Cultural Anthropology/Play, Sport and Arts

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Playing is the engagement of activity or recreation for enjoyment or practical purposes. Playing serves as an important aspect of both a child's and a grown adult's development. In order for something to be defined as play, the activity must be created by the players, be enjoyable and be somehow related to the non-play world (non-play is defined as an activity not relating to recreation). In addition, play is spontaneous and intrinsically motivated. In other words, one cannot be forced to 'play' as it would then be a task one was given to do. Though the act of playing must be voluntary, multiple people can be included by inviting others to join thus giving them the choice to play or not. Sometimes play can be considered a game where there are certain goals, but other times play has no purpose at all. There are no guidelines on how to correctly play because playing is a creative experience for the participants. Play is also essential to many aspects of childhood growth.

Children and even adults train their bodies and brains for real life situation by playing. Through the act of playing, children acquire and learn many new skills which contribute to their growth and development, such as cooperation, decision-making, as well as improved ability to both think and act more creatively. According to a report by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, “play is important to healthy brain development.” The Importance of Play. Patterns and connections made between nerve cells and neurons in the brain are stimulated and influenced by the activities children engage in, such as play. Children should be encouraged to play because it can be extremely constructive to the overall development of their brains, as well as effective in forming new connections in their brains. This important development influences, “fine and gross motor skills, language, socialization, personal awareness, emotional well-being, creativity, problem-solving and learning ability,” which are all key building blocks for children’s futures as they develop.[1]Therefore, it is encouraged for children to play, and continue to play throughout their lives.

Playing also prompts children to use their brains in creative and imaginative ways, which not only develops and strengthens connections in their brains, but also allows them to experience many different aspects of the world that they may not otherwise be able to experience; these “other-worldly” experiences so to speak, can be accomplished through children’s creative and imaginative processes where they often create fictitious or “make-believe” worlds in games. These games allow the children to play and think creatively together. Psychologist Dr. Sandra Shiner says this about fantasy games: “we should encourage this in our children because creative thinkers must first fantasize about ideas before they can make these ideas reality." Thus, play can be seen as essential to cultivating generations of people who will grow to become innovators and pioneers, because without creativity, society stagnates.

Games that children have created usually have sets of rules that the players are expected to follow. These types of rule-making collaborations through play not only teach children how to logically come up with ideas and rules, but also teaches them how to interact with each other, communicate, and understand how to socialize and work in a group. Studies have also shown that, "while in free play children tended to sort themselves into groupings by sex and color". [2] For many years, most anthropologists paid little attention to the significance of human play. It wasn't until recently that modern anthropologists realized human play was an important factor and was necessary to be studied because of its massive impact on human behavior. The act of playing is now viewed by many in the field of anthropology as a universal practice and one that is significant in the understanding of human cultures. [3]

Children Playing

Play Among Children in the United States[edit]

Play is demonstrated and encouraged in the United States preschool system. In the U.S., it is common for parents to send their children to preschools, where they interact with other kids of the same age. While at preschool, the children are encouraged to socialize and play with their peers. Play is a vital aspect in almost every part of early schooling, from dress-up stations to recess, and to daily circle time. The preschoolers are presented with toys and props that encourage play, to help their socialization. These items are used so that the children are given the chance to create their own games rather than have the adults control them. In the United States parents are encouraged to send their children to preschool so that they can learn ways of play that will help them develop as the years progress and they enter the realm of higher education. Preschool and the idea of play in this context is also beneficial to young children because it teaches the life skill of sharing. At the time when children are entering preschool, they are just figuring out that the world is not centered around them and not everything belongs to them. They are learning that others have feelings too. The concept of sharing in a playing environment will encourage them to learn patience and gain friendships. [4] Preschool not only offers a sanctuary to build sharing skills, create friendships, and expand a child's imagination it also can be good for the health of some children. For example, children with special needs can go to preschool for therapeutic benefits. Play time allows for fine-motor development, relationship practice, creative thinking, and above all an opportunity for fun. Many schools devoted to special needs children utilize a technique called floor-time, which at its core, is play-time. This one-on-one play time with an adult is a great way for special needs children to explore specific areas of interest and develop a sense of self-worth based on said exploration. [5]

While interacting with an adult and gaining the benefits of the individual attention, the child also gets the experience of working alongside a peer. Because special needs students often need more intensive supervision it is nice to give them the opportunity to solely play with a friend or peer. This type of interaction is essential so the child can feel comfortable and more involved with the rest of the class. These tools that are taught in preschool will be the building blocks for the rest of the school years so it's vital that kids acquire the right tools necessary for learning and interaction.

