What is culture?
Let’s explore the meaning of culture – your own culture. We will explore culture not as a stiff, static thing, as “tradition” that cannot change – because that is not at all what culture means, as we shall see. This chapter will try, instead, to lead you to the discovery of your own dynamic, changing, living culture, the culture of your real lives. It will also lead the way to develop an increased awareness, and a deeper understanding, of the connections between our different cultures in this country and, by extension, our world.
Let’s try to discover our culture by looking closely at ourselves.
Now as a whole class, brainstorm “culture”. Everyone freely share and spontaneously offer your ideas about what culture is, while one person writes these up on the board or on a large sheet of paper. Start by brain storming some categories to get thinking. Keep the paper up on the wall for the duration of the project and let everyone keep adding to it as you think more and learn more about the subject.
Write down on your diagram all the categories you can think of. Then fill in contributions taken from your daily experiences – what your specific lives (and therefore your cultures!) involve: whatever you do – whether washing the dishes, watching “Uzalo” on TV or going to a soccer game on Saturdays.
“Culture” is all of the above. We live our culture every day, and it is constantly changing. It is different from the culture that our great-great-grandparents practised, and also from that which our own parents practised – simply because the world keeps changing.