Samjela Ndifontah – Week Seven – Final Reflections

Upon looking back at what was covered in the class relating to how anthropologists, attempt to understand the society and culture, a number of themes stand out which linked each week to the next. Week one, lecture 1.2. about the triangle of culture, society and environment was a major link to subsequent chapters as it talked about what these three components were and their impacts. The relationship that these three components have with one another was different and their impact on the individuals was also different. In addition, I took away that culture is not society but can impact society and vice versa, as well as the environment is neither culture nor society, but can affect both. Moreover, I deduced that the individual can be shaped by his or her culture, but can also negatively or positively shape their culture as well.

Moving into week two the subject of race, class, gender, and sexuality was introduced as one of the major ways by which people are grouped within varies societies. These were linking factors because almost every society and community categorizes or groups its inhabitants. Along with these various groupings arose a number of challenges and issues, as some groups were more desirable than others leading to preferential treatment and prejudice. Similarly, I noted that there were some conflicting applications about the above classification of individuals. Race according to the lectures is culturally constructed and not biological. Which leads to people having different racial categories from one community to another. Similarly, the lecture pointed that usually we categorize people according to physical traits. Which often leads to the problem of that physical trait not being exclusive to a specific group, but present in large variety of people across the globe. From this particular lecture I realized that classifying people by race which is culturally constructed, always seemed to be inaccurate in capturing the whole picture of the individual.

Furthermore, another linking theme discussed in this course was from week three talking about the systems of meaning, and semiotics. From lecture 3.1. the importance and value of language was discussed and how language is used to make meaning clearly varies from one country to another. Language can be used as a powerful tool to either include people by sharing meaning with others through understanding, or excluding others by not sharing meaning. Thus language and symbols are very essential for any society to function properly. Likewise, religion was another linking theme mentioned in week three. The type of religion practiced varies from community to community, just like the culture is different from one community to the next. As well as the impact of the religion and the number of practitioners vary from one community to the next. Never the less, religion appears to help people cope with life’s problems and help with the tough questions that plague them, and this seems to be common in almost every society.


One thought on “Samjela Ndifontah – Week Seven – Final Reflections

  1. I really enjoyed your reflection. I found it interesting that you pointed out that people can have a negative impact on their culture. Where I see where you are coming from or what you are referring to I think that individual people really can not have a profound enough impact on a collective culture to negatively impact it. While there are exceptions like Malcolm X to black culture and others I think it more profoundly affects the stereotypes people associate with a culture. For example if you meet a couple of people who are Haitian and they are a yeller, it is easy enough to say that one person would assume that it is a stereotype. While, I do not think that it is okay to generalize a group of people like that I think it is how people can negatively impact how people view the culture they are associated with.

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