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Asia-Pacific Cultures & Societies

How are social and cultural norms and lifestyles different within the Asia Pacific region countries? Provide a thorough answer please.

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Asia Pacific Cultures

Asia Pacific or APac is the assigned name of the region of the world that encompasses much of East Asia (China, The Korean Peninsula, Japan, and Taiwan), South East Asia (The Philippines, The Indochinese Peninsula, Indonesia) & Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, New Zealand). This then comprises a huge territory covering vast lands and island nations, a diverse grouping of cultures and peoples differentiated by cultural identity and history and united by geography and at times, shared experience. Now, before we begin, this solution will point out 'main' cultures to exemplify the diversity but due to complexity will not be able to cover ALL APac cultures extinct, observed or current.

Before we go there however let us discuss what a cultural norm is. Let's start with culture. What is culture? Culture, simply put is the traditions, languages, practices, shared histories and perspectives of a group of people. Culture happens over time and it happens due to/because of language. A group of people, belonging to said group by choice, by natural order or by incident/accident over time tend to work out a particular way of doing things, a particular standard. An example of culture is language, another one is religion. By continued practice, by continued development, application and improvisation of language and religion in the lives of a member of a group, the language and the religion becomes far more imbued with meaning, symbolism and is etched to the way of life of the people that practice them, informing their identity. It is important however to remember that culture cannot happen without man and without groups, and it must 'incubate' in essence over time via the varied social institutions where social dynamics can happen (i.e. family, church, schools, workplaces, community groups). Human beings are social 'agents' - they are influenced by others and by trends and are caused to act, adapt or react in varied ways. As Agents, they influence others as well, teaching what they know and learn, transmitting culture. Hence the social institutions that culture happens are called 'agencies'. Norms are the 'standard practice' of a particular culture (meaning the unique culture of a group of people) like, for example, the cultural norms of Chinese cuisine is that food is eaten by the use if chopsticks or that it has been cultural norm in the Philippines to eat Balut (boiled fertilized duck eggs) as a form of aphrodisiac.

What then does this implicate about culture as a means of understanding reality and a way of life? Culture is a social construct. They are unique to the people that they belong to and reflect/say a lot about them. What is a social construct? Religion, language, traditions, practices, philosophies - these are not naturally occurring phenomenon, man has created them via the social dynamics (meaning through social discourse which happens within groups/in society). Human beings are the authors of culture therefore they are labelled as social constructs. Hence, when we use a particular religion or culture as a basis of seeing the world, we see the world through the eyes of that social construct (i.e. Buddhist religion, Chinese philosophies) making the judgement only true to that particular viewpoint and not necessarily true in others. It is also important to remember that the realities of life in different groups are not ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an extensive 2,349-word essay that presents the varied socio-cultural norms and lifestyles prevalent in select Asia-Pacific countries to show similarities and differences and the reasons behind them. Discussed are the following: East Asia - Chinese Culture, Southeast Asia - The Philippines & Oceania: Australia. An overall view and discussion of the multicultural Asia-Pacific culture introduces the paper. References are listed for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.