Intercultural Survey

           Comparing European responses in the European Cultural Value survey to my own, I agreed with Europeans concepts of culture, and reasons for not participating in cultural activities. I disagreed most with European response to statement three of the cultural exchanges statements, the positioning of Europe in global culture, and important societal factors.

            The Europeans top three associations with the word culture were the same as mine: Arts; Traditions, languages, customs and social or cultural communities; and literature, playwriting, authors (European Commission, 2007, 5). I tend not to see upbringing and research as keys to culture. Upbringing of a large group of people is culture as they all share similar experiences, but it is strange to think of my own upbringing and education as culture. I also tend to think culture as the past or social situations in the present. The idea that research, knowledge and science, are viewed by Europeans as the fifth top association differs from my view because I feel science is the opposite of history (2007, 5).

            Like Europeans, my top two reasons for not taking part in cultural activities include lack of time and expense.  Like Europeans belief, access to free culture activities is a good thing (2007, 31-33). For example, I am more likely to the theater if I have the time and it is low cost.

            I disagreed with cultural exchange statement three (Europe, with its longstanding culture and values, is particularly well placed to contribute to greater tolerance in the world) and the statement Europe is clearly the continent of culture.  (2007, 37, 61). These two statements seem Eurocentric as other continents also have longstanding culture and values and their culture is just as important as European culture. It also seems egotistical to state that Europe can show the rest of the world to be more tolerant.Even though, 36% had an interaction with someone outside of Europe the week before the survey, it seems Europeans are not acknowledging the rich culture others have to offer (The Gallup Organization, 2007, 5).

            Due to globalization, Europeans believe their culture is going to become more widespread (2007, 73). I believe a more universal culture is evolving due to globalization but I think this will be a merging of both European and non-European culture creating a blended culture across the world.

            Europeans felt peace was the factor that should most be preserved and reinforced in society (2007, 77). Peace seems more an ideal and not a reality. Instead, building tolerance and openness to others while valuing our cultural diversity and our freedom to have different opinions will lead to peace. Through being free to express ourselves but understanding other cultures, we will hopefully seek peaceful ways to resolve issues since we will develop an appreciation for others cultures.

            Overall, Europeans view on the concept of culture and reasons for engaging in cultural activities are similar to my own. I do not think Europe is really the center of world culture. Viewing the world with a Eurocentric slant is often a dangerous proposition. To work towards peace, our differences need to be acknowledged so they can be respected. And ultimately this cultural understanding and acceptance will lead to peace.

References:

European Cultural Values Survey taken at: http://selectsurvey.net/easternct/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=860H396.

European Commission (September 2007). Special Eurobarometer 278: European Cultural Values. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/culture/pdf/doc958_en.pdf.

The Gallup Organization (December 2007). Intercultural dialogue in Europe: Summary. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_217_sum_en.pdf

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