Culture is the pattern of action and the ways of perceiving, feeling, and thinking acquired growing up in a particular group of people Ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism is the attitude held by the members of a culture that theirs is the only true, right, and best way to view and act in the world. Cultural relativism
Cultural relativism is the idea that human behavior, ideas, and emotions must be understood in the context of the whole culture in which they occur. Culture shock
Culture shock is the feelings of alienation, hostility, heightened ethnocentrism, sense of loss, depression and/or self doubt that may result from immersion in a new culture. Subcultures
Subcultures are groups within complex cultures who share the basic cultural outlook of the larger culture, but have significant differences. Worldview
Worldview is the primary lens available to members of a culture, through which they observe and make sense of the world. Stereotyping
Stereotyping is the practice of attributing specific personality or demographic characteristics to every person of a particular group Code switching
Code switching is the practice by those who know more than one language of switching between them during the course of a conversation. Social stratification
Social stratification is the native division of a society's people into different status levels. Relative poverty
Relative poverty is the difference of perceived wealth vis-à-vis others in the same society. Impression management
Impression management is the active process of influencing how one is perceived by others. As a refresher, let's review the key concepts about culture. Culture is the primary determinant of human behavior.
Culture determines your emotional responses to social situations. Your culture includes your language, which influences the way you think.
You have no choice about which culture programs you from birth. So don't judge others because of their cultural differences from you. All complex societies (such as our own) contain subcultures that share the larger cultural outlook, but have significant differences. The culturally savvy Soldier will take an active interest in any culture he or she works in. ReALLIT: read, ask, look, listen, investigate, and think. Look for styles of interaction/proper behavior, greeting rituals, local dress, daily routines and movements, transportation, eating habits, treatment of children, major or common ceremonies and rituals, and frequencies of young men visible on the street. Soldiers who are not culturally savvy compromise the mission by alienating the locals, or even by creating major crises. All cultures impart huge amounts of information to their members—but often it is information of a different type than we focus on in our culture. Cultures vary greatly around the world. Any generalizations about culture have exceptions. Knowledge of the specific culture is necessary. Individual characteristics and personalities vary greatly within one culture. To attribute one characteristic to everybody in a culture is called stereotyping. Cultural relativism is critical for understanding the locals among whom you work, but some cultural differences, particularly regarding ethics, cannot be brushed aside. Things we hold to be fundamentally wrong—abrogation of human rights, for example—may require us to impose our outsiders' ethical standards on locals' behavior. Read materials from the TRADOC Culture Center (like Smartbooks and online trainings), published ethnographies, and popular media of the area; Ask locals already available to you on the FOB, such as interpreters, or culture experts around you, as well as people you meet on patrols; Look at the behavior of locals in markets, on the roads, in meetings on post; Listen to the conversations you have access to, as well as local media; Investigate in more depth any questions that come up; and
Think about what you know and what you don't...
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