Culture Is A Way Of Life For A Group Of People Behaviors, Beliefs, And Values

1129 Words May 1st, 2016 5 Pages
Culture is a way of life for a group of people—behaviors, beliefs and values are all shaped by culture. Culture is a relative concept because different cultural groups think, feel and act differently. There is no scientific way of proving one group is superior or inferior to another. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz described culture as a “web of significance”—what he means by this is that culture is a semiotic concept. Culture, as seen by Geertz, is not “complexes of concrete behavior patterns” but as a set of control mechanisms. Culture cannot simply be explained through activities such as habits, traditions and values. Instead, culture can be explained through the rules that dictate how individuals interact through these activities.
In Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight (1973), Geertz describes how the villagers see him as an anthropologist but he is treated as if he were non-existent because he had no establishment of respect among the Balinese villagers. He decided that in order for him to fully understand the Balinese culture, he must first fully immerse himself by putting himself at the same level as the villagers. While examining the cockfights in Bali, Geertz learns that going to cockfights is an emotional way of learning for the Balinese—cockfights teach and reinforce the emotions of Balinese culture. Through participatory observation, Geertz learned the symbolism behind cockfighting. He learned that reputations can be affirmed or assaulted when…

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