lunedì 9 ottobre 2017

Anthropology of Globalization for Global Governance #4

09/10/17. We resumed class from the distinction between FORMAL and INFORMAL. The main consequence is the fragmentation of TRADITION once informal means are mostly used. Formal transmission tends to create a CANON, that is a set of transmissible knowledge frozen in time and hardly changeable. Informal transmission is keen to VARIATIONS both in teaching and in learning.

Q1. Select examples of canonized knowledge.

Then we discussed another opposition, between BODILY and LINGUISTIC types of knowledge. Bodily is everything we know that cannot really be entirely included into a “textbook”, while linguistic knowledge refers to what we teach and learn mostly through language. While the library could be the repository of linguistic knowledge, formal bodily knowledge can be found in workshops and labs, where transmission of knowledge hardly uses the language. VIDEO GLASSMAKING
Important note: formal does NOT overlap with Linguistic, nor informal with bodily. We have indeed FOUR TYPES of cultural knowledge:

1.       Formal and linguistic
2.       Informal and linguistic
3.       Formal and bodily
4.       Informal and bodily

Another way to classify cultural knowledge is to locate its PRESTIGE or STATUS, that is the level were the internal users trace that type of knowledge. Anthropologists do not rank cultures in HIGH and LOW but they are aware that cultures tend to rank cultural elements within and without themselves, as we have seem with the story of the partner to be presented to your parents (a specialist in playstation, or in wicker baskets weaving, or playing piano).

To sum up once more, culture is knowledge that humans acquire through formal or informal means, via language of bodily skills, and organized into different statuses. But this is not enough. With a final example taken from PHONETICS we have learned that cultural knowledge itself can be entirely UNAWARE and SUB-CONSCIOUS. In other words, there are plenty of things, like phonetic rules, that we have acquired and we normally use, yet we are not aware of knowing or using them.
The story of the two young fish (that meet the old fish and are not aware of what the water is) exemplifies this unconscious dimension of important aspects of culture. We need COMPARISON to become aware, so we need cultural anthropology (which is a comparative discipline) to acquire REFLEXIVITY, the awareness of the cultural dimensions of our lives. EXOTICISM, the sheer collection of weird cultural facts, is not a goal for anthropology, since our discipline aims at improving through comparison our awareness.

Q2. Elaborate a real or fictive example of a cultural comparison that can help us understand some cultural rules (i.e., by investigating “polygamy” on a comparative basis I can become aware of some cultural rules about monogamy, and discuss the political basis of marriage. By discovering (through comparison) the cultural rules of monogamy I can think of alternative rules maybe available to other cultures or as possible alternatives to our own culture.

69 commenti:

Lucia von Borries ha detto...

Question 1:
One example of canonized knowledge is mathematics. Every educational system around the world applies the same basic math principles and rules, no matter the language. One reason why individuals either love or hate math is probably because it entails static rules. One simple deviation from the given principles may lead to a completely different and wrong result.

Lost languages like Latin or Old-Greek are also examples of canonized knowledge. Since these languages aren’t spoken anymore they don’t invite change/transformation like other languages where we can observe the creation of new words even today. Since Latin, for example, is used in different professions, like medicine or law, and can also be a useful base for learning other languages it is still taught in many High Schools. I had Latin for 4 years in High School where we translated texts written in centuries B.C., which showcases how static the language is.

Question 2:
One way we like to express our different cultures is food and eating habits, as in the way we eat. While living in Thailand I observed that when going to a restaurant dishes are shared among everyone and the main utensil used are fork and spoon, as compared to Germany, where everyone orders an individual meal which is mainly eaten with knife and fork. Countries like Japan and China use chopsticks and in other cultures you traditionally eat with your hands. There are endless examples of how food expresses culture and cultural differences. Geography plays an important role in food culture. Traditional dishes are made with ingredients that are regionally and seasonally available. German food for example is usually quite heavy because one main struggle was to collect and preserve food through the winter. In countries with a warmer climate the cuisine is usually lighter, but dinner is also eaten later in the evening, because it is too hot earlier in the day.

Selene G. ha detto...

Question 1:
Coming from a German educational background when we talked about canonized knowledge my first thought was about the German history and the way it is taught in Germany. Honestly, I am very happy that this knowledge and the way of teaching is fixed and knowledge of cannon. Of course there are individuals who think about our horrible past in a different way but in our educational system there is clearly stated how and how often we are thought this sensitive subject.

Question 2
When comparing cultural rules of different countries an important part is time. While in Germany being on time is one of the most important cultural values, in other countries this is completely different. While living in Costa Rica for six months I learned a lot about Tico time. Ticos are Costa Rican and Tico time is always half an hour late at least. In Italy I have now gotten to known something similar, Italians aren’t as late as Costa Rican but punctuality is defiantly not as important to them as for Germans. But also the way we read time is different not in every culture but there are differences of how we tell the time with different numbers or how we say it is quarter past or other shorter answers.

emmanuel Krah Plarhar ha detto...


One canonized knowledge which is interesting to me is the Catholic Church. Religion being part of culture and having influence on individuals play an important role in the society so as the Catholic Church. It being part of people’s culture and even shaping their lives through the principles they follow and manner they live. The Catholic Church as we all know dates back in time and it began with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This history has been keep in ages and it cannot be changed in one way or the other. Taking Rome as an example, one may ask why there are lots of Catholics in it. The reason is that the city was well known when Christianity was at its peak and during its spreading process and Saint Peter being Rome’s first bishop. Histories of the Catholic Church have been kept in ages and are still in transmission. This culture is not seen in one place but can be seen in different parts of the world and is even placed in the educational systems of many countries.


Making a cultural comparison, I would compare the way people in different countries greet when they meet each other. Every country has its own culture and how it upholds it. In European countries mostly Italy, France etc people kiss the cheeks when they meet each other. In India the Anjali Mudra is a salute, often accompanied by the greeting "Namaste." It is done by pressing the palms together over the heart, and uttering the word "Namaste." The "Wai" is also a way of greeting in Thailand. It is also done by pressing the hand together and holding them in prayer fashion and bowing. In Asia especially Japan people greet by bowing. Men bow with their hands on their side and women bow with their hands on their thighs. Mostly in African countries people extend their right hand to the others right hand and shake it warmly after that accompanied with a hug and they believe that extending the left hand is a sign of disrespect. It show how people relate with themselves because greeting believed in every part of the world is what brings people together in the first place

Sara di fabio ha detto...

QUESTION 1: select examples of canonized knowledge
The canonization of knowledge is part of the tradition-building process; thus, we may describe as canonized knowledge all the things that students learn from manuals. For instance, in medicine the basic human anatomy (where bones and organs) is a canonized knowledge since it is static all around the word and almost everybody has a taste of it. Whereas if we refer to anatomy in general we cannot say that it is completely freeze since, for example, scientists are still making discoveries about our brain and its functioning. Moreover, considering a knowledge that is mostly thought outside schools, I believe that something as “how to use a phone” could be in the future a canonized knowledge, assuming that mobile phones will still have a numerical keypad. Indeed, in countries such Italy, how to digit a number is a widespread knowledge.

By the comparison between women clothes in western countries and India, it appears clearly that Indian women are still wearing the traditional outfit. The saree can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Even though it has slightly changed during times, depending mainly on the rules of the country and on religion, overall it remained the same. For what concern the meaning of this garment, in the Mahabharata, the saree is described as something that honours the body. In addition, we can argue that sarees are pieces of art, since they are handmade and each one is different from the others (not completely true nowadays because of technological progress).
On the other hand, western women style is in continuous evolution, going forward or recalling some old fashions in a new perspective. The main difference with India is that western societies are not linked to traditional outfits whereas they are always waiting for what comes next. Moreover, the way women dress in the west (today) is not dictated by religion: they are free to express themselves and wear whatever they want. This is mainly due to the emancipation of women and the approach to gender equality. However, what it is missing in western societies is the relation between art and garments. Most of the people wear the same clothes which are mostly monochromatic. This is the result of technology and mass production that contributed to the marginalisation of small boutiques and handmade garments.

Alessandro Germani ha detto...

Question 1
A strongly canonized knowledge in the Italian high school system is philosophy. Actually, rather than philosophy, the secondary school program issued by the Ministry of Education is about history of philosophy. The teaching post is the same of history and philosophy is taught using a pure chronological method. This teaching structure for philosophy is frozen since almost a century and, in order to solve this problem -if it is so-, several high school professors have proposed two main new paths: philosophy taught by topics (e.g.: good and evil, truth, time,…) and by categories (e.g.: logic, aesthetics, ethics,…).

Question 2
Insects should not be eaten. This is an example of ethnocentrism: generalising a single cultural norm into a general rule. Often we base our judgements assuming our specific culture as centre, and it’s not unusual that these judgements are negative and lead to discrimination towards other cultures. The opposite attitude is the so-called “cultural relativism”, according to which we shouldn’t set our cultural beliefs as standards but rather try to understand other cultural points of view.

Oliver Tomassi ha detto...

Question 1
To find examples of formal forms of frozen knowledge we must identify which taught behaviours have survived through time. I believe that a suitable example could be represented by manners at the dinner table. Each new generation is taught how to behave in such circumstances, how to hold knives and forks, that it is rude to speak with a mouth full and so on. Equivalently, inside the military body each new entry is taught the military code of conduct and the way he or she must interact with other members of the military of the same or higher rank. A further example is the code of the road, which must be learned by anyone who wishes to attain a driving license. All these are examples of formally taught forms of knowledge that are frozen through generations and hardly change through time.

Question 2
I will grab the example suggested by the Professor in the question. Relationships are at the core of human existence: the interactions between men and women are the ground for reproduction and thus humanity itself. But are humans naturally monogamous? We are instilled with more than a doubt since cultures such as the Muslim allow polygamy. To reply to this question and to make a comparison between the monogamous and polygamous cultures, we must dive into the past. Evolutionarily speaking, the benefits of polygyny (marriage of a man with several women) for men were much higher than the benefits of polyandry for women, which shows why the polygynous behaviour was very common among ancestral men. This pattern of behaviour has lived and kept developing until our days as shown by the fact that today polygyny is legal in 58 sovereign states, the vast majority of them being Muslim-majority countries situated in Africa and Asia.
However western civilisation seems to have followed a different pattern following in a first moment Greek and Roman traditions, where laws prohibited any man from having more than one official wife at a time, and in a second the spread of Christianity which played a determinant role in the diffusion of monogamy. Thus, it seems like two different cultures, the monogamous and the polygamous, have moved forwards independently from one another. But there are further examples of non-monogamous traditions and cultures. An interesting example that must be mentioned is the Oneida community in New York where complex marriage between more than two people was practiced in the late 19th century. The community lasted only for thirty years but it was enough to demonstrate sufficiently how men could live under non-monogamous relationships. This brief dive into history should be enough evidence to show how monogamy is a learned behaviour and not an innate one: different cultures apply different rules to relationships according to their customs, needs and habits.

Uros Ilic ha detto...

Question 1:

An example of canonised knowledge would be the multiplying boards we used to memorise all the multiplications from one to ten. Five times five will unchangeably be twenty five and was written down as such. Science has many different forms of canonised forms of knowledge. Through physics we have devised laws of gravity, speed etc which are applied to everything on earth. It seems to me, however, that unchangeable and finished cannons are a rare thing. The periodic table of elements has been changing since Mendeleev created it. Most cannon are rather unchangeable in our lifetime and so we tend to consider them finished.

