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  • 13. Cultural Issues
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    Back to Module 13: Cultural Issues
    Introduction to Cultural Issues

    What is Culture?
    Objectives of this Module

    What is Culture?

    • Culture is the shared knowledge, behavioral norms, values and beliefs that help people to live in families, groups and communities
    • Broadly speaking, culture is the rules for interpreting experience
    • Sometimes we refer to the group as “the culture”
    • Cultures help define ethnic groups as people who share ideas, language and beliefs because they come from the same country place
    • Cultures can also define groups within countries by:
      • Religion (being Jewish)
      • Occupation (the military)
      • Regions (Southern culture)
      • Other special statuses (gay and lesbian)

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    Objectives of this Module

    • The purpose of this module is to introduce you to a way of looking at other people’s beliefs and practices used by anthropologists that we call “ethnology”
    • This approach provides a framework for making clinically important observations about your patients and clients and about your reaction to these observations. We hope it will help you to notice more similarities and differences among cultures than before
    • We also present you with some of the tools that ethnologists use in describing other cultures so that outsiders can better understand life as it is experienced in those cultures. We will not give you short summaries of many different cultures, however we will cite useful books, references and websites that do
    • Mostly, we encourage you to be respectfully curious and interested in the cultural lives of your patients
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