Thursday, September 29, 2011

Material vs. Symbolic culture

A material culture is all things realated to a given culture like clothes or food while a a symbolic culture is based off of a nonmaterial culture whose central components are symbols like gestures and language. The movie god grew tired of us which we were shown in class, serves as an example of these cultures. The different clothing styles in africa, for example, is different from what typical culture is back in America. It's so hot in sudan that the people there are used to wearing less clothing than someone from America would be used to wearing. Another material culture example is the difference between how those eat in america and in sudan. The lost boys, for example, had never even heard of potato chips before they came to the US. Here, however, potato chips are a very commonly consumed product. Americans, also, are almost always used to having a full stomach while in a war torn country like sudan the boys had less food and smaller portions making them more prone to starvation. Some symbollic culture shown in the movie was the different in langauge. Here in the US we grow up naturally speaking english. The lost boys, though, had to go to specific school in Kukama where they had to be taught english. The lost boys also were exposed to differnt american gestures that they wouldn't have known back in africa like the way americans wave hello or gesture with their hands.
Theres a relationship between symbolic and material culture becuase we use both to make up one specific culture. For example, in my own life, I know I have a very different culture than one of my friends, summer, who lives in england. Our difference in material cultre can be seen by the differnt clothes, jewlery, and even food we eat. For example, she would think fish and chips put together is normal while I think that combining the food together is just werid and gross. The symbollic culture could be any nonmaterial thing that serves as a symbol of our culture such as langague. An example of this could also be how english use the word "chips" to mean "fries" when saying fish and chips. Therefore, we use different aspects of our symbolic and material culture to create our own natural environment that would be different from those not used to it!

1 comment:

  1. Why won't you share this brilliance in class? I guess I will have to be content with the fact that at least I get to read your insights :)