Question 2:

The first thing that comes to my mind would be table etiquette. While in England, clearing your plate is the polite thing to do as it shows respect towards the meal and the one who prepared it. Japanese food etiquette differs as clearing your plate is held as a sign of hunger and implies that the host did not feed you enough. The differences in reaction between the two respective nations are caused by geographical differences, differences in food and its general availability. Burping would be a terrible thing to do while sitting at a table in England but in Japan it is a sign of enjoyment. Another comparison could be the way we eat our food, not only by nationality but by generation. Do we use utensils, like chopsticks or forks, or do we eat with our hands. Many cultures have meals eaten only by hand and there is no particular pattern of occurrence we can follow. Especially in these days where food from all cultures is available. To be more specific, my grandma would probably never pick up a taco and eat it as such but I would devour seven yet we both come from the same nation and eat pretty much everything from our cuisine. I however would devour seven of them. Maybe because I’m a broke college student but oh well.

Tamoi Fujii ha detto...

Canonized knowledge is cultural knowledge standardized by the political power, in order to favor them both politically and economically (by uniforming the population both spatially and timely throughout the generations).
An example of this kind of knowledge lies in how we acquire information about the world.
In Europe, when the Papal State reigned in central Italy and monarchies were legitimized by God's Will, they used to teach the population that the primary source of truth comes from the Bible and the Church. So for millennia, people thought that the Sun rotates around the Earth.
In the modern order, Europe is controlled by its economy, which is very dynamic and counts on constant change and innovation to go forward. Thus we learn at school, that our main source of truth is the Scientific Method, a system that complies with the needs of Modernity.
Both the Bible and the Method are "Canonized" in the sense that it is "sanctified", and thus kept unaltered throughout the ages.
Fictional story:
During a survival experience in a rain forest in Africa, a new-wed young couple meets a friendly "primitive" tribe, which invites them through gestures at lunch. As they enter the hut, the man is seated on a chair, while the woman has to sit on the ground, same as the host couple of the "primitive" tribe. Women serve the meal, men eat and drink first and the ladies later. Also when they walk, the male members of this tribe can walk normally with shoes glazing to the sky, whereas women have to walk slowly barefoot dragging the feet and looking down.
The two visitors automatically think that the role of the women in this society is that of submission to men. What they don't know is that the main value of the tribe is that of fertility. The ground is sacred and only women can look at it and touch it. Men eat first because they have to control that the meal is not venomous, since women have to be protected.
As they are told about this feature of the tribe, the two realize how patriarchal their own mentality is, although they come from societies, where the gender equality is granted by the constitution.

Ludovica Vallati ha detto...

A good example of canonized knowledge could be what usually happens with books: there are some books which are "untouchable", everyone has to read them and even though we find them boring as hell, we don't have the guts to assess it publicly because these books are universally accepted as "classics".
Another example may be a common reaction to movies: we often hear sentences like "this movie must be wonderful, because it won an Oscar", but in the end, the decision board of the Oscars, are just a bunch of people making decisions according to their personal opinion which may be different than ours.
One practical example may be what happened to me this summer: I spent two weeks in the British countryside and the first couple of days I was desperately looking for a decent espresso, which apparently is impossible to find in UK. Thus, when I realized this, I was asking myself how Brits were surviving without a proper coffee, and then I started thinking about how many coffees I used to drink when I was in Italy and if everyone was necessary. The answer was of course not, they were an habit taken from my dad and especially an excuse to spend the whole evening at a bar, chatting with friends. Thus,in the remaining days in the UK, I started to live like a Brit, without coffee, and since I've been back home, I've started to drink less coffee and I'm still surviving.

Ilaria Miligi ha detto...

Question 1
During today’s class we made an example of canonized knowledge, and we talked about the institutions that decide in practice which the canons will be. The example we did was the one of italian literature, teach since elementary school in the italian school system. This canon is frozen and it is fixed, and a complex process is needed in order to modify the canon.
In order to find other examples of canonized knowledge we can focus on the scholar system, which is mainly based on canons. But if we look at the infinite forms of art, it isn’t difficult to find other examples of esthetic canons for instance. The greek sculptures are canons themselves, because the particular shapes and characteristics of the greek statues were taken as forms of elegance and were accepted as canons. The ‘golden ratio’ is a peculiar artistic canon, and it is a proportion that grants harmony, since was an esthetic natural canon.

Question 2
We saw in class the example of the two archeologists, where the foreigner makes the italian speaker conscious about something which was obvious for him. Awareness is something fundamental for our existence because makes us reflecting upon things, rules, features that we judge as obvious. Today I was thinking about how to answer at this question, since is a question which requires a significant mental effort, exactly when I was at university, attending my political system’s class. One of the today’s topics was ‘the comparison’. In order to better understand the different existing political systems in fact, comparison is fundamental, and itself becomes a needed action for the understanding and knowledge of them. Because of that, suddenly the answer to the question of anthropology of globalization bumped into my mind. Let’s take two different countries, the US and China. The first is a country in which the main values are freedom, freedom of expression, liberty.. in few words democracy. And for americans and europeans too, this values are obvious, taken for granted. Instead in China, people are accustomed to more strict rules, and are someway controlled by the government. Suppose that a Chinese guy moves from China to America to study there. This will be a comparison with no rivals. He can explore an other world so different from his original one, and in this way be aware of what is his country, what is his political system, what is his way of life. This is actually a process that every men does when he moves to an other country, place, city, village. We are always comparing the ‘new’ reality with our original one. And in this way we become conscious and even more aware of ours and we appreciate more and more the others. Deepening my quest, from this hint of cultural comparison it bumps into my mind the cultural comparison of sacred animals. In india cows are considered sacred, and they are as important as people, eating their meat or killing them is strictly forbidden. Let’s compare this custom with the european ones. In Europe, as in other parts of the world people eat the meat of the cows or kill these animals without any problem. Being in contact with such a reality so far from our is a fundamental step to make us more and more aware that what we take for granted is not so granted.

gloria paronitti ha detto...

QUESTION 1: An example of canonized knowledge can be the theoretical study about piano. Since when I was younger I had some piano lessons, I didn't only have to play, but also to learn how to read and write the music. So I started to learn that music was written on pentagrams and that every sign had a specific meaning. The musical notes responded to that specified sound and that depending on their shape and colour they would had a different length. The pentagrams were full of different signs and I cannot list all of them, what is important to know is that every single one had its specific meaning and identity. Then I also remember that at the beginning of every piece there were written words like for example: "andante", "adagio" and so on. They had to describe the execution speed of a piece and its trend. All these examples of different rules constitute, as said in class, "a set of transmissible knowledge frozen in time and hardly changeable". They are always been like this: the rules that I was following when I used to play, were the same used in the previous centuries. This is the reason why we are still capable of reproducing pieces from great composers of all time, because the rules that they were using are the same that apply today.

gloria paronitti ha detto...

QUESTION 2: This question remind me about a conversation that I had three years ago with a friend of mine. His name is Abdul and he comes from Saudi Arabia. I don't remember why exactly, but one afternoon we started talking about traditional Saudi weddings. He explained to me that usually the groom asks to the bride's father if he can marry his daughter. I don't remember exactly how much the bride is free to refuse the proposal if her family has already agreed, but however this is not the main point. Before the father accepts the groom give as a gift a big amount of money. My friend told me that in is family the tradition was to give a diamond to the bride, and if the family would appreciate it, the couple could get married. Me and some other friends from Italy and Europe in general, we were surprised by the big role covered by the "gift". We told him that for example in Italy this would have sound more as the "groom buying the bride". Our friend Abdul, I remember that he started to laugh. Then he explained that the action of giving money was not comparable to buying because they were a proof of the fact that the groom consider his future wife more important than money and then that he could take care of her from an economical point of view for the rest of his life. Actually man try to give the biggest amount of money possible: the bigger it is the more it is possible that the request will be accepted and you will make a good impression on your future wife's family. But he also told us the story of one of his friends that despite he didn't have anything to offer to his bride, had the approval of the family since they knew he loved her. The "gift" is an important tradition in Saudi Arabia. Here in Italy now it is different: usually families are not so involved, in the sense that the approval of the father is not necessary. And also there is the tradition that the bride will receive a ring during the proposal. But the gift is donated not to demonstrate something also from an economical point of view, only to demonstrate love.

Nicolas Dietrich ha detto...

Question 1:

As seen during the course, a canonized knowledge can be defined as “frozen knowledge” i.e. knowledge acquired mostly through a very formal process. This is thus knowledge that almost doesn’t change or vary over time. Every exact science fulfills relatively well these criteria. If we take physics as example, most of scientists agree with the actual theories, at least with the basics. In fact, the same bases of this science are taught in every schools or universities around the world. Moreover, the content has not changed for decades and tends thus to be considered as “true” i.e. almost nobody is contesting nowadays the great majority of the laws of physics. However, is it enough to call it a frozen knowledge? Indeed, we are not immune to a new discovery that could revolutionize the science and contradict every actual laws. In that precise case, it couldn’t be defined as a frozen knowledge anymore. Another point would be the time that a knowledge has been taught in the same way. In fact, how long does it need for a knowledge to be regarded as canonized? As analyzed, the definition of a canonized knowledge is thus blurred and it is hard to find perfect examples.

Question 2:

In order to make a cultural comparison, I’m going to speak about the differences between young adults from Taiwan and from Switzerland regarding accommodation. In fact, my flatmate made an exchange semester in Taiwan and I had the chance to visit him. What surprised me was the fact that almost every Taiwanese were still living with their parents. Even if they had a good job and enough money to take their own flat, people didn’t want to live far from their parents. I thus inquired and asked them why they didn’t want to move and in a certain way having more freedom and independency and answered they move into a new apartment only at the time they get married. They explained, although the Taiwanese society can be really open-minded for topics such as homosexuality, they are still very traditional and old-fashioned regarding the question of accommodation. In fact, the family plays a central role in the society and the parents are much more listened than for instance in Switzerland. They have a huge influence on their children’s choice and don’t accept their children leave home before they have a wife or a husband i.e. ready to build their own family.

In Switzerland, the situation is different and most young adults tend to live in their own apartment as soon as they have the financial possibility or usually go studying in another city in order to have more freedom and independency. Moreover, many parents encourage their children to have their one flat and, through that, prepare them for the “real life”.

This example illustrates well the different parents-children relationship and the place of the family in the respective societies. On the hand, the Taiwanese try to protect their children by giving them less freedom but a more stable frame. On the other hand, we can see in Switzerland parents’ willingness to prepare their children to the adult life by giving them more independency, although it entails eventually some risks because they cannot control their children’s acts anymore.

Lavinia Apicella ha detto...

Question 1: In class, we talked about the distinction between the formal and informal transmission of knowledge. When knowledge is formally transmitted, it tends to create a canon, which is a set of notions that tends not to change over time, even if hundreds of years pass. Some examples of canonized knowledge could be the teaching method in schools and the way certain subjects are taught in the educational systems: for instance, in Italian schools, teachers tend to teach history, literature and art history always in the same way, so logical and chronological, without taking into account other methods. On one hand, it is true that history and literature haven’t changed over time, but the contents have been like frozen in time and continue to be taught today the same way they had been 100 years ago. Another example of canonized knowledge is eating: the way we eat meals and behave when around the table has stayed more or less the same. The rules are that we should eat our food using fork and knife, have a plate and a napkin. Who said that it has to be like this? No one in particular, perhaps some book written 60 years ago. As far as I know, my Italian grandparents ate the same way I do when they were young, 80 years ago. Surely this depends on the culture you grew up with, but as far as Italy is concerned, eating manners have been canonized long ago and that is why they have been mostly preserved.

Lavinia Apicella ha detto...

