Critical analysis of culture identity and difference

Essay by andrewb153University, Bachelor's March 2005

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Assessment Item 1: Critical analysis of culture, identity and difference

Culture can be defined in many different ways, and consists of several concepts such as, identity, difference, relations of power, centres and margins. This essay will encompass a critical analysis of these concepts relating to culture and also drawing on my own life experiences in which I have had the opportunity of documenting on paper recently for the first time, allowing me to reflect on my own cultural background. In order to expand my views, I have had to luxury to draw on readings by various authors from the cultural discourse.

To begin with, one may start to investigate the meaning of culture, but to achieve this we must get a definition. "Culture is one of two or three most complicated words in the English language" (Williams, 1976). Not having thought of this too much previously, I realise this is very true, as was apparent in a recent class discussion where our lecturer asked the class to recite what feelings this word 'culture' will conjure up, and proceeded to list them on the board.

Some key words that appeared were, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, class, opera and arts, and tending to soil and plants, which is the earliest known usage stemming from the fifteenth century. This lead me to believe that although culture can have a definition, it seems to evolve and change depending on the era in which one lives and their geographical location, although this may be a simplistic view. In modern western society, we tend not to view the discourse of culture as an agriculturally derived 'buzz word' but instead link it to what may be described as many sub-cultures within, for example, our western culture. These may include cultures within football teams, pop culture, office culture,