How to Read Cultural Literacy Globally in Digital Age

How to Read Cultural Literacy Globally in Digital Age

Can Ceylan (İstanbul Medipol University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1534-1.ch016
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Abstract

Cultural literacy is what one should need to know to be able to understand, join, and participate properly in a certain culture. This may work temporarily for a short-time contact with a culture against some fatal failures. However, cultural literacy is also what one should and maybe must know not to fall into the blindness of ethnocentrism. Since this blindness is inevitable in any place and any period of time, we, as the people of contemporary times, should be aware of the function of cultural literacy. The function of cultural literacy is based on cultural relativity, which seems to be disappearing under globalization and cultural imperialism.
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How Culture Works

Many people tend to define culture as a term that is composed of refined, ideal, finished, excellent items and issues. So, terms such as “cultured” stands for those who are well-educated, enlightened, mature and gentle. Although this framework is not wrong, it is not sufficient and satisfactory. This is because not only educated people are “cultured”. In addition this because culture does not only consist of positive, useful, favorable things, but it also is composed of negative, harmful, undesirable things. For instance in the life style of people in a certain place, they can help each other just for the sake of humanity and they can betray their partners. So the best to handle the term culture is to be aware that culture is structure in which not only good thing but also bad things exist and should exist. Otherwise culture would be a sterile structure instead of a hygienic structure. The difference between these two structures is so vital that in the former one, natural way of life is not possible. Natural way of life is possible only in hygienic occasions in which all whites and blacks exist synchronously.

In a sterile social structure in which “culture” stands only for of positive, useful, favorable things, social tensions and collisions appear, because that form of “culture” ignores natural existence of many other not negative and neutral issues and takes them as threat against its own existence. This is simply defined as ethnocentrism/sociocentrism and cultural imperialism against which no alternative is tolerated and allowed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Globalization: The process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.

Cultural Relativity: A concept that cultural norms and values derive their meaning within a specific social context.

Social Anthropology: The comparative study of the ways in which people live in different social and cultural settings across the globe.

Ethnocentrism: The act of judging another culture based on preconceptions that are found in the values and standards of one's own culture – especially regarding language, behavior, customs, and religion.

Culture: 1. The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. 2. The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

Literacy: 1. The ability to read and write. 2. Knowledge of a particular subject, or a particular type of knowledge.

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