Question 2: As example of a cultural comparison, I would like to describe a real-life situation that has happened to me while living in Sweden as an exchange student. The first day at my Swedish high school was quite nice but confusing for me at the same time, because of the fact that nobody told me exactly what to do. This led me to ask continuously for help because I wasn’t understanding what was going on, the homework that we had to do, the various assignments and respective deadlines. The Swedes are very independent in the schooling environment, meaning that everyone knows exactly what to do and is free to study or read during classes and even choose the topics of home researches. What I immediately noticed in the first weeks of school is that “independence with responsibility” is one of the main mottos in Sweden, that is applied to all the aspects of life. For me, this was shocking because I had always been used to the opposite way of life: in Italy, people had always told me what to do and especially how to do it, without giving me neither freedom nor too much responsibility, both in school and at home. So eventually I got used to this new way of life, which led me not only to change my habits but also to adapt to the Swedish ones and become more independent. Getting in touch with the Swedish culture led me to make cultural comparisons with Italy all the time. Especially, being confronted with different lifestyles and values helped me become more aware of the Italian culture and habits. While at the beginning I was confused and felt lost because I had too much freedom, I learnt to appreciate it and managed to unite the best aspects of both cultures.

elisa felici ha detto...

Q1. If we can learn and develop only by acquiring external knowledge, what helps us when really in the process of “building” our identities are the forms of canonised knowledge, meaning that group of standardised information that everyone looks up to. It is clear system of reference, since both our luck and misfortune as active thinkers is to always seek for an order, a constant rule. Thus the idea of a canon, easily transmittable but hardly changeable.
There are many secular forms of canonised knowledge we could talk about, music and the way we write it is one of them.
As a cultural habit and practice music is very peculiar, for it is cultural but it preserves an innate correlation with the natural/animal world. In our hands those sounds were transformed into a science though. And throughout times we created a canon to follow in order to write about it, create it. Thanks to musical notation every sound corresponds to a symbol and can be represented: staff, musical scales, different keys to read. Pitch, duration, frequency, the musical science we created made some of those “natural” sounds exacts and sometimes apparently wrong: too high pitched, or too low. It is a canon for we write music the way we write it. Everyone refers to it, we did and we will. Lines, circles, commas and dot.

But, imagine someone enters a room and declares that those symbols are all wrong. From now on we will represent music with series of spirals. Would we accept that? No, since it is not the canon, the apparent right scheme we gave ourselves. That person would look like a fool to our eyes, and no one would follow him. But what if the week after the same man enters the same room this time with hundreds of people that all want music to be written in spirals. Would the canon change now? Would the old one still be effective?
This is interesting about cultural revolutions, the way cultures renews. Culture is a liquid thing. We handle it, we are its masters, and that therefore we can change it (though it is not sudden nor easy). The canon is fixed, stable, a point of reference which should not modify. But it does. And the example of music if perfect for this, since during the Middle Ages the way music was written was revolutionised: thanks to Guido d’Arezzo (IXth century) we arrived to the “neumatic notation” so the modern actual musical notation. The canon here changed.
And this procedure of thinking could be applied to anything really. Another canon is the alphabet: A, B, C but this is the latin canon. What about cyrillic? We have a largely different canon just next our door, in Russia. Probably the canon can turn out to be cultural too. A canon can be flexible.

elisa felici ha detto...

Q2. The idea of comparing is pretty easy: by analysing and understanding the ways of the other, I am able to understand something about my ways, which otherwise would have remained concealed to my eyes, unnoticed.
The existence of god, and especially of which one, or more simplistically its representation, is something that by comparing can be heavily questioned.
God. God, gods and goddesses. Mankind has always had many of them, and from a certain moment on the aim of crowning the most right and truthful one against the others, even fighting for him, came along. Religious wars were fought in name of God, and some still are.
However, this great opposition some people pretended and still believe to see may appear pointless thanks to a comparative perspective.
By understanding that an indian believer may not represent his own god white-skinned, with robes and beard, and by further understanding that within the same group of indian believers interpretations of that same religion may differ, we first understand that our own point of view does not reign on all, and secondly that God is a plural thing (at least its representation). Clearly the theme of God and religion in the perspective of Cultural Anthropology is a tricky and thorny, since we are also choosing an atheist point of view. But it is interesting to notice how something so absolute and unique as God can be suddenly questioned by opening up our eyes and realising how there are many different, divergent ones: Jesus Christ, Buddha, Allah, Ganesh.
By knowing that thousands and thousands of religions, doctrines, philosophical schools do exist in the world, I can be aware that I do worship and belong to one of them. Catholics do go to church on sundays, they do confess their sins. Hinduists do not, they would never adopt these costumes, but that does not mean theirs are wrong. God is a plural thing, that changes from culture to culture, from individuality to individuality. And by knowing someone else worships another god, I am able to acknowledge this very important truth.
It may be the representation of it that changes from culture to culture. Maybe metaphysically one real “God” does exist, and perhaps mankind has always been talking about the same thing, just with different names.

Riccardo Santini ha detto...

When talking about canonized knowledge, the first thing which comes to my mind is the study of History. Indeed, getting to know our past is essential in order to understand how the world is today. History is taught in every country so that students are able to learn how past events have shaped today’s societies, providing information about the behaviors of different communities during the years.
Being able to see how changes have occurred thought the years helps us understand current situations and makes us recognize the linkages between the past and the present. Understanding the conditions of human beings has always interested many scholars, who focused on the study of the past to explain the situations we are living in the present.
Indeed, History is a form of canonized knowledge as it is inevitably frozen in time – it is the past, which can be learnt only through the reading of textbooks or by attending History classes.

Emotions play a fundamental role in our lives. Happiness, surprise, anger, fear are all universal feelings which we experience because we are human beings, not because we are European or Asian or whatever.
When we smile, we tend to raise our cheeks, and when we are surprised our eyebrows naturally arch. Such facial expressions are universal. However, culture does constrain the way in which we express our emotions, even though what we feel is the same across countries.
Indeed, emotions are strongly influenced by the surrounding environment, which affects the way we express such feelings. And this results in cultural differences which must be taken into account when we get in contact with people from different realities.
I got the opportunity to fly to Indonesia this summer and I had the chance to learn more about the Indonesian culture. If shaking hands comes natural to me, my Indonesia host preferred to nod her head or to even bow in order to show that she does respect a foreigner. In Italy, as well as in the Western world in general, we do not bow when we first meet someone, but our European ancestors used to bow in front of our past kings and queens.
Moreover, expressing my gratitude and my affection to my host’s kids by gently touching their heads in a friendly manner was considered offensive and very inappropriate, because the head is where the spirit resides, so it is considered sacred.

Marco Siniscalco ha detto...

One example of canonized knowledge is public education. Our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability. The whole system was invented around the world, when there were no public systems of education, really before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism. Therefore, the hierarchy is rooted on two ideas: number one, that the most useful subjects for work are at the top; and the second is academic ability, which has really come to dominate our view of intelligence. Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity.
One way we express our different cultures is greetings and non-verbal customs. For instance, people in Reunion Island won't hesitate to greet people they know by giving each other a kiss on each cheek. They say hello when they cross people in the street. They usually gesticulate while talking. The distance they will keep depends on familiarity and level of comfort. On the other hand, Croatian people tend to be formal and reserved when greeting for the first time. Close friends and family may greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. Croatians use gestures a lot in communication. It is customary to shake hands with both men and women, not only when you meet a person for the first time, but every time you meet. It's the same for friends, among men, women and teenagers. In some cases, if they are close friends or members of the same family, men and women will give each other a kiss on each cheek, which is a sign of a good friendship. In a job interview or when greeting, people always shake their hands and have direct eye contact. To maintain eye contact is very important when you are talking to a Croatian. Direct eye contact is usually expected and appreciated. In fact, regular eye contact should be maintained, and a refusal to make eye contact would be regarded as a sign that you do not care for that person. Professionally, eye contact is particularly important.

Francesco Bono ha detto...

QUESTION 1: An example of canonized knowledge that immediately comes up to my mind is tying shoelaces. I remember a noun at my kindergarten who taught us the standard way to do it, because she thought there was “no other way to do it safely”. She wanted us to make a loop with one end, wrap the other end around and pull a loop through the "hole" in the middle. I don’t know why but I hated that method, preferring doing it in my own way, which I considered unique and equally efficient. I made a loop with both ends, then simply tie a knot with them. However most of the times it is tied incorrectly, resulting in an un-balanced knot compared to the one resulting from the standard method. The noun used to tell me my knot could come undone very easily, but still nowadays I cannot stand other ways of tying my shoelaces!

QUESTION 2: An example could be the Islamic hijab, the traditional foulard which Islamic women are supposed to wear to cover their hair, showing modesty and moderation. There has been a huge debate in western countries about whether wearing foulard should be prohibited because it limits women’s freedom and it represents a threat for public safety. However, in the past even Christian tradition used to contemplate this practice for the same reasons. Nowadays it has been abandoned in western world, although it remains used only for official occasions such as official visits to the Pope. Monotheistic religions share this common trend: they all consider hair as something to protect because it represents the miracle of life, constantly growing, becoming white or falling. Moreover, it is a tool that a woman can use to seduce men; it’s important for her to cover it if she wants to respect her family and common moral values. Nowadays western world has abandoned this tradition, claiming it is a limit for democracy and equal rights among citizens, but Islamic world strongly respects it, both convinced to defend their values in the fight against the other.

ALICE97 ha detto...

Once having distinguished between formal and informal acquisition of knowledge, we said that formal systems tend to be categorized into canons, meaning that they are organized in an established way. In other words, we get exposed to this canon according to someone else’s decisions. An example of a canonized knowledge could be the way in which we learn about national literature in schools. There is no Italian student that at least for once in his life has not studied chapter by chapter “I Promessi Sposi” by Alessandro Manzoni, following the critics comments on the characters and all the happenings. Exactly in the same way, there is no Spanish student who has never studied about the anonymous epic poem “El poema del miio Cid” or about the novella “El Lazarillo de Tormes”. The reason is that canonization of knowledge is part of the tradition-building process.


To answer this question I would like to talk about an article that I read by chance a few days ago about different ways of seeing the handshake. In different cultures people generally avoid touching people of the opposite sex who are not family members. It said that Orthodox Jews will not shake hands with someone of the opposite sex, while a strict Muslim woman will not shake hands with a man. Anyway, a Muslim man will shake hands with a non-Muslim woman.

Claudia Schiavelli ha detto...

1) I believe that most of the people have seen at least once a world map. Most frequently we have the American continent on the left; Europe above and Africa below in the middle, and Asia and Oceania on the right. Besides convenience and a convention over geographic terminology about areas of the planet, we all do believe that Europe is in the center and tend to refer to what is around it based on such assumption. Having "the old continent" lost its preeminence position the equation "middle = most important/powerful" has no longer a political meaning. Nonetheless, it still is a tricky visual representation of what should be round and directionless; we tend to be surprised or even opposed when we see a different image of something so canonized in our knowledge.

2) There are different patterns for the fundamental behaviors or actions that all humans share, and when one is confronted with a "new version" of them, acquires a further insight of their own. Going to Tor Vergata to me means being stuck in traffic for almost two hours a day and, at least, drivers can be extremely interesting to observe. It's easy to notice that people in Rome are always in a hurry, so much that they are willing to run you down when you are in their way and can honk the life out of you. Going not far North in Italy, I discovered that people are way more patient over non-rally drivers. I remember vividly being in a car in Bologna and being stared at for honking once. Perhaps that shows the real essence of our big city: too disorganized to go as fast as we wish, too many stressed people and a shared belief that honking as a soothing and repairing effect on other drivers' wrong behaviors.

Sara Marcucci ha detto...

