What is it?
As we read in “Culture as a Process” by Carol Brunson Phillips, the process of acquiring and learning the
rules of a culture, also called acculturation, varies from group to group and person to person. Fundamentally,
culture consists of a set of rules that affect the behavior of both people and society. Cultures are dynamic and
constantly changing, even if that change is often very slow. In any large culture, there are always smaller subcultures, which can explain why one part of a country acts differently compared to the whole.
All of us have a legacy, which in this case refers to how the actions of our ancestors affect us. The religion we practice, the language we speak, the food we eat, the morals we have, the sports we like, how we react to strangers, etc. are all examples of legacy; sometimes these are things outside of our control, like the accent we have in our native language; sometimes as we grow older, we can control them. Since most of the cultural rules that exist are rooted in the past, often for reasons people have since forgotten, we are affected by what proceeded us. For Essay Two, it is your job to explore your culture and the legacy it has had on you. Since culture is learned, your story will be unique to you and your experiences. Many elements affect our relationship with culture: time, place, language, family, religion, if we are conformist or non-conformist, etc. If your identity and culture are currently changing, how is your new cultural identity emerging?
Guiding questions/premise: How has culture shaped your identity? How has your cultural legacy affected you?
As you explore these questions, consider what culture(s) you strongly identify with. How does Brunson Philips’s theory that culture is a process help to explain (or not) your identity within culture? Illustrate your ideas with relevant, descriptive, personal examples.
The thesis and conclusion of your essay should consider what you learned as you reflect upon the situation.
▪ The essay should be a minimum of 2 pages and a maximum of 3 pages.
▪ The final draft must be typed and properly formatted.
▪ The essay must include a distinct introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion; however, do not write an essay
based on the five-paragraph model.
▪ Must include at least two quotes or paraphrases from either Brunson-Philips’ “Culture as a Process” text or
another outside source as supporting evidence or explanation to show how you engage in defining culture and
identity. These must be cited, which we will cover in the Lesson 7.
▪ Have a precise thesis statement that proposes an idea without announcing, asking a question, or including “I think” or “I believe.”
Process: How do I go about writing this essay?
Step One: Before you undertake the writing assignment:
After having finished reading and annotating “Culture as a Process,” skim your annotations.
Step Two: Reflecting on the reading:
How do we become acculturated? How do the rules of our culture affect us? What legacy have our ancestors bequeathed us?
Step Three: Getting started/some things to ponder:
What is your culture? Where did you learn various aspects of your culture? What rules drive your culture? What parts of your culture have you embraced? Rejected? Are you part of sub-culture? Do you live in two cultures?
Essays are due at the beginning of class; otherwise, they are considered late. Essays must be typed, or they will not be accepted.
How should it be formatted?
MLA style. If you need a refresher, look at your notes, ask me for help, visit the Writing Center, or check out this website: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
What are the goals of this piece?
create an introduction that contextualizes your subject
think critically about what “culture” means to you and how its legacy has affected you
use diction appropriate for your audience
write an essay free of fragments and run-ons: in other words, good sentence structure
organize your ideas in an easy to follow, logical fashion
to conclude, rather than end, your essay (avoid “in conclusion”)
Words of Wisdom:
“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”
–Francis Bacon. For more information on Personal Culture see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organizational_culture
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