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Old February 7 2014, 05:59 AM   #16
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Just for reference, the trope mentioned in the OP is often referred to as the Planet of Hats.
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Old February 7 2014, 06:12 AM   #17
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Maurice wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Did we?
Sure we did, Genesis Eleven Seven.

Rama and Sita would like to have a word with you about that assertion...
So would Starfleet Security. You can't just go around spouting off about Genesis, you know.
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Old February 7 2014, 07:34 AM   #18
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Shik wrote: View Post
Right, so we all know the arguments about monocultures in Trek, about how there's seemingly no diversity: one religion, one language, etc. Conversely, humanity has thousands of languages, regions, subcultures, & the like.

Now, I'm a pretty big proponent of diversity my own self. My thoughts wandered as they're wont to do to some of the books I've read recently with neurolinguistics as main plot elements. Of course, I always start thinking about Snow Crash then, & I started wondering: what if monocultures are the norm? What if all these other species never had a Babel event that forced them to diverge & separate? Could this be why a large cooperative effort was never done before? That humanity--because of its diversity--was forced to learn how to deal with "other types" & that's what they brought to the party? We hear of the occasional "dissidents" who are usually political but only rarely cultural (the v'tosh ka'tur most readily come to mind); is this why there's such an acceptance problem?
OK, I need to be a major jerk, because the same error reappears throughout this thread. Language is not culture. The two influence one another, no doubt, but they are not interchangeable concepts, and language is most certainly not a subset of culture. Indeed, trying to measure diversity by assuming that they are the same or a subset of one another leads to contradictory conclusions. The period of greatest linguistic diversity, the Paleolithic, probably had the least cultural diversity, owing to the simplicity of culture itself: basic tools, basic ornaments, basic vestments, etc. Conversely, English has a huge influence on the contemporary world, introducing new loan words and becoming secondary and tertiary tongues (though it should be conceptualized as Englishes), its relative ubiquity doesn't undermine cultural complexity in and of itself. English is not among the strongest homogenizing forces in the world.

FTMP, JirinPanthosa hit the nail on the head. Star Trek focuses on people in uniform, or at least people at the highest levels of government and administration. In their manners, practices and beliefs, they would tend to converge toward one another. Indeed, they would tend to look less diverse than the people they represent.
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Old February 7 2014, 12:17 PM   #19
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Maurice wrote: View Post
Rama and Sita would like to have a word with you about that assertion...
love to discuss it with them.


.
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Old February 7 2014, 01:02 PM   #20
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

In a 'Private Little War' there were 3 sorts of people - the Hill People, the Villagers and Nona's people.. In the Cloud Minders there were the Haves and the Have Nots. Also in Spock's Brain there was a great difference between the 'cultures' of the women and the men. In 'The Omega Glory' there were the Comms and the Yangs. In 'Bread and Circuses' there were the Christians and Romans. Even in 'Let That Be Your Last Battlefield' there was that obvious difference between Lokai and Bele.
In ENT in 'The Cogenitor' there were the elite and the sort of slave race.
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Old February 7 2014, 06:30 PM   #21
Shik
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
OK, I need to be a major jerk, because the same error reappears throughout this thread. Language is not culture. The two influence one another, no doubt, but they are not interchangeable concepts, and language is most certainly not a subset of culture. Indeed, trying to measure diversity by assuming that they are the same or a subset of one another leads to contradictory conclusions. The period of greatest linguistic diversity, the Paleolithic, probably had the least cultural diversity, owing to the simplicity of culture itself: basic tools, basic ornaments, basic vestments, etc. Conversely, English has a huge influence on the contemporary world, introducing new loan words and becoming secondary and tertiary tongues (though it should be conceptualized as Englishes), its relative ubiquity doesn't undermine cultural complexity in and of itself. English is not among the strongest homogenizing forces in the world.
I'm not trying to imply that. But language is a basic block of culture; what we call a thing becomes part of us, imbuing it with a shared form. Consider the efforts of linguistic purism around the world, most notably the French, & even more so in Icelandic. So in essence, changing the usage of a word, the design of a word, or the pronunciation of a word can effect ripples through the culture. Look even at some of the epithets used. Just last week, I glared at someone who said they "jewed the guy down on the price" & I had to educate her as to the etymology of the term; she never even thought about where it might've come from. Same thing for saying "gypped"--it means being cheated, & comes from how many subcultures hold that the Romani (Gypsies) are all thieves & cheats.
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Old February 7 2014, 07:02 PM   #22
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Shik wrote: View Post

