Sabtu, 31 Oktober 2009



Enculturation is the process by which a person learns the requirements of the culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviours that are appropriate or necessary in that culture. The influences which as part of this process limit, direct or shape the individual, whether deliberately of not, include parents, other adults, and peers. If successful, enculturation results in competence in the language, values and rituals of the culture.
Conrad Phillip Kottak (Conrad Kottak is an United States anthropology. He did extensive research in Brazil and Madagascar, visiting societies there and writing books about them....)
(in Window on Humanity ) writes:
“Enculturation is the process
where the culture that is currently established teaches an individual the accepted norms and values of the culture or society in which the individual lives. The individual can become an accepted member and fulfill the needed functions and roles of the group. Most importantly the individual knows and establishes a context of boundaries and accepted behavior that dictates what is acceptable and not acceptable within the framework of that society. It teaches the individual their role within society as well as what is accepted behavior within that society and lifestyle"
Enculturation can be conscious or unconscious, therefore can support both the Marxist and the hegemonic arguments. There are three ways a person learns a culture. Direct teaching of a culture is done, this is what happens when you don't pay attention, mostly by the parents , when a person is told to do something because it is right and to not do something because it is bad. For example, when children ask for something, they are constantly asked "What do you say?" and the child is expected to remember to say "please." The second conscious way a person learns a culture is to watch others around them and to emulate their behavior. An example would be using different slang with different clique in school. Enculturation also happens unconsciously, through events and behaviors that prevail in their culture. All three kinds of culturation happen simultaneously and all the time.
Enculturation helps mold a person into an acceptable member of society. influences everything that a person does, whether they are aware of it or not. Enculturation is a lifelong process that helps unify people. Even as a culture changes, core beliefs, values, worldviews, and child-rearing practices stay the same. How many times has a parent said "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?" when their child wanted to fit in with the crowd? Both are playing roles in the enculturation. The child wants to be included in the subculture of their peers, and the parent wants to instill individualism in the child, through direct teaching. Not only does one become encultured, but also makes someone else encultured.
Sociologist Talcott Parsons spoke of the birth of new generations of children as a recurrent barbarian invasion. One reason he said that was because human infants do not possess culture at birth. They have no conception of the world, no language, nor a morality. It is in this sense that Parsons uses the word "barbarian" in reference to infants. They are uncultured, unsocialized persons. All an infant needs to live and cope within the cultural context awaiting him is acquired through the process termed enculturation by the anthropologist and socialization by the sociologist. We may define enculturation as the process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that enable them to become functioning members of their societies.
Awaiting the infant is a society possessing a culture, an ordered way of life. The child possesses certain possibilities for processing information and developing desires making it possible for that ordered way of life to influence him. These enduring competencies and standards of judgment, along with attitudes and motives, form the personality. The personality, in turn, influences the culture.
Enculturation, says E. Adamson Hoebel, is "both a conscious and an unconscious conditioning process whereby man, as child and adult, achieves competence in his culture, internalizes his culture and becomes thoroughly enculturated." One internalizes the dreams and expectations, the rules and requirements not just for the larger society seen as a whole, but also for every specific demand within the whole. Society does whatever is necessary to aid any one of its members in learning proper and appropriate behavior for any given social setting and in meeting the demands of any challenge. Enculturation begins before birth and continues until death. Thus, one learns respect for the symbols of the nation through reciting a pledge of allegiance and singing the national anthem in school. He learns with whom he may be physically violent (a wrestling competitor) and with whom he cannot (the little girl down the street). He becomes aware of his rights and obligations and privileges as well as the rights of others.
Some saints and revolutionaries successfully internalize the norms of their society and then make a novel system out of them. Sometimes totally new novel systems displace established ones. For instance, Jesus Christ introduced a new life way and the new proceeded to supplant the old. The American revolution, which it took place on a continent that Europeans were in the process of settling, permitted a novel system to progress through time without undue hindrance from the Old World. There is no question, however, in the minds of students of history or comparative sociology, in each of these cases, the new was clearly an outgrowth of the old.
The result of the enculturative process is identity: the identity of the person within the group. Society seeks to make each member a fully responsible individual within the whole. While the enculturation process may at times alienate some persons, the intent of society is responsible participation.
God was underscoring this when He presented the Hebrews with the Ten Commandments. He said in effect, "Don't let the system of family, of the economy, of interpersonal relations, and of religion be abused. Let each one work and do his part for the good of the group and each member of the group. I will thus be honored." It is no wonder, therefore, that Jesus and Paul, living in New Testament times, sought to uphold the ideal of one's responsibility within the corporate or group setting. "Render to Caesar" and "obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there" are very specific commands or instructions building upon previously-laid foundations.
The enculturation process has two major aspects: (1) the informal, which some call "child training" and in some senses precedes and in other senses runs concurrently with (2) the formal, more commonly termed "education." The former is most likely to be carried out within the context of the family and among friends. The latter is carried out in institutions of learning, sacred or secular.

