What is Culture in the 21st century?


Discussion Prompt: In today's global world can cultures truly remain independent?

With the increase of Information Technology (I.T.) the world is becoming flat, where cultures do not remain isolated and unchanged, but instead are continually merging and mixing with others.

The Metaphor

A person's culture used to be described like a tree- a tree is one solid single life, it keeps growing and changing but remains it own entity. Your culture was your identity, your roots.
Source: http://www.freefoto.com/images/15/19/15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumberland_web.jpg

But haven't cultures always impacted (changed) each other? What about in today's world where information and people travel at faster and faster speeds.

A person's culture is actually more like a rhizome.
Source: www.eeob.iastate.edu/.../ vegetative/stems.html

Definitionof Rhizome-
In botany, a rhizome (from Greek: ῥίζωμα "rootstalk") is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes.

Rhizomes are continually creating new roots and shoots, thereby constantly changing form and its overall structure.

What is i Culture?

What is You Culture?


Part One:

In your group find as many artifacts of i Culture as you can. You will share these will the class.

Part Two:

Now see how these artifacts can represent You Culture. How are these shared and exchanged with others?

Final Exam: For your final exam tomorrow you can choose from one of the following prompts. You will have the rest of class today to work on your essay. You can bring in one page of notes.

Your task is to write an essay that covers the following points:
1) Explain the way the iCulture/YouCulture operates on a global scale and what this means for the definition of culture: How has the idea of culture changed in the 21st century? What happens to cultural identity? What are elements that help create this new exchange of cultures? Is this a positive or negative development? Why?

2) Explain the way iCulture/YouCulture has personally affected your life and your idea of culture: What are your experiences with iCulture/YouCulture? How does this idea affect you and your personal identity? How do you feel iCulture/YouCulture works at SAS

3) Tell me about what you think about the future of culture: What will culture look like in 100 years? How do you feel about this? Why?

A definition

When people study cultures, as with any other subject, they create a system of classification. We group things together based on common denominators, using patterns to help us organize the world around us. Anthropologists are specialists who study culture, among other things.

According to Professor O'Neil of Palomar College, California, one definition of culture is "learned human behavior patterns...and perceptions", including knowledge, traditions, beliefs and customs. He says that the things human beings make or create (such as art, language, or buildings), are not culture, they are the products of culture.

By classifying and examining these products, we can identify the main characteristics of a specific culture.
This is one of the things that we will do in class, to help us understand this concept.

Click on door for extended reading.[[image:file/view/door2_2.gif link="http://anthro.palomar.edu/culture/culture_1.htm"]]

Making sense of culture

Societies and culture

Societies create cultures. Because societies are constantly changing, so too does their culture.
Can you think of some examples of when societies and therefore their culture changed?

Cultural Universals

Cultural universals Some of you studied cultural universals in the seventh grade.

Do you remember them? These are human behaviors that everybody has. They are universal, common to all.
In order to better understand what culture is, we will look at how Cultural Universals are expressed (the Cultural Universals) in different communities across the world.

Look at your home culture and explore an aspect within ONE of the cultural universals. Your final product will include a written element in expository format and a visual (or visuals) that support and expand on the information. The final product will either be a Glogster (www.glogster.com) or a poster.
You need to get BOTH your choice of topic and final product approved before you begin.

See the assignment for more details.

Human behavior: a starting point for exploration

Take some time to look at the resources below for you exploration of your cultural universal





What structure do families around the world follow? Are they all like our families? Are we like each other?


Have a look at Minnesota's State University's EMuseum. Can you find the section on religions?



Recreation and Play (leisure activities)




To listen to Music of the World, click

Check out the podcast of the week below
iconpox.net - Tons of free cool icons!
iconpox.net - Tons of free cool icons!


A useful site with links to major art museums and galleries around the world.

Why not have a look at some:





Body art


Buildings can tell us a lot about the people who built them and what they are like. Go through the Chinese garden below and see what it tells you about the people who designed it.



A site with links to different types of dancing from around the world
An integration of cultures in Ralph Lemon's Geography Trilogy





Page created by Ms. Leong and adapted by Ms. Muenc