Culture, Society & Creative Media – Post 1 (Reflection on important cultural elements and class exercise)

Give an example of a cultural norm in the institute and one that exists in the wider Irish society.

  • Institute cultural norm: Plagiarism. This is an cultural norm of college life that is drilled into every student from the very first day of college. We are told that it is wrong and unacceptable to copy any work from any other source and that if we reference any other material that it must be shown clearly that we have done so.
  • Wider Irish society cultural norm: The offering of tea. When entering someones home in Ireland, when ill or someone is in distress everyone thinks that a cup of tea is the correct thing to offer. I myself have often wondered why this is the case, as I myself would offer tea to those who visit but would rarely drink it. I think it would be an interesting study to enquire of people who do it.

When faced with others expectations about our own behaviour, we generally do what is expected of us. What would happen if you were to break the norm in public what would be the reactions of others?

  • If we behaved in a way that was breaking away from the cultural norm we are looked upon as different. People may look at the person strangely, laugh and make fun of them. People ridicule those who break away from the norm. They try to analyze and make sense as to why said person is acting differently.

What norm did you choose to break?

  • I tried and predominantly failed to become apart of the sub-culture of being an ‘Emo’ or a ‘Scene Kid’. To achieve this I dressed differently to the norm.

Culture Norms

What is the purpose of function of this norm?

  • The type of clothing worn can help people identify with individuals cultures. Most clothes worn by the public are ‘safe’, following current trends and fashion. A ‘Scene Kid’ for example dress eccentric and different to stand out, to be seen. In my opinion, I feel sometimes people can feel restricted in what they wear, afraid they will be judged. As a result they wear what they think is culturally acceptable. Following the crowd. I don’t know if this norm has a function exactly, but i do feel it has negative feelings associated with it. There can be a lot of pier pressure in relation to clothing and brands. Even in secondary school there was a pressure to full fill a quota for non uniform days.

Elements of culture most important to me.

  • Family is an important element of culture to me. Family is the first sense of cultural belonging we experience. It is from our families that we first learn cultural norms that we are to adhere to. The argument of nature versus nurture is always something that is always debated; I feel that your family, the culture in which you are reared in has a massive impact on the person you become. This is why I feel family is such an important element of culture
  • Music is an important element of culture to me. Ones taste in music can define them. When i say define I do not necessarily mean stereotypes but rather their individuality. Ones taste in music is away in which they can express themselves. This is why individuality is also important to me.
  • Individuality. I feel this element of culture can sometimes contradict the idea of cultural norms. These norms are almost like rules that people obey but by standing out from the crowd and being individual they are breaking these norms. If one was to look at the ‘Scene Kid’ again, their sub-culture norm of individuality is adhering to their norms but breaking the norms of a larger culture. I feel that individuality is important because who wants to be a sheep? If anything you want to be the shepherd. Individuality is what makes you, you. It’s what makes people lust and loath you.
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