Why Is the Definition of Culture a Controversy?

Topics: Culture, Anthropology, Madang Province Pages: 5 (1380 words) Published: September 9, 2013
Divine Word University
Department of PNG Studies & International Relations
PO Box 483, Madang, Madang Province, Papua New Guinea

PG 253- Cultural Anthropology

A research and discussion on the Question, “Why is the definition of culture controversial?”

By: Fithbert Nivani
Department: PNG Studies and International Relations
Year level: Second year (2)
Unit: PG253- Cultural Anthropology
Lecturer: Dr. Kopi

1. Introduction
2. Body
* Ritual
* Misinterpretation
* Conflicts
* Diversity versus Unification
3. Summary& recommendations.

1. Introduction
There is a huge controversy on the definition of culture in social science. We know that culture shapes and mold individuals as members of the society but in this essay, it will elaborate more on culture and what it is that shapes men of the society. Individuals argue and debated culture as a nature versus nurture, it is genetically inherited (nature) or it has been learned as we grew up (nurture) that largely shaped us and our differences as individuals. In this paper the author will discuss on how we are differentiated based on the idea that culture shapes us and the way we think that gives diverse meaning to culture, making it become controversial in its definition from other societies. 2. Body

Human being we differ from each other in terms of our behavior, beliefs based on our world view. In this world that we live in culture is the factor that influences every individual within his society. Culture has an impact on human life in how to prepare food, ceremonies of the dead, birth of the young, how to raise your child, the skills to build your house and so on. Though all humans are seen to be alike in physical features, they differ in culture. People around the globe are similar in their essential humanity: we communicate with each other, we sustain ourselves with food, and when we sleep, and we often dream. Yet we speak different languages, eat different foods, and dream different dreams. These are what we call cultural differences with the variation in meanings as well. For instance, if your parents are from two different areas in Papua New Guinea, let’s say, the mother is from, Milne Bay and the father is from Highlands. It will be very difficult for the father to understand the mother when she is speaking her language to her relatives visiting her likewise the father, the mother cannot understand him when he is speaking his language to his relative. Let us look at another example of the how different societies understand death in their culture. Some societies see death as an end to life; other societies see death as a passage from one world to another, while others see death as part of the never ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Robin’s record from British Columbia, Kwakiutl that when a person dies the soul leaves the body and enters the body of a salmon (a fresh water fish from the northern waters) and once the salmon or the fish is caught and eaten the soul is free and enters into the body of the other person(K, Sibona 2013). These are some of the example of the cultural variation as you move from your society to other societies. It also shows how individuals think and interpret and analyses event based on their cultural perspectives and try to make sense out of it. Misinterpretation

Some cultures collide with other cultures. In fact they do not resemble. Though we are all humans and we do have the same physical feature of the human body, we still are different from the way we think, live, what we eat, how we prepare the...

References: Sibona, K. (2013). Week three: Foucault [Word document]. Unpublished manuscript, PG252, Divine Word University, Madang, Papua New Guinea
Sibona, K. (2013). Week two: Foucault [Word document]. Unpublished manuscript, PG252, Divine Word University, Madang, Papua New Guinea
Hill-smith, C and Tiley, D. (2009). Strange birds in paradise [Intafusion films and Enkidu pictures]. Australia: Enkidu pictures.
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