Culture and Society - شهية الطبخ المغربي

Culture and Society

Culture and Society
Multiculturalism. Some societies-such as those of Tibetans in Tibet and
various peoples of the Pacific Islands-have traditionally been associated
with a single culture. Other societies-such as those of the United States
and Canada-are multicultural societies. They include many distinct
cultures.
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A shared cultural background makes people feel more comfortable with
other people from their own culture. Many people initially may feel
confused and uneasy when they deal with people of another culture. The
discomfort that people often feel when they have contact with an
unfamiliar culture is called culture shock. Culture shock usually passes if a
person stays in a new culture long enough to understand it and get used
to its ways.
A multicultural society supports the view that many distinct cultures are
good and desirable. The multicultural view encourages such diversity.
Thus, in the United States, millions of people speak both English and the
language of their own culture. They eat both American food (apple pie and
hamburgers) and ethnic food. They celebrate both national holidays
(Fourth of July and Thanksgiving) and their ethnic holidays. For example,
many Mexican Americans celebrate Mexican Independence Day on
September 16. In Chinese communities across the country, parades and
other festivities mark the Chinese New Year.
Multiculturalism succeeds best in a society that has many different ethnic
groups and a political system that promotes freedom of expression and
awareness and understanding of cultural differences. Ethnic groups can
bring variety and richness to a society by introducing their own ideas and
customs. However, ethnic groups that keep their own values and
traditions can also threaten national unity. In many parts of the world,
neighboring ethnic groups dislike and distrust one another. In some cases,
these feelings have even led to war. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example,
a civil war broke out in the early 1990's between Serbs and non-Serbs,
who included Bosnian Muslims and Croats.
How People Study Culture
The scientific study of human beings is called anthropology. One of the
main branches of anthropology is cultural anthropology, which studies
human cultures. The work of cultural anthropologists is comparative and
cross-cultural-that is, cultural anthropologists study various societies to
determine their cultural similarities and differences.
Cultural anthropologists study the artwork, houses, tools, and other
material products of contemporary cultures. They also investigate the
nonmaterial creations, including social groups, religious beliefs, symbols,
and values. They gather information primarily by living for a time among
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the people they are studying and by observing them and talking with
them. They organize the information into a scientific description called an
ethnography.
Other social scientists who study aspects of culture include sociologists
and political scientists. They work mainly in a single urban, industrial
society, and they make cross-cultural comparisons less often than
anthropologists.

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