A Cultural Metaphor (Continued)

In this segment, I will be continuing with the cultural metaphor idea inspired by the book Understanding Global Cultures by Martin J. Gannon and Pillai Rajnandini. This posting applies to the culture of Ireland, represented by the artful conversational styles of the Irish which has helped produce a relatively high amount of authors and musicians. I also examine the culture of Turkey, which has been represented metaphorically as the coffeehouse where ideas could be shared and certain customs could become solidified.

Keep reading to see my reactions to these two chapters.

What are my experiences with the cultural metaphors from Ireland and Turkey? What is my impression after reading the chapters?

 

Ireland’s cultural metaphor, according to the text, is the Irish conversation. Irish, a combination of English mixed with Gaelic is the traditional language spoken in Ireland and taught to all students to perpetuate their strong values and desire to retain their own culture after attempts by the British to wipe it away.

The three pillars of Irish culture are the Catholic Church, rural heritage, and its language. Catholicism has impacted Ireland tremendously throughout their history. Although never under rule of the Roman Empire, Ireland was Christianized by Saint Patrick, to be Catholic. After the period of embracing Catholicism, Ireland was able to push into a “Golden Age of learning and scholarship [which] lasted up until the 11th century” (204). Their rural heritage stems from the community relying on agriculture as a main economic driver. Through English control, Protestant farmers were able to set up on Irish land, further dividing the nationalist Irish and the English sympathizers. Its language shows a strong influence of English, being the most spoken language, but also shows the ability to hold on to tradition that the Irish people have shown through years of being dominated by the English.

I am really amazed that Irish culture has been able to survive through English oppression. During the period of oppression, laws were passed that made it illegal for Catholics to purchase, inherit, or rent land. They were excluded from parliament, the army, and the right to get an education was taken away as well. I found it interesting that even during this time, the Irish people would set up hidden locations where they could still learn and debate albeit only through oral communication to avoid detection. This act embodies the Irish resistance to change and the nationalistic pride shown after many attempts by the English to erase it. During the same period, there were multiple rebellions that show the Celtic value of dying for a just cause and would lay the groundwork for future independence.

The Irish language is able to take a more contextual approach to the English language and is able to paint a picture for listeners with dense imagery. There is evidence of Ireland’s beautiful use of conversation in the fact that they produce more essayists, poets, and novelists than any country. There is also the less obvious conversation occurring between each Irish Catholic person and God through prayer. The Irish conversation can best be observed at family dinners, weddings and wakes, and of course the pub, however they are comfortable carrying on a conversation anywhere about almost anything.

 

The Turkish coffeehouse represents a place of religious importance, family collectivism, and the relatively equal position of men and women compared to other Islamic cultures. However, there is still evidence of a male dominated society as one would expect in any society heavily influenced by Islam. The division of religion and government in Turkey is a welcome sign of modernization and many of the draconian punishments taught through Islam are no longer practiced in court.

Coffeehouses have played a key role in developing communities throughout Turkey. They are the meeting place and represent free flow of ideas and debate among men who may be accompanied by their sons. This culture is passed on to each generation and attending the Turkish coffeehouse becomes a necessary part of life, if you want to remain a piece of the community. With traditional coffeehouses being family run ventures, one can see the tremendous amount of importance put on collectivism and relying on your close relationships. Moving forward, Turkey has some issues they need to address before becoming a part of the EU and being seen as more egalitarian.

 

Bibliography

Gannon, Martin J., and Rajnandini Pillai. Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical Journeys through 31 Nations, Clusters of Nations, Continents, and Diversity. 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.

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