humanities revision

culture and beliefs

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  • Created on: 05-06-11 18:28
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Key words
Culture - The shared way of life of a particular society, referring to all
aspects of behaviour that are learned and which provide the context in
which daily life is lived.
Belief ­ Something accepted as true or valid without actual proof.
Attitude ­ A state of mind or a feeling; a way of thinking.
Behaviour ­ Manner of acting
Customs - A generally accepted practice or behaviour developed over
Values ­ Standards by which members of culture define what is desirable
and undesirable, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, important or unimportant.
Traditions ­ Customs, legends or beliefs that are handed down from
generation to generation, often by word of mouth or by example.
Cultural Identity ­ Knowing who you are through belonging to a group and
sharing its identity.
People live in groups. Groups of people live in many different ways. The
word culture sums up how a group of people lives. First there are their
beliefs, attitudes, values and language that the people in a group share.
These decide how its members behave.
Behaviour covers all the practices that characterise a group. These
include their customs and traditions, art, literature, the things they make
(aesthetics) and the roles they play. So culture is a pattern of learned
and shared behaviour amongst the members of a group.

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The word is powerful because it helps us explain the different ways
people behave. The ability to explain different types of behaviour can in
turn lead to better relations between people of different cultures. The
more you understand about another group the less likely you are to
offend people from that group.…read more

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Over 7 million years human migration took groups all over the world. In
different areas these faced groups faced a variety of conditions. This
led to the development of different cultures.
The natural environment
Groups adapted to survive, and in doing so developed their own
House design
The natural environment influences the shelters people developed,
eg the Plains Indians and their tipis.
Wealth and technology
Some natural environments turned out to be more helpful to human
development than others.…read more

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These cultures grew wealthier. They could use this wealth to
develop their art and technology.
So, even though human beings had learned that living in groups and co-
operating was the best way to survive, they learned to do this in
different ways. Some were more successful than others. At the same
time they learnt to be cautious even hostile towards outsider groups. As a
result men and women in different cultural groups have developed
different roles, norms, languages and traditions.…read more

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Kamala and Amala were two young girls discovered living with
wolves in 1920 near Midnapore, India. They are two of the better-
documented cases of feral children. While the girls' ages at the
time of their discovery is ultimately unknown, Kamala appears to
have been about seven or eight years old, while Amala was just an
infant at around one and a half years. The girls were probably not
sisters, having presumably been abducted by the wolves at
different times.…read more

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Consider the extreme case of the "Jim twins." Identical twins Jim
Lewis and Jim Springer were only four weeks old when they were
separated; each infant was taken in by a different adoptive family.
At age five, Lewis learned that he had a twin, but he said that the
notion never truly "soaked in" until he was 38 years old. Springer
learned of his twin sibling at age eight, but both he and his
adoptive parents believed the sibling had died.…read more

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Methods of learning include
Imitation ­copying our parents
Identification ­ eg baby follows older sibling around
Role learning ­ eg, helping to clear away at the end of a meal.
Conditioning ­ rewards ands sanctions applied to encourage or
discourage certain behaviours.
There are other agents of socialisation that exist outside of the family
unit.…read more

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Family Mass media
Laws A person's Peer groups
Role models Religious
A moral issue concerns beliefs about whether an action is right or
wrong in the sense of it being good or bad. We learn what is right and
wrong through the various agents of socialisation (primary and
Our beliefs decide our morals and our morals decide our behaviour.…read more

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We are living through a period of great cultural, technological and
scientific change.…read more

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Background ­ Escaped from persecution in Switzerland in the sixteenth
century. As a group of Christians they wanted to practice Christianity
differently to the dominant Catholic tradition. They wanted to simplify
prayer and church services and baptise adults and not children. In the
seventeen century they fled to North America to build a life on farming
and their Christian beliefs.
Today they still remain in their tight knit communities separate from
mainstream American culture.…read more


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