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Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics (SHS)
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Authors: Joefe Santarita and Randy Madrid
Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics uses multidisciplinal insights from anthropology, political science, and sociology to develop student awareness of cultural, social, and political dynamics and sensitivity to cultural diversity. It provides a deeper understanding of how culture, human agency, society, and politics work; and engage students in the examination of the country’s current human development goals. At the end of the course, students should acquire ideas about human cultures, human agency, society, and politics; recognize cultural relativism and social inclusiveness to overcome prejudices; and develop social and cultural competence to guide their interactions with groups, communities, networks, and institutions.
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Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics
TESOL in Action 23 (1), University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, USA.
Gregory Paul Meyjes
Patricia (Patsy) Duff
Duff, P., & Talmy, S. (2011). Second language socialization: Beyond language acquisition in SLA. In D. Atkinson (Ed.), Alternative approaches to SLA (pp. 95-116). London: Routledge.
Girma W O L D E S E N B E T Gezimu
This second edition of the bestselling textbook Cross-Cultural Psychology has been substantially revised to provide the student with the most comprehensive overview of cross-cultural psychology available in one volume. The team of internationally acclaimed authors have included the most up-to-date research in the field, and written two new chapters on language and on emotion. Within a universalist framework the book emphasizes not only research on basic processes and theory, but also methodology and applications of cross-cultural psychology with respect to acculturation, organizational processes, communication, health, and national development. The new format of the book is designed to make it even more accessible and reader-friendly, and includes chapter outlines, chapter summaries, further reading, and a glossary of key terms.
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Understanding Culture, Society and Politics
Understanding culture, society and politics through the different lenses of social sciences.
- Teaching Resources
What do you think about our modules? Please let us know by answering this short survey!
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In his book Politics , Aristotle posited that man is by nature a social animal and cannot be alone. According to him, human beings inherently seek interactions, which eventually leads to the formation of a society. However, it is a fact that society has also preceded the existence of man, and that the latter’s survival depends primarily on the social relationships embedded in society’s structures. It is this mutual dependence that allows both man and society to continue to exist.
The nature of a society can be seen in different components: (1) actions and interactions of human beings (social), (2) practices and traditions cultivated and maintained (cultural), and (3) power relations at play among actors (political) (Contreras, et.al.). Observing and analyzing society’s nature through these three components would enable us to better understand not only society, but more importantly, ourselves.
In this module, the learners will be acquainted with observing different social, cultural, and political phenomena happening around them. By introducing the key social science disciplines – Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science – and their respective perspectives, the learners will be guided in approaching these phenomena as they serve as toolkits of understanding and analysis in discussing social issues concerning democracy, human rights, and social justice. Lastly, this first module will serve as a framework for the succeeding modules that will tackle Filipino culture and society and different Philippine national issues.
Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs):
- Discuss the nature, goals, and perspectives in anthropology, sociology, and political science.
By the end of this module, learners are expected to demonstrate an understanding of:
- Human cultural variation, social differences, social change, and political identities;
- The rationale for studying anthropology, political science, and sociology.
By the end of this module, learners are expected to:
- Acknowledge human cultural variation, social differences, social change, and political identities;
- Adopt an open and critical attitude toward different social, political, and cultural phenomena through observation and reflection; and
- Appreciate the value of disciplines of Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science as social sciences.
Lesson 1: Society and I
At the end of the lesson, the student is expected to be able to:
- Describe themselves according to their cultural, social, and political backgrounds;
- Analyze how their backgrounds influence their identity (values, beliefs, behavior);
- Recognize the concepts of culture, society, and politics and their respective elements; and
- Examine how the cultural, social, and political phenomena happening around them continuously influence or change them as individuals.
- Agency – the power of an individual to change society or form a new one.
- Beliefs – specific ideas that society holds to be true
- Identity – the set of perceived qualities that make an individual unique from the rest
- Norms – rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members
- Power – the ability to influence others
- Symbols – anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture
- Values – culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable, good, and beautiful
Self-Evaluation Form (Part 1)
Answer the following questions.
1.What do you already know about the lesson?
2.What do you want to know more about the lesson?
- Shaping My Identity
Do we create our own identities?
- Our identities are said to be socially-constructed.
- According to the social-constructionist view, one’s identity is formed through our interaction with others and in relation to social, cultural, and political contexts. In other words, our identities are influenced by our society (Rice, 2021).
