Culture encompasses belief patterns along with social forms of a group. The group can be a racial, religious, or a social group. Normally, people think in terms of racial groups. However, it can be other groups as well. Some forms of culture such as an ethnic group or racial group or even a religious group are what a person is born into. However being a hipster, a punk rocker, a pagan, or a nerd are groups that people choose for themselves. Self-chosen groups also have a culture and cultural norms that may be expressed through dress, language, and activities. Self-chosen group and the ability to choose is a key component of modern culture.
The culture this paper examines is Armenian in contrast to modern culture. The conflicts that are examined and explored are between modern culture and the traditional and religious Armenian culture. I have conflict with family members that feel very strongly about traditions and beliefs concerning the Armenian culture and church.
The conflict is displayed between modern values of education, career, and technology that place less emphasis on traditional religious practices and of course more freedom to express oneself outside traditional patterns of early marriage and children. This modern culture comes in conflict with traditional patterns of behaviors and also the religious beliefs of my Armenian heritage and family.
Conflict between my desires to live a more modern way of life that fits in with modern culture conflicts with family members that wish for me to live the traditional religious Armenian life. The paper will examine what modern culture means and how it is expressed. The traditional values of Armenian culture will be explored and then compared as to what the cultures share and how they differ. This is directly related to the conflicts I feel within my family as to how I am expected to live a certain way and feel judged if I don’t.
Modern culture is defined by the ability to make choices about most basic aspects of life. It also has to be noted that modern culture thrives with the input of media in the form of TV, Films, Social media, including Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook to name a few. When it comes to modern culture people expect to be able to choose their own profession and schooling, make choices about their own spirituality and whether they will worship in a traditional way or not. It also allows people to decide it they believe in a God or do not believe.
Plus a lot of modern culture revolves around forming romantic relationships and friendships with people that a person is most attracted to not just because they are of the same heritage or religion. It is important to be able express oneself in forming friendships and learning about different people. This is encouraged in modern culture.
Also things like music and concerts and movies that appeal to a person should not be a problem, but looked on as a choice, or as a matter of personal taste. Being able to be oneself is what I consider most important about modern culture.
Traditional Armenia culture places a lot of emphasis on tradition, family, gender roles and staying in the church to preserve traditions. While many Armenian’s live outside the borders of the actual country they want to maintain strong ties to the tradition of the old country with church and family as the most important aspects of life. Also it is expected that older family members have a lot of say and control over the younger generation. Although times have changed, people are still expected to marry quite young, not as young as 14 and 16 as they used to in Armenia, but still quite young compared to modern ideas. And of course, it is not considered a good idea to have more than one marriage or more than one romantic partner in life. It is also seen as important to have children right away and to respect the church rituals.
Those that follow the traditional way of life are given more respect by family members than those that don’t. Those that put family first over friends and other interests are considered to be better. Attending church is a very important in an Armenia family and to not go is considered disrespectful.
Romantically it is still important for families to agree on who you marry and they would like an Armenian to marry another Armenian. Arranged marriage were common in the old country. This doesn’t happen anymore, but it is still considered proper to marry a person the family approves of and has known a long time. A marriage is seen as bringing two families together and it is best to bring two Armenian families together that know each other and get along. Even now family wishes to have a say in who should marry. That is very different than modern culture where people make a choice based only on love as to who to marry.
The real differences in the cultures is the church beliefs as most Armenian’s belong to the same church and are expected to believe and attend. Family is the most important thing and being accepted means going along with traditions. While modern culture expects family to be important living up to family expectations is not the only thing that is important.