Question one:
After having distinguished between formal and informal acquisition of knowledge, we said that the formal learning tends to be categorized into a canon (standard).
We might say a canonized knowledge is what you learn independently from the school you attend; something every Italian knows something about, and knows to be important for the Italian culture. An example could be done thinking about the Italian musical culture: De André, Battiato, Battisti, Mogol, Modugno… these are all artists that everyone has listened to, at least once, and if you don’t know them people look at you a bit weirdly, like “do you live on Mars, or what?”.
Question two:
Comparing different cultures can be easier if you have travelled a lot or even lived abroad for some time.
The first time I actually realized what my culture was like is when I moved to California, where I lived for six months.
Before living another culture I had never been able to fully understand how my culture was not the only possible western one. I rationally knew it wasn’t, but I didn’t know in what sense. I didn’t know that eating dinner with two different plates was not common to any country. In California they eat everything on the same plate, and I found it pretty disturbing, at first. Then, of course, I got used to it, but it was probably one of the first things I noticed and that made me think.
Another example might be the attitude people have towards smoking cigarettes: in Italy it’s super normal to see people smoking, either at their own home, or in public places such as bars and cafés. In California I’ve never seen anyone smoking in a public place. Once, before being aware of such a cultural difference, I was smoking a cigarette in a public square, and an old woman came to me and she was like “you know you shouldn’t be smoking here? There might be kids” there were not kids, at all, but the possibility of them coming made her feel like saying I shouldn’t be smoking. It was a public square. I cannot picture somebody telling me not to smoke in Piazza Venezia, I just can’t, but after living six months in a place where such a thing is totally normal, when I go abroad I never smoke in public places and I generally behave differently than in my own country, because cultures are different.

Melani Perera ha detto...


In this class we learnt about canonized knowledge and also we talked about some examples for canonized knowledge. So I think the one of the best example for in my knowledge for understand about the canonized knowledge is Sri Lankan history.
When I was in my high school I learnt history of my country. So for that I used many books and also we had many off school visits for the historical places in my country. From that places I saw many epigraphs and also many historical things which were very important to our studies. So I realized those books and also those historical things are very important to our studies. So we can describe this as a canonized knowledge that means, “All the things that students learn from manuals.” So I think when we learn subjects like history, they are canonized knowledge. I am glad to have that knowledge and the way of teaching is fixed and knowledge of canon.


This question reminds me about conversation I always having with my Sri Lankan friends. That is about the Sri Lankan food habits and Italian food habits.
Actually that comparison helps me to understand some culture rules and differences. As a Sri Lankan I can see clear difference between this two countries. Not only the food habits but also other cultural activities such as education, day life etc.
Let’s talk about the breakfast in this two countries. As an example, normally in Sri Lanka we take a heavy meal for breakfast. Normally we think we should it our breakfast like a king. It means our breakfast should be like a king’s meal. So we eat healthy and heavy food for the breakfast and also surely we drink milk in the morning. But Italian people take light meal for the breakfast. It may be cornetto/panino with cappuccino. But for the lunch normally they have some courses. But in Sri Lanka we have many courses only in the special occasions, not daily life. The other thing is Sri Lankan use more species for their food but Italians do not use more species for their foods. I have more experience for that   . And also Italian people use fork and knife to eat food but Sri Lankan people use their hands to eat food. They use fork, spoon and knife only for the special occasions like food courses. So this is very interesting experience to me living in Italy as a Sri Lankan. Especially I love to have difference food experiences. :P :P :P

Md Ashique Ali ha detto...

Question 1.

Whenever I think on canonized knowledge the religious books come in mind. For example, "Quran" the holy book of Islam. It has it's own genuine face as a text and chapters. The basic text doesn't change in any format of other languages in the world. People use to write it in their own language with exact sound to feel easy to read or they do translation and write books on explanation of Quran's text for understanding. The other example canonized knowledge is basic technique of farming in all over the world. Generally, people plough the land, use the water for irrigation, followe the weather and use animals or chemical fertilizers for high production.

Md Ashique Ali ha detto...

Question 2.

If we talk about cultural comparison, India it's languages are a good example. India has 29 states and 7 territories, except some generally they all use different languages. Their foods, dresses and marriage style are different, even their looks are different. Here, I want to focus only on regional languages of the country. I'm from an Indian state Bihar, Bhojpuri is my mother tongue. The other states like Bengal use Bengali language, Punjab use Panjabi, Gujarat use Gujarati, Maharashtra use Marathi Tamil Nadu use Tamil, Andhra Paradesh use Telugu and so on. These languages are not only for communication, they have their own script, alphabet, literature and proverbs. Most of them are older than Hindi (national language of the country) even Tamil is one of the oldest language in the world. Thus, the people from different states and languages present different culture. I can easily notice them. Although, it's a general cultural comparison. If I notice to find similarities among them, it's also possible and easy. The all Indian speak Hindi, more or less. But a person from a different region present their own culture whenever he/she speaks Hindi we may hear the flavour of their mother tongue. It's just like English and it's different scale of communication in countries of the world. They use these languages for religious books, speeches, newspapers, movies, theatres, radio, education (school and university), politics (parliaments, legislatives) , Law and order (high court, domestic courts), public borads (police station, post office, hospitals, buses, trains ) and so on. Therefore, we may see the cultural comparison among the Indian people on the basis of their languages. Their foods and dresses are the other way to find cultural comparison.

Md Ashique Ali ha detto...
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martina forbicini ha detto...

Question 1
The formal transmission of knowledge tends to be organized in a way that is learnt and handed down to the next generation without many differences from the previous ones: there’s a process of standardization behind it, more properly called canonization. As regards canonized knowledge, the most outstanding example that comes to my mind can be found in the context of schooling. Let’s take the case of a student who attends the primary, secondary or high school in a country such as Italy: he will be taught subjects like arithmetic, Italian literature, history, English literature not that differently from the way his/her grandparents had been taught during their times. This results from the fact that canons are a form of preserved knowledge, which implies the almost absolute absence of variations both in teaching and in learning. Another useful way to describe this kind of “frozen” knowledge can be represented by looking at old typical traditions such as Christmas day or Thanksgiving: the way these festivities are celebrated in each single country never varies, but shows always the same features. Even if they began quite a long time ago, there’s a sort of authoritative approach that does not allow any type of diversity in the transmission mechanism.

martina forbicini ha detto...

Question 2
I think that a practical example to take into account when talking about cultural comparison could be described looking at the Amish societies which are mostly spread in the United States but also in Latin America and Europe. These groups of traditionalist Christians are known for a simple style of life which is characterized by frugal living, plain dresses and a sort of avoidance to adopt several tools of modern technology. While nowadays most people exploit the conveniences of the modern world, such as electricity and cars, these communities opt for humility and separation from the contemporary world. I believe that by comparing their way of living with the "updated" one, it’s possible to understand the pros and cons of both cultures: while on the one hand, values such as hard working, frugality and lack of adornment are preserved and transmissed by Amish, on the other hand changes and innovations to facilitate the daily life are not used in the best way to guarantee the development and growth of our society.

Silvia Marcelli ha detto...

Q.1 A good example of canon knowledge can be found in the Italian school system, more in particular in the way we are used to studying history. The programs taught to the students are more and less fixed. I must admit I am not very happy with that. Going more into specific, regarding history we finish the elementary school studying up to the Romans empire, than in the middle school you start the program from where you have left finishing at the second world war. Then the High school came and there you are supposed to continue from the WW2 so that by the fifth year you are able to study and comprehend the contemporary era that we are living in. However, that's not what happens. You re-start from the beginning like your history knowledge up to that moment was null, and even though most of the professor complained about the impossibility of discussing modern times the program remains unvaried, like it is frozen and thus not submitted to changes: a canon.

Q.2 I think that a good mean through which we can draw a comparison between different cultural habits can be found in the nutrition, such as the meals. For example in the Italian culture, every meal is important and it is very unlikely that we skip one of the trees. The culture of food, of eating together with your friends or families, of feeling the need of pausing for a while from your work in order to have breakfast, lunch or dinner is central in our daily habits, is probably what we think to be something innate in us, in our culture, but it is actually acknowledged while growing up. The food is something sacred in our culture. I had a completely different perspective while living few months in the UK.Indeed in the British culture, such attachment to food is not found. For example at lunch, while for an Italian that time is what he/she is looking forward to after finishing breakfast, for the British it is not like that: they prefer to eat something quick which is not a real and complete meal and then get back to work.

Zikang Zhang ha detto...

Question 1
Canon is created by formal transmission, which is frozen in time and hardly changeable. One of the example of canon knowledge is Newton’s law of motion, which is published in 1687 and still in our physical notebook to be taught. Those theories have not been changed more than three centuries. I remember when I was in senior middle school, was taught three physical law by our physical teacher, and she said we can use those theories in any questions about mechanics. Nowadays when the scientists deal with the problem, the most basic principle is Newtonian mechanics. Another example of canonized knowledge is ancient poem, since childhood we have been taught by parents and teachers. We can not change it, only can use it in our lectures and presentations,which means the poems just can transmission and can not be changed.

Question 2
I would like to describe a comparison about drinking culture. In China, wine is a very effective way of communication. In China, "relationship" is a maze of the network, maintaining this network need for expensive cost--invite a meal or drinking (this is a big difference with the Western consumption habits ). There are many rules on the drinking table, such as toasting, which must say some blessings to others, if you do not say anything, it does not seem to respect others. While drinking, we can see a person’s character, for instance after toasting, a person directly drained, it means that this person is generous and can make friends with him/her; if a person only drank very little, it means that this person is unrealistic. Drinking in Chain seems a way too create a social network and means. In the case of institutional economics, drinking is part of the transaction cost in a particular case. In japan, the wine table will never persuade the wine. People is tacit and self-control. Most of the monthly wages of Japanese employees, will be fixed as a fixed proportion of entertainment and senior management with a higher proportion. In South Korea, they like to eat at night with drinking ”bomb wine”(a cocktail), drinking to very late but also to change the place to drink beer. In Europe, drinking is a pure social culture.

Francesca Scanavini ha detto...

Q1. Select examples of canonized knowledge.
We have said in class that canonized knowledge is the one you acquired as a codex, standard and you learned it without discussing it. Moreover, it is strictly linked to a political decision and it outlines the correlation between Culture and Power. Besides all the cases related to school education, an example of canonized knowledge could be the act of washing hands before having a meal. This kind of knowledge is acquired in a formal way, mainly through our parents or teachers at school, and it is supported by scientific and sanitary proves but especially by recommendations and guidelines of the ministry of health, that embodies the political aspect. Moreover, I also thought about the use of crosswalks in the streets. It is an action that adults, often parents, teach you to respect for security and civic reasons. It is formal because you can recognize who is teaching you the act and it is canonized because nobody discusses it, even if some people sometimes violate the rule. Another action that can be considered as canonized knowledge is to walk on sidewalks. It is not only an informal knowledge acquired by imitating, it is also canonized because its roots are linked to political and civic reasons, specifically in order to maintain public order and security.
Q2. Elaborate a real or fictive example of a cultural comparison that can help us understand some cultural rules
In order to elaborate this example, it is impossible for me not to trace to my personal experiences abroad. When I was living in the United States I discovered, of course, that they do not use to kiss each other on the cheeks as we Italians usually do. It may seem as a trivial habit to stress but in reality, it made me realized a lot about my culture. When I was there, the warmest demonstration between two friends was the hug. Whenever two friends had not seen each other for a long time, or they wanted to show their affection one another they use the hug. After six months living there, I really started missing the physical contact that I was used to have with other people in Italy. Only there I have realized how much we use the body in our daily life in Italy. How much we touch each other, for caressing, for shoving, for expressing our feelings, for really showing our real self. The Italian stereotypes of the kiss and the hand gesture were already known to me, living the cultural difference on my skin, made me really aware of this particular aspect of my culture and how this characteristic can influence and determine relationships within people.

clara saglietti ha detto...

