Chapter

Culture(s) and Belief Systems

James I. Charlton

in Nothing About Us Without Us

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 1998 | ISBN: 9780520207950
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925441 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520207950.003.0004
Culture(s) and Belief Systems

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Culture exerts a profound influence on the way in which people think and what they think. The impression of culture on beliefs and mythology, traditions and rituals, institutions and doctrines, has individual and social implications. Culture is a medium of domination and subordination. The beliefs, ideas, and values of society at large not only reflect the dominant culture, they help to reproduce it. Beliefs and the attitudes they spawn are not solely determined by religious convictions or education or class or words, symbols, and expressions, or even the mass media. They are informed by the interplay of all these. Beliefs and attitudes about disability are individually experienced but socially constituted. They are, with few exceptions, pejorative. They are paternalistic and often sadistic and hypocritical. When blatantly pejorative attitudes are not held, people with disabilities often experience a paradoxical set of “sympathetic” notions like the courageous or noble individual.

Keywords: mass media; culture; disability; paternalism; domination; subordination

Chapter.  7347 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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