My wife and I had an interesting conversation this morning. She has begun her Master’s program in Applied Linguistics. As a core part of her studies she is studying culture and how linguistics relates to the topic. They began this week with just sharing some of their observations about their own culture and experiences within culture.
One of the students gave the idea that it is important to not use stereotypes. Yet, in a sense you can’t do anything else when you are studying culture. The point in studying is to make those assumptions more accurate. You can focus in and nuance your observations.Yet, in the end, you are making generalizations about the group you are observing. You are making observations about their beliefs and values and the actions and attitudes that result from those beliefs and the factors that contribute or shape those beliefs and actions. It happens on an individual level but it is more often a corporate study to make sense of how groups work together and what commonalities they share.