Workbook for Bac students.pdf


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UNIT 2

CULTURAL ISSUES AND VALUES

Date:……………

UNIT2

READING

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Culture, in anthropology, the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups
learn, create, and share. Culture distinguishes one human group from others. It also distinguishes humans
from other animals. A people‘s culture embraces their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, and
technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic
systems. Culture is the most important concept in anthropology (the study of all aspects of human life,
past and present). Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which
many or all people live and think in the same ways. Likewise, any group of people who share a common
culture—and in particular, common rules of behavior and a basic form of social organization—constitutes
a society. Thus, the terms culture and society are somewhat interchangeable.
Rapid changes in technology in the last several decades have changed the nature of culture and
cultural exchange. People around the world can make economic transactions and transmit information to
each other almost instantaneously through the use of computers and satellite communications.
Governments and corporations have gained vast amounts of political power through military might and
economic influence. Corporations have also created a form of global culture based on worldwide
commercial markets.
Local culture and social structure are now shaped by large and powerful commercial interests in ways
that earlier anthropologists could not have imagined. Early anthropologists thought of societies and their
cultures as fully independent systems. But today, many nations are multicultural societies, composed of
numerous smaller subcultures. Cultures also cross national boundaries; for instance, people around the
world now know a variety of English words and have contact with American cultural exports such as
brand-name clothing and technological products, films and music, and mass-produced foods.
Many anthropologists have become interested in how dominant societies can shape the culture of less
powerful societies, a process some researchers call cultural hegemony. Today, many anthropologists
openly oppose efforts by dominant world powers, such as the U.S. government and large corporations, to
make unique smaller societies adopt Western commercial culture.
A. Answer the following questions
1. What is meant by culture?.......................................................................................................................
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2. How do governments and corporations achieve power?........................................................................
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3. What is the result of the use of technology in transmitting culture?
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4. In what way do cultures influence each other?
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B. Say whether the following statements are true or false. Justify your answer.
1. Culture is a characteristic of people as well as animals.
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