Monday, August 9, 2010

Online Researchers (What Culture has led me into)

It is a fact that the concept of culture is a mark of people’s identity. But before one can discuss further on this issue, it will be good to examine the definition, and aspects of culture.
Culture according to Edward Tylor is;
That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society.

This aspects of culture according to sociologists include the material culture which refers to the visible physical objects produces and given meaning by the people. This could be clothes, shoes arrows, bows etc.
The non-material culture on the other hand, refers to the creations of human beings that are not in the physical form. They include norms, languages, rules, ideas and values etc.
Let us now examine how these aspects of culture play a role in identifying a group of people in the society.
Material Culture; this type of culture as stated before is the physical aspect of culture. It is of course a good mark of identity of people in a given society. The way people dress, the kind of house people live in marks the nature of the people. For instance, in Nigeria, the Northern part of the country is known for their type of attire. i.e. the type of cloth that covers their body from the top to their feet of commonly called agbada. Even when a person that is not from the same part of the country puts on the same type of clothe, he will be regarded as an offspring of the Northern land or that he was brought up in their environment or a likely environment. Also in the South Eastern part of the country before the colonial rule, their women were used to a type of cloth called ‘Jigida’ and ‘Ogodo’ for the male counterpart. The people from the Western world were also known for their dress code i.e. pair of trousers and suites of shirts and shorts.
Non-Material Culture: This is the aspect of culture that is not in the physical form. One of the major part of the this aspect of culture is the language. Language as an aspect of culture also plays a major role in identifying different people from different groups of the society. The use of language is still prevalent in today’s societies in the sense that, the language spoken by any individual marks where he is born or trained. For instance, in a country like Nigeria, where there are about four hundred (400) languages from different ethnic groups. It is through language that one can separate a person from the Northern part of the country from other parts of the country. This language differences is also found in the South-eastern part of the country that is made up of five states. These states have their different languages. In some states, in the south-eastern part of the country, for example Enugu, there are different language spoken in different Local Governments, Communities and even villages. This is how one knows who is from this particular area and who is not. The case of an individual speaking different language at a time is as a result of one being trained in a different society other than where he was born.
One can see from this examples that language is of no doubt a good mark of identity of a group of people in the society and differentiates them from other groups in the society.
Values as one of the aspects of culture is defined as an embodiment of the ideas about what is good or bad; desirable and undesierable.
This is of no doubt another mark of identity of the people from different cultural backgrounds. This is true because some behaviuors may look good in the view in a particular context i.e. the society where they are practiced and may be bad in another society. That is the meaning of the saying that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. This is aspect of culture is very common in the most societies of today. For instance, it is believed that two biological relation can intermarry themselves in a county like China i.e. two persons from the same parents. But such situation is seen as an abomination in a country like Nigeria most especially in the south-eastern part of the country.
Also in the south-eastern part of the country, it is an abomination to make love or have sexual intercourse with a girl out of wedlock. But in the North Central region of the country, it is seen as a daily routine. It is even done sometimes in the presence of the girl’s parents. Most times, the parents of the girl child use to present their daughter to their visitors as ‘Kola’ for pleasure and satisfaction.
It is also seen from this point and examples that what people enjoy doing and is rejected by another set of people is also marks the cultural background of the people
Knowledge as one of the aspects of culture is also defined as the body of beliefs, skills, facts accumulated by people over time. The knowledge acquired by a set of people always differentiates them from another group or set of people. The skills of creating machines, automobiles and other useful devices differentiates the developed countries from the developing ones. This aspect o culture is seen in countries like, Japan, China, America and other developed countries. For Example, the skills to create automobile differentiates Japan from other countries of the world.
Even in some parts of Nigeria, some communities and some states and regions are known for their skills in the production of certain unique materials. For example, the northern part of Nigeria is known for their skills in agricultural production. This shows that knowledge is a major player in the identification of people from different areas of the society.
In summary, it can be deduced from these points that culture is truly the mark of identity of any group of people in a given society. This is seen in the study of the aspects of culture and the implications of the aspects of culture on different groups of the society.

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