martes, 23 de abril de 2013

Thursday April 25th: Our first written test

Dear students: 
Please remember that next class we will be having the first written test of this year, based on Axis 1.
Hope you study a lot and have a great exam.

See you on Thursday

martes, 16 de abril de 2013


DEAR STUDENTS:       Please remember that next class April 25th, we are having our first written test!!

1.2 Culture as a social proccess of meaning 

Culture is a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.”

Clifford Geertz
Clifford Geertz was born August 23rd, 1926 in San Francisco.  His parents divorced when he was three and he was raised by a distant relative in rural California.  In 1943, at the age of seventeen, Geertz volunteered for the U.S. Navy, in which he served for two years (1943-1945).  After the end of World War Two, like many other servicemen, he went to college in 1946 with funding from the GI Bill.  At Antioch College, English was Geertz’s first major, as he wanted to become a writer.  However, he found English too “constraining” and became a philosophy major, where almost any class he took would count toward his major (Geertz 2000a:6).  Geertz graduated from Antioch in 1950 with an A.B. in Philosophy (Inglis 2000:3-6).   
Subsequently, Geertz attended graduate school at Harvard University, earning his Ph.D. in anthropology from the Department of Social Relations in 1956.  Both his undergraduate education and graduate education emphasized the humanities.  The Department of Social Relations placed cultural anthropology next to psychology and sociology, not next to the traditional partners of cultural anthropology: archeology and physical anthropology.  The deep readings in the humanities influenced Geertz greatly.  It is to these influences this essay will turn to next

Geertz’s theoretical contributions start with his definitions and descriptions of culture.  For Geertz, culture is “an historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and their attitudes toward life” (Geertz 1973d:89).  In an alternative (and more quoted) formulation, Geertz states, “Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative in search of meaning” (Geertz 1973f:5). 
Geertz believes that culture is not something that occurs in the heads of humans; “Culture is public, because meaning is” (Geertz 1973f:12).  Cognition is largely the same throughout humanity (Geertz 1973f:13), while the symbols that people use to communicate are different.   It is the anthropologist’s job to unravel the webs of meaning and interpret them. 
 Culture is also not a force or causal agent in the world, but a context in which people live out their lives (Geertz 1973f:14).  This goes back to Geertz’s early distinction between social structure and culture.  Culture is only the pattern of meanings embedded in symbols.  Social structure is the “economic, political, and social relations among individuals and groups” (Geertz 1973c:362).  Geertz does not dismiss the study of social structure, but takes culture to be his object of study. 

1.2.1 Culture as context of production and interpretation of meaning
Each culture produces their own symbols and interpratate their own meanings according to a certain context that has to do with biological, geographical, economical, political and social realities.
Varieties of Culture
We can speak of varieties of cultures such as subcultures or micro-cultures. For example: religious cultures (Catholic, Islamic); social cultures (hockey players, snowboarders); occupational or work cultures (military, business, actors/actresses) and so forth. The boundaries among these different groups overlap, are permeable, change, and evolve over time. Cultures are organic entities. The most historically successful cultures adapt to outside forces, manage their environmental resources equitably and sustainably, make friends with their neighbors, and have relatively egalitarian social and economic structures (Diamond 2005).
Manifestations of culture
Cultural differences manifest themselves in different ways and differing levels of depth. Symbols represent the most superficial and values the deepest manifestations of culture, with heroes and rituals in between.
                Symbols are words, gestures, pictures, or objects that carry a particular meaning which is only recognized by those who share a particular culture. New symbols easily develop, old ones disappear. Symbols from one particular group are regularly copied by others. This is why symbols represent the outermost layer of a culture.
                Heroes are persons, past or present, real or fictitious, who possess characteristics that are highly prized in a culture. They also serve as models for behavior.
                Rituals are collective activities, sometimes superfluous in reaching desired objectives, but are considered as socially essential. They are therefore carried out most of the times for their own sake (ways of greetings, paying respect to others, religious and social ceremonies, etc.).
                The core of a culture is formed by values. They are broad tendencies for preferences of certain state of affairs to others (good-evil, right-wrong, natural-unnatural). Many values remain unconscious to those who hold them. Therefore they often cannot be discussed, nor they can be directly observed by others. Values can only be inferred from the way people act under different circumstances.
                Symbols, heroes, and rituals are the tangible or visual aspects of the practices of a culture. The true cultural meaning of the practices is intangible; this is revealed only when the practices are interpreted by the insiders.

Figure 1. Manifestation of Culture at Different Levels of Depth
People even within the same culture carry several layers of mental programming within themselves. Different layers of culture exist at the following levels:
                The national level: Associated with the nation as a whole.
                The regional level: Associated with ethnic, linguistic, or religious differences that exist within a nation.
                The gender level: Associated with gender differences (female vs. male)
                The generation level: Associated with the differences between grandparents and parents, parents and children.
                The social class level: Associated with educational opportunities and differences in occupation.
The corporate level: Associated with the particular culture of an organization. Applicable to those who are employed.

miércoles, 20 de marzo de 2013

Interactive activity for the Classroom: The Culture Shock

Creation: Culture Shock

Extracted from:, by Claudio Azevedo 
Talking about culture shock is recurrent in the English classroom. This post is about it.