Child training

As we have stated, the infant enters a culture already formed. Some psychologists suggest that the stresses and strains within the womb begin the shaping of the child's personality. From the moment of birth, however, there is no question as to the socio-personality influences upon the child. The process of increasing awareness, called by some "canalization," is effected in four major stages: (1) the emerging awareness of the "universe" about him; (2) the differentiation of his universe from that of others; (3) the stabilization of his notions about his universe; and (4) the increase of control over his universe (Bock 1969).
Jean Piaget spent a lot of time observing and running experiments with children. As a result, he assigned time periods to a series of stages, as the following summarizes:
  1. Sensory motor intelligence (0 to 18 months) -- during this stage the child, at first, does not distinguish between itself and its environment. The child is egocentric and reacts to objects based on physical characteristics rather than any acquired symbolic meaning.
  2. Preoperational intelligence (18 months to 7 years) -- during this stage the child acquires language, the child is still egocentric, and the child deals with objects based on their symbolic meaning.
  3. Concretely operational intelligence (7 years to 11 years) -- during this stage the child begins to become less egocentric and begins to see things from the other person's perspective, the child develops more complex patterns of thought but still based on concrete objects.
  4. Formally operational intelligence (11 years and upward) -- at this stage the individual begins to adopt adult thought processes including abstract reasoning.
These ages are not absolutes but provide a guide to the maturation of the child. Piaget does feel, however, that the child will go through these stages in order, although the rate of movement will vary from child to child. The child does not cast off the attainments of earlier periods. Rather, the child retains earlier forms of intelligence integrating them with more advanced forms.
Societies differ in the care of the young (Bock 1969:56). One means of classification is seeing if child care is done by an individual or by a group or by both. North American parents tend to give individual attention to the child, with the mother primarily responsible for the child's care. However, when both parents work, the American child is likely to be placed in a childcare center to be cared for by a small team of professionals. One of the trademarks of the Israeli kibbutzim is that the children are cared for by paraprofessionals, none of whom is necessarily a parent of the child.
Another means of classification of child care is by relative or nonrelative or both. In most societies, the child is cared for by the natural parents or a close relative, such as an elder sibling or grand-parent if the parent is unable to care for him. However, in cultures or subcultures where wealth or prominence dominate, the child is cared for by a nonrelative such as a tutor, nurse, or maid. The Egyptian princess in the Bible who discovered baby Moses in the river sent Moses' sister Miriam to find a wet-nurse and maid. Miriam brought Moses' natural mother. The princess did not expect the girl to secure the natural mother, for anyone could and would have served insofar as she was concerned.
A third classification means is child care by parents or another relative or both. In Maya-related societies of Central America, as well as in Samoa, the eldest child in the family is given the primary responsibility for the care of the younger children. In Latin societies, this is likely to be the eldest girl. The responsibilities for the baby may start even before the child is weaned. Such care continues until the age of ten to twelve. At that time the father begins to pay more attention to the preparation of the boy for adulthood and the mother brings the girl into the complex workings of the home.
Child care may also be classified by mother or father or both. There are several obvious biological reasons for assigning care of the child to the female parent. Among the Black Caribs of Central America, this is accentuated by the practice of couvade. The mother carries on her normal life after the birth of the child and the father symbolically goes to bed. Among the Maya, the mother cares for the child until he is weaned, as long as two-and-a-half years after birth; and then other members of the family participate, especially the child's grandmother.


In habituation, human beings learn those aspects of culture not regarded by the culture as specifically learnable techniques. Babies, being helpless, have their needs fulfilled for them. In the course of the fulfillment of these needs, the way in which the need is fulfilled comes to be almost as important as the fulfillment.
By the time a child is able to fulfill some of his own requirements for food and sleep, his habits are well established. These habits may be changed several times during the course of maturation, but even the need to change and the capacity to change are developed into habits. In one sense, the habits are the culture. When the habits of the people change, the culture changes.


