CheckPoint: Culture Shock SOC-120

Essay by 4myharleyCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2008

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Week 2 CheckPoint: Culture Shock4myharleySOC-120Culture ShockMeeting a strange culture can cause one to feel a significant degree of culture shock. This can even cause a person to feel anxiety or panic until he or she becomes accustomed to the culture to which he or she has been exposed. Such is the case with Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon when he visits the Yanomamö people of South America. I have felt culture shock to a much lesser degree as I moved from a busy metropolitan area to a quiet rural area. No matter what type of culture one observes or becomes a part of, one must gain an understanding of the major components of that culture in order to avoid gestures or speech that may offend others. This could be a significant problem when visiting tribes such as the Yanomamö.

If I were studying the Yanomamö, I would conduct as much research as possible concerning their way of life.

I would search for any documented encounters with this isolated tribe, as well as talk to people who may have seen the Ynomamö up close, asking for detailed descriptions of their lifestyles, garb, rituals, and religious beliefs. I would also do my best to relax and not let any stress or anxieties concerning the situation consume my thoughts. It is important to remain open minded when one meets a group for the first time. This is true whether the group are an isolated tribe in South America, or a community that is different from the one to which one is accustomed, such as occurred in my own experience.

I have had a much less significant degree of culture shock than Mr. Chagnon. When I moved from the city of Denver, CO to an outlying area of Spring Lake, NC, many things were different.