A. Read the definition below about Culture shock.

Culture shock refers to the anxiety and feeling (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown culture such as one may encounter in a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. This is often combined with a dislike for or even disgust, moral or aesthetical, with certain aspects of the new or different culture.

Information taken from Wikipedia

A. Talk to a partner about the following questions:

1. Have you traveled to another country? Which country or place has the most different culture from yours? Explain it.

2. What is the longest time that you have lived outside of your country (city)? Talk about this experience.

3. Do you think you are open to new ideas and different cultures? Explain it.

4. Would you like to live in another country if you spoke the language? What if you didn't speak the language?

5. Have you ever had culture shock? Talk about it.

6. Suppose one of your American friends goes to your country and will stay there for a while, what kind of culture shock he/she will experience?

7. How different or varied is culture inside your own country? Explain it and give examples.

B. Now read the definition of Reverse Culture shock, taken from Wikipedia, and discuss the questions that follow:

Reverse Culture Shock — returning to one's home culture after growing accustomed to a new one can produce the same effects as described above. This results from the psychosomatic and psychological consequences of the readjustment process to the primary culture. The affected person often finds this more surprising and difficult to deal with than the original culture shock.

1. What's the difference between culture shock and reverse culture shock?

2. Do you think they are facts or myths? Why?

C. Now watch the video segment from the movie Creation and answer the questions that follow. The scene is about Charles Darwin's experiment with a tribe of Indians:

1. Describe the experiment.

2. Did it work out? Justify your answer.

3. What conclusions can you reach from this experiment?

4. Did the children have culture shock? Explain it.

5. What about reverse culture shock? Justify your answer.

5. What could be done for this experiment to work out?

6. Read the symptoms of (Reverse) Culture Shock and check the ones you believe the children had when they were in England.

( ) Sadness, loneliness, depression

( ) Anger, increased irritability

( ) Loss of identity, sense of self

( ) Lack of confidence

( ) Feelings of insecurity, like excessive fear of being injured.

( ) Terrible longing to be back home

( ) Confusion, unable to solve simple problems

7. What about after the children returned home? Check the reverse culture shock symptoms, if any, that they had back in their original tribe.

D. Work in groups and prepare a list of the most important cultural features of your country that a foreigner will have to adapt to in order not to have culture shock.

Write at least 5 different points

1. ....................................................................

2 ...................................................................

3 ....................................................................

4 ....................................................................

5 ....................................................................

martes, 12 de marzo de 2013

CULTURE, a word with many meanings


                Culture is a way of life.
                Culture is the way humans solve problems of adapting to the environment and living together.
                Culture is the product of geography, the physical environment, and history. Inasmuch as the geography, environment, and history change, culture evolve, adapting to the changes, and are continually redefined and reconstituted.
                Culture is a way of life that is shared – shared values, shared myths (history), shared symbols, shared symbolic meanings, giving rise to customs and traditions, and perpetuating the social bonds of the community.
                Culture represents collective learned behaviors that act as a template, shaping consciousness and behavior, from generation to generation.
                These learned behaviors are reflections of abstract values, beliefs, and perceptions of the world.
                Culture consists chiefly in values/beliefs, behavior that reflect those values, and communication patterns that define that behavior.
                Culture is expressed in material and non-material ways.


1.   Language:
                 How did the language evolve?
                 Does language solidify or divides this society society?
                 What role has language played in the evolution of this  culture?
2.  Clothing:
                 How did the clothing evolve?
                 What symbols are associated with clothing?
3.  Food preparation:
                 What distinguishes their food and why?
                 What are the taboos in their food consumption (and why?)
4.  Architecture and housing: 
                 How do they build their houses? What are the determinants and influences?
5.  Livelihoods:
                 Are they regional? caste/class-based?
                 How have they evolved?
                 How have they changed the society and its values?
6.  Forms of governance:
                 How have they evolved?
                 Are they hierarchical or participatory?
7.  Social organization:
                 What are the characteristics of the family?
                 What are gender relations like (the role of women)?
                 What is the role of religion in society?
8.  Social interaction:
                 What do they do for recreation?
9.  Rituals, ceremonies and taboos:
                 Get information on wedding ceremonies and their symbols.
                 What are the beliefs and taboos associated with death?
                 What are the rituals involved in childbirth?  In puberty?
10.  Morality and values:
                 What are the most reprehensible crimes and why?  How are they punished?
How is right distinguished from wrong - among individuals? in and among families? in political life? in society in general?

miércoles, 20 de febrero de 2013

March 4th: Welcome Back!!

