In the book Social Anthropology: A very short introduction, the authors inform us of what it’s like to be an anthropologist and view different cultures unlike our own. The book also give us an insight of the native views of these other cultures, which made me realize that my native view and the American native view is extraordinarily different from the ones mentioned in the book. My native view is unique in a way but is also like any other Americans. I feel that as humans, we should take showers everyday, brush our teeth everyday, and eat three meals a day. But we all have unique views when it comes to how we feel about different foods, beliefs, etc. That’s because our household is like a subculture of their own. For example, my family loves cooking sweet potatoes, believes in Christianity, and loves to work-hard, whereas another American family might be completely different. So there are definitely different native views outside and even inside cultures.
The way that I view symbols such as the American flag, McDonalds logo, and NBA logo is completely different than a person from a 3rd world country would view those 3 symbols. For example, if a person from a 3rd world country was shown the McDonalds logo, they would probably be like “it’s just a big yellow M,” whereas we know that the logo is way more than just a big yellow M. In the social anthropology book, the author states, “One of the things our symbol-making capacity enables us to do is organize ourselves in complex and subtle ways (SCA, 54).” By this he means that our native symbols are what make us understand each other and organize ourselves into a neat hardworking country/civilization.
The way that a person from another culture views our culture can seem crazy. The author and Anthropologist from Social & Cultural Anthropology John Monaghan describes how the Mixtec of Mexico felt about unions by stating, “When I was asked if there was something wrong they at first refused to say anything until one finally, with a disgusted look on his face said ‘Onions have a terrible odour and, if you eat too much of them it makes you stupid! (SCA, 38). I found that quite funny because Americans all know that unions do not make you stupid, but that is their native view of unions. Every culture has different native views on different things, and John Monaghan experienced it first hand.
Edward Tylor, Frank Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, Claude Levi-Strauss, Renati Rosaldo, Ward H. Goodenough, Margaret Mead, and Adam Kuper all have great theories concerning culture. I personally like Franc Boas’s theory the most because he simply breaks it down by saying culture is directly connected to our social behavior, our reactions due to our surroundings, and the activities we do as a society. That is definitely true because our culture is what makes us who we are and is responsible for most of our actions and reactions. So the simplicity of his theory really just makes it easy to understand what culture truly is.