- Biodata, resume, and curriculum vitae tell much about our personal information. It contains our given name (sense of identity), surname (lineage), gender/sex (roles we conform to), the names of our parents and their jobs (social interaction and socioecnomic status), educational attainment (social status and mobility), religion (religious practices), ethnicity (language and culture), and political beliefs (exercise of power and inclinations).
How does society influence individuals (identities)?
- Social groups and norms – the social groups that an individual belongs to also affect one’s creation and maintenance of identity as social groups and their members practice specific norms (family, ethnolinguistic group, churches, schools, fraternal relationships, organizations)
- Can you cite some historical events that influence individuals?
- The intermarriage of Filipino and Americans
- Trade laws which swamp Filipino markets with American goods
- Filipinos’ undying love for “imported goods” and Duty-Free
- The passing of the Anti-Terror Law
- Martial Law and People Power
- Can you give other national political events that influence individuals?
- Example 1: Lumads evacuating from their communities because of militarization and armed conflict.
- Example 2: New policies enacted by school administrators changing students’ level and practice of freedom—stricter regulations on uniforms, the creation of more student-led clubs and organizations, and the practice of academic freedom.
- Example 3: Barangay and SK officials involving the locals in policy-making through consultations, or electoral frauds and violence during local elections
- Can you give other examples of local events that influence individuals?
- Observing, Interacting With, and Changing Society
What can you say about Filipino culture and society?
- Symbols – anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture, e.g. the national flag represents our sovereign nationhood, the red cross is a recognized symbol of medical services, the Star and Crescent represents Islam.
- Language – system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another, e.g.. Arabic, Bisaya, Filipino Sign Language (FSL).
- Norms – rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members.
- Mores – norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance, e.g. gender roles or the concept of pagkalalake and pagkababae, reverence for the dead.
- Folkways – norms for routine or casual interaction, e.g. paggalang, pagmamano
- Example 1: In bullying incidents at schools (bully, bullied, spectator)
- Example 2: Woke culture in social media, political inclinations (Dilawan, DDS)
- Example 3: Community organizing, mobilization, bandwagoning, siding with the oppressors, repression of other individuals (marginalized and minorities: poor, indigenous peoples, PWDs, LGBTQ, etc.)
- How do you exercise your power as a child, a student, and a friend?
- Example of individuals who changed their societies (for better or for worse): Albert Einstein, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Jose Rizal, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Mark Zuckerberg, Greta Thunberg, you (ourselves)
- How did these individuals change their societies?
- What are the reasons which drove them to be a catalyst of social change in their respective societies?
- What are the things that you will change in Philippine society?
Self-Evaluation Form (Part 2)
1.What have you learned from the lesson?
2.How will you apply the knowledge you have learned in this lesson in improving Philippine society?
- List of Activities
Synchronous Activities (In-class)
Activity 1: #MeMeMe (Motivational Activity)
Instructions. This activity is a simple getting-to-know-each-other drill. This will help prompt the students to see how the lesson relates to their personal lives. This will also help the teacher know more about their students.
- I am ________ (given and last name). (identity and lineage)
- I live in ________ (address) with ________ (household members). (culture at home and people they socialize with most of the time)
- My father/mother/guardian works as a/an ________ (job). (socioeconomic status)
- I am ________ (nationality/ethnicity). I practice ________ (religion). (cultural and religious upbringing)
- If there is a hashtag to describe me, it would be # ________ . (values, beliefs, behavior).
Activity 2: Safe Space (Reflective Assessment)
Instructions. Share your experiences as prompted by the guide question, and reflect about the lessons you learned from them.
Note to the Teacher: Form groups of three to five and have them share their output to each other. You may not share some of your answers that you feel uncomfortable to open up about.
Sample Guide Questions:
- What Filipino tradition/s have you and your family been observing for a long time? How does the practice of this tradition impact your life as a child and individual? (cultural)
- In a barkada, there are people who have different personalities. For you, how do the backgrounds of your friends affect how they behave inside your social circle? Reflect on your own behaviors as well. (social)
- What do you think of the Philippine government’s response to the COVID pandemic? How do the COVID-related policies of the government affect you as an individual? (political)
- As a Filipino, what aspect of our culture and society do you want to change? Why do you want this to change? What can you do to ensure that this change will take place? (practice of agency)
Asynchronous Activities (Take-home)
Activity 1: Me Starter Pack (Creative Assessment)
Instructions. Create your own “(Your Name) Starter Pack.” Create a picture compilation of the things that best represent your identity based on your sociocultural and political background and the things you want to change in society.
