South American Culture

South American Culture

Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Cultural Awareness Outline Thesis: culture is dynamic and can be seen from the interaction of many things such as physical features, history, activities and developments. It is also represented in the way people live and the elements that are found in the day to day interaction such as language, music, dressing among others. I. The definition of culture and its key characteristics proves the dynamic nature of culture. A. The definition of culture makes this clear. B.

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The key characteristics of culture that include language, values, norms, beliefs, and orientation towards time give us a better understanding of culture. II. Culture and regions of the world: A case for South America. A. A look at the location of South America. B. The physical landscape and prominent features of the region that include the Andes, the amazon forests and the Atacama Desert. III. The expression of culture through history and developments give us a better understanding of the region. A. The military history of South America in itself brings out the nature of the region. B.

The key infrastructural developments such as the Panama Canal give us the ancient history and interests of the region. C. Typical activities of the region such as Agriculture tell us about the abundance of rainfall in the areas, tourism also tell us the attractive nature of the region. IV. The people residing in the region and the activities they engage in tell us of the mixed culture of the place. A. The mixture of ethnic groups tells us of the diversity of the regions culture. B. The different languages spoken by the people prove that culture is both specific to a group and a region. C.

The different interests communicate the value of ideologies that are held by different groups. Culture can be defined as a system of beliefs, values, norms, customs, behaviours and artefacts that members of a given society use to interact with the world and one another. It is a combination of thoughts, feelings attitudes, beliefs values and behaviour patterns that are shared by racial, ethnic, religious or social groups of people. The first characteristic of culture is language which is a set of symbols that are used to assign and communicate meaning. Language is both the spoken word and body movements.

Language can be formal or informal; depending on the environment and the people taking part in the communication process. Different dialects may symbolize different groups of people of different cultures. In non-verbal communication, different cultures have different body language. For example there are cultures in which eye contact is seen as disrespectful while in others it signifies honesty (Books Llc 2-46). The second element of culture is norms which refer to the rules that govern behaviours in a given society. Norms include taboos and rituals which are specific to a given group of people or region.

Norms are such that what is acceptable to a given group may be absurd for another. Ignoring these norms makes one unacceptable or an outcast within a given culture. The third characteristic of culture is values which are things that members of a particular culture hold in high esteem or aspire to have. Values are not the same they change depending on the situation or the needs of people. Different cultures value different things, for example most Americans generally agree on the following as valuable: democracy, liberty and freedom. A typical African society values children, peace and hard work.

The fourth characteristic of culture is beliefs and ideologies. Beliefs refer to what members of a given culture hold to be true. Ideologies on the other hand refer to a set of beliefs and assumptions that are connected by a common theme. Social institutions or systems associate themselves with ideologies and they serve to make those institutions legitimate. The above two vary within cultures and serve to differentiate them (Gibson 6-72). The fifth characteristic of culture is the attitude towards time. Time orientation is something that is different in cultures. Being early, on time or late is a factor in many cultures.

There are cultures where schedules and appointments are very important while for others the current activity is important to them than future events. The western cultures stress on punctuality; lateness to them is a sign of disrespect while in African cultures, people do not mind about time. South America is a continent bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the North by the Caribbean Sea and North America and to the East by the Atlantic Ocean. South America has twelve countries namely Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador Brazil, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Suriname.

South America physical geography falls in three main categories the Andes, the Eastern Highlands and the Lowlands. The Andes is the most Prominent feature in South America. They are high with the highest peak in Chile reaching nearly twenty three thousand feet. The Andes have three sections, the western slopes that are mainly dry, the eastern slopes that have full and longer rivers and the altiplano that has settlements. The eastern highlands on the other hand consist of three parts: the Brazilian Highlands, Guiana Highlands and the Patagonian Plateau. The latter is semi-arid.

The low lands are composed of the grassy flood plain called the llanos, the rain forest and grass amazon basin, the dry Gran Chaco and the productive agricultural region: the pampas. Most of the South American countries are around the mountains and therefore the urban terrain is hilly with a few flat areas. The road network is poor except for counties like Chile and Brazil. (Fox 23-67). Some of the key infrastructure includes the Panama Canal that joins that pacific and the Atlantic Ocean and acts as a key feature in international shipping. The railway system is underdeveloped and there exists subway or metro trains.

