Your place in your culture

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The writer Dirk Van der Elst offers an insight into the importance of humanity in terms of adjusting to a given society. Elst's approach focuses on the idea of multiculturalism as presented from an individual perspective and on the various visions of culture. By writing it, we think about the importance of society and the need to redefine the culture (Elst & Bohannan, 1999). Culture is obviously a self-conceived belief, based on the perspective of the individual, and it is a concept which guides individuals in their origin and ways of co-existence in society. Based on Elst’s argument, it is evident that an individual has been granted complete liberty to exist between any preferred culture and it is their own will to create and re-define their identity (Elst & Bohannan, 1999). The fact that culture is a hereditary aspect that passes on from our parents to us causes distress to many. This is because of the expectation that whatever our parents used to do is also expected of us in relation to their cultural perspective. For instance, if my parents are Catholic believers, it is expected that I will also be a Catholic believer and so as my children.

The aspect causes distress, and thus, Elst allows individuals to be respectably deviant. It is not necessary for one to identify with an existing culture, but one has the liberty to deviate and re-define their own beliefs and practices. Therefore, the book Culture as given, Culture as Choice by Elst provides a different scope of view that one has a choice to choose regarding a particular culture that suits him and has the liberty to shape his own beliefs.


Elst, D. V., & Bohannan, P. (1999). Culture as given, Culture as Choice (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, Ill: Waveland Press.

August 09, 2021

Culture Sociology



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