Framing Social Life

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I have learned numerous module topics that are educative, informative, and interesting. The knowledge gained from the module topics is applicable to my social life. It also adds to my general understanding of life and the society. Some of the module topics that I found interesting include; ethnocentrism and cultural relativism; symbolic culture and material culture; signs, language, gesture and their significance; values and norms; and the concept of multiculturalism. I will detail what I learned from the topics, insights gained, what the new information means, and how to apply it in life.

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I learned that ethnocentrism is a principle that makes a person to view own culture as the ideal and use it how to evaluate the cultures of others. The topic makes me understand why I hate or see some cultures as inappropriate. I always value whatever I am used to and not at peace with what is practiced in some countries. For example, I fail to understand how some African countries cope with witchcraft practices while others are comfortable with a nomadic life. However, such a skewed view has been corrected by lessons learned from the principle of cultural relativism. The principle has taught me not to judge other cultures and instead understand them on their own terms. I now understanding that other cultures are abnormal. If I were to consider myself from their perspective, I would not find their behaviors and cultures to be deviant.

Another valuable module topic I learned was about symbolic culture and material culture. Material culture refers to the objects associated with certain cultural groups. I have come to understand why some cultures such the Egyptians value the ancient pyramids. While it looks vague for people living in the modern world to retain such ancient structures, the structures connected to the beliefs they held since time immemorial. In a similar way, the historic buildings in United Kingdom are reflective of the cultures in that country. The new information informs me that in spite of how I consider some tools or structures to be redundant, they have a purpose and meaning to other people. They are important in the society and have social meaning.

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That meaning, purpose, and beliefs is also the foundation of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in some cultures. While values are worthwhile, my attention is on norms which when violated, there are negative reactions, sanctions, or punishments.  In my life, I see norms to be such taboos of fighting or abusing my parents or teachers. Abusing the elderly in my culture is prohibited and there are disciplinary measures for those who violate such norms. If people were to observe the norms established in their cultures, I believe the society would be a better place to live. Moreover, I value lessons learned from the multiculturalism topic. The information acquired will help me to appreciate other cultures and value the differences that occur. Furthermore, if all of us were to behave the same way and have similar ways of living, the world would be boring.

In conclusion, I have now come to understand the value of having people from different cultures. The languages people speak, their behaviors, and norms are important components of life. I no longer need to disregard other people because of their cultures. The cultures are part of their lives and it shapes their identity. I need to appreciate and respect the differences. Moreover, I need to observe the values and norms of my culture so that I can stay out of trouble.

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