Anthropology is learning about the existing people and culture through analyzing the background. In communication course, it is important to know more about those things because by knowing the culture we will be able to know the way to communicate.
Communication happens when someone make an interaction with other and the way they communicate with other will be different because it is influenced by their background, for instance family, environment, habits, culture, etc. It could be positive either negative.
The writer realizes that dealing with culture could be hard. People need to learning, understanding, and tolerance. There are norms, values, and behavior (etiquette) for every group of people. So, we will see how people maintain the culture in daily life through the case that will be analyzed by some theories about culture.
Anthropologist Leslie White (1959) defined culture consists of tools, implements, utensils, clothing, ornaments, customs, institutions, beliefs, rituals, games, works of art, language, etc.
Culture is an attribute not of individuals but of individuals as members of groups. Culture is transmitted in society. The cultural changes affect how we perceive nature, human nature, and “the natural.” Through science, invention, and discovery, cultural advances have overcome many “natural” limitations. It trains their individual members to share certain personality traits.
Acculturation is the exchange of cultural features that results when groups have continuous first hand contact. The cultures of either or both groups may be changed by this contact (Redfield, Linton, and Herskovits 1936).
Ethnocentrism is the tendency to view own culture as superior and to apply cultural values in judging the behavior and beliefs of people raise in other cultures.
As Indonesian people, we know that Indonesia divers with any cultures. We have different way to interact and communicate each other. It is because we come from different region, ethnics, and race which support us to have own rules, habits, and culture. Moreover, if we meet the foreign culture which come from other countries. For instance like the foreign students in President University. They are from China, Korea, Vietnam, etc. When they have to live together with Indonesian people who become the majority, they could feel the differences and hard to apply in daily life. Usually we called it as culture shock. Perhaps, they can pass those things in a short time. In order to they can’t adapt easily.
I have a Korean friend named Diana. She is older than me and she came here to study. At the first time I met her, it was very awkward. She cannot speak either understand English very well. From that moment, we can see the different of language should make us interact and communicate in English. Day by day, we got closer. I knew more about her daily life, such as diligent, hard-working, doing make up after take shower, fashionable, etc. Those things are like what Leslie White (1959) said about culture that consists of utensils, customs, rituals, and language.
Her culture is very different with common Indonesian people. Therefore, I could say that Korean people will be similar with her. It showed the culture of Korea. It was also what she thought at that time. She knew more about my habits and attitudes which is uncommon for her. Then, she will decide that it is culture of Indonesia. As the book “A Concise Introduction to General Anthropology” said about culture is an attribute of individuals as members of groups that transmitted in society and it trains the individual members to share certain personality traits.
In another hand, since Diana lives Indonesia with Indonesian friends surrounding for the most, it makes her to learn more and try to apply it. She has an interaction and communication with Indonesian people, then acculturation may happen to her as Redfield, Linton, and Herskovits’ theory (1936). When she is going to exchange of cultural features between Korea and Indonesia, she could change her culture because her contact with Indonesian friends.
One day, we had been travelling together. I was surprised enough when she throw the rubbish of candy outside from the public transportation. When I asked to her why she did it, she answered me because it is Indonesia and she may throw the rubbish everywhere. It was also happened when we were queuing to buy something. She was impatient and again she said that “Oh my God Indonesia people is @#$%^&* in Korea, there will be no like this”. According to the book “A Concise Introduction to General Anthropology”, Diana could have an ethnocentrism which is talking about the tendency to view own culture as superior and to apply cultural values in judging the behavior and beliefs of other culture.
Based on the discussion that is provided, the writer may conclude that people will have different culture in their life. It influences their daily activity, even the way they interact and communication with others. It shows a group’s identity as the uniqueness.
In Diana’s case, she should be more tolerance and understanding about the differentiation. Maybe she still can build a good relationship with her friends, but sometimes she is not able to maintain her daily life with different culture.
Diana often compared her culture with Indonesia culture that she thought very different and unusual things. It is the hardest part to accept something new and could be uncomfortable for her. Finally, what she done is suppose to be called as ethnocentric.
By learning anthropology, someone will know more about culture, habits, attitudes, behaviors, values, norms, etc. Those things will be different each other. So, we need to know, learn and we possible to filter it before we live in the new culture, then we judge the different things (other culture) as not good as own culture.
Kottak, C.P. 2010. Window on Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Anthropology (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill: New York.