05 March 2010

Cultural Identity

.What does the word "culture" mean to you?

How big a part of your own identity is "cultural"? In a biological sense, we are all related.

Is it culture that divides people and causes conflict?

Here are a few links you may find interesting:

Wikipedia - article about culture
(There are some beautiful and interesting photographs there, too!)

Wikipedia - article about Australian culture
(Some aspects defined as part of a "culture" are really no more than stereotypes. Those stereotypes might even be used to oppress and marginalise those who do not conform to them. Sometimes, they may even be used to oppress people who appear to be the epitome of the stereotype.)

Australia's culture portal
(Do we limit the idea of culture when we define it only in terms of art, entertainment and leisure activities?)

About Australia: People, culture, lifestyle
(This web page from the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade includes the following sentence: "Australians love their sport, both playing it and watching it".
I am an Australian and I do not "love" sport at all. I consider sports often to be vulgar and aggressive, a waste of my time, and an insult to my aesthetic and ethical pursuits of health, harmony and vitality.)

Do you identify yourself as being part of a "national" or "ethnic" culture or is your cultural identity more subtle and permeable than that?

I was not born in Australia. I did not attend primary school or secondary school in Australia. I was born in central England but had some of my secondary education in North West Scotland. As a child, I spend several weeks each summer in North Wales. During my early adulthood I spend several weeks each year in other countries, learning about life there.

So, how Australian am I? How English am I? Four of my great, great grandparents probably spent their whole lives in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Two of my great, great grandparents were born and raised in Belgium. Three of my other great, great grandparents have Welsh surnames. None of my great, great grandparents had much education.

So, is our culture merely what we have been taught - and then accepted?

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