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Cultural Diversity Argumentative Essay Sample

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Cultural Diversity Argumentative Essay Sample

1- Culture and identity:
Cultural identity as a construct:
Identitas (lat. = the same): Nature is the same and it evolves at the same time Being and becoming
Meaning and experience
Social constructionim: “It is concerned with showing how members of a group go about constructing a world of common experience” (David L. Preston)

Internalized attitudes and behaviors

The Big Other (Lacan and Zizek):

“ The [Big Other] is the symbolic order, society’s unwritten constitution, is the second nature of every speaking being : it is here, directing and controlling my acts ; it is the sea I swim in, yet it remains ultimately impenetrable – I can never put it in front of me and grasp it. It is as if we, subjects of language, talk and interact like puppets, our speech and gestures dictated by some nameless all-pervasive agency.” (Zizek)

The concept of “habitus” (Bourdieu, The social construction of reality):

“Habitus is a cultural unconscious that organizes perception and thus determines – we should say overdetermines – the actions that constitute fields” (Richard Widick)

Language, body,
Social reproduction as mechanisms by which a social order perpetuates itself

Social constructivism:

“Universal human nature is not a very human thing. By acquiring it, the person becomes a kind of construct, built up not from inner psychic propensities but from moral rules that are impressed upon him from without. These rules, when followed determine the evaluation he will make of himself and of his fellow participants in the encounter, the distribution of his feelings, and of his fellow practices he will employ to maintain a specified and obligatory kind of ritual equilibrium.” (Goffman)

Ritual: repetition

Culture and dynamic identities:
_ Are we all the same?
Sharing/identity and difference
Artistic creation: celebrating “the genes of the soul” (Amin Maalouf) Humour
We share some common characteristics but not all of them
Cultural identity as the sum of all our belongings
The sum is original
Belonging and behaviour: e. i. a Sudani couple: one from the South (Christian or animist) and the other from Kartum (Muslim): their sense of faith and national belong is different from other couples. Belonging is plural

The sense of belonging depends on the context: In general when there is a conflict, religious sense of belonging is stronger. Historical factor: Ottoman Empire, Arabs from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine called “Turcos” Space: immigrants: Canada Muslims or Arab-Muslims. France: more categories.

Negotiating identities and belonging:

Transculture:
Transcend cultural limits: the Self as Other:
“Culture is an ongoing, ambivalent, and often contradictory process, critically involving interweaving of familial, popular, consumer, national, ancestral, transnational, and diasporic elements.” (Hoerder, Hébert and Schmidtt)

“Flexibility” and “agency”

Culture and “crea-culture” (Bouraoui): Is culture given? Is it an apriori? We recreate culture according to our personal interests, interactions, believes, and sensitivities. Example: food, dance, etc.

Negotiating cultural belonging

3- The Mediterranean and cultural diversity?
What is the Mediterranean (see Yves Lacoste)?
Three Mediterraneans:
A- The American: (25 states, six micro-states)
B- The Asian (10 states)
C- The tri-continental (more than 20 states)
Common points:
Diversity
Hegemony
Tensions
Relations: deep complexity
Examples of diversity
– Multiculturalism and the Mediterranean
– “Monoculturalism” as a pure ideological construct aimed to serve a certain idea of power?

– Mediterranean: interactions, hybridity, métissage, and identity negotiation. – Mediterranean is still a relatively small area; from west to east the distance is around 4200km – Midland sea (Mediterranea or internal sea, a name given by the Romans around the V century) as a mean of communication. Actual definition of the Mediterranean as opposed to the Atlantic came into being during the times of discoveries (in the XVI century) because of its importance in connecting lands and peoples (Lacoste). _ Its history is about the raise and fall of empires and kingdoms. – These kingdoms and empires experienced some of the first cross-cultural forms of life. The geopolitical cyclic changes that affected this area were always followed by population movement, ethno-cultural mixes, the birth of new societal forms and practices, new means of production, and new forms of spirituality. The founding of a new centre of power affects the whole human geography at different levels. Consequently, the Mediterranean is a cultural laboratory where it is absurd to talk about “purity” or “homogeneity”. – The history of the Mediterranean presents a phenomenon of cultural sedimentation. Each empire is born from the ashes of another. The Greeks adopted Egyptian culture; the Romans did the same with the Greeks; the Moors with both; the Ottomans integrated parts of the Hungro-Austrian Empire, Middle East, and Afro-Mediterranean coast.

Which conclusions:
a- Cultural sedimentation
b- Dynamic of borders
c- Dynamic identities
d- There is no such thing as mono-cultural societies

4- Cultural diversity in the Mediterranean and the Nation-State model The spirit of the Enlightenment
Critique of the Enlightenment
6- Assimilation/integration: the colonial model (centralized ideology) 7- Relations North/South (North Rim/South Rim

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