Perspectives are the explicit and implicit meanings shared by member of the culture, manifeste in product and practices. These meaning reflect members’perceptions of the word, the biliefs and values that they hold, and the norms, expectations, and attitudes that they bring to practices. To name the perspectives that underline practices is to answer the question, “why do the pople  of this culture do things in the way they do?

            In this capter, I  examine the nature of cultural perspectives. I prespectives as a combination of perceptions, values, bilief, and attitude, as explicit and tacit, as emic and etic. I also propose there different orientations to perspective, or views of culture: functionalist, interpretive, and conflict.


Explicit and Tacit Perspectives

These explicit perspectives are expressed through sayings, proverbs, creeds. Proclamations, myths, mottoes, principles, guidelines, mission statements, scholarly studies, cultural studies, or other explicit forms of expression. These overt perspectives, the shared public outlooks, guide practices.

As a example, consider perspectives, of “the american dreem”- a cultural perspectives that reflects the bilief that anyonecan achieve fame and fortunein the United State through hard work, self-relience, and sacrifice. This bilief is based upon Values of equality, individualism, achievment, competition, and materalism. These values, in turn, derive from cultural Perception  That people possess free will, and can control their destinies and environment, and that the future is more important than the past. Attitudes of competitiveness, ambition, determination, self-centeredness, and resilience follow, accordingly, U.S. culture has many pactice that reflect the pursuit of the American dreem, including establishing certain relationships, developig the career, and acquiring wealth, status or respect. Product accumulate with such practices, possessions, goods, capital, status, and recognition.


Explicit Perspectives

            Research in the following explicit perspectives fro different culture, use reference material or find an informant, of that  culture or someone who know about it, find out what the perspective stand for and how it is reflected in cultural products, practice, communities, or person

Sanuke (Thailand)

Panache (franc)

Filial piety (China)

On (Japan)

7.2 Proverbs

Examine the following North American proverb to identify underlying cultural perspective and, from there, practice. In your examination, follow this sequence:

  • List as many meaning as possible;
  • For each meaning, give concrete examples from the culture;
  • Describe situations in which you have used this proverb or heard others use it;
  • Following these concrete illustrations, confirm the original meanings or add new ones;
  • State whether you personally hold the meanings of the proverb.

Time is money

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

The early bird catches the worm

Repeat this exercise with proverbs from other languages and culture.


Cultural Value

            In the fields relate to the study of culture, there are numerous views the content and nature of perspectives. The are variously referred to as meaning, attitude, values, idea (NSFLEP, 1999); belief, value, though patterns (Weaver, 1993); value assumptions (Althen, 1988); values, belief, attitude, assumptions (Damen, 1987); value dimensions (Hofstede); and value orientations (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck). Many terms are the same, although they are sometime defined differently.


Perception, belief, values, Attitudes

Perceptions      : What we perceive, what we ignore, what we notice or disregard

Belief              : What we hold to be true or untrue

Values             : What we hold to be right/wrong, good/evil, and desirable/undesirable,

   Proper/improper, normal/abnormal, appropriate

Attitude          : Our mental and effective dispositions-our frame of mind, our outlook-charged

  With feeling or Emotions.

Placing these aspects along a continuum from tacit to explicit, we have perceptions on one extreme, and attitudes, visibly manifested in practice, one the other.


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