Culture – what does it mean to me?

Sometimes it can be difficult to see, what kind of significance do cultures have in our everyday life. For me culture – or cultures – are not abstract entities, they rather become realized in many ways in different situations. In our lecture we talked about how “people culture”, and it is a nice example about realizing cultures. Culture becomes very much true through people. I like the idea that culture is a system of shared meanings. Shared meaning systems form culturally constructed societies and groups, and the encounter of these meaning systems produces dialogue between them. Culture can be seen e.g. as “the Finnish” culture, ice hockey culture or food culture. And within these cultures we have so many subcultures.

People culture, but culture can also build up person´s identity in many ways. Cultural identity can simultaneously be both similar and different from the dominant culture. My idea is that a person´s identity can have many imaginary homes and more than one “home culture”. We are not bounded only to one single place. For example, a Finnish football player can experience that Finnish culture is very important to her/him, but (s)he also belongs strongly to the global football culture.

What comes to the Finnish culture, it is hybrid in many ways. For example, one of our “national dances”, Jenkka comes “originally” from Scotland and Germany. We eat a lot of pizzas and pastas, which come from Italy. The music culture has been inspired by the styles and instruments of many cultures. Many of the sports that we are engaged in, come from different countries. Cultures are very much in dialogue through people.

Mariana Siljamäki