Cultures - activity starting point
This third starting point for approaching the notion of culture, looks at how different cultures have expressed themselves through the activities of humans in these respective societies. We see a great variety of activities which all carry high cultural expressiveness such as painting, sculpture, building of houses and monuments, music, clothing, tailoring, food habits, engineering, use of language and symbols, sports and games, virtual living in electronic space, and so on. In the present day, festivals are flourishing. They are a way of expressing cultural identity. They often have their roots in ancient traditions and represent key factors in local culture. One striking example is the Palio in Siena, which generates a unique social cohesion in the contradas (quarters) of the city, a social cohesion which could stand as an example to follow for sociologists and politicians in the world at large.
The essence of the activity starting point for studying cultures is to choose a type of activity seen in any given culture, and try to understand what this activity tells us about that culture. One fascinating example is the monumental work of Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, which shows us how mythology differs from area to area around the world, as well as how it has evolved over time in different areas. Another example of a type of activity with a high cultural expressiveness, is music. Music is at the heart of human emotional life, and it is fascinating to see how music varies from area to area at any given time, and over time in any given area. The possibilities for unleashing your imagination are infinite.