Question 1:
Culture tends to sediment and be reduced to a canon when transmitted in a rigidly standardised way.
These ways are usually decided by those who hold the power and the most obvious example of a formal means of transmission is the educational system. The knowledge acquired in school is canonised par excellence, because it is based on predefined topics, modality of teaching, learning and evaluating. Such strategy should guarantee the same level of education in the whole country, but the result is the creation of a theoretical dogmatic model with some practical differences. In fact, even not taking into consideration interesting alternative systems like the libertarian one, it is inevitable that thanks to the academic liberty each teacher has its margin of freedom in deciding how to structure his lessons. Therefore, although we are supposed to learn literature by analysing the main works of the most famous artists, history by memorising dates, maths by studying the theoretical demonstrations and so on, we all learnt in a slightly different way, thanks to small diverse details. Only with the creativity crept inside the small fissures of the monolithic canon it is possible to safeguard the richness of diversity. This happens because culture is dynamic and it can’t be fixed in a determined form forever, but it evolves in time, regardless of the attempts of the power to control it.
In the same way, culture itself exercises a sort of power creating canons. A possible example is the case of science, that is considered by many philosophers one of the pillars of the paradigm of rationality characterising European culture as we have learnt from Professor Perilli. However, also the scientific method with its rigorous and canonised format to explain the world has now being criticised. The work of Popper, Lakatos, Kuhn, Feyerabend and Russell showed that also science had become a sort of ideology and its supposed certain knowledge assured by the perfection of the method could be doubted and evolve. That is why canonised knowledge is useful to have a common parameter, but necessarily changes and interacts with creativity and alternatives.

clara saglietti ha detto...
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clara saglietti ha detto...

Question 2:
“We stand in darkness surrounded by light” wrote the reporter Kapuscinski to describe our blindness towards the richness of other cultures and the difficulty to see and understand them from the shadow. In fact, as also Plato said in his myth of the cave, it is almost impossible to be aware of our condition and of the existence of alternatives till we do not bump into something else. In real life, we do not need to break our chains and exit the cave to discover the light of the sun, but it is enough to meet people from other cultures and be open-minded, getting rid of the idea of superiority.
One example of it can be found in the stories of the Native Americans.
In a sunny afternoon, an indigenous is sleeping under a tree when a European colonist walking in a hurry trips over his feet and wakes him up. Instead of apologising, the white man suddenly attacks verbally him: “What are you doing? Can’t you see that you are wasting your time? You should be working, not lazing!”
Quietly answers the native: “Why?” “What the hell! Why! Are you mocking me?! You must work! It is necessary to live! To live well I mean.” And when the indigenous asks what meant to live well, he confusedly starts to stammer: “Well…well you need to work to have money…and with money one day you will buy beautiful things, you can buy a beautiful house with a beautiful garden, you can have time for yourself…and when you will be old, you will benefit from your labour and you will rest”
Kindly smiling, the native declares: “Oh, you don’t need to labour for that, you see: I am not wasting my time in a constant hurry for a tomorrow I am not certain about, I have already time for myself, I am resting when I want, surrounded by nature without fences. And I am happy like this.”
We are used to think that we must work to live and we end up thinking that we must live to work because of the mentality imposed by capitalism. What is worse is that we tend to think also that it is not possible to do differently or that those who do not follow this path are wrong, inferior and undeveloped. Luckily, recently many studies derived from the comparison with other cultures have proved that economics and growth are not the only things which matter. It is the case, for example, of the introduction of indexes measuring happiness instead of the GDP: they do not deny the cultural roots of Europe, but admit that also other cultures have something to offer and these aspects can be merged together for a common enrichment.

elettra schininà ha detto...

1. Canonized knowledge is everything learnt in formal way: never changing time to time. Or better through manuals. Examples are all the subjects studied in a school. Starting from the elementary schools where (in Italy) the teachers start saying to you to write in the big square of the notebook, always the same word in "block letters ". And you was there, writing for hours always the same word. Then when you was ready to do dictates, the exercise used to change and it was up to every single student and its informal knowledge to go ahead in the learning. Another example are subjects like Italian literature, it was write down in books and was universal for everyone. You have to learn that facts but (fortunatily)always through your own method.

2.Cultural comparison. Every State has its own culture, but not only the state.. also the region and the cities of the region, and so on. We can do the example of North Italy and South Italy when they are having meals. In the North they used to have a starter an then the main course; instead in the South they have such a more rich meal, with starter, main course, meets or fish , sweets and so on. They have not different food or are different persons, they only have a different culture.

Federica Barbera ha detto...

We defined the canon as the set of competencies that you have acquired through formal learning. When I think to a formal learning I always picture in my mind a room full of students sit quietly to listen to the teacher in order to grasp every drop of knowledge that he may spill . Actually I have understood that there are many other situations in which you are required to learned in a formal way outside the academic environment. Now I want to report an example based on my life experience. Four years ago I began to have piano lessons for the first time in my life. Surprisingly I found a teacher whose approach to the study of the instrument was slightly different( not to say completely original) from the canon. For me, the student, this alternative method did not make a big difference but when one year later my teacher left , therefore my vision of the teaching piano method changed. I don’t know if you are familiar with music lesson but I can tell that the teaching method is quite canonized. I tried to explain more than once to my new instructor in which way I learned to read the music ( méthode creative by Piort Lachert) but she insisted to follow the canonized rules and she decided to teach me solfége. In other words she rejected the novelty and she went back to the “solid” old method. In this way she kept transmitting a set of knowledges that she had acquired and assimilated because maybe she thought that it was the best method but essentially because it was the only method taught to her.

Federica Barbera ha detto...

For this question I want again to elaborate an answer that is based on my life experience. I have been an exchange student and I believe that there is no better way to investigate a new culture than living in contact with its member for a while. I have been abroad for 5 months and even if to some of you it may seem few time, I grant you that I have noticed many cultural differences in that time. When people knew that I would be an exchange student they started talking about “cultural shock” to try in some way to make me familiar with its meaning and consequences . Nothing of what they told me could ever have prepared me to face the sensations that I felt when I had my “cultural shock”. I had arrived in Minnesota just two weeks earlier and that day was the homecoming Friday therefore, as all good Americans do, I went to the football match. I had made few friends and I was happy to see some of them in the crowd. I immediately went towards them to greet while I was hoping to spend the rest of the evening together. In Italy, and also in Europe, when two friends meet each other they usually greet by kissing reciprocally on the cheeks. For sure I have learned that by mimicking the behavior of others however I have to say that seeing that habit represented also in paintings and in movies might give me the impression that it was a common practice in the western world. Therefore when in the United States I met my friends while hanging out ,for me it was natural as breathing to brace myself for the common ritual. I was completely disenchanted when one friend of mine instead of kissing me on cheeks she hugged me. I felt so embarrassed because I had been just hugged by a person that I barely knew but maybe I felt worse when I figured out that I didn’t have the cultural tools to face a simple meeting. Luckily my American friend understood the situation and immediately she ask me if in Italy we were used to greet in a different way. At that point the situation switched from a drama to a funny one because I realized that she also had no idea that one could greet a friend in a different way. We were both stuck in our cultural bubble. This event have greatly shape my cultural background and my future behavior as much that today when I met a foreign student especially in an international environment I always hug him or she instead of using the “European greetings method”.

JINGYUAN LI ha detto...

Question 1
One knowledge canonized in my mind is Chinese literature. We defined canonized knowledge as a knowledge that we required in a formal way. When we were at the age of basic schooling, we started to touch the old Chinese old traditional poems, from simple ones to difficult ones. We were taught in a formal way, by translating from our teachers, reading intensively and even reciting the whole poem passage. Even we didn’t know what was that for when we were little we had to accept it in some sense cause it’s like a canonized process. By such a modeled teaching and receiving, till we grew up, we found those we learned could suddenly come to our minds to reflect a certain situation and scenario. We can use those old phrases in a certain way to express our emotions well. That means canonized knowledge really worked.

Question 2
An example of culture comparison that I would like to discuss is the power distance. Power distance refers to the way in which power is distributed and the extent to which the less powerful accept that power is distributed unequally. Put simply, people in some cultures accept a higher degree of unequally distributed power than do people in other cultures. For example, in China it’s very normal to see high power distance, because in ancient time, there was conservative feudalism. People were guided by three cardinal guides and the five constant virtues, which made the role assginment among people strongly different. For instance, the superior lead their subordinate, the younger should respect the elder. Although these antique rules are not widely recognized anymore, we can still find some tradition of respect existing. In European countries, students are quite direct to express their opinion to their professors, while in China, usually to express something to professors needs quite a lot courage even the professor accept all kinds of voice in discussion. This can be seen more obviously in America, usually the power distance is almost less.

Sara Massimi ha detto...


Examples of canonized knowledge could be all those that we acquire in schools, or in formal settings of education. Therefore, all the history, math, literature and languages, even though we may like them, are all parts of the canonized form of transmission. nonetheless, if we look at the word Canon in itself, it not only refers to an accepted principle, rules, standards, or norms but also to a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council. Therefore, not only canon is a standard way to teach but it is so standardized in itself that has become even dogmatic. From this definition we have 2 findings: the first is related to the word in itself, since our mother tongue, even though we think it is innate, it is in reality an acquired but also a canonized knowledge, as a matter of fact, the word we use to express this concept “CANON” is, sorry for the repetition, canonized. The second finding regards the way in which religion also is transmitted. Indeed, the word reflect the fact that in some religions the knowledge shared is dogmatic, thus shared in a canonized way through the teaching of a higher authority in the field.

Sara Massimi ha detto...

I had fortunately the opportunity to share the same living space with other people of different countries from all over the Mediterranean region, and I would like to point out some similarities and some differences. So, for similarities, I will take the bad words example. What everyone shares as one of the first things of their own culture, usually are the bad words, actually I don’t know why, maybe to laugh, but those are one of the first thing that usually also helps to gather and unite the group. Nonetheless, when in high school, one day in the 3rd year our professor of speaking Spanish made an entire lesson on bad words, and from that moment on I thought we had really different cultures on that, why? Professor said that saying bad words for Spanish language countries is a cultural habit, and after that I thought that the culture was really different from that point of view because Italians say it only when they are hangry, whereas, Spanish language countries use it in their everyday life. Nonetheless, what astonish me are the words in themselves, indeed for some bad words what differ is just the language in itself, we share them with Balkans countries and there’s one that is really typical of the Campania region that is similar also in Greece, Turkey and Syria. Coming to the differences, in those experiences I fortunately/unfortunately touch with hand what does really mean the culture of freedom of movement. I have to explain myself, Europeans, even though divided by nations states, share the freedom of movement, goods, and services across an entire region. We were born in this environment, and for us it is and it will always be like this, traveling across an entire region just having a simple ID card, without Visas, passports, documents of every kind to make someone understand who you are, why? Because you have your ID, thus you are European. Unfortunately, some friends told me how difficult was for them to gather all together in Greece, as for example was for one friend from Kosovo, but the thing that really made me realize how deeper is rooted in our culture the notion of freely move from one part to another was when at the border from Albania to Macedonia, 2 of our friends from Syria with the Belgian temporary passport could not enter into Macedonia because of bureaucratic loopholes, or when other friends took a photos of the old style Italian ID card with which was so easy to pass from one country to another but that was also so easy to copy.

Giorgia Morucci ha detto...