I'm not trying to imply that. But language is a basic block of culture; what we call a thing becomes part of us, imbuing it with a shared form. Consider the efforts of linguistic purism around the world, most notably the French, & even more so in Icelandic. So in essence, changing the usage of a word, the design of a word, or the pronunciation of a word can effect ripples through the culture. Look even at some of the epithets used. Just last week, I glared at someone who said they "jewed the guy down on the price" & I had to educate her as to the etymology of the term; she never even thought about where it might've come from. Same thing for saying "gypped"--it means being cheated, & comes from how many subcultures hold that the Romani (Gypsies) are all thieves & cheats.
I am fully aware that there are efforts to impose cultural and linguistic uniformity. Those are conscious efforts to shape how the people in a society speak and think--they are not reflections of the complexities of those societies. The French have been failing to create uniformity since the 1790s.

And like I previously wrote, language and culture influence one another. However, there is nothing about English that makes me think the same way as a South African , and dare I say that I find the cultures of France and Germany more familiar. Ultimately, assumptions about the relationship between language and culture are really hard to make without going deeply into the specifics. Making the language more problematic in the equation is that it is a medium for communication as much as it can be an expression of identity. I must make room for the interlocutors to express themselves, whether we are speaking in our native languages or not. Speaking different native languages is not in and of itself a cultural barrier. Obviously, lack of understanding increases as two languages are less familiar. However, when those differences can be overcome, ideas from one can be carried over to the other. It can be a vehicle for cultural exchange (or contamination, if you prefer).
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Old February 7 2014, 07:15 PM   #23
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

All interesting points, indeed. And I agree that France & Germany are similar, but then...neo-tribalist rational anarchist here, so you're all one culture with a whole lot of subdivisions to me.
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Old February 7 2014, 11:36 PM   #24
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
In a 'Private Little War' there were 3 sorts of people - the Hill People, the Villagers and Nona's people.
I never got the impression that Nona came from a separate "people." She was described as a kind of healer, but that doesn't mean she wasn't actually of the same "people" as Tyree.
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Old February 7 2014, 11:56 PM   #25
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
In a 'Private Little War' there were 3 sorts of people - the Hill People, the Villagers and Nona's people.
I never got the impression that Nona came from a separate "people." She was described as a kind of healer, but that doesn't mean she wasn't actually of the same "people" as Tyree.
Her wig wasn't as bad as the other two types.

She a bit different than the rest of the tribe. Dark hair and a 60s Sunset Strip wardrobe.
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Old February 8 2014, 01:13 AM   #26
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Of course Earth had a Babel event. Aboriginal tribes decided to leave Africa and walk thousands of miles.
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Old February 8 2014, 04:48 AM   #27
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

^^^They didn't even have to leave Africa. 100 miles is plenty far to be cut off if you're on foot.
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Old February 8 2014, 02:10 PM   #28
T'Girl
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
In a 'Private Little War' there were 3 sorts of people - the Hill People, the Villagers and Nona's people.
There are also the Vulcans and the Romulans, one species but ( i would imagine) very different cultures.

Timewalker wrote: View Post
I never got the impression that Nona came from a separate "people."
I did, I think she was from outside of Tyree's tribe, she was someone he brought into the tribe by marriage.

Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
Language is not culture
I wouldn't be so sure of that, your primary language, your first language, the one you use while thinking inside your own head has a lot to do with how you see the world around you and how you categorize things.

It has to do with thought processes.

Language opens up cultural understandings that influences the way people perceives the world. Different languages with differing syntax and grammatical structure impact the order by which a person process information.

You could not become part of the culture of a Australian outback aboriginal tribe, while only being able to speak English.

Language is indeed culture.

If you go to a Spanish language class, from day one the instructor will give instruction on the Spanish culture, because the language is tied to the culture, and the culture is tied to the language.

There is a "umbrella" Spanish culture on Earth.

