Culture as a River

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One approach of looking at culture that feels very inclusive to me is comparing it to a stream or a river with different individual currents in it, which Geoffrey Samuel describes as a ‘multimodal framework’. This includes different ways of gathering information and looking at ‘reality’ and different experiences that do not fit in for example rationalist positivist frameworks. As individuals we all have several currents that we are part of, such as our family culture, our work environment, our political ideas, our belief systems. Each of these currents is associated with images, symbols, moods, motivations, decision making structures and a particular sense of self and relationship. We can switch between those, according to what a specific situations requires. Also, there is a dynamic interaction between those individual streams and the stream of the larger culture, which mutually inform and shape each other. Our actions do matter!

 

Culture as a River | Anthropology of the Body and the Senses | Symbolic Anthropology