Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Environmental-Cultural Terms

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 9, 2013

Cultural and environmental terms may be strange and unfamiliar to some.  Please allow me to mention, define and give examples for some of these terms:

1.     ENVIRONMENTAL DETERMINISM – A theory that says that human culture, institutions, and economic activities are shaped (or are determined) by the environment and that human actions are entirely a response to ecological settings. 

Mr. Philander Rodman has a son (Dennis) who was a famous basketball player in the NBA.  Dennis lives in the U.S. and speaks English with a black-American twang.  Mr. Rodman settled in the Philippines and sired another son (Phil, Jr.) who also plays basketball.  Phil, Jr. lives in Angeles City and sFeaks HEnglish with Ha KaFamFangan dicSHAn.

2.     ENVIRONMENTAL POSSIBILISM – A theory that states that the environment offers different mixes of opportunities and limits to how humans may behave and that the environment does not shape human behavior but instead presents an array of conditions that allow for the same behavior to prosper and others not to develop at all.

American influence on Philippine culture is quite strong.  The way and manner Filipinos speak English is more American than other Asian countries.  This is the very reason why BPOs (business process outsourcing) have gained a relative high level of success here… even beating India where BPOs started.  But American consumers can easily discern Indian English from Filipino English and, when an Indian Customer Service Representative answers the phone, they are quick to say:  “I don’t wanna talk to you. I have a friend who doesn’t have a job, why should I give you this freakin’ opportunity to earn!”

3.     CULTURAL DIFFUSIONISM – A theory that states that cultural traits are assumed to spread from one culture to another.

Filipinos dress like Americans… some even wear boots and wear them in sweaty socks because of the heat.  Some even color their hair blonde!... and act western and talk in typical American slang!  Pero pango ring kagaya ko.

4.     ECOLOGICAL ADAPTATION – A theory relating certain organs of animals to specific features of the environment. 

The physical attributes of people has something to do with their environment.  Take the case of mountain dwellers like the Aetas for example.  They are short, stocky, have big feet, and short and muscular limbs.  These are physical traits borne out of walking on slopes.  People living along coastal communities, who are traditional fisher folks, have rough and dark skins from constant exposure to seawind and sunlight.  The rough and dark skin, however, helps them stay under the sun and exposed to strong seawind longer than people living in in-land communities.

5.     CULTURAL ECOLOGY – A theory that states that ecological influences from the natural environment and cultural traits diffused from other societies create a combination of core and non-core elements of human cultures, which together make up the unique manner that a society behaves. 

Chinese migrants to the Philippines who are predominantly Buddhists and Taoists have adopted the Roman Catholic religion and send their children to Catholic schools.  However, they are Catholics in public and at the same time Buddhist and Taoists in private.  The entire family attends Mass in Roman Catholic churches on Sunday mornings, have family lunch in a Chinese restaurant after the Mass then go home to pray before their Buddha altars.

Just my little thoughts…

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