As we said in class, certain types of knowledge have become canonized, meaning that they are in a certain sense, the result of a social construction. Someone has established that certain things should be as they are and in no other possible way: in Italy, as the professor has told us, the ministry of Education has ruled that teenagers are supposed to have a comprehensive understanding of poets such as Dante, Manzoni and Leopardi, while there are many other poets who are not considered essential in one's life. This is clearly an example of canonized knowledge. When thinking of some other example of cultural knowledge frozen in time, games are the first thing to come to my mind, and soccer more in particular. All games are based on specific rules, which are hardly changeable. If we take into account soccer, we all know that to score a point you should shoot at goal (=tirare in porta). even though, there could be thousands of other possible ways to score points with the ball, we use this set of rules.As a matter of fact, whenever different rules are applied, we are not talking of soccer anymore, but of a newly created sport.

Riccardo Poggioli ha detto...


When I have to think about a canonized or frozen knowledge, my mind goes to the tradional culture of food that we have here in Italy.My culture of food is related mainly on what I could see from my grandmothers, with both of them I could see the dedication and the effort that they put in this activity. The culture of food in Italy is something that is transmitted from one generation to another,every grandmother has her own "secret" recipe or ingredients that she uses to prepare dishes. Secrets that will be transmitted to next generation when it will come the proper time.Another type of canonized knowledge is what we learn at school, until high school professors teach you how to be within the boundaries. The knowledge that you get from the school, especially from some subjects is a kind a knowledge that is not affected by the passing of time, for example Maths and physics, since they are mainly related to fixed rules.


I think that comparison is a great tool that can help us to understand better ourselves. From a cultural point of view is even more important because if you study different cultures to be more understanding and accepting, more appreciative and to enrich our own culture. I believe that the best way to have a role in the process of cultural comparison is to have a first hand experience. A practical example came from a friend of my father who spent six months in India for a volunteering project. These six months have changed his way of approaching different cultures. This experience made him change his way of life, during these six months he learned what really important and what is unnecessary. After I listened the story about his journey I realized that sometimes we take for granted what we have without thinking that maybe for someone is not even conceivable, especially considering my daily-life. A practical example of a cultural feature that is different in two culture is the way we greet here in Italy with a kiss on the cheeks, always related to the level of confidence.In New Zealand, among the Eskimo and in Polynesia the noses are usually pressed, meanwhile in Malasya and in Zimbabwe they clap the hands.In Tibet they show the tongue, while in Kenya and Tanzania the spits. There are different way of regards and for us are considered as anomalous, because it can happen that what is normal for people from another culture is strange for us and the other way around.

Arianna Patrizi ha detto...

A practical example of canonized knowledge that i personally experienced is the way of teaching Literature in the italian school.
Even if the school system tends to be often changed and reformed, the literature program seems to be almost the same since ever.
Italian teachers and professors of literature always tend to focus on those authors and books considered as masterpieces of the italian literature.
Many years ago my parents were studying the great classics, such as “Divina Commedia” or “I promessi sposi”, and so did i, forty years later.
Basically, there are some books, poems, authors which are considered essential and thus, that continue to be teached in schools without any attempt of making them more actual, for example through some links with the contemporary world.
This is probably due to the strong and deep history of the italian literary tradition, which has also turned into an element of identification and pride for italians.
In fact, where there is a long tradition it is likely that its transmission happens through a specific canon, as for literature but also for classical ballet or classical music.

The only moment in which we realize that our reality is just a very small part of the world is when we “brutally” face a different one.
Our lifestyle and even our most insignificant habits are strictly related to our culture, but we tend to forget it and, we don’t realize that it is the same culture which very often defines our rules.
For example, last winter i travelled to Berlin, which being a european city as Rome, should look quite the same for what concerns rules and habits.
On the contrary, i noticed some small differences which made me realize a lot of things that i had seen just from my point of view until that moment.
Among them, the most impressive one was that, in Berlin people don’t speak in the bus or in the metro (or if they do, they are very quiet) although there’s no rule that states it, it’s just a matter of respect.
Instead in Italy it is likely to meet people on public transports screaming at the phone, laughing or simply acting as they were alone.
I immediately noticed it when in the metro i was talking to my friends and i realized that all the people were staring at me, and honestly it was really embarrassing.
Personally i think that sometimes, as in my case, facing some aspects of different cultures can be strange and not easy but at the same time, very useful and necessary from our personal growth and maybe also for our growth as a country.

Giorgia Morucci ha detto...

question 2:

in May I took part in an International Youth Exchange Programme in Brussels. The topics of the exchange were gender and multiple discrimination. One day, one of the activities was to develop a fairytale in an alternative way, meaning that the female character (i.e. cinderella,snow-white, ariel, ...) should not be subordinate to the male character. this activity looked really weird to me, because I have never thought before of the fact that female characters are never depicted as the powerful ones in the classic disney fairytales.Therefore, thinking of an alternative version of these stories was quite challenging. At the same time, this exercise was not weird only to me, but also to a Russian Girl. However, she had different reasons. As a matter of fact, the weird part for her was that she did not know that in western culture, women have no power in fairytales. She explained us that in Russia, kids grow up with the idea that women are the powerful ones, because they are depicted as such in fairytales and cartoons.
it was really shocking because I have always taken for granted that fairytales are told in the same way all around the world, and I have never wondered about things being in a different way.

Cristina Bottoni ha detto...

Humans are continuously subjects of knowledge. Our brain is almost infinite and we can store everything in it. Our days are a constant source of knowledge: wherever we go, our mind assimilates all the information we can get from the environment surrounding us. Unfortunately, we do not fully use our brain so most of the knowledge we acquire from the outer world is stored in our brain and mostly forgotten. This kind of knowledge is called informal, which means that the learning of it does not follow standardized rules and procedures but it comes from a natural and free flow of information. At this type of knowledge could be opposed a more formal one, which follows more canonized ways and procedures. If you want to follow a formal way of knowledge, you will have to agree with some rules and ways of learning and teaching that are traditional, that have always been in some way at will continue to be in the same way in the future. The formal way of learning could be associated with the beginning of the primary school, when a child attends the first real lectures and starts to follow specific rules.
The teaching of writing and reading is canonized: our grandparents learnt to write and read in some way, our parents followed the same way, we continued to the same path and so will do our children and the children of our children. You cannot (until a new discovery will come out) learn how to write and read in a different way, because the pen is always the same and in order to write it has to be held in the same way.
Another example of canonized knowledge is when people learn how to drive a car: the procedures to follow are mechanical and in order to turn on a car and to learn how make it go, you have to follow a specific path with specific rules.
One last example of formal knowledge is the study of history or of ancient cultures such as Greek and Latin. History has to do with the past, it is not something you can learn with experience or just by observing the reality around us (at least not completely): it has to be taught to you by some professor of you can learn it by yourself studying a book.
There is a different situation for what concerns the study of Greek of Latin (that is different from learning other currently spoken languages which is something you can do just by living in the native-speaking country). Since these two languages are no more spoken in any country in the world, you cannot learn them by experience, simply moving in some country. Someone has to teach you them, or you can study them by yourself using a book.
To sum up, everything that can be associated with a sensitive experience belongs to the informal knowledge. All the rest (that does not belong to the sphere of the experience and needs the support of an external person or object) is formal.

Cristina Bottoni ha detto...

The example that comes into my mind when speaking about social awareness trought comparison is my last trip to Rwanda. It has been the very first time I came into a completely different culture and a completely different way of living. With my trip in Rwanda I became aware of how differently life can be lived: before that I only knew the live I had always lived here in Italy, with my habits, with a familiar and safe environment surrounding me, with people who lived in the same way, who appeared all similar to me.
This trip has helped me to develop new ideas and a broader knowledge of the Rwandan life and more in general of the African world. I understood their cultural rules without studying them but experiencing them and comparing directly what I already knew with what I saw.

Chiara Muzi ha detto...

Q1. An example of canonized knowledge is our literary tradition. Despite the continuing research that scholars do on the great authors, the defining characteristics of the latter have remained the same for years and years. Us, our fathers and our grandfathers (if they got the chance to go to school) were taught about the doubt on Homer’s existence, about Macbeth’s greed for power and we all remember at least one “terzina dantesca”. Maybe in the 70s the “5 Maggio” by Alessandro Manzoni was leant by heart at the age of 8, whereas today you probably read it for the first time in high school, but the fact is that despite this timing differences you will still study the great authors as your parents’ did. Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio will probably be the “three crowns” of Italian literature also in 100 hundred years’ time. It is part of the canon, and for a poet being part of the canon means reaching immortality: the Latin poet Horatio well summed this in his Ode “Exegi monumentum aere perennius regalique situ pyramidum altius, […] Non omnis moriar” (I built a monument stronger than copper, higher than the great pyramids […] I won’t entirely die).
Another example of canon is surely religion: even more then literature religious principles are frozen and because of their divine nature unchangeable. If we look at Christian religion we can notice how all the attempts of changing the canon by someone other than the Pope has resulted in a schism and the birth of a new religion (ex. Protestant after Luther’s thesis)

Q2. Let’s compare etiquette in different countries: what in your country is thought as polite and respectful can have a totally different connotation in another continent. For example, here in Italy, and I believe is the same in the rest of Europe, while eating is absolutely disrespectful to make any kind of sound with your mouth. Eating everything in your plate is a sufficient sign you enjoyed the meal (and it’s quite necessary, especially in the South). On the contrary, in China for example, making noise with your mouth is actually a sign that the food is very tasty and the host will be actually very happy about it. I think this difference is due to the fact that in Italy/Europe we want to show to our host that we have a good education and we are connoisseurs of the “Galateo” while in other parts of the world this need of showing how well-mannered we are is subordinated and eclipsed from the exigence of showing our appreciation for the food.

alice occhilupo ha detto...

A canonized knowledge, according to me, is the way we transfer knowledge itself, education system works pretty much in the same way as 100 years ago. There is a closed space, something where to seat, students and a teacher in front of them with a blackboard or a smart-board where to write on, maybe some features have changed during the last few decades but not in a revolutionary way. Almost all over the world this how the educational system works, and it is something learned in a formal way, teacher have been taught to teach this way. Educational systems seem freezed in the time, compared to other evident evolutions that have been made in other field, such as the one of cars or electrodomestic, the education field has made really few changes.

Sonia Matera ha detto...


Canonized knowledge is a frozen kind of knowledge acquired through formal ways.
The latin classes I had to take when I was in high school represent a perfect example of canonized knowledge. Latin is a frozen language and students do not really know the reason why they are studying it. It is something one gives for granted, students study it because they have to and it lost the meaning it could have had before.
Another example of canonized knowledge can be the compulsory military service in some countries. Young generations are obliged to dedicate a year of their lives to the military service. This is a canon, they do not really question the reason why they are still doing it, it is something they know they have to do and the way it is done cannot be completely changed or modified.


We understood so far that in order to truly be aware of our own culture we need to compare it with others. It is very frequent to discover more about our cultural rules by observing how others differ from those rules.
For example, last night a friend of mine and I had dinner with some American friends. At the moment of checking out we proposed to do it “alla romana” since we were 12 people and we thought it was easier to do it by splitting the total amount to pay among the participants. We always do like this so that everyone pays an equal share and it is easier to divide the check. However, the Americans wanted to pay in their way and everyone had to calculate the amount he or she had to pay dividing the service and the water.
This episode highlighted the differences in our cultures and made me aware of the Italian cultural rule of dividing the check equally. It was something I always gave for granted but it was not. It was necessary to compare our own culture with the American one to acknowledge it.

alice occhilupo ha detto...

