Contours of Culture

Experiencing through Traversing Contours

The boundaries of culture differ to the geographical borderlines of countries and regions. Cultural borders are often sliced in half or become extinct as a result of designated areas, determined precisely by agreed political consensus between the winners of wars.

In common understanding we tend to refer to a country indicating the birthplace of a particular tradition, however, resembling features may appear throughout the land. Those, exceptions to the prevalent practices in their country, are likely to show similarities with other nations’ widespread customs; or I can even imagine a scenario whereby all those who are exceptions to the ‘predetermined image’ of their national culture are bound in their way of life remotely.

Culture can be ruled by: political and economic power relations, therefore can be attached to geographical places; or a particular religion which do not necessarily have geographical parameters; or inherited practices that pass in closed family circles. Each of these can influence daily life at various scales.

Elsewhere culture solely represents artistic endeavours. In terms of the arts, countries seem to be entitled to claim ownership above certain assets – created or produced by its citizens – as ‘national cultural heritage’, regardless whether the actual creation took place within the country’s borders. Artists often migrate, their manner and techniques change, shaped by their surroundings.

Due to the migration of citizens, the transmission of ‘culture’ from generation to generation is not ensured and rapidly changing. Political, economical and religious matters have significant impact on the judgment of values, which are connected with past experiences, learnt patterns, present perspectives and projected futures. Under these circumstances, from time to time, some methods can be emphasized, while others may become inappropriate.

As a consequence of the worldwide epidemic of cultural ambiguity, our educational system confuses more than it clarifies. Students should learn how to adapt new contents in their own context, as well as how to mediate between private and public environments. Moreover, being aware of the space they occupy on earth.

All in all, our relation to the temporarily drawn contours of culture is conditioned: by our religious beliefs; by political and economic forces on allocated territories; by age, family and social status; and finally by perceptions of the self and of the other.

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