Each individual in a given society is provided the means of individual enrichment. No society is without an education program, though few have as extensive and all-encompassing a one as that found in Western nations. The formal education provided in Western nations through a graded school system is provided in other societies through social, religious, political, or economic mechanisms.
The Pocomchi of Central America have a socio-religious organization called the cofradia. It provides all members of the society between the ages of twenty and forty with a formal education in keeping with the needs and demands of the society. Each member approaching the age of twenty is elected into one of the eight cofradia in the community and serves for a period of two years. After this period of time, he rests at least a year before accepting election into a cofradia for another two-year term of service.
When participating in the activities of the cofradia, he does everything the senior members do. Thus he is trained in all the social processes known and utilized within his community. By the age of forty, he is fully qualified to handle any problem the society faces and to maintain the operation of the community effectively and efficiently along with the other leaders.

Extensions of education

In every society each member has someone for whom concern can be shown. This person might be part of his nuclear family, his extended family, an age or interest group, or a political or economic team. in societies organized around kinship, this other person is likely a member of the nuclear or extended family. In societies that have economic trading teams, as among some Australian aborigine groups, a close caring relationship develops between trading partners. In societies where there are age level organizations, as in certain areas of Africa, members of such an organization grow into a deep and abiding relationship with others of the same age level.
In matrilineal societies where the lineage and inheritance are traced through the mother's line rather than the father's, the biological father is a relatively insignificant member of the family team. He is replaced by a sociological father, the mother's brother in most instances. The child's maternal uncle thus functions in the male caring role and is responsible for the well-being and increasingly mature behavior of the child. In societies in which a joking relationship permits two members of the society to tease and criticize one another, a closeness develops which is impossible within a society where these roles are almost completely separated.

Styles of education

In most societies where the informal and formal practices of education involve the master-apprentice relationship, a different type of preparation develops than that stemming from the classroom lecture system. The master teacher is not simply training his pupil or apprentice to do the task in question; he is also teaching him to be a good master. Proper master behavior is passed on to the apprentice along with the skill.
In North American society, where there is a teacher-pupil relationship rather than master-apprentice, knowledge is primary. The student will likely utilize the content learned but not gain in communication skills as he sits under the lecturer.
In Mayan societies, which practice the master-apprentice relationship, outsiders have established schools based on teacher-student. When students returned to their villages after studying at the Bible institute, they presented the same lectures to their own people because the apprentice models the master. Even the illustrative material, given by a lecturer with an urban and industrial background, was used verbatim even though little of it was relevant to the rural and farm people in the audience.
In societies where formal education is based on the teacher-pupil educational relationship, telling is the primary means of teaching, i.e., lecture. Association between teacher and student is minimal, primarily within the context of the classroom. Influence of the teacher on the student is thus only in the specific area of the course. The rest of the teacher's experience and insight is lost to the student. The student who gets any closer to the teacher than that usually reports, "He's human after all." Change through the generations is by chance or the accumulation of influence of many teachers in many classrooms. Evaluation is thus of minimal value within the life of the student because only "end results" are tested and evaluated, i.e., the examination. The process by which one achieves learning is never questioned or evaluated. It is assumed that if one can handle the final exam well, the process of learning has been adequate.
In societies where formal education is based on the master-apprentice relationship, modeling of effective behavior is primary. The proper behavior of the skill or trade is communicated along with the proper behavior of the master to his apprentice. There tends to be maximum involvement between the two since they spend a great deal of time together. There is high potential for directed change with maximum impact on the life of the pupil by the master. Evaluation is in terms of the whole. The skill is only a relatively small part.
Jesus related to His disciples through a master-apprentice relationship. By the time He went to be with His Father, the bulk of the disciples were ready to carry on the work He had begun, and they assumed positions in the early church in keeping with their preparation. In John 17 Jesus prays for His apprentices, linking them with God. "They were yours; you gave them to me . . . As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world" (John 17:6, 18). Earlier He had referred to them as branches of a vine, Himself being the vine. He speaks of the ones they will be contacting and bringing into the kingdom as "grapes."