The latest development is the Train between Sao Paulo to Rio De Janiero and the tunnel linking Argentina with Chile. The airlines are good with most of the countries having both domestic and international flights. Most cities of South America are well connected in terms of communication systems with high speed internet; the telephone service providers are able to reach most homes except in the mountainous regions where the connectivity is poor. (Urban Schools) South America has had a good share of military conflicts that span from the 16th century to the 21st century.

As a result of these conflicts most parts of the South American continent are still underdeveloped. Poverty has swept a better part of this continent leaving people to suffer. These military conflicts are mostly as a result of border disputes. Examples of military conflicts include independence wars, the Argentina Brazil war, the Uruguayan war, the Colombian Thousand Days War and the Gran Colombia-Peru War (Gibson 6-72). South America receives rainfall for the better part of the year. The weather is good but changes as you approach the Andes Mountains and the Amazon forest.

These areas have high humidity as a result of the massive evaporation from the forest and the rivers. The good weather supports farming in these regions. Most agricultural activities exist in the east and western highlands especially the pampas areas. The weather has also had a great impact on the population especially in the plateau regions that do not receive rainfall. The people have resorted to other methods of survival such as drug smuggling which is very rampant in Brazil. The high rainfall in the highland regions increases cases of death by lightning thereby affecting settlement patterns in these areas.

The highland regions that receive high rainfall are prone to insurgencies as people cannot prepare for war. There exist forests that provide a good hiding place for the enemies (Gibson 6-72). The entire continent has a variety of features and landscapes. It is mostly mountainous. It has islands that include Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao among others. It is also home to the world’s longest waterfalls; the Angel falls in Venezuela, the largest river by volume: the Amazon River, the longest mountain ranges: the Andes, the driest desert: the Atacama and the largest rainforest: the Amazon.

The area is has both modern and ancient structures with modern structures found in the cities such as Rio de Janeiro. The continent has great potential and capabilities in terms of agriculture and tourism. This is because of the heavy amounts of rainfall experienced in areas around the amazon. The continent has beautiful sceneries such as beaches and waterfalls that attract tourists. There are various organizations that are found in this area both local and international. The organizations are in different categories some political, others military others humanitarian and others are part of governments.

There are many events and festivals in South American culture some include the Inti Raymi, Festival of the Sun, Virgen del, a Peruvian Festival and Natalicio de Artigas: Uruguay national holiday among others (Books Llc 2-46). A look at the people that stay in South America reveals different things about them and their culture. They are people of diverse cultures as a result of their colonization and historic connection with countries such as Spain and Portugal. There are various indigenous people and societies found in South America, some are still hunters and gatherers while others practice subsistence farming.

There are countries in which the indigenous people form a minority of the population such as in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela. This has to do modernization of such countries that greatly reduces the existence of such communities. Some of the indigenous societies with traditional structures include: Aymara, Awa, Guarani, Mapuche, Quechuas, Yagua and shipibo among others. Most of the people residing in South America are Spanish and Portuguese speakers. Some languages have been adopted as official languages in some countries such as Dutch in Suriname, English in Guyana and French in Guiana.

Other languages also spoken include Javanese, Hindi, Italian, German and many indigenous languages (Fox 23-67). They have a mixture of cultures including African, American Indian, Asian and European. The influence on power and authority in this area is largely affected by the different cultures that exist in these regions. There are those that follow the European style and there are those that still believe in the traditional power and authority coming from an elder in the society. Due to the mixture of cultures, there are different values for different groups of people in the continent.

There are also different interests for these people with some of the indigenous societies interested in subsistence agriculture and the conservation of forests that is a source of their livelihood. The more developed nations such as Brazil are interested in democracy, infrastructure development and improving the economy (Books Llc 2-46). a. COUNTS 1)Words____1489______ 2)Paragraphs____14__ 3)Sentences____84___ b. AVERAGES 1)Sentences per Paragraph_____6. 4_____ 2)Words per Sentence________17. 7______ c. READABILITY )Passive Sentences_______10%________ 2)Flesch Reading Ease_____42. 3________ 3)Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level___11. 5____ Works Cited Books Llc. South American Culture: Argentine Culture, Bolivian Culture, Brazilian Culture, Chilean Culture, Colombian Culture, Ecuadorian Culture. New York. USA: Books Group, 2010, pp. 2-46 Fox, Mary, Virginia,. South America. 2. New York. US: Heinemann publishers, 2006, pp. 23-67 Gibson, Karen, Bush,. South America. Minnesota. USA: Capstone press, 2006, pp. 6-72 Urban Schools. “Understanding Culture. ” 2010. 15 09 2011 .