Choose any THREE of the cultures described overleaf and write a description of the differences and similarities between the cultures you have chosen and your own culture. Briefly discuss why it is difficult to trust the accuracy of the anthropological evidence.
The three cultures I have chosen to talk about in this essay are ‘The Ik’ culture, ‘The Pomo Indians’ and The Nayar Society of Southern India’ The Ik is a culture from Northern Uganda. The Pomo Indians is a culture from (find out more info) and lastly, The Nayar Society is a culture from Southern India. I will also be mentioning some things from my culture, which is the Yoruba culture. The Yoruba tribe is from Nigeria (West Nigeria)
When it comes to family, The Ik culture believes that family is not important at all. As it says in the source “The family does not feature heavily in the culture….” In this culture, as far as they are concerned, the family means very little to them. This is not because of cruelty or selfishness, but because of poverty. In the Ik, there is a daily struggle to survive from drought, famine and starvation. The Pomo Indians culture believes that family is basically all you need they believe that without family you are nothing. They strongly believe in consulting your family before you go on to do something. It-it could be that a member of the family would want to go and live somewhere else, but before his/her makes the decision he/she must go to the rest of the family and let them know the plans.
To the Nayar Society Of Southern Indians, family wasn’t really a big issue. My reason for saying this is because of the way their families are structured. (Before puberty, all Nayar girls are ritually married to a Nayar man of the same communal or above) their culture is that once a Nayar girl had reached her puberty stage, she had the right to take a number of ‘visiting husbands’ (The husbands could also have an unlimited number of wives). While one of husbands is visiting her, she would put weapons in front of her house, to notify the other husbands’ jus in case they decided to visit her at the time when one of her other husbands was there. Instead of relying on her husbands to protect her, provide her with food, money and things husbands would normally provide, the Nayar women relied on their brothers or sisters.
Comparing these cultures to each other, you can see that they are very different. For one the Ik culture don’t have concern for family at all while the Pomo Indians think life is all about family but the Nayar Society didn’t seem to think of themselves as family but as associates to each other to carry the generation on. From looking at the positive views on family, I would say that the Pomo Indians are the most caring culture out of the three cultures, and while the Ik may seem like a horrible culture, I would say that the Nayar Society is the worst as it seems like a disorganised and uncaring culture.
When it comes to my culture, we believe that family is very, very important. We believe that you need your family to be there to support you through the good and bad times and to help you and train you as you grow up. You also need your family to help with the progress of the family. In the olden days, it was believed that it was the job of the boy(s) and the father to go out to the farm during the day to plant crops, nurture them, and harvest. They also had the job of collecting the firewood that would b used to cook food, while it was the job of the daughter(s) and mother to stay at home, cook, clean and provide food for the rest of the family especially the males as they would be tired when they arrived home from the farm. Some people in my culture still believe in this way of life, while others go to a different life style. I.e.-females going out to work, men staying at home to do domestic chores and to look after children and other jobs that the women usually do. So, from looking at all the cultures I can see that my culture is totally different from all three cultures, but there is a similarity between the Pomo Indians culture, and my culture. This is the importance of family.
Other things I noticed from these cultures that are similar to my culture are:
1. The Pomo Indians views on Old people. They think that these days, old people are not wise at all, that the old people from generations back were wise. This is not exactly similar to my culture, but in my culture some people believe that the old people from generations back were wiser than the old people in this generation. They believe that the old people in the generations back had more knowledge and could give better information than any old person you would find in this generation.
2. Another similarity I noticed was also in the Pomo Indians culture. The similarity is the fact that no matter what “…relatives would support him or her in times of need. With us family is everything…”
However, I did notice many differences between the three cultures and my own culture:
IN THE IK CULTURE:
1. My culture does not think of family as unimportant (or as it says in the text “…very little…”
2. We do not regard our children as useless appendages, we think of them as very important.
3. Even if there is famine, drought or starvation-mothers do not throw their children out at all. (Instead they would rather send them to live with a relative)
IN THE POMO INDIANS CULTURE:
I wouldn’t really say I have noticed any differences in this culture. Looking at the research I have done from my culture it seems pretty much the same.
IN THE NAYAR SOCIETY:
There are many differences in this culture when I compare it to mine. Here are some I noticed:
1. The marriage of girls at the age of twelve. This does not happen in my culture at all. The youngest a girl in my culture can get married is 18. It is also forbidden and against the norms of the culture for a female to have more than 1 husband.
2. Another difference is the relying on of your brothers and sisters. In my culture, once you are married you automatically become part of a complete new family, although you still associate with your family (parents and siblings)
Looking at the information I have been given about the Ik culture, it does not really mention anything about status, but the text does mention family meaning very little. This could show that nobody in the family has a high status, as they don’t really consider each other as important. From the information I have been given about The Pomo Indians, I have noticed that old people had the high status. This is mostly opinion, because it say that the old people were very wise but it doesn’t mention anything about the other generations, so from this, I am gathering that the old people had the highest status. Where as in the Nayar Society, I think that the wife had the highest status, as she had twelve husbands-even though they didn’t look after her.
In my culture the member of the family that has the highest status is the father-he is the one who controls what goes on in the house, which looks after the family in general (excluding cooking and domestic things)
The sources of the information of the cultures could not be correct, or completely true-it could even be outdated. I.e.-The Ik culture information has been extracted from a book written in 1994. The culture could have changed COMPLETELY now that we’re a new century. Some of the information could be bias opinion. Looking at the Pomo Indians sources, it seems to be as if somebody is talking from their experience so maybe the culture wasn’t really how he/she is making it out to be, it could have been completely different, but this is just his/her opinion. If you look at the Nayar society information, you will see that there are parts where the word ‘apparently’ is used. This shows that the source is NOT completely sure whether this information is true or not.