The traces of a culture

The traces of a national culture are ever-present in the comments of those who have been formed within it. When an individual speaks freely about his work, his concerns, the difficulties he encounters in fulfilling his responsibilities and the way in which he overcomes them, traces of his culture constantly appear in which his comments evoke what he experiences, whether he is describing himself or evoking the situations in which he finds himself. This is also as true when he seeks to distort the facts to present them to his advantage, as when he recounts them in the most objective manner possible. In this respect, within a given cultural context, the convergence is such that once one has collected the comments of a few dozen people, it is unlikely that the additional comments will provide anything new. These traces concern the ideal forms of living together by which those who share a culture give meaning to what they experience and judge it: one finds, in a more or less complete and detailed manner, portraits of a good or bad superior, of someone one can trust or not, a fair or unfair way of judging, a satisfactory or unsatisfactory decision-making process, etc. Furthermore, these traces concern the obsessive fears that characterise the society whose culture he shares. When identifying these traces, the comparative aspect is essential. This comparative aspect is particularly essential if one wants to analyse one’s own culture. Without it, there is a great risk that nothing will appear to be noteworthy in the material collected.

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