If there are multiple cultures among the peoples of the planet Vulcan, then they would likely be tied to different Vulcan languages. Historically the Vulcan species was divided through geography or circumstances long enough for them to have two (or more) races. Tuvok is black, Spock is white (pale yellow?). This could certainly be part of a basis behind multiple cultures and languages.

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Old February 9 2014, 06:14 AM   #29
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Bad Thoughts wrote: View Post
Language is not culture
I wouldn't be so sure of that, your primary language, your first language, the one you use while thinking inside your own head has a lot to do with how you see the world around you and how you categorize things.

It has to do with thought processes.

Language opens up cultural understandings that influences the way people perceives the world. Different languages with differing syntax and grammatical structure impact the order by which a person process information.

You could not become part of the culture of a Australian outback aboriginal tribe, while only being able to speak English.

Language is indeed culture.

If you go to a Spanish language class, from day one the instructor will give instruction on the Spanish culture, because the language is tied to the culture, and the culture is tied to the language.

There is a "umbrella" Spanish culture on Earth.

If there are multiple cultures among the peoples of the planet Vulcan, then they would likely be tied to different Vulcan languages. Historically the Vulcan species was divided through geography or circumstances long enough for them to have two (or more) races. Tuvok is black, Spock is white (pale yellow?). This could certainly be part of a basis behind multiple cultures and languages.

I believe I said quite distinctly that language and culture do influence one another. Indeed, using language as an avenue to culture is a useful conceit, but it is one that approaches both language and culture as static, and unnatural condition for both. Your example of the Aborigines betrays this. Pre-European contact, the Aborigines of Australia had thousands of languages, though they were extremely similar in terms of their culture. They shared a sophisticated form of expression, dreamtime. Nonetheless, their culture lacked complexity. Now, only a few hundred languages survive, but arguably, they are much more culturally complex. Much of their evolution has occurred, though, not because they speak fewer languages amongst one another, but because they have responded to common experiences, namely those related to imperialism.

The problem with equating language and culture from your examples is that many different cultures use the same languages, and theoretically ought to be very similar to one another because of language. They are not. Indeed, we would have a hard time explaining the political cultures of Latin American countries on the basis of Spanish: before the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, there were numerous successful democracies. Portuguese can't be used to explain the rise and fall of dictatorship in Portugal, Brazil and Angola. English can't explain the differences of opinion about the role of religious rituals in American poltiical life. Language is ultimately too malleable to constrain a single culture to particular forms. Perhaps some small things can be explained, like how German word order makes it difficult to translate English jokes. On the other hand, it does not explain why German humor was so vicious before 1945, or why Germanophones in Switzerland rejected German nationalism.
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Old February 9 2014, 05:32 PM   #30
AirCommodore
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Re: Are monocultures actually the rule?

Shik wrote: View Post
Right, so we all know the arguments about monocultures in Trek, about how there's seemingly no diversity: one religion, one language, etc. Conversely, humanity has thousands of languages, regions, subcultures, & the like.

Now, I'm a pretty big proponent of diversity my own self. My thoughts wandered as they're wont to do to some of the books I've read recently with neurolinguistics as main plot elements. Of course, I always start thinking about Snow Crash then, & I started wondering: what if monocultures are the norm? What if all these other species never had a Babel event that forced them to diverge & separate? Could this be why a large cooperative effort was never done before? That humanity--because of its diversity--was forced to learn how to deal with "other types" & that's what they brought to the party? We hear of the occasional "dissidents" who are usually political but only rarely cultural (the v'tosh ka'tur most readily come to mind); is this why there's such an acceptance problem?

A dominant planetary culture could emerge. In the USA, there are remnants of Russian, Irish, Italian, German, Greek and other "white" Euro-cultures, but the US whites seem to have blended together and created, if not a monoculture, some degree of homogenization. We haven't seen a United Earth. It's possible that given enough generations of being United, what would emerge would be a much more homogenized global culture.

The vast majority of languages are small and regional. A few languages are genuinely international. English is probably no. 1 in global, transnational usage. The era of European colonial empires has left an indelible Western mark on the planet.

Most of the planets highest grossing films are from Hollywood, governments and constitutions are predominantly in the Western models.
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