Culture In The Context Of US Sociology Essay Example
Culture In The Context Of US Sociology Essay Example

Culture In The Context Of US Sociology Essay Example

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Civilization has various meanings to different people, including anthropologists and behavioral scientists who define it as all learned human behavioral patterns. The term was first used by E.B. Tylor in his book "Primitive Culture" in 1871, where he described it as a "complex whole" of knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs and other capabilities acquired by humans as members of society. Since then anthropology has focused on civilization. Culture is critical for human survival but fragile since it exists only in the minds of humans; governments and religions are products of culture rather than the culture itself. Describing civilization is challenging because it relates to identity, purpose and existence in the universe. People have a fundamental understanding of civilization based on their ability to live together as a community, interact with the environment and beliefs about their place in the world. In America particularly there is a uniqu


e definition due to its cultural diversity which makes defining true nature difficult.The growth of American civilization has been marked by visible tension between British roots' ethics/morals/ideals that influenced European influence versus other influencesThe United States has a rich and resilient domestic culture that has deep roots extending back thousands of years. This unique culture is an amalgamation of diverse traditions, beliefs, customs, inventions, practices, arts, and various influences from both domestic and imported sources through colonization and historical immigration from the British Isles. It embodies conservatism and liberalism as well as commercial and racial adaptations. The markers of American civilization include elements deriving from Native Americans, cultural sub-cultures, African Americans, and subsets from Latin American regions.

This chapter provides comprehensive information regarding the significance of culture in the

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context of the US. Defining and comprehending the role of culture in a nation's conscience is difficult but this chapter simplifies the process by dividing it into various sections focusing on different schools. Each section emphasizes the importance of culture within its specific context.

Topics covered include defining culture in America; predominant themes within cultures; cultural diversity; negative impacts caused by oppression and laws; classicism and divisions within cultures; multiculturalism; and finally, the importance of cultural diversity in typical US schoolrooms.This chapter delves into multicultural education in US schools, covering a wide range of related topics such as culturally mediated thinking and exploring cultural phenomena like democracy, structural insularity, and pluralism. It provides insight into the definition of culture from anthropological and research perspectives, including Barrett's belief that culture comprises shared learned beliefs, traditions, and behavioral guides within a society. The impact of culture on all aspects of human life is also emphasized by Hall. Additionally, the benefits of having an instructor who is responsive to different cultures are outlined while addressing issues such as stereotyping, racial bias, and favoritism. Strategies for addressing common classroom problems are discussed along with various curricula used in US schools which can be biased towards certain cultures. Furthermore, this chapter highlights the extensive scope of culture which encompasses personality traits, emotional displays, thinking patterns, movement styles,different fields like problem-solving techniques,civil engineering projects like city planning or transportation systems,and even economic or government structures.However,the most profound effects on behavior often come from these commonly overlooked facets of culture.In Carter's (2000) extensive discussion of culture, it was defined as "learned patterns of thought and behavior that are passed down from one generation

to another, distinct to a particular group" (p.865). While this definition captures the essence of culture as perceived by social scientists, it fails to provide an in-depth understanding in the context of education. Understanding cultural practices can be challenging due to the intricate integration of various cultural norms and human beings' psychological, sociological, and religious makeup. To avoid confusion, analyzing specific facets of national culture is suggested for comprehending the true meaning of culture in US schools. The US has diverse cultural groups but shares fundamental societal core values like democracy, freedom, equality, justice, and human rights based on different ideological constructs like republicanism, capitalism and Protestantism as explained in chapter one. Ideology has varied implications and definitions.As per Adams (1988), political ideology refers to a collection of interconnected beliefs and values that provide members of society with a sense of identity and place in history. The Protestant theoretical account heavily influenced the cultural movement in the United States, with almost all schools adopting this ideology during the first half of the nineteenth century. At that time, traditional classroom practices like Bible reading, anthem singing, and praying were commonplace. Values associated with capitalism such as committed work ethics, private property ownership, individual efforts, individual success, and competition were also encouraged since they were linked to Protestantism.