Dear students,

It´s really good to see you again!

This year I´ll be teaching "Communication, Culture & Society", a subject you will really enjoy. In this space, you will be able to learn, to get informed, to think, to discuss, to have your own opinion and to express it.

We will work a lot but I assure you you will learn much more!

Today´s task: fill in the questionnaire

jueves, 15 de noviembre de 2012

Integración 4º año: ¿qué rendimos el lunes?


Los alumnos deben redactar y diseñar una publicidad gráfica de un producto asignado por la profesora incorporando los conocimientos y estrategias publicitarias, propagandísticas y de Marketing vistas en clase. Previamente al diseño de la misma, los alumnos deberán realizar una investigación de la marca, de su imagen pública, del producto a publicitar y de su público específico para realizar una campaña acorde a la realidad y necesidades de la marca y su producto.
Los alumnos presentarán su trabajo el lunes 19 de noviembre en un afiche y contarán oralmente su proceso creativo.

domingo, 28 de octubre de 2012

¿Cómo hacer una publicidad o propaganda atractiva?

 El público sufre de saturación visual y sonora, por ello un plan de marketing moderno necesita apelar a la creatividad para transmitir efectivamente su mensaje. Hoy un aviso tieneCreatividad ante el exceso de publicidadque ser relevante al destinatario para que este le asigne su valioso tiempo y considere la oferta. En esta nueva era, el destino de las estrategias de marketing es persuadir al consumidor y construir una relación beneficiosa con el cliente.
El objetivo de una pieza de marketing puede ser persuadir o manipular al cliente. La manipulación genera relaciones a corto plazo y poco rentables. La persuasión en cambio se basa en satisfacer las necesidades del consumidor de manera rentable para  la empresa e incrementar la retención de clientes. El convencimiento construye vínculos de largo plazo que generan buenos negocios para la compañía.
Algunos anuncios publicitarios no se destacan y pasan desapercibidos. Muchos otros se han convertido en piezas de entretenimiento, vacías de todo mensaje que aporten valor a la empresa.
La gente se aburre de un aviso, lo rechaza, si no es relevante. Con internet, el público se acostumbró a recibir información a su medida. Complejos software  analizan las consultas y visitas del internauta, ofreciéndoles luego productos y servicios en consecuencia. Lo mismo pero con menor tecnología debemos lograr en todas las piezas de marketing.
Un aviso es relevante cuando se relaciona con uno en el momento en que vive. Presentamos 5 ejemplos de como crear publicidad creativa apelando a distintos factores para lograr este vínculo.
Como hacer Publicidad creativa
Época del año, cada estación se relaciona con distintas necesidades para las personas. El invierno implicafrio, enfermedades, ropa de abrigo y mucho más. El ejemplo presentado a la derecha aprovecha la sensación de frio durante la espera de un colectivo para comunicar los beneficios del horno eléctrico.
Campaña publicitaria de tiendas de café
El Lugar y situación probable del público brinda una buena base para una publicidad creativa y relevante. En el caso de este aviso, la agencia de publicidad aprovechó el vapor que sale de las alcantarillas en invierno para promocionar un tentador café caliente que calmará el frio del transeúnte.
Estrategia de marketing de Evian
Edad y estilo de vida, avisos relacionados a sentirse joven, mayor vitalidad y vida sana son un clásico. Lo importante es lograrlo bien: diferenciarse, ser originales y transmitir el mensaje claramente. Este anuncio no solo muestra una modelo joven y hermosa, también recalca el beneficio con la impresión de un cuerpo de bebé en su remera. Con este recurso se amplía el público objetivo a gente joven con este recurso.
Campaña publicitaria en vía publica

Tema de interés público
: la inseguridad es una situación que está en todos los medios y en la mente de la gente, además se relaciona en especial con lugares abiertos. “¿Quién dejaría a la vista tanto dinero en la calle? A menos que esté seguro detrás de un vidrio irrompible”. Un mensaje claro y directo. A esto se suma el atractivo de una pila de dinero que llama la atención de cualquier persona.
Plan de marketing social efectivo y creativo
Compromiso social: Muchas organizaciones apelan a la preocupación de la gente por el futuro del planeta y sus habitantes. Lo difícil es lograr despertar el sentimiento de urgencia en el receptor. Este aviso, sólo con una imagen, comunica claramente un peligro y su cusa, la muerte de pingüinos por el calentamiento global.
Estos y muchos otros factores pueden considerarse al momento de diseñar una campaña publicitaría.Todo depende del mensaje que se desea transmitir, la imagen de empresa que se pretende alimentar y el mercado objetivo. Teniendo en cuenta esto cualquier empresa, grande – mediana o pequeña, puede diseñar su publicidad para que sea más relevante.
Sólo hace falta el compromiso de los ejecutivos para lograrlo. No se necesita grandes presupuestos sólo creatividad y decisión.