With our ever increasing global economy and ability to communicate across the world in real time, how does a global perspective help when examining elements of culture?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In sociology, culture can be defined as all of the beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, material objects, and other things that define a particular group of people.  The people who share a culture and live in a certain geographical area are defined as a society.  Sociology seeks to study society.  It seeks to understand how one’s place in society, defined by such things as the groups one belongs to, have an impact on one’s life.  Clearly, culture has a large role in determining this.  For example, if a particular culture holds that women are inferior to men, that belief will have a great impact on women’s lives.  Thus, culture is very important to the understanding of sociology.

In sociology, a global perspective can be defined as the understanding of how our own society fits in to the world as a whole.  This sort of a perspective is very important for us in today’s world.  In the past, it might not have been.  Our society was not so connected to other societies in the world and was therefore less influenced by them.  Today, we are very much connected to the greater world.  That means that other societies can have a very important impact on us.  For example, if we want to understand American attitudes towards Muslims in the US, we have to understand the relationship between the United States and Muslim countries.  If we want to understand American attitudes towards guns and religion, we have to understand our role as the world’s only superpower and the fact that this role helps many Americans to believe that the US is exceptional and superior. 

Because our society is so connected to other societies in the rest of the world, it is helpful to have a global perspective when we try to understand various aspects of our own culture.

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