Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cultural Change; From face to face to FaceTime

Topic: Cultural Change

Source: In class we had to embark on a “scavenger hunt” to find certain anthropological signs and cultural texts around campus.

Relation: A friend and I set out to locate signs of wealth. While she focused on wealth being expressed through clothing, I focused on it being expressed through the technology people around campus used.  I was surprised at the number of iPhones and apple products in general. While much of this technology is used to communicate over distances, its now mostly used more than actual humans speaking face to face.

Description: Before telephones and telegrams, the way people would communicate within a community is by walking up to someone and speaking. Even after these inventions, people only resorted to phones when it was either too late or too far to talk to someone else. This technology has been a major factor in shaping or culture. It has gone from people walking to the store to calling in orders; from walking to a friends house to calling them on the phone; and even in some cases, calling the person in the next room instead of walking. While movies like “Wal-E” have a comical sense about it, the movie makes some serious points.nerd.jpg

 Our culture is constantly finding uses for technology to support their lazy habits. Inventions like text messaging have also forced people away from traditional human interactions. Instead of striking up conversations, people can find “friends” on websites things of that nature. These websites also lead to people creating personalities rather than them being themselves.facebook-fake-profile.jpg

Analysis: If our culture continues to use technology in a manner which influences laziness instead of efficient behaviors, then our culture will continue down this spiral of lazy people who cannot communicate efficiently face to face.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hard Hits and Short Skits

TOPIC: How sex was the driving force in this year's Super Bowl
SOURCE: I have been watching football for many years. Something that has been increasingly interesting to me is the amount of sexuality in the advertisements of the games. There are many “texts” in American football that not only exploit sexuality, but shape gender roles as well.  From cheerleaders to commercials, you can tell a lot about American culture through football.
RELATION: Robbins describes a cultural text as "a way of thinking about a culture as a text of significant symbols-words, gestures, drawings, natural objects-that carries meaning” (pg 20). American football has a number of symbols that tell you about the culture. The one I am mainly going to focus on is the use of sexual ideas to sell products and gender roles portrayed through the sport.
DESCRIPTION: In recent years, the commercials that air during the Super Bowl have become just as popular as the game itself. Beer commercials have seemed to become the most popular. One reoccurring theme seen through the years is that the right beer can get you the right girl. This says a number of things about our society. One idea that is projected is that men are primarily concerned with the opposite sex when they are drunk. It is important to notice that these commercials are trying project their own image of beauty on the country. The text can be interpreted that men in America like to get inebriated and chase attractive women. Another text that can be seen in American football is the masculinity in the makes and extreme femininity in women. Football is somewhat a gathering of giant men, and if this is not enough, the men are all padded. This shows that our culture is concerned with proving its ability to overpower others. Just as moose fight with antlers to prove who is the strongest, American males have their football games. The game also pushes gender ideal on females. The cheerleaders say a lot about how females are “supposed” to act in this society according to football. Cheerleaders are dressed in very little clothing, are in very good physical shape, and support the team whole-heartedly.
COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: Football has been a popular sport in America for many years, and in recent years has began influencing the culture more and more. From an outside culture looking in, football can be seen as men who are artificially making themselves larger while having women in small clothing screaming for them. All of these things give many messages about our culture; some being that we are caught up in sex and our men enjoy violently proving their masculinity.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Its not what you eat, its how you eat it

Topic: Practices regarding food

Source: Since I was younger, I was always told not to eat with my elbows on the table. Not only was putting my elbows on the table comfortable, it was a convenience. These rules have since become more lenient, especially in a cafeteria environment. Every person needs food, so I became interested in the customs that are taught when eating and how ours differ. Much of my observation was done with close friends and also at the school cafeteria.

Relation: In class we discussed how something as simple as greetings is deeply seeded within a given culture. Since my discussion group is food, I decided to look at the customs that are embedded in our culture.

Description: I eat. A lot. Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up with a very diverse selection of food around. When I was younger I would go to an Indian restaurant and think, “why are we sitting on the floor?” or a Chinese restaurant and think “why are we supposed to use these chopsticks?”. I had a very ethnocentric view on their cultures. Using sticks and sitting on floors was not at all what I had been used to and had seemed wrong at the time. Then a few years ago I took an eating etiquette class. Since I was more mature at that time, I decided to look at the things I learned in that class with the same critical eye that I had previously with other culture’s eating practices. The course helped me see our culture and evaluate it in a different light. It interested me that there are certain ways to act and a measure to be taken every time we eat that is almost automatic to us. Whether the setting is in a public place or an intimate place, there are unspoken rules that most of us abide by. While watching people eat at The J, a cafeteria at Humboldt State University, has really showed me how much this set of standards are carried out. One thing that has become increasingly acceptable in today’s society is the use of technology in the eating environment. When there are those times that the conversation is falling off a person can now simply pull out a cell phone and have many more options to occupy their time. They can start a new conversation via text or have music, games, and videos easily accessible. There are also a myriad of media that is available such as tv and radio.

Analysis: This past week of eating in the J has really been eye opening in a lot of ways. The amount of enculturation is clearly seen in the amount of people who are unconsciously doing the same thing. Our culture is now one that constantly needs new/different forms of stimulation. This is precisely why its now a norm to find people in a cafeteria environment multitasking with tasks like holding a conversation, watching tv, and texting all in one sitting. This pattern, however, creates a cycle. I say this because if two people are eating lunch and one person becomes deeply engaged in a phone conversation, the other one will become bored and most likely engage in a separate form of entertainment of their own.