There may possibly be as many interpretations of culture as there are individual hands. However, my perception of culture (in the broadest sense), is close to Geerte Hofstede's interpretation of cultural dimensions. Hofstede uses the onion as an image for different levels and dimensions of culture. York Associates expand and explain these dimensions even further, including a diagram of exactly how Hofstede's onion metaphor may be understood as well as references to Hall and Trompenaar's 4-model of culture.
Here below I include a diagram of how culture may be pereived:
However interesting and valid I find these view points and perceptions, I also tend to perceive culture as a coral reef.
Coral reefs are fragile, alive, forever changing. Coral reefs are delicate, forever in movement.
In our ever speeding pace of tweets, texting and WikiLeaks, perceiving cultures as coral reefs, where life forms interact and mingle, maintaining the reef while each new tide brings fresh waters and life, seems to me, a possible analogy with the cultures of our world.
Speaking of culture or cultures today is not easy as information is so easily attainable around the globe and cultures are so globally blended. Yet, individual cultures do exist - we are not mere clones. So how may we begin to learn and understand about different cultures?
Absolutely Intercultural is a place where intercultural podcasts deal with intercultural issues. It is run by Anne Fox, (in Dennmak) and Dr. Laurent Borgmann (in Germany). Not only do they offer a wide range of interesting issues to students and teachers, but their podcasts are free of charge. Here you may follow the diagrams which clearly explain how to download and subscribe to Absolutely Intercultural podcasts.
Of the many podcasts available, this is definitely one of my favourites. Recordings are up-to-date and engaging; issues are always current and affect us all in different situations of our lives.
As I have mentioned before, podcasts are a great way to help you improve your English language skills without sitting at your desk. You simply download a podcast, upload it to your Ipod or Mp3 player, and you are able to listen while on the go.
Culture/cultures are not always simple to perceive. Appearances may be deceptive. Assumptions may be misleading.
How do you understand culture?
Which Absolutely Intercultural podcast have you found the most interesting?