The concepts of culture and society are often confused as the same nowadays when they are clearly entirely different. As a matter of fact, the former is a primary source of conformity for people, considering that they comply with their culture’s primary components. Furthermore, culture is a part of society and is entirely dependent on it. However, nowadays, the concept of local cultures has been changed by global cultural influence and social media.
To begin with, culture is recognized to have the distinguishing features that make the community that nurtures it special. Giddens et al. (2021) claim that the group shares values and ideas peculiar to the particular culture. It was interesting reading about how community fellows are expected to conform to the standards of language, material goods and other norms. Yet I find it unreasonable to think that every member of the community must support specific opinions or beliefs if they do not agree with them. As a matter of fact, it seems critical for people within a culture to respect its values but at the same time not lose their identities while preserving their cultural heritage.
What is more, when the chapter explored the cultural turn, I found it to be intriguing since the author provided how the notion can be applied in the modern world. I agree that people have to use culture as a “tool kit” and interpret it to find their purpose within the community and the ways they can contribute to nurturing their heritage (Giddens et al., 2021). Furthermore, I liked the example about people being creative about showing their character and identity by changing their appearances and still being respectful of their traditions (Giddens et al., 2021). For instance, suppose a person wants to wear funky and unusual clothes and get tattoos or piercings. In that case, it does not mean one would not accept cultural ideas and beliefs. All in all, the projection of the cultural turn presented in this chapter was helpful for me to fully understand how community members adjust to the modern world without losing their cultural heritage.
Moreover, I found learning about different types of societies and their characteristics interesting, considering that the chapter provided an in-depth analysis of each. In fact, I liked reading about equality and cooperation within these communities and how they affected the behavior of members (Giddens et al., 2021). Even though I enjoyed the descriptions of hunting, agrarian, and pastoral communities, this part seemed to lack a substantial connection to the modern problem of globalized culture (Giddens et al., 2021). To be more exact, I did not see the actual reason for including this information to elaborate on the topic of this chapter, and I wanted to see more associations between the past cultures and the current ones.
The excerpts concerning ethnocentrism have impressed me as well as shocked me due to the absurdity and irrationality of this concept. To elaborate, Giddens et al. (2021) define the notion of ethnocentrism as the judgment of other cultures through the lens of one’s own. Unfortunately, the extreme expectations of community members concerning mandate conforming to traditions, languages, and cultural norms may influence how they feel about other cultures sharing different beliefs and values. As a result, it is impossible to prevent unfair or prejudiced treatment of other cultural groups, which is unreasonable and harmful, to say the least. However, such a case may be apparent within the community when members who do not conform to everything their culture establishes are judged or discriminated against by other fellows.
In addition, the emergence of global culture is poorly described in this chapter, which leaves many questions about its significance and impact on people or local cultures unanswered. It is apparent that social media and the Internet, on the whole, are responsible for creating a community that shares ideas and values because of them being viral on the Web. For instance, the cancel culture that is common nowadays stems directly from social media trends of hating on public people that make mistakes in their behaviors or express themselves in a wrong way. The cancel culture is primarily apparent on Instagram and TikTok, which are currently top-rated social apps. Therefore, I would say that such global cultures are mainly harmful and destructive as they communicate toxic ideas and behaviors to people across the globe.
To sum up, I enjoyed reading this chapter as it includes lots of helpful information that presents how cultures have changed through the time. I found it interesting how the authors steadily transitioned from explaining fundamental concepts of culture and society to sharing opinions concerning the globalization of culture through social media and the Internet. What is more, I appreciate that the chapter does not persuade readers to think in one way but presents many facts concerning the issue, allowing people to form their own opinions on the matter.
Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. (2021). Introduction to Sociology (Seagull Twelfth ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.