“The Grew Up in the 90s Starter Pack” in https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fa/90/93/fa9093ea64e3fb994622681a813ac7b5.jpg
Activity 2: Praxis Time! (Creative Assessment)
Instructions. Create a short comic strip or set of conversation bubbles depicting a story whereby people share their knowledge on understanding and changing society.
Activity 3: Anonymous
Instructions. This activity is a short online survey among students using the Mentimeter template. ( https://www.mentimeter.com/app/templates ). The teacher can ask questions to the students and post the questions on a Mentimeter slide. The teacher will give the code to the students, and the latter will go to www.menti.com and input the code to participate in the activity. Students will be anonymous in this activity. This activity will encourage students to voice their opinions (although anonymously) on the cultural and sociopolitical phenomena happening in their society.
Example Guide Questions:
- If there is one word to describe Philippine politics, what is it?
- How much do you like Filipino culture? 10 being the highest, 1 being the lowest.
- What current social issues strike you the most or have been affecting you in some way?
- What can you say about the current lives of Filipinos in general?
- What do you think of the government’s and Filipinos’ response to the COVID pandemic?
- What changes do you want to happen?
- What will the Philippines be like 10 years from now?
Self-paced Learning (Optional Activity)
Activity 1: Mapping My Identity
- If identities are socially-constructed, why don’t we try to trace the attitudes, beliefs, and values we have to the norms, cultures, social groups/structures that helped create our identities?
- Instructions . Watch the video “How Our Identities are Socially Constructed” as the basis of this activity. Get a pen and paper and start mapping your identity. You can create a mindmap to better illustrate your map. Link: https://youtu.be/uIuJT1n2vRY
Rubric for Discussions
Rubric for Creative Outputs
Lesson 2: How Social Sciences Equip Us in Understanding People and Society Better
- Recognize the perspectives/lessons from the three key disciplines of Social Sciences – Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science;
- Differentiate the theories and methods employed by each discipline;
- Determine how the theories/lessons from the Social Sciences can better equip them to understand people and society; and
- Apply the lessons of the Social Sciences in their own praxis.
- Anthropology – study of the human species, its immediate ancestors, and their cultures.
- Moral Compass – signifies someone’s set of values and beliefs that guide them to what they believe as right or wrong in life.
- Political Science – study of governments and politics.
- Praxis – an act of doing something or practice in relation to theory.
- Social Sciences – the study of society, culture and politics based on social and political philosophy.
- Sociology – the study of human interactions, social groups and institutions, whole societies, and the human world.
1,What do you already know about the lesson?
- Broadening My Perspectives
Given that individuals also influence their society, how can they do that positively?
- Do the best practices equipped with better understanding.
- A better understanding of people and society would require for an individual to broaden their perspective.
How can individuals broaden their perspectives?
- Social Sciences – the study of society, culture and politics based on social and political philosophy (Scott 2006, p.9; Retrieved from Lanuza and Raymundo), offer multitudes of disciplines with different perspectives about people and society — three key disciplines for UCSP: Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science.
Why should we learn these lessons (suspending judgement, empathy, and understanding power)?
- Moral compass – signifies someone’s set of values and beliefs to guide them to what they believe as right or wrong in life. These beliefs dictate their actions which directly influences others/society.
- Our moral compass is heavily influenced by our cultural, social, and political backgrounds. Coupled with individual agency, these backgrounds do not serve as limits, but as initial grounds and definitely not the final ones in acting (praxis) as active agents of change.
What are the different kinds of changes?
- “The only constant thing in the world is change”.
- According to Panopio, changes in culture bring in society and human beings; likewise, changes in society and human beings bring change in culture and politics. This phenomena is called social dynamics .
- Example: Rise of the ilustrados as the educated Filipino elite
- Example: The kind of lifestyle adopted in the “new normal” brought by the Covid-19 pandemic
- Example: The transition from dictatorial to a democratic government through the People Power Revolution in 1986
Can you effect change in society?
- Students’ answers to the question.
- Highlight agency and praxis.
