The socio-cultural perspective refers to the way individuals belonging to the various social groups are being molded by the perceptions, values, beliefs and cultural factors which exist in such groups (RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. 2017). The cultural values dictate a lot concerning how people behave in their natural settings, their norms, and the shape and direction of their characters. All these characters and behaviors are transferred from generation to generation and spread across the different socio-cultural span through interactions with other people from diverse cultures and traditions. The most common places where the cultural interactions occur include workplaces, schools, markets, the transport systems and many others. The social groups emanate from one's family during childhood, the peer groups during their adolescence. The other social groups that affect one's behaviors and beliefs include friends, neighbors, fraternities, sororities, church members, workmates, and many others (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014). These people tend to influence the way we behave in different circumstances. Therefore, people's behaviors primarily depend on the relationships that exist in social groups in which they belong, that shape their behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs (Coon, Dennis, Mitterer, John., et al. 2017).
The socio-cultural perspectives influence the way people grow in the society. The social groups tend to change with time during one's lifetime. The older we become, the more advanced our thoughts and characters develop to fit the society in which we live. As we grow older, we meet many people from various cultures, tribes, races, colors, religions, and civilizations (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014). According to Vygotsky, the human mind is continuously learning about different cultures. It is because people love to be more advantaged in the society, always looking for better lifestyles, behaviors and living standards. While seeking for such insatiable growth and complexity, humans find themselves continuously copying the behaviors of other people in the society whom they consider more advanced than themselves (RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. 2017). Different cultures emphasize different values. For example, one culture may put more emphasis on the intelligence while the other culture emphasizes on the memorization.
Culture defines the totality of human beliefs, values, and behaviors which are shared by large groups of people. There are various cultural components such as the shared language, accents, folklores, ideas, expectations and thinking patterns. Other distinct characteristics of the different cultural values include the learned beliefs, principles, traditions, and the behavioral guides or norms which serve as the framework for the normal interactions and perceptions in the world. In such, culture serves as the behavioral software that stores and programs the behavior and characteristics of a particular group of people (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014).
The way we perceive other people's cultures depends on our own set of norms, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs.
Culture influences our Lives and Lifestyles.
According to psychologists, people are culturally programmed just from as young as three years of age during which, they can interpret very well the various verbal and the non-verbal forms of communication. They are also able to tell the moods of their mother as well as they can show theirs too. Culture, therefore, plays a very crucial part of our lives (RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. 2017).
Our lifestyles are primarily influenced by the characteristics of the social groups in which we belong. The age groups, gender, sexual orientations or ethnic groups affects the way we behave towards other people at the workplaces, schools or any other social environments; this is because the society views different people in different angles depending on their characteristics (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014). For example, gays may be considered outcasts in some cultures while in the other cultures, they appear just as normal as others within the society. Depending on the society they exist, the gays will behave distinctly to counteract the way the society perceives them. Gender issues are also very sensitive as far as the diversity is concerned (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014). In some cultures, women are not considered as humans, but rather just helpers. Therefore, the cultural perspective of who women are dictates the way they get treated in the society. For example, in most of the ancient African communities, men were allowed to marry as many wives as they could. The women in such communities have no voice, especially where there are social gatherings. In case a woman has any question, she must keep quiet during the meeting and preserve that question to ask her husband after the meeting, and whatever is given her, she must accept it just the way it is, whether the answer is right or not.
Cultures determine almost all percentage of our social lives and behaviors and the way we interact with each other in our social settings (Coon, Dennis, Mitterer, John., et al. 2017). For example, our culture determines what kinds of friends we keep, the foods we prefer, the various social activities that we enjoy, religion, the types of clothing, the language is spoken and its accent. Moreover, it determines the vehicle we drive, the neighborhood to which we belong, the music we enjoy, the jobs or leadership positions we hold, and even the political parties we to which we belong (RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. 2017).
The Causes of Our Cultural Programming
The values, attitudes, actions, beliefs and thinking patterns are born of the cultures of the cultures of the people among whom we dwell. The family is the basic an organizational unit where all the cultural factors begin in childhood, shaped by it throughout our growth and development phases. In the first place, the family language, beliefs, attitudes, and other behaviors are adopted by the children without question (Coon, Dennis, Mitterer, John., et al. 2017). The following are some of the influences of our cultural programming: First, the family where we are raised in dictates the way we perceive the world including the language, the behaviors, the characters, beliefs, our ideologies, the mindset, attitudes and the way we make decisions concerning our situations (RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. 2017). Another factor that influences our cultural programming is our religion. Religious beliefs usually are unquestionable. Whatever we learn from the religious activities forms part of our daily life and add up to the perspective of the more comprehensive social beliefs, ethics or societal norms (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014). The other factors influencing the people's cultural programming includes ethnicity, our neighbors, the economic status, the social media, tours and travels and the types of work we do. Our spouses can also influence the way we behave, reason or our attitudes. Equally, the friends also play essential roles in shaping our mindset. The kinds of friends we keep around, to a greater extent, shape the way we think and our reasoning. Other factors which influence the cultural programming include the relatives, workmates and even the geographical locations (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014).
Examples of Cultural Programming
Cultural programming determines the various values, beliefs, or rituals that are performed by the culture-based programming that exists in a society. The following are some of the examples of cultural beliefs.
A person's hair will grow faster if it is cut during the full moon.
Successful marriages happen when the couples make a vow while the clock points to the upside of the hour but not while it points to the downside of the hour.
You cannot teach an old dog a new trick.
You can take the horse to the water, but you cannot force it to drink, etc.
The statements above represent some of the cultural beliefs which may be true or in some cases may not necessarily be accurate.
Everyone is a product of their cultural and personal past (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014). The way we see the present and the future depends on what we have interacted with, learned, experienced, heard, or seen. It dictates how we behave and treat others who are living around us. When we recognize can recognize these perceptual filters, we can be able to make adjustments on how we think about others and result in better attitudes as we live among those with diverse cultures and values.
Appreciating Cultural Differences
The encounter with different cultures leads to the continuous learning experience among the people. As people of different cultures spend more time together, they come to appreciate the values and benefits of each other's cultures (RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. 2017). Consequently, this will enhance the utmost peace and understanding among the people from different cultural backgrounds. Multicultural workers bring different views and perspectives to the ongoing development projects and can lead to massive success for the organizational projects (Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. 2014). Appreciation of the varied cultures helps us move from the automatic pre-judgments of the other people's and enables us to see the positive sides of our differences.
The socio-cultural perspectives and human diversities determine the way individuals from various social backgrounds are being molded by their cultural perceptions, values, beliefs and their attitudes (Coon, Dennis, Mitterer, John., et al. 2017). The cultural values dictate a lot concerning how people behave in their natural settings, their norms, and the shape and direction of their characters. All these characters and behaviors are transferred from generation to generation and spread across the different socio-cultural span through interactions with other people from diverse cultures and traditions. The diversity of human cultures presents significant benefits in decision making within an organization (RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. 2017). It is very much essential to acknowledge and respect the values and beliefs of other cultures and integrate them in an organization as well as the society as a whole.
Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. (2014). Psychology: A journey. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Coon, Dennis, Mitterer, John O., & Martini, Tanya S. (2017). Psychology: Modules for Active Learning. Cengage Learning.
RATHUS, S. P. E. N. C. E. R. A. (2017). Hdev + online, 1 term - 6 months access card. Place of publication not identified: WADSWORTH.
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