Only when I lived in a Mormon family I realized how much my habits were so italian. When I discovered that they do not drink wine, alchool, coffee, black tea, they do not smoke and do not have sex before marriage, I was totally shocked. At the beggining I asked them: "so you have never tried Capuccino?" for me was just crazy, but after immerging completly in their culture I realized that man kind doesn't need cofee, cigaretts,nor tea to be happy, I kind of saw their point but still I think it is a little too much for me. However, my point is the completly dfferent meaning given to wine in the Mormon and in the Catholic church, even though they are both Christian, in the former, wine is considered something negative while for the latter it is consider sacred. For example, in my country, in Italy, old people get offended if you do not drink the wine they produced by their own, included my grandfather and his brothers. When I go in his little city, placed in the countryside of Benevento, our relatives always tell my brother: "don't drink water, water is for girls, you must drink only wine", while in Utah for mormons, drinking wine it's considered not a wise choice but a bad action. I didn't really realized how much we, italians, have this culture of wine, until I traveled away.

Mohammad Almulla ha detto...

Question 1
For me coming from the middle east, one big example that comes to my mind is how religion is taught there because when we were kids. We really did not understand what religion is but we were separated by the teachers according to our respective religions and then we were told what the religion meant and what are its applications, and in my opinion we where told how to understand religion and how to apply it without us looking into it and that grew with us. As of we were taught how to act in society and the actions we have to do to be good religious citizens.

Question 2
From Travelling a lot in my life I have seen many cultural differences. For example, in the middle east if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend you cant even hold hands with your partner, and if you do it everybody on the street would start looking at you differently than they would do normally. Whilst, in other parts of the world almost everything is considered as normal to do and nobody even cares what you do as long as you are not hurting anyone.

Lavinia D'achille ha detto...


When I think about canonized knowledge the first thing that comes to my mind is school, probably because examples of canonized knowledge are all those things that we acquire in our school career.But actually after this lecture where we made the distinction between the formal and informal way of acquiring the knowledge I realized that canonized knowledge is everything we acquire in a formal way which never changes time to time.
So, as a matter of fact, an example of canonized knowledge could be the Italian educational system. Every single Italian knows who Dante, Manzoni or Leopardi is and this is because it’s a formal knowledge that Italians have because of their school career. But canonized knowledge could also be linked to the traditional way of cooking in Italy,
for example, my grandmother has many special recipes that her mother gave to her and probably these very special recipes will be transmitted to next generations as my cousins and me.


Thinking about that what comes to my mind is polite manners in Italy compared to other countries such as China.
let’s take the case of a semi-formal dinner organized by a Chinese family, the guests, of course, have the duty of bringing a gift for the family such as a bottle of wine or any kind of gift.
In sign of respect, the Chinese family will not open nor the battle nor the gift in order to demonstrate thankfulness to the guests.
In other cultures such as the Italian one, this situation should be the opposite. gifts as a bottle of wine during a dinner should be open in sign of gratitude.
So with this example, we can understand that comparison among cultures can help us in order to better understand them and we can also realize that we can not live only in our dimension of traditions because what we take for granted in our culture could be the opposite in another one as the case that I explained before.

Ganna Korniychenko ha detto...

1. An example of canonized knowledge is to learn how to play a musical instrument. The way people read the pentagram is the same around the world. The position of the notes is fixed and represent a precise sound on each instrument.
Another example is the transmission from one generation to another of some cooking processes and recipes. If we think about our grandparents we will certainly notice that their knowledge about food preparation passes especially from mothers to daughters.
These traditional information can be found also in national cultural cuisine and written in specific books but some special tricks can be only “reveled’’ through generation or blood lines.

2. I had a big pleasure to meet a special girl coming from Ethiopia. Thanks to this friendship I had the possibility to compare two different cultures in terms of attitudes regarding the time spent with other people during the lunchtime or dinner time. African people when sitting around the table are used to share the same big plate and all the members eat directly from it. They do not use any fork or knife but just hands to take the food and bring it to the mouth. Furthermore even people who do not know each other when they eat something they always offer it first to anyone is near them. This attitudes are not common in Italy where people offer food mainly to its own friends and not to strangers.

Giorgio Severi ha detto...


During today's class we talked about the ways of acquisition of knowledge distinguishing between formal and informal. The former tends to create a canon, in other words that specific way of trasmitting knowledge become standard and frozen, hardly changeble, to make it easier to pass from a generation to the following one.
While thinking to an example, the one that comes to my mind regards sports. I remember how coaches along the years thought us the exact and proper way to shoot in basketball, stressing the right moovement and position of the ball. Indeed they did not want to see a functional or effective (even if personal) technique, but the correct one, the standard one that everyone use and the one that they learnt themselves. And for many sports I think is like basketball, there are the "proper" techniques that are not even put under discussion because represent indeed a canon.
But an example clear of a change in the canon is the high jump in athletics. There was a canon even in this sports but once an athlete, Fosbury, came up with a totally different technique, personal and eventually successfull with revoultioned that specific world taking the lead and in the end becoming itself a canon.


Sometimes there are cultural rules you are not even aware of, you just follow them without thinking could be a different option. Comparison in this sense is essential, because it puts your attention on that different option.
I remember when I went with my family to Netherlands and particularly in Amsterdam, that was my first journey in a country of north Europe. We arrived in the morning and we had a full day of visits and walk around the city and therefore around 20.30 all of us were really hungry. We started looking for a restaurant in order to dine but place after place we always got the same answer "too late to have dinner, the kitchen is closed". The lesson of that day thaught us to find a restaurant earlier during the rest of the holliday and also open up my eyes about a cultural rule I never thuoght about. Indeed since I was a child I had dinner around 20.30/21.00 and even later many times, never questioning the time and always taking as the proper moment in the evening to eat.
Therefore the comparison between the two countries, made me understand how it was just a cultural habit, different and changing from place to place.

Rebecca Biraschi ha detto...
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Rebecca Biraschi ha detto...

Formal knowledge tends to be organized into a canon. A canon is a set of freezed knowledge, durable in time that can't be put under discussion and must be taken as it is.
An example of canonized knowledge is the Catholic religion.
Time passes, values change, and new social behaviours appear, however it seems that chatolicism is fixed in a time that doesn't pass. It has its dogmas that keep being the same as those established in the different Councils since the First Coucil of Niceae in 325.
In rcent years several suggestions and attemp to promote a transformation, or better a rinnovation of the Church have been made, however they have been refused being considered heresies.
Religion is just one the sets of freezed knowledge trasmitted through generations that characterize our society; think about the study of literature, or of a musical instrument, or of some discipline like the ballet.

Three years ago I undertook a journey to Ireland, where i stayed for three months. I consider this journey as a "revelatory" or "cathartic" trip that opend my eyes to the real world, beyond the microcosm in which I used to live.
While I was there I realized that cultures, people, habits, traditions and behaviours, are so different from one person to another, and I understood also that there are peculiar features that belong to particular countries, to different cultures.
I had an experience of this "diversity" the same day I arrived in Dublin.
I had to take the bus to reach my house. I got in the bus, I paid the bus ticket and I got a seat. While the bus was going to the city center, at each stop it did, every person, before getting off, said to the bus driver "thank you".
They were two common words that I hear many times a day, but that in that situation surprised me. In my country, I have never seen a person getting off the bus, neither saying "tank you" nor giving a glance of thanksgiving to the bus driver.

ALICE97 ha detto...

Once having distinguished between formal and informal acquisition of knowledge, we said that formal systems tend to be categorized into canons, meaning that they are organized in an established way. In other words, we get exposed to this canon according to someone else’s decisions. An example of a canonized knowledge could be the way in which we learn about national literature in schools. There is no Italian student that at least for once in his life has not studied chapter by chapter “I Promessi Sposi” by Alessandro Manzoni, following the critics comments on the characters and all the happenings. Exactly in the same way, there is no Spanish student who has never studied about the anonymous epic poem “El poema del miio Cid” or about the novella “El Lazarillo de Tormes”. The reason is that canonization of knowledge is part of the tradition-building process.


To answer this question I would like to talk about an article that I read by chance a few days ago about different ways of seeing the handshake. In different cultures people generally avoid touching people of the opposite sex who are not family members. It said that Orthodox Jews will not shake hands with someone of the opposite sex, while a strict Muslim woman will not shake hands with a man. Anyway, a Muslim man will shake hands with a non-Muslim woman.

Carlotta Frasca ha detto...

Q1: An example of canonized knowledge that I can think of is Christmas. It is deeply related to the religion, and it obviously directly interests people that follow those kinf of festivities, but as I'm talking about something that directly interests me, Christmas is the perfect example of that. We all get togheter on the 25th of december, we exchange gifts and we get to spend time with our families. It's a routine that characherizes many families and that has lived and been transmitted over the years from generation to generation.

Q2: Somthing that I found culturally different and that shocked the Italian me, was when I was in Canada.
I was outside with some friends and for the first time I was eating pizza. We ordered them and as they arrived at the table I started cutting my own pizza. Of course, as I finished cutting my perfectly shaped triangle, I fold it and I approached the pizza to the mouth I saw them cutting their pizza in small pieces, and using the fork to eat it. They stated that it was too “messy” to use the hands, and they always cut it to eat it.
This is an example on how culture differentiate from one part of the world to the other and how even small things like pizza, can be different around the world.

Elsa Maria Festa ha detto...

Q1. Reflecting on the word canon what comes into my mind is something static, something that does not involve a dynamic dimension. A canon is defined as that, is created with the purpose of staying as it is, no changes are supposed to be involved in the process. However, I think that, as in almost every field related to humans, a “canon” is truly a canon until when it is proven to be wrong, in the sense that a canon hardly remains a canon forever. As we can notice from history what for a long time is taken for granted and seen as a canon can one day be proven wrong. For example, for centuries humans believed to the conception that the earth is flat. The conception that the earth is flat can be connected to religion and in the religious field the term canon has always been widely used. The fact that this term is so common when it comes to religion tells a lot about what a canon represent for people. I would say that a canon acts similarly to a religious belief, in the sense that it makes people feel relief, it is an assurance, a guarantee, it makes people feel safe. I think that knowledge is canonized for convenience because it is easier to deal with what does not change continuously. I think that us human beings are fascinated by what is complex and by what we cannot easily understand but at the same time we need things that make feel safe, we need a pattern that we can easily follow. Talking about canonized knowledge it is quite obvious to connect it to institutions, for example, the institution of the educational system. Education has always been canonized and quiet static, the typical structure of the educational system is canonized in the sense that a teacher that is supposed to be competent transmit to students what she/he knows with no real possibility of discussion, it is a one way, one direction transmission( Teacher--->>>student). Considering again the religious field, theology is a clear example of canonized knowledge. Theology is totally canonized, the fact that the entire studying of theology begins with an assumption that can’t be proven, that the divine exists, clearly gives the idea of how canonized this field knowledge is. In theology it is given for granted that the divine exists and all the rest derives from this assumption.

Elsa Maria Festa ha detto...

Q2.Not a long a time ago, I watched a movie called Captain Fantastic that in a lot of parts is based on the idea of looking for a sort of independence from the comforts of the world, being able to survive in every kind of situation. The movie focuses on a peculiar American family in which the children are subject to vigorous physical training, know how to deal with minor bumps, bruises, cuts, sprains and even fractures, and know how to hunt, forage and grow their own food. The children are also non-registered homeschooled therefore they have no official academic records, the parents in this way have tried to make the children critical thinkers. If we compare this kind of educational pattern to the typical one of the western world, the differences appear clearly. The educational system, as we said, is conceived as a canonized form of knowledge, a sharply defined standard exists. However in cases like the one of the movie we can see that there are alternatives to the ordinary education of our culture. A system based on the idea of learning from the direct crude experience of the world is totally different from a system in which you only study on books, in which you study all the theory behind the processes of the world without really entering into contact with those processes. The school is an institution that is based on the idea of teaching how the world works but at the same time it protects you totally from the world, the idea of keeping the students safe lead to the creation of a bubble in which the practice is difficult to be experienced. It is almost a paradox: teaching how the world works while at the same time avoiding to enter too much into contact with the world because of safety issues. On the other hand, the educational system of Captain Fantastic focuses on books of course but also on preparing the children for the real world that is not always protected, it focused on the idea that a lot more exists behind the comfort zone. The typical rules of the education system, that seem so rigid and hardly changeable, could in some way learn from a totally different educational system.

