Summary: Culture is a fundamental concept within sociology and anthropology. Culture includes the ideas, values, practices, and material objects that enable human cooperation within groups and societies. Symbolic culture includes non-material forms of culture such as language, which consists of meaningful symbols that enable communication. Beyond written and spoken language, we also communicate via gestures, or body language. This excerpt from the BBC's Human Animal series discusses gestures and their meanings in different cultures around the world. The video illustrates many common gestures (e.g. the use of the middle finger, head nod, thumbs up, and handshake) and documents the diverse messages these gestures send in different countries. It also draws upon certain ideas, such as the notion that someone is "crazy", and illustrates the various gestures used to communicate this same message. Viewers may find this video useful in introductory classes to illustrate one dimension of culture, and how it varies throughout the world.
Submitted By: omowbray