Throughout the last 7 weeks you can see slowly how all the topics are interconnected. Meaning making and structures of difference are seen globally and vary culture to culture.
In the second lecture, systems of difference, we learned how people have used “science” to create difference between people who were different than them. We watched Race: The Power of an Illusion from PBS and saw that people have stereotypes of different races, for instance in the video a runner thought that the black runners would beat him, and that people of different skin colors were way more genetically different than them. In reality race has nothing to do with genetics, but it is a culturally defined system to categorize people and often used to put others down.
In week five, we learned of systems of exchange, which can vary greatly from culture to culture. We learned of the Kula Ring. It was a system of exchange between many islands that exchanged different items in a continuous cycle, and the value of the exchange was in the story of the item. The meaning of the item gave it value, they made meaning from the items and transferred them around. It was very interesting concept to me because the value of the item was in what the story and meaning of it was, something I had never heard of before.
In week six, we can see structures of difference with how globalization has changed our world. Culture is freely able to move anywhere in the world now with new technology to talk to anyone, anywhere in the world. So something like baseball, a classic American game, can be seen anywhere in the world and played anywhere, you just need a stick and a ball. It has indeed traveled across the world and is played in many South American countries and in Japan. However, it is slightly different in other countries. For example, in Japan a game can end in a tie, something we do not do in America. It can be seen as a cultural difference, that they allow it in Japan, because we America we are very defined on having a winner or finding the best. Dishes can also be different, a traditional dish can be from Mexico, but brought to another country and be made with that countries ingredients to better fit their tastes, another form of difference.