora. In J. Rutherford, J. (Ed.) Identity, culture, difference
(pp.392-403). London: Lawrence and Wishart.
 Miller, H.M. (1956) Body ritual among the Nacirema. American Anthropologist, 58 (June),503-507.
 Rosaldo, R. (1989). Border crossings. In Culture and truth: The remaking of social analysis. Boston:
Beacon Press. [196-217]
 Smelser, N. J. (1992). Culture – Coherent or Incoherent. In R. Münch & N. J. Smelser (Eds.), Theory of
culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. [3-28]
 Wicker, R. (1997). From Complex Culture to Cultural Complexity. In P. Webner & T. Modood (Eds.),
Debating cultural hybridity: Multicultural identities and the politics of anti-racism. London: Zed Books.
Prepared by Claire Kelly

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