Cultural Elements and Phenomena Theories

Culture is a foundation of every human society, and it is important to analyze its elements such as language, norms, and values from different perspectives. Functionalism constitutes a theory which interprets society as a system which consists of various parts with their own functions, which contribute to making it work as a whole. According to this approach, language can be considered a building block of every society, which serves as an element which unites and ensures communication among people allowing them to pursue shared goals. As for norms, functionalism views them as rules which are agreed upon and observed by the individuals belonging to the same culture and which ultimately govern their behavior and conduct. Finally, values, within the functionalist framework, can be defined as principles and ideals which are shared by the members of society, which, together with norms, contribute to maintaining social order.

My experience with phenomena such as ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, and culture shock is not only personal but also stems from reading books and various sources on the Internet. For instance, one of the most horrific examples of ethnocentrism known to me is Nazi Germany, where the Aryan race was considered perfect and superior to others. Such views are still promoted online by different groups supporting far-right extremist ideologies which believe in white superiority. As for cultural relativism, a good example would be the stubborn unwillingness of many people to try cuisines of other cultures. I have a friend who refuses to eat Asian food because he considers it too spicy and does not understand how people can consume it. Once, I experienced a cultural shock when watching videos about India and noticing the way road traffic works there. There are no rules, and it may seem that cars and motorcycles are moving in all directions, but after studying it more closely, I discovered that it was not as chaotic as I thought.

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