What is culture?
Culture refers to the complex whole acquired by an individual as a member of society (Tylor,cited in Panopio, et al. 2004). It is the complex social heritage or general design for living within a society which has been transmitted by human beings interacting with one another through language. Being the product
of social interaction, every member of human society acquires culture throughlearning. Culture is also social, ideational, gratifying, adaptive and integrative.
Socio-anthropological aspects of Culture
Organization of culture
There are elements which comprise culture which are arranged and patterned into a regular system of ordered behavior. The parts are organized and integrated and compose an organizing theme for social behavior. The simplest element is the culture trait. The combination of traits form the culture pattern.
Culture trait as the smallest unit of culture. It cannot be broken into smaller units. Each trait is a product of social interaction and conveys some meaning. Culture traits are closely related with each other. These do not operate singly, but are related to other traits in some kind of meaningful relationship.They are
generally clustered and derive their meaning only in terms of dynamic relationship to other traits. Cultural pattern is a frequently recurring and regularly ordered trait complex of ideal and actual words and actions which number of persons conform to under similar situations.
Example of a CDS Culture Pattern and the traits:
CDS Female Uniform
white long sleeves blouse green pleated skirt ID black closed shoes
Interrelated culture traits
Figure 1: Culture pattern and the interrelated culture traits
Figure 1 shows the culture pattern CDS female uniform. The clusters of related culture traits; white long sleeves blouse, green pleated skirt, ID and black closed
shoes make up this integrated culture pattern. Culture may vary in many aspects, but there are basic culture patterns common to all cultures. These similarities or uniformities are called universal patterns. People everywhere is basically the same, so commonalities of behavior result. All cultures tend to conform to
fundamentals. Family, educational system, material traits, government are some examples. Colegio De Sebastian as a higher institution of learning has its fundamentals common, along with other higher institutions of learning. However, as a college. CDS has other culture patterns that it has chosen or selected. Like the courses it offers, its policies, choice of faculty line up etc. These choices are called alternatives. Alternatives are the behavioural expectations which permit a certain range of choice in human behavior and specify the tolerable varieties in behavior (Panopio, et. al.).
There are behavior expectations confined to CDS as an educational institution. These are not shared by all schools. It is a specialty for example that at CDS, it
has a gender-inclusive bathroom. Another is, it is the only school that has an overpass bridge!
Within CDS are smaller groups which have their own norms and values. Examples of these are the different schools/department and student organizations. Each of these subcultures contains norms for acting; symbols and beliefs; set of values or even st of language. The subcultures can be considered a class of cultural specialties having special cultural traits unique to each group. While these subcultures have distinct norms and values, they still contain the dominant values and norms of CDS. So this is called the small culture within a culture. The subculture has a considerable influence on the individual student
and gives him/her a certain identity; like “Basteng Psych, Angat” !
Ethnocentricism or the feeling that one’s culture is the best is also developed among the member of a group in the
process of socialization. This imbues loyalty and a feeling of solidarity in the group. However, deeper insights into cultural diversity within and between groups can minimize the feeling of extreme ethnocentrism and make more tolerable of the cultural practices and values of other groups.
A new student of CDS who is not familiar with the school’s values and norms may go through some kind of unpleasant or frustrating experiences. It can be a reaction to having been an unlikely situation or inability to act accordingly or having felt being snubbed. This experience is called culture shock.
It is a result of disorganization and frustration when one encounters another culture whose patterns of behavior and ideas are different from
his/hers. He/She feels disgusted by the customs and beliefs; the situation of unfamiliarity and inability to communicate with the CDS culture.
Culture is relative and no cultural practices
is good or bad by itself. If one
integrates smoothly with the rest of the culture, this the concept of relativism.
This implies that a trait has no meaning by itself but has meaning only
within its cultural setting.Components of Culture: Material and Non-material
This refers to the concrete and tangible objects that human create, use,
and share serving as buffer against the various elements in the environment.
These range from prehistoric tools to the more advanced and complex implements
and machinery or computers of the modern man.
Here at CDS, all tangible objects that have been there since its
beginning; buildings, classrooms, books, computers etc. are concrete examples
of material culture of this institution.
This consists of knowledge, social norms, beliefs, values, and sanctions
which are abstract and intangible creations that influence human behavior.
Knowledge – It is the body of facts and learning accumulated through
experience, study, or investigation and includes natural, supernatural,
magical, and technical information. CDS on line learning is an example of
knowledge both faculty and students have gained.
b. Social norms – These are the standards of propriety, morality,
ethics, or legality.
b.1. Folkways – general
rules, habitual ways, patterns of expected behaviors
– These are commonly
known as customs, traditions & conventions.
An expected pattern of
behavior at CDS is to use the overpass when
crossing across the
two buildings. Foundation day’s observance is a
tradition at CDS held
around the date January 20 of each year.
b.2. Mores – special
folkways which are based on ethical /moral values. At CDS,
an ethical behavior of no
PDA’s at all times anywhere in the school.
b.3. Laws – formalized
norms, enacted by people vested with authority.
are rules or policies that
students have to abide by like wearing the
shirt/blouse during the online class.
c. Values – These are abstract concepts of what are considered good, desirable,
beautiful and correct, as well as what is bad, undesirable, ugly and
wrong. These refer to what is worthy for
a person. At CDS the core values of faith and courage are emphasized thus the
Fortitudo et Fides dictum.
d. Beliefs – These are the embodiment of people’s perception of
reality, ranging from the ideas of the primitive societies to the empirical
findings of scientists. These are not just confined to superstitious
beliefs. CDS’ bedrock of values and
beliefs is St. Sebastian. President Sebastian Pagcu Jr. then believes that the
safety of every Sebastinian is a foremost concern, thus the overpass was built
based on this belief.
1. Identify a culture pattern at CDS. Break it into the interrelated culture traits. Include an explanation whether that identified pattern is any of the following: universal, alternative or specialty.
What is culture?