Term Paper: Gender as a Cultural Construction

Pages: 5 (1274 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Anthropology  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … subculture is one that can be used in explaining and deconstructing various behaviors, habits and social groupings that we see in everyday life. The concept of subculture is broadly defined in literature as a cultural group that exists within a larger culture and comprises of people having interests and beliefs at variance with the ones of the larger culture.In other words, subculture could be regarded as a subdivision of a larger national or global culture (Herzog, Mitchell & Soccio,1999). Subculture therefore refers to social groups that are organized around shared/common practices and interests. The term has often been used in positioning certain specific social groups as well as the study of such kinds of groups. In this paper, we compare and contrast and analyze the works of Geertz (2000) and Hebrige (1979) on the concept of subculture.

A brief overview of the concept

Before we compare and contrast and analyze the works of Geertz (2000) and Hebrige (1979) on the concept of subculture, it is critical to note that the concept of subculture is usually used to designate a relatively transient group which is studied apart from their domestic, private and familial settings. There is however, a great emphasis on informal, voluntary and highly organic affiliations that are formed either in the mainly unregulated public space of our streets or on the contrary, within as well as against the rather disciplinary structures of enforced institutionalization. The concepts of subculture are, general considered to be groups that deviate from the norms of the dominant culture (Jandt,2009). This category comprises of people who are defined by their age, taste, sexuality, economic status, gender as well as race. The concept of subculture is usually positioned in a social frame. Analytically, it is positioned as a subordinate, disenfranchised, subterranean and subaltern group. Subcultures are therefore often distinguished as oppositional, countercultural and alternative.

Geertz (2000) perspective on subculture

According to Geertz (2000), the concept of subculture affects our day-to-day perception of things. In other words, what is commonly refereed to as 'common sense' is a social construction. In other words, common sense is a subculture.

A summary and analysis of Geertz's (2000) work on subculture

The work of Geertz (2000) on common sense as a subculture starts by presenting the way anthropologists view the concept of subculture. He uses imagery and metaphors to describe how anthropologists view culture as an old city with suburbs and connections. Subculture is therefore noted to be one of its recent mutations. The concepts of modernity, primitives and superstitions are what shape common sense. He went ahead and noted how the concepts of modernity, primitives and superstitions have shaped the concept of common sense, colloquial and culture (p.75). His work investigated why considering common sense as an organized body of thought as opposed to what every Tom, Dick and Harry knows is important. He noted that the basic tenets of 'common sense' are anchored on the immediate deliverance of one's experience.He noted that the application and exercise of common sense involves more than using one's ears and eyes.It instead involves keeping both eyes and ears open and using them intelligently, judiciously, reflectively, perceptively and attempting to be in a position to cope with everyday life problems. Geertz (2000) noted that the concept of common sense has a strong root in sexuality and role playing as dictated by our society. Males and females are expected to behave in certain specific ways and do or complete certain specific roles in our society. Going against these means one is not using their common sense. He presented this view by way of examples. For instance, he noted that Americans and the Pokot (a tribe in East Africa) never regard intersexual highly. They also do not shun it but rather regard it as some for of a simple error.


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Gender as a Cultural Construction.  (2012, December 18).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gender-cultural-construction/7969596

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"Gender as a Cultural Construction."  18 December 2012.  Web.  17 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gender-cultural-construction/7969596>.

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"Gender as a Cultural Construction."  Essaytown.com.  December 18, 2012.  Accessed July 17, 2019.