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A culture includes art, knowledge, beliefs, values, norms, organizations, social relationships and so many other things within a community. Material culture is the physical objects that represent a particular culture whereas non-material culture contains ideas, attitudes, or beliefs in a certain culture.
Material culture has made human life easier by connecting humans with the physical environment. Examples of material culture for me are 1). House. The house that we live in protects us from the weather and predators along with protecting our material possessions.
It can also be a social status symbol depending on how big, how much land you own, how well decorated, and, nice it appears.
Car. In my culture, owning an automobile is a necessity by allows us to travel, see new sites, learn new history. It allows me to go back and forth to work, shopping, church and seeing family which is separated by many miles of travel. Money is important because we need money for everything. To pay for a home, a car, fuel, groceries, clothes, and, extra needs or wants.
Money is a funny thing because, realistically speaking, in my culture, the more you have the more you spend. Meaning, if you can afford a bigger house then you have to afford the furniture, utility bills, insurance, upkeep, and, maintenance that go with it. Pets are considered an enhancement to our lives. They are our “furry children” just like a member of the family. They can be our protectors or comforters. In fact, they are protected by laws.
Wedding rings can be a major purchase in my culture. Many people pay thousands of dollars for a ring. The circular nature of the ring is a symbol of endless love and devotion to the person you chose to marry. Church. In my culture, we have freedom of religion. Meaning, we can choose our church, doctrine, or religious beliefs. We are not restricted in how we live our lives with respect to our faith in God. School and education. Higher education is not required for some employment opportunities. However, higher-paying jobs do require it. Many people cannot afford to obtain a higher education. Thanks to the University of the People, opportunities are now available that have never been before.
Cell phones. There are not many people in my culture that do not have a cell phone unless they are a child. However, even small children know how to use or play games on a smartphone. Phones allow us the opportunity to get up to the minute information in the palm of our hand. And, to always stay connected to others, or be available when we need someone. However, it also is a source of frustration when trying to have a conversation with someone and they will not put down their phone to look at you.
Stores. We have stores that allow us to purchase items we need or want. We can “bargain shop”. That is comparison shopping for the best deal. One store may carry a product for a lesser cost. We also have specialty stores that allow for diversity in purchasing items of our choice. Such as Sportsman Warehouse that sells supplies based on outdoor adventures. Hospitals. We have the right to healthcare, regardless of our ability to pay. Some laws prevent healthcare facilities from not providing care based on an individual’s ability to pay for their services. Legally, they must see and stabilize a patient before discharging from the facility or transferring their care to another facility.
This assignment has made me see how my society is very materialistic. I think that we tend to get too focused on the home that we live in, the amount of money we have, or, meeting the status quo. However, I am happy that we do have some valuable non-material culture, such as the right to education, healthcare, and freedom of religion.
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