Badriyya Soltanli ha detto...

As we have already mention what Canonized knowledge, I would love to draw attention to the example which is related to the ethics that has been experienced by a great amount of people. While being at the public transport standing up to give our places to the older people, pregnant women and children. No doubt that this has been like this way for enough time. In my opinion, it can be considered as canonized knowledge which we learn through living, being told since the childhood which turns out to be a common sense.

The cultural differences are sometimes shocking, and sometimes not being aware can end up with the terrifying consequences. Why I am using negatively intense words, because my example is going to depict exactly that negativety. Sex, the word that is hardly used in the daily life in our society. Obviously, as I am from the younger generation and the capital girl that does not hang out with the "typical" people, I do not worry much about this taboo, but it is a taboo in our society. The virginity that they are talking about should be reserved for the husband only. The men are allowed to do whatever they want, however when it comes to the women, the virginity is their virtue, purity. The girls that lose their virginities before the marriage are being declared as "sluts" and they are sentenced to either death by their parents (still in some rural places in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Middle East) or exclusion from the family. In most of the cases they are being made to marry the men they have had intimacy with. If it is a rape case, then they will be made to marry those creatures who rape them. Meanwhile in the western world, reaching 18 and staying virgin is more of a shame issue. The border between these two cultural dimensions leads me to think what is right, what is wrong..while they are checked before the marriage either they are still virgin or not.. what a humilation, what a dishonor towards the women. I have never accepted the fact of calling a woman, pure just because of the virginity.

Marianna Sabatini ha detto...

Q1) A canonized knowledge can be the concept of "right" and "left" which is universally recognized everywhere and that we learn since we are little kids, usually using the "bracelet technique", namely we would wear a bracelet on the right wrist in order to associate the bracelet with the right direction. Similarly, also clockwise and anticlockwise can be examples of canonized knowledge.

Q2) As a cultural comparison I want to talk about the habit that we have in Italy to pay a lot of attention to our physical appearance. We always want to be well dressed in every occasion, from going to a party to going to school and we take care of our body shape. I first realized that when I went to Finland and I noticed that people there do not give as much importance as Italians do to their looks. Italians are used to base their opinion on a person also on his appearance and I think this is an important cultural feature because influences our relationships with the others and our behavior in the society. I found that Finnish people are very relaxed about this, you do not have to put so much effort on your look because nobody is going to pay attention to it.

Rossella rao ha detto...

Select examples of canonized knowledge
As we learned in class, formal transmission of knowledge tends to be canonized, leading it therefore, to be frozen in time. Canonized knowledge can be also explained as a type of knowledge that has been “approved” by the State, for example trough text books. Having said so, what comes to my mind as examples are school systems and religion. Referring to school systems, teaching requires decisions on what to teach and this fact has undergone through social and political filtering. Since a young age, we are inserted in a system where textbooks are the uncontestable truth of knowledge. Therefore we learn mathematics, history, biology etc. in a rigid way and face standards. The same is for religion. I believe that religion is the most evident form of canonized knowledge. The Bible, Quran, or any other religious script entails a series of rituals, practices, behaviors, that are universally recognized and hardly contestable among believers or either practitioners.
To sum up, formal transmission of knowledge entails codification and consolidation which as a result will lead to petrify and standardize it. Nevertheless knowledge can always be contested.
Elaborate a real or fictive example of a cultural comparison that can help us understand some cultural rules.
Being italo-ethiopian has given me an insight on cultural rules of both sides of the countries and the comparison of both will be interesting. When I think about Ethiopian culture and Italian culture what comes to my mind is family. In both cultures I have seen that the concept of family is in the center of the social structure and that it provides support to its members. In Ethiopian culture however, the concept of family is extended as it includes relatives of both sides of the family as well as close friends. Another fun fact of the two cultures is that punctuality is not strict! It is customary in Ethiopia, to respect elderly people. In fact, when introduced to someone who is older, it is important to bow and to greet them first. The elderly person will be the one who takes food from the common plate. We can therefore say that there is a strict hierarchy that must be followed. This type of hierarchy, however, is not so strict here in Italy. Another fact worth to mention is that both cultures share the “the coffee tradition” but with different rules. It is common in Italy to have coffee in the morning, after food or more commonly people will meet for a coffee in a bar for a chat. While in Ethiopia drinking coffee is more of a ritualized process that can last up to an hour. During the process you can witness all the procedure that starts from washing the coffee beans, roasting and grinding it. Three round of coffee will be served and it’s considered rude to refuse it. In conclusion we can see how the same cultural habits: family, coffee have different cultural rules in different countries.

Iva Budakova ha detto...

Since knowledge is formally transmitted that means it tends to create cannon which by itself can be referred to frozen knowledge. An example that comes to my mind is studying. Since that now we are doing it I thought it’s a good example of showing how our minds are just structured to learn. It might not make sense as a canonized knowledge but I think, since we have started to study even in kindergarten we know that we have to study at least until 12th or in some countries until 13th grade so that knowledge is and it will be frozen for a very long time. Talking about cannon knowledge it is really important to say that it cannot or it can hardly be changed because this is something which marks even our way of thinking and it could only be explained as unchangeable.

I decided to compare the old generation with the new generation. I can only say about Bulgaria and what i have seen through my grandparents and my parents. In my opinion and the most obvious difference, is technology. Of course my grandparents didn’t even have cellphones but nowadays we have a lot more like laptops, computers, Internet but I think the point of the question is to show the cultural differences. In the example which I gave I want to show that different generations have different understandings about curtain things. I will give a situation in which my grandma didn’t let my mum to go out and to go home early in the day. Nowadays, it might be seen as something completely normal because our parents don’t have that problem of letting us stay for example stay late at night. So I wanted to give a very brief example but they are some many regarding the old and the new generation that I cannot count. The main purpose is to understand and accept the difference no matter how strange and unusual they are.

Uroš Ilić ha detto...

A comparison can be made on food etiquette between The UK and Japan. While in the UK it is considered impolite not to clear your plate, in Japan it is a sign of not being full which, reflects badly on the host. The two different outlooks on the act of finishing a plate of food are no doubt a product of a difference in history, geographical location, climate, economy of the two respective countries. For the UK, I believe the belief comes from their general mannerism. One might even link it to the period of WW2 during the Nazi bombardment and crisis. The way the English, to be precise, handled with great skill and discipline a very hard period for their country. A few years back my, then baby, brother, mom and I we’re eating in a restaurant in London. My brother had managed to grab one of the small sugar bags on the table and ripped it apart. The waiter shortly came and asked my mom to please not let the baby spill the sugar as it is a “terrible waste”. I suppose the internal reasoning behind the UK perspective is that by not eating all the food the host has provided you, you are wasting the food he put work in to gain.

I was surprised at the time, later on it kind of made sense. I’m not so confident with Japanese culture to try and “determine” some reasons behind their understanding. Perhaps the Ochobo phenomenon plays a part. If a person (woman in the case of ochobo) was so hungry that they even “gracefully” ate their food and yet cleared the plate it must mean that they are hungry. And thus, it would be bad of the host not to provide more for them.

Shahmar Hasanov ha detto...

Question 1:
When we think about canonized knowledge, the first thing that comes to my mind are the manners and the ways we’ve been taught to talk with various people depending on social status and circumstance. These rules (known also as Etiquette) differ in the level of implications and the scale among the societies, but they exist everywhere.
For instance, in my country when you meet a person at university or somewhere that considered to be a little formal, you should start the discussion with him or her by referring “Siz (Lei)”, despite the fact that you’re both same aged or in the similar social position.
Another example for the canonized knowledge is religion, apparently. I will take into account the Islam which has been considered by the people to be never altered or changed. That’s the point when I argue that the religion and science are never might co-operate, cause as Karl Popper stated: Pseudo-science always tries to prove theories, while real science tries to disprove.

Question 2:
There are many aspects I could consider and discuss between my native society in Baku and current society in Rome. Interestingly, majority of the differences touch or related to the girls’ attitude.
Firstly, it’s the issue of smoking. I don’t say that I’ve never seen a girl who was smoking a cigarette in Azerbaijan, but the number of girls/women who smoke is 10 times less, at least. And being honest, it’s considered to be wrong or awful behavior, I would say.
In Baku, we almost never swear (use insulting words) around the girls or women. Even in the football matches, when you see there is a girl nearby, you should be extremely patient and keep all the “nice” words you wanted to say. And yes, the girls are not allowed to use that phrases, certainly.
The last issue I’m going to touch is the relationship between the genders. In Azerbaijan, you need to keep certain distance with the opposite gender, despite she/he is your close friend. While in Italy I’ve noticed the advanced form of friendship between the guys and the girls. I actually had a ridiculous situation when I got back home. My groupmates from the previous university were organizing a New-Year Eve party, and invited me too. So, when I met my girl classmate, I was intending to hug her (after living half a year in Italy), but noticed her manner of approach – slightly giving her hand and keeping the quite a long distance, and I immediately changed my way of greeting and have done in the same form as she did.
Note: the things that I’ve mentioned above are changing gradually, towards the direction of the Western mentality.

Grace Mageka ha detto...

Q1. Canonized knowledge is the knowledge we acquire from the different environments we are brought up. For example in Africa there are some countries where women kneel down to talk to their husbands and serve food to their husbands and to be specific in Uganda. Some people may agree with this kinds of knowledge of which with me I totally disagree there is no way I can kneel down before a man as if I am a second class citizen. Even if I got married to Ugandan man, I think I will be the first one to break this backward cultures, which is a routine in Uganda from one generation to another generation.
Q2. Being a proud Kenyan, wherever I go is what I call the natural feeling of being A Kenyan. When we have national holidays for my country which symbolizes the Unity of my country. Here in Italy we do come together to celebrate the various national holidays of my country and usually when we have such events we dress Kenyan and cook Kenyan food and sing Kenyan songs. Such moments make feel a patriotic Kenyan away from home and even more attached to my country values.

RIAS UDDIN ha detto...

Question 1:
Human laws are often changed or amended to suit altered conditions. Or even private interest of the lawgiver. But not so the holy law of GOD.This law is unchangeable, simply because it cannot be changed, for it is grounded in the unchangeable nature of GOD. As long as the GOD is holy, He cannot but say to men, "Be ye holy, for I am Holy".Sharia is the eternal, immutable, and unchanging law, or Way of truth and justice, as it exists in the mind of God. In essence, Sharia is the ideal law as it ought to be in the Divine realm, and as such it is by definition unknown to human beings on this earth. Thus human beings must strive and struggle to realize Sharia law to the best of their abilities.

Question 2:
Islamic culture was first landed in the Arab world, Arab Culture is highly influenced by Islam since the beginning and Vice Versa. With the rapid expansion of the Islamic empires, Muslim culture has influenced and assimilated much from region to region and country to country. In Arab culture, Mens wear scarf, shemag or ghotra but in other countries mens wear a cap, Even in many Islamic countries the cap differ color, shape, design, quality, wearing style. And vice versa even in Arab culture the shemag or ghotra varies in color, design or wearing style. So the thing is that the- “[Customs] change matters from something praiseworthy to something blameworthy, and vice versa. For example, uncovering the head, for this is an issue that varies from place to place.