In addition to that, the most prominent school movement believed in both Americanization and individualization. However, this process had an unbalanced effect on immigrants and Native Americans who were coerced into abandoning their own culture while adopting North Europeans' cultural practices. Republicanism based on constitutional democracy replaced other forms of social administration too. For immigrants from cultures that value communalism

as a primary value directly connected individualization to Americanization through evident among immigrant populations who come from these areas.The emergence of a strong constitutional democracy that upholds core values like freedom, equality, justice, and diversity has replaced other forms of social governance. While legally protected, the implementation of these values may vary depending on the social standing of different groups within the community and how their status affects national perception. Early colonial settlers from England also placed high value on freedom due to historical and traditional roots which stemmed from a need to break free from government-imposed restrictions curbing rights such as freedom of speech and religion. Constitutional democracy regards individual freedom as a crucial feature that places significant value on personal freedom including an individual's right to live with dignity and security while pursuing their own fulfillment without undue restrictions or obligations imposed by the government. The Supreme Court of the United States interprets First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to protect personal freedom of choice in private matters such as birth control and abortion whilst public freedom encompasses an individual's rational and political rights to actively participate in democratic processes which are also protected under these amendments.The values of personal freedom, individualism, autonomy and liberty are integral to the beliefs of our society. Bellah et al. (1985) emphasized that any violation of these rights would not only be ethically wrong but also a desecration against the dignity and sacredness of an individual. Despite most Americans striving for autonomy and freedom, they often feel pressured to maintain their unique identity while conforming with group norms to belong to a community or group. This paradox is

apparent in US culture where individuality clashes with conformity even within the education system where students are encouraged to think independently while conforming to group norms through common homework assignments that limit personal freedom. However, American culture also values individual choices leading to recognition and financial rewards.Societal inequalities can stem from factors such as unequal access to education and power, bias, racism, and sexism. These issues result in insufficient access to necessary goods and services. Our constitution mandates equal protection for all citizens of this nation. Americans recognize that discrepancies exist between societal values and practices, with financially and socially disadvantaged individuals facing disparities compared to their wealthy counterparts. While political equality is challenging to achieve, every eligible adult has the right to vote for their preferred candidate regardless of economic or group status. Additionally, any eligible voter may run for political office by participating in an election; however, the high cost of running limits citizen participation unless they have significant financial resources or are part of a capable fundraising network. Social equality is vital but difficult to attain; it requires establishing laws and policies that ensure fair access to benefits while also enforcing regulations impartially within a society that values equality.The implementation of certain measures is necessary to prevent the emergence of an exclusive group within a developed society. The United States currently has a class system where privileged individuals enjoy benefits that are not accessible to others. Economic inequality is viewed as a natural outcome of democracy, where people's choices determine their life's rewards and acknowledgments. Unequal wealth distribution perpetuates social inequality and reinforces privileges bestowed on particular groups, which is concerning for

democratic countries. Equality and justice are interconnected principles that encompass fairness and respect for others' rights in a democratic society. Justice involves privileges, obligations, compensation, challenges, limitations, and consequences in a complex concept. A just and compulsory system of Torahs, policies, and guidelines is essential to maintain order while protecting citizens' rights and privileges.

However, preventing unjust practices that can disproportionately affect specific demographic groups poses a challenge in civilized societies like the United States. This challenge is evident in the significantly skewed percentage of African Americans incarcerated compared to white Americans; despite representing only 12% of the population, they make up more than 44% of the current prison population.The racial inequality present in the US criminal justice system does not accurately reflect the frequency or types of offenses committed by African Americans compared to white individuals. Instead, it exposes a punishment disparity for similar crimes. Due to these complex societal challenges, it is challenging to define "civilization" within the United States. To comprehend this issue requires analyzing historical and sociological factors, such as how Protestantism influenced American culture's definition. Reflecting on personal interpretations of freedom in relation to different amendments of the US Constitution can also help gain insight into this problem. Additionally, ponder why people from various cultural backgrounds tend to seek out groups or communities for social connection and support.

To further understand this topic, one should investigate why primary schools in America introduced Protestant principles into their curriculum and study the varying political beliefs prevalent during 18th and early 19th century America. Researching the basic freedoms offered by First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments as interpreted by the highest court can provide more knowledge

on contentious issues like impartiality and fairness that must be noted down.

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