- Sub-lesson 2: Praxis and Methods of the Social Sciences
Praxis – an act of doing something or practice (application of knowledge) in relation to theory (knowledge), informed and committed action to the search for truth and promotion of everyone’s freedom.
How will you be able to put the theories and perspectives of Social Sciences to praxis?
Do you need to be a social scientist to practice these methods?
- No. Anyone who wants to exercise their power (agency) can realize the potential of being a social scientist. We may not be experts, but some of these practices are also things we do in school or in life.
As a student, how will you practice or use these theories and methods in your own life?
Do you think that learning these theories and methods would benefit you? How?
- Critical thinking
- Responsible citizenship
- Knowing the self more
- Being more open-minded or sensitive to different cultures, peoples, and behaviors
Activity 1: QuiSSbee
Instructions. This activity may serve as a motivational activity for the class. Give a reading material before the class that the students can study. It is suggested that this material contain facts about the history of the three key disciplines of the Social Sciences. This activity will help you introduce the topic to them by going through the historical context of the topic. Material on this will be provided to the teacher.
- Who is the father of sociology?
- Where did the discipline of Political Science originate from?
Activity 2: The Ultimate Test
Instructions . This activity will prompt students to think about scenarios or issues that are debatable. The teacher must introduce here the concepts of cultural relativism, sociological imagination, and understanding the exercise of power. The teacher will post the questions “What will you do if…” and the students may answer the question. After all the questions are answered, the teacher will facilitate a mini open-forum among the students whereby they can speak up their minds and share their opinions.
Activity 3: Wearing the Shoes of a Social Scientist
Instructions. Before the activity starts, ask the students to prepare the following materials: three pieces of bond paper, scissors, markers, and coloring materials. Ask the students to draw the shoes of the following people: anthropologist, sociologist, and political scientist. Ask the students if they can do the functions of the aforementioned people. Highlight the commonalities and differences among the three.
Activity 1: Pledge! (Reflective Assessment)
Instructions. Write a 300-500 word essay about the most remarkable theory you learned in class so far. Explain how you would want to turn this theory into praxis. At the end of the paper, write a pledge that would commit to fulfill the task.
Self-paced Learning (Optional Activities)
Contreras, Antonio, Arleigh Ross dela Cruz, Denis Erasga, Cecile Fadrigon. (2016) . Understanding Culture, Society and Politics. The Padayon Series. Quezon City: Phoenix Publishing House.
David, R. & Samson, L. (2017). Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics. Mandaluyong City: Anvil Publishing, Inc.
Heywood, Andrew. (2013). Politics. 4th Edition. Palgrave Macmillan.
Kottak, Conrad. (2008). Anthropology: The Exploration of Human Diversity. 13th Edition. McGraw- Hill.
Lanuza, Gerry & Raymundo, Sarah. (2016). Understanding Culture, Society and Politics. 1st Edition. Manila: Rex Book Store.
Macionis, John. (2019). Society: The Basics. 15th Edition. Pearson.
Scott, John. (2006). Social Theory: Central issues in sociology. London: Sage
Gerry Lanuza & Sarah Raymundo. (2016). Lesson 1:The Birth and Growth of the Social Sciences.
Understanding Culture, Society and Politics. First Edition. Manila: Rex Book Store (pp.2-15).
Heywood, Andrew. (2013). Politics. 4th Edition Palgrave Macmillan.
Macat. (2016, April 14). An introduction to the discipline of Anthropology [Video]. YouTube.
Macat. (2016, April 14). An introduction to the discipline of Sociology [Video]. YouTube.
Panopio, I. & Rolda, R. (2007). Society and Culture, Introduction to Sociology and Anthrophology.
Quezon City: Katha Publishing Co., Inc.
BBC Ideas. (2019, June 6). Relativism: Is it wrong to judge other cultures? | A-Z of ISMs Episode 18 –
BBC Ideas [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=518FR6SbY_k
Crash Course. (2017, March 28). Sociology & the Scientific Method: Crash Course Sociology #3
[Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIwyNIdgJBE
Ted Talks. (2014, April 23). The wisdom of sociology: Sam Richards at TEDxLacador [Video]. YouTube.
The School of Life. (2016, December 30). Why You Can Change The World [Video]. YouTube.
More Readings from Sibika.ph >
- Rubrics for Grading