Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Learning Journal 8

In the section we read of Agar's book Culture Blends, I thought one comment which was also mentioned in class was particularly interesting. He wrote: "Culture has to do with who you are." What interests me about this is that this definition encompasses what and how you think as well as what you perceive. Perceptions of what is socially acceptable and normal vary greatly around the world on some aspects. Yet with time and exposure to a new culture even those drastic differences seem less unique because the perspective has changed.
As I thought about culture and the perspective that gives us in life, I wondered what possible unconscious decisions I was making about landscaping in Tonga. Most of my ideas and thoughts come from the western society I am a part of which values maintained landscapes. Although I have been fortunate to experience several other cultures in my life for long periods of time, I still carry my cultural American biases. It is interesting that most of my college education has expounded on those societal norms of the function and appeal of designed outdoor spaces. We have TV shows about yard makeovers and curb appeal, but for most nations around the world less importance is placed on luxury and appearance. In many cases its expected that neighbors will maintain their yard to keep in line with a community's standards. I don't know how important order is in a rural Tongan neighborhood. It appears the houses are pretty basic, but each home has arable space around it whether its just left to grow wild or some type of garden is implemented.


  1. I like how culture really is how you are. It is constantly changing in a country and also in an individual. I think a pretty easy to see example of this is when missionaries return home they bring some of their mission country's culture back home with them and incorporate it back into their home culture.

  2. I also like the quote "Culture has to do with who you are". It was interesting for me to think about culture that way. Truly culture has to do with who we are. I think that is a very accurate statement because even though there are different cultures around the world our specific culture is defined as who we are. I liked the example in class Dallin used about how we are all Americans but yet there were many different ways in how we would deal with certain situations. He made the point that it is important to remember that even though we are going into a Tongan culture everyone is different. Although they might believe and do somethings the same they are all different.