There are countless ways of defining culture because this term is generic and it has several aspects that cannot be defined specifically. According to Fejos (1959, pp. 43), culture is defined as,
“the sum of total of socially inherited characteristics of a human group that comprises everything which one generation can tell, convey, or hand down to the next; in other words, the nonphysically inherited traits that we possess.”
Cultural emergent is a pragmatic viewpoint of culture which states that the culture is shaped as a result of everyday interaction of human beings. It is different from the other approaches of defining culture on the basis of its core aspects that include, the culture is evaluative, patterned, shared, learned, persistent but changeable.
The term “culture-bound syndrome” is mostly used within premises of medical anthropology and medicine. It is also known as a culture-specific syndrome. It consists of a mixture of somatic and psychiatric symptoms that are recognized as an illness of disease only in one particular culture. This term has a lot of utility in cross-cultural studies.
Particular somatic and psychiatric traits are considered as a disease in one particular culture but they are completely normal in other cultures. This term is very useful in understanding the diversity among different cultures. It makes it easier for us to understand the importance of cultural beliefs and values while adapting to a particular culture.
The description of status position within the social structure of the organization in which I used to work is “employee and employer”. The organization in which I worked was my employer. My status position in this organization was of an employee. The relationship between the employer and employee is based on certain expectations.
For example, the organization expected me to perform the tasks for which I was employed. There was a routine schedule that described the time period during which I had to stay in the office. This schedule also outlined the activities that I was expected to perform. On the other hand, I had certain expectations of the organization.
I expected compensation from the organization in return for my services that I provided to my organization. I also expected performance bonuses whenever I performed exceptionally well. Therefore, the relationship was based on certain expectations and mutual benefits.
Different studies on the subject of “culture” suggest that different rituals have a very strong association with health and health care. The personal health of individuals is related to ethnicity, religion, and culture.
Different cultural groups are different from each other biologically (genetically or physically) and this biological variation provides a very basis for differences in rituals related to health and healthcare in different cultures.
For example, the individuals belonging to a particular culture have similar hair follicles, healing abilities, texture, and tone, and skin color. I can relate my personal experience in this regard.
I am recognized by my skin color whenever I go to a clinic to routine checkups or whenever I catch some diseases. The treatment suggested by the doctor is different from the ones that he/she suggests for the native individuals.
It is because of my healing ability as well as other biological variation from the native individuals. The doctor asks me about my national origin and considers cultural factors while suggesting a prescription.
Nacirema – Mini Ethnography Case
Miner conducted this study on a small North African tribe who had expertise in curious practices. The case study was initially published in 1956 but it became very popular and published in several books to describe process analysis. This case also describes how complex can different cultures be.
Most of the people think that curious practices originate from North American Tribe but this research evidence negates this convention. Nacirema people had the culture of medical men who used different processes along with traditional rituals to cure men from different diseases.
According to Minor, most of the modern practices in health care in the U.S. are similar to the curious ritual practices of Nacirema. For example, Nacirema had medical men and women who cured people of different diseases. They had a charm box that is similar to the pharmacy. They used to pay medical men and now we use medical insurance for this purpose.
Similarly, the mouth-rite ritual is similar to brushing the teeth. Similarly, there was a cultural hero that was known as Notgnishaw that is “Washington” backward spelled.
This case can be connected to the statement, “Every other is like all other humans, some other humans, and no other human.” We can see the similarities in different cultures. The curious practices in a North African Tribe are similar to modern curious techniques in the U.S. which indicates that different human beings are alike.
There are some practices that are common among a few humans within a particular culture. Finally, every human being is unique. Each individual is different from the others which makes it like no other human being.
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