What did you study? - Sample Essay

In relationships between people, reason and emotion both play a role. Which of these dominates will depend upon whether we are affective, that is we show our emotions, in which case we probably get an emotional response in return, or whether we are emotionally neutral in our approach. Members of cultures which are affectively neutral do not express their feelings but keep them carefully controlled and subdued. In contrast, in emotional culture, people show their feelings plainly by laughing, smiling, grimacing, scowling and gesturing; they attempt to find immediate outlets for their feelings.

Specific vs. Diffuse. In specific cultures, the whole is the sum of its parts. Each person’s life is divided into many parts: you can only enter one at a time. Interactions between people are highly focused and well defined. Specific individuals concentrate on hard facts, standards and contracts. In diffuse cultures, however, life space and every level of personality tends to pervade all others. People belonging to diffuse culture have a large private sphere and a small public one. Newcomers are not easily accepted into any of the spheres.

But once they have been accepted, they are admitted into all layers of the individual’s life. Briefing Achievement and ascriptive culture talks about how status is accorded to people in different cultures. The contrast between an achievement culture and an ascriptive culture is not difficult to understand. Achievement means that people are judged on what they have achieved and on their record. Ascription means that status is attributed to you by things like birth, kinship, gender, age, interpersonal connections, or educational record.

The former kind of status is called achieved status and the latter ascribed status. Achieved status refers to doing; ascribed status refers to being. Take a look at the difference from another angle. Achievement-oriented societies or organizations justify their hierarchies by claiming that senior people have “achieved more. ” In ascription-oriented cultures, however, hierarchies are justified by “power-to-get-things-done. ” Here are some examples. Let’s assume that your prospective boss is interviewing you and he/she is interested in knowing more about your educational background.

In an achievement culture, the first question asked is likely to be “What did you study? ” Whereas in ascription culture this question will more likely be “Where did you study? ” and only if it was a poor university or one they do not recognize will this ascriptive interviewer asks what you studied. In India, status is accorded on the basis of family, class, ethnicity, and even accent. High-status people are able to impose their will on people of lower status even when such people are as knowledgeable and competent as they.

In New Zealand, where status is earned through personal achievement, shared governance by majority rule or participatory decision making is valued over personal fiat. Expertise outranks social position in determining who will be involved in decision-making procedures. Ascription isn’t just about favoring relatives. It’s about feeling comfortable, connected, and accepted, about readily establishing close and long-term relationships. Economic activities in all cultures involve people accomplishing tasks and in relationships with each other. It’s a matter of importance.