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When comprehending the world, people individually decide what in their life is important for them and what is not. This experience makes it possible to create a value system, which is inextricably linked to culture and represents the interests of people and their attachment to specific ideas. Undoubtedly, each person has an individual scale of what is of the greatest importance. Cultural background, in this case, is an essential criterion that influences the formation of specific values and largely determines their nature. At the same time, such a system is dynamic and can change under the influence of different factors – age, life circumstances, and other reasons. Therefore, values directly depend on people’s life experience and cultural preferences that are laid down in different periods of life.
Hierarchy of Values
In the human mind, there are different values that, as a rule, do not coexist chaotically but are structured. This system is usually a hierarchy in which all preferences are ranked according to the increasing importance (Peeters 61). At the same time, the hierarchy of values is quite dynamic since, for example, if one of the person’s needs is deprived, another interest may take its place. According to Douglass, when a person feels the lack of freedom, it becomes the highest value, although earlier, it could well not be realized in this way (327). Therefore, such a system is complex and unique for each individual.
Relationship of Value Orientations with Culture
The formation of the person’s value structure is an essential factor in the process of socialization. Cultural influence can be traced clearly since belonging to different ethnic, religious, social, and other groups determines the nature of specific values and their importance for the individual. Thus, for instance, in the comics The Passport by Satrapi, parents’ love for the child is mentioned in spite of differences in views, which is the reflection of their position (120).
The idea of individual values is also supported by Counts who says that for some people food is a key criterion of happiness, despite the fact that the human today can afford to eat variedly (299). Therefore, the personal nature of preferences is determined in different ways.
The formation of values largely depends on the experience that is inherent in a person since childhood and determines his or her cultural background. At the same time, new knowledge obtained in life can have a significant impact on preferences, then changing interests in the other direction. As Hofman remarks, a person can show interest in a particular cuisine that occupies one of the highest positions in the food system, but after trying one of the new dishes of another culture, the opinion can change diametrically (312).
Adults can have an established view of the world, but, as Satrapi demonstrates an example in the comics Kim Wilde, new trends can influence their worldview by changing the picture of preferences (131). Thus, the experience gained is one of the essential factors that can change the course of values under the impact of cultural aspects.
Functions of Values
The functions of values are diverse. They can be a guide in person’s life, creating appropriate ideas about the norms of behavior. Skinner notes that certain beliefs of people, laid down by descendants and sustained throughout life, can determine the style of life and manifest themselves, for example, in an effort to protect native territory (332). Also, values are necessary to support the social order and act as a mechanism for social control. Religious beliefs mentioned in the comics The Shabbat by Satrapi also influence the world outlook and serve as one of the landmarks on the life path (137). Moreover, religion is one of the basic factors affecting people’s thinking and their values (Cunningham et al. 228). Therefore, its role in public life is important.
Another critical function of values is an opportunity to build priorities and not to be lost in guessing about what to give preference. A person can have established views on specific topics and a reasonable opinion on various social phenomena. However, it does not mean that these opinions will coincide with the position of the majority. Satrapi in her comics The Dowry gives an example of a young nun who does not agree with the opinion of classmates and has special views, which irritates the abbess (144). At the same time, such a position characterizes the girl as a person who has individual thinking and a set of ideas. Accordingly, the uniqueness of values in many ways affects the nature of people and their worldview.
The concepts of culture and values are interrelated because people’s spiritual and material priorities are largely based on the experience and preferences that are embedded in a particular cultural sector. The hierarchy of values is typical for any culture. This system is dynamic and can change under the influence of new experience. Values also perform a number of functions and determine the behavior and worldview of people.
Counts, David R. “Too Many Bananas.” One World, Many Cultures, edited by Stuart Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg, 10th ed., Pearson, 2017, pp. 297-304.
Cunningham, Lawrence S., et al. Culture and Values: A Survey of the Western Humanities. 8th ed., Cengage Learning, 2014.
Douglass, Frederick. “My Bondage and My Freedom.” One World, Many Cultures, edited by Stuart Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg, 10th ed., Pearson, 2017, pp. 325-329.
Hofman, Ethel G. “An Island Passover.” One World, Many Cultures, edited by Stuart Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg, 10th ed., Pearson, 2017, pp. 311-318.
Peeters, Bert. “Language, Culture and Values: Towards an Ethnolinguistics Based on Abduction and Salience.” Etnolingwistyka, vol. 27, 2015, pp. 47-62.
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Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. Pantheon, 2004.
Skinner, Joseph K. “Big Mac and the Tropical Forests.” One World, Many Cultures, edited by Stuart Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg, 10th ed., Pearson, 2017, pp. 330-336.