Culture Examinations

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Clifford Geertz states that human thought is social. “Identity is historically constructed, socially maintained, and individually applied. The following examinations of culture seem to vary greatly in terms of the observations. By using this model of finding the origins of all cultures in their respective histories and traditions, we find that they are more closely related than what appears on their surfaces. Therefore, the various examiners’ common method is the focus of this paper. ******** Samuel Klausner’s “A Professor’s-Eye View of the Egyptian Academy,” details Klausner’s observations of Egyptian society. Klausner, a Jewish American professor working in Egypt notes that he feels like a “curiosity,” because he is an American. He is stranger, an outsider “hungry for culture” in an exotic place. His observations led him to believe that the Egyptian university system needs to modernize but his position has an outsider prohibits him from making changes that the Egyptian must make for himself. Additionally conflicts with new western methods are proving troublesome since there is a relative lack of skilled academics. Klausner describes a society linked to its past traditions and history. He notes how cars and camels compete for space on the roads. Once when he attended a funeral, the precession led him over the hills in the dessert (similar to an ancient royal procession headed to Giza or the Valley of Kings.) Generally, the pace of the society is slow and schedules are informal. He is also concerned with the informal nature of education. Professors do not keep regular hours and do not regularly attend classes. They are not diligent in keeping up with scholarship preferring a daily newspaper as their required reading. The un... ... middle of paper ... radical, Bellah, though he uses the term “we,” has rejected individualism in the modern American definition. He finds clues to our radical individualism in our past. He also finds clues to our individualism in our love of literature based on a lone hero, noting the Leather Stocking Tales. He cites Puritanism as the beginnings of a protestant tradition. He credits Benjamin Franklin as the quintessential American and his hard work to riches mentality. He notes the equality of the first Americans as the basis of a bond of security. These success stories overtime fostered radical individualism. ******** Geertz refers to “thick description” in chapter one of The Interpretation of Cultures. Each of the authors here uses this sociological method to explain the relationship between history, tradition, and culture in terms familiar to any audience regardless of origin.
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