Social & Cultural Reality Theory in Action

2529 words 11 pages
72251 Intercultural Communication
Assignment 1

Melissa Peters
ID: 3304924

Short answers

Q. 1. Challenge DeVito, O’Rourke and O’Neill’s (2000) definition of culture using Richards (1999) or Anae (1997). How do DeVito et al look at membership within a culture and how does Richards see it differently?

DeVito, O’Rourke and O’Neill’s (2000, p.99) definition of culture is very limited when describing modern cultures of globalised human society. Perhaps where people are isolated to villages, towns or countries with little communication with the outside world, the definition would be completely workable. But now, due to access of information, global trade, travel and immigration etc the world is becoming more and more an eclectic melting pot
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According to Devito, (DeVito et al 2000, p.99), culture refers to the relatively specialised lifestyle of a group of people. This includes attributes of culture such as behaviours, values, beliefs and practices.

Tapu and Maori culture
Tapu is part of the spiritual dynamic of Maori culture. The collective belief of tapu presided prior to the integration of Christianity. Not to be confused with any deity or idol of worship, tapu was a religious observance, and acted as a means of social ordering and governance.

The subject of Tapu is complex and somewhat metaphysical with broad application. If something or someone was said to be ‘tapu’ (adjective), it meant they were very sacred. As a noun, a tapu was placed on something, it was sacred and not to be touched, eaten, visited or similar. A darker element of tapu, often misused and perverted, was known as “Makutu” (sorcery, witchcraft, magic). It relates to the supernatural realm and includes the use of makutu to inflict physical and psychological harm, even death.

In the DVD we see tapu as a social construct - a feature of the culture. The documentary addresses how belief in tapu was observed in the past, and is still acknowledged today. There are two areas of social construction theory I will highlight, as I see them outworking in the documentary.

Construction in action
To illustrate the


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