Your place in your culture

High School ・Sociology ・APA ・1 Sources

The author Dirk Van der Elst provides insight about the importance of anthropology with regards to the adaptation of humanity to a particular culture. In his approach, Elst focusses on the concept of multiculturalism and the different view of culture as described from an individual perspective. Through his writing, we learn the meaning of culture and the need to re-define one’s culture (Elst & Bohannan, 1999). It is evident that culture is a self-constructed belief that is based on an individual’s perspective and it is a concept that guides individuals on deriving their own origin and their ways of co-existing in the 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.

This 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, c1999

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