The life cycle

Every human who fulfills his biological destiny passes through four major stages or "crises" in the life cycle: birth; puberty, or maturity; marriage, or reproduction; and death. Every culture recognizes these major periods in some way, though some are made more prominent than others. Some cultures handle these experiences calmly and quietly; others exhibit much anxiety. In the latter case, the cultural emphasis is on the crisis situation. Within each society, therefore, these rituals or rites of passage allow a member to properly and effectively move from one condition of life to the next.
There are prebirth rituals, such as baby showers, which prepare society for the new infant's arrival. The newborn is "baptized" within an eleven-day period in the Philippines and somewhat later in other Catholic-and Protestant-influenced cultures. The shower and baptism are the rituals, or effective means, of transition from unborn state to born state. Some societies take this crisis so seriously that they require the husband to go to bed as replacement for the woman so that no harm will befall her and she will be able to provide sustenance for the baby. The Caribs, the Ainu people, and the Chinese of Marco Polo's time all practiced couvade.
It has only been within the last hundred years that man has had a scientific explanation for conception because of biological and genetic processes. Some primitive people fail to connect the act of physical, sexual intercourse with resultant pregnancy. Australian aborigines believe that a child is the reincarnation of an ancestral spirit. This belief negates any relation between the sex act and conception, though there is an admission that the woman's body must be opened in some way to permit the entrance of the ancestral spirits.
Failure to connect conception and the act of intercourse is considered by some as naiveté or ignorance. There is an increasing awareness, however, that it may simply be the cultural suppression of physical reality. In such cases the cultural form is designed to support the social system. For example, ancestor worship and totemism are important themes in Australian life. The continuity of the totemic group is sustained by the doctrine of spiritual reincarnation. Any focus on physical paternity would undermine the sacred institution.
The matrilineal Trobrianders believe the male plays no role in conception. To them, the spirit of a dead clan ancestor enters the womb when the woman is wading in the lagoon. It grows and becomes a child. The neighboring Dobu believe semen is coagulated coconut milk which causes the menstrual blood to coagulate and form a fetus. Many peoples of the world note the cessation of the menstrual flow as a sign of pregnancy. Others take note of breast changes, loss of appetite, "morning sickness," or a tendency to laziness on the part of the woman as signs of pregnancy.
Numerous anxieties attend the birth process such as (1) the child will not develop ideally, (2) the fetus will miscarry, (3) the birth will be difficult, or (4) some evil spirit will adversely affect the fetus and later the newborn child. Special attention is therefore given to those who attend the birth (fathers may or may not be present) and to those who see the child after birth (to the Latin, strangers may convey illness and death by means of the evil eye). What adorns the baby after birth is also important (the Pocomchi tie a string around the wrist of the newborn to protect the child against the evil eye).
Whereas nominally Christian societies use baptism and christening as indications of the social acceptance of the child, other societies utilize special presentations and naming ceremonies. Among the Ashanti, a child is not considered a human being until eight days after birth. At that time the child is ceremonially named and publicly presented. Should it die before eight days have passed, it would be simply disposed of; for the Ashanti would believe that it was merely the husk of a ghost child whose mother left it to go on a trip and then returned to claim it. Among the Swazi -- distant neighbors of the Ashanti -- for first three months of life a baby is only a thing. It is not named and the men cannot hold it. If a baby under three months of age dies, it cannot be ceremonially mourned.
Thus, the question of when life begins is handled differently among various people groups. Catholic-based cultures hold that life begins at conception. Protestant subcultures differ in when they believe life begins. These beliefs range from conception to as late as birth. The medical profession in the United States has accepted a position implying that life begins sometime between the third and fifth months. Therefore, many medical professionals will support abortions up to this time. The Ashanti and Swazi -- along with numerous other societies of the world -- say life does not number from a point following birth, but perhaps from a point as late as three months later.
There are large variations in the quality and quantity of creative productions between cultures and even within the same culture at different times. Indeed there may be certain characteristics of a culture that encourage or at least make possible greater creative production.
The first of these characteristics would be a level of technology and economy that would generate sufficient material wealth to make possible the time and opportunity for creative activity. Persons living in a society where every person is involved full-time in subsistence activity are less likely to engage in creative activity.
The second characteristic of a creative society is the presence of a communication system that allows for the maximum exchange of ideas and information. Societies that restrict communication also restrict the exchange of ideas and information on which creativity feeds.
The third characteristic is a societal value system that socially and economically rewards creative acts. The forth characteristic is related to the third. Societies with a climate of acceptance will experience higher levels of creativity than societies that punish creativity economically, socially, or criminally.
The fifth characteristic is opportunities for privacy. Privacy is often necessary for creative production. Although some societies provide or allow for sanctuaries, other societies have no real concept of privacy. Along with privacy, the sixth characteristic is the existence within the social system of social mechanisms that permit or encourage the formation of disciple or peer groups, such as art colonies, professional associations, and other forms of social organization that encourage creativity.
The last characteristic is an educational system that encourages free inquiry and rewards individual research and creativity. Societies with educational systems geared to transmitting what has already been discovered and traditional knowledge are less likely to produce creativity than those societies whose educational system encourages questioning and challenging traditional knowledge and the exploration of new frontiers of knowledge.

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