Friday, October 23, 2009

Culture = uncontested assumptions

These past few days I have moved backwards and forwards a couple of times across the "border" between Germany and France. There is no longer any physical border but there is certainly a significant culture one. It isn't just language. Consider what and how much they eat for breakfast!

What is culture? Why do we experience culture shock?
One definition I heard many years ago when I lived in the U.S. was that culture is a set of assumptions that are accepted without question. Culture determines what is right, valued, important, and normal. Whether it is how to greet friends or strangers or at what time one should eat dinner.

Being in a new culture can be good (and difficult) because it makes us realise how we think and do things is not the only way. Hopefully, this leads to more flexibility and humility on the traveller and strangers part.

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