Gender Differences in Social Play in Early Childhood[edit]

Gender differences in how children play are not consistent over time. Studies focusing on children in preschool found that girls typically develop social and structured forms of play at a younger age than boys, however males displayed more solitary play. "During solitary play, children (ranging from ages three to 18 months) are very busy with play and they may not seem to notice other children sitting or playing nearby. They are exploring their world by watching, grabbing and rattling objects, and often spend much of their time playing on their own. Solitary play begins in infancy and is common in toddlers. This is because of toddlers’ limited social, cognitive, and physical skills. However, it is important for all age groups to have some time to play by themselves" [6]. Gender Differences...Males typically catch up to females at the next developmental stage when associated and cooperative play is the primary focus. There are a number of reasons female children have an advantage when it comes to social play. Play involves communication, role taking, and cooperation. Socio-cognitive skills, such as language and theory-of-mind, are acquired at an earlier age for females. Within the first year, females show stronger social orientation responses and facial recognition, and more eye contact. These skills translate to social competence with peers. Another reason females may appear to have a higher quality of play may be related to gendered toys. A study showed that both male and female children had the greatest play complexity when they played with toys that were stereotypical female toys, compared to when they played with neutral or male stereotyped toys. The Effects Of Stereotyped Toys And Gender On Play Assessment In Children

Play Beyond Childhood[edit]

Party in Barcelona!

Throughout childhood, play is essential for children’s enculturation. As humans mature into adults, the idea of playing seems to fade. Leisure activities of intrinsic value are vital for both physical and mental health, attaining a sense of fulfillment in life, and for overall happiness.

The importance of play and leisure are constantly overlooked when combating stress. Stress has been shown to have negative effects on areas ranging from national health to the economy. A Canadian study estimated that 12 billion dollars are lost every year due to stress. 43% of Americans report suffering from job related burnout. These problems are often attributed to the lack of vacation time in America, or in other words, a lack of leisure and play.

When adults are given the time to engage in activities of play such as sports, hobbies, dancing, or various other recreational activities there are distinct benefits to their quality of life. In Jim Rice’s article “Why Play” [7] he writes about how adults often feel like “victims of time” with obligations to spend all of our time productively. What most adults don’t realize is that play and leisure are productive in the sense that they are important for overall wellbeing and reduce stress which in the long run increases productivity in other areas.

"Partying" for many adults is a way to meet new people and relieve themselves from the stressful life of work and home they engage in during the week. Just as playing helps children develop social skills, this adult version of recess allows adults to have a chance to mingle and be socially involved. Studies have shown that the social skills that people learn and obtain as children are often built upon and utilized when they become adults. These studies show that children's playtime is very important in order for individuals to grow up understanding how to socially interact with each other, as well as allowing people to feel the same enjoyment through their adult leisure activities as when they played as children. Playing stresses the importance of safe and pleasant playtime that children need in order to grow up feeling the same enjoyment through their adult leisure activities. [8]


A "sport" is a type of play that is governed by a set of rules. In most cases it is considered to be physically exertive and competitive. In almost all forms of sport the competition determines a winner and loser. Physical exertion can vary dramatically across sports--for example golf versus football. Sport tends to contain both play, work and leisure. Less physically exertive forms of the sport tend to constitute play, while more exertive and athletically demanding sports often serve as work for athletes and owners of sports teams. However, sports are generally defined by conflict where the goal is always for one opponent or team to win. This creates a different setting than real-world culture, where conflict-resolution is often the goal. This type of play, because it is defined by set rules, creates a virtual world where participants can create heroes, enemies, suffer and celebrate, all without real-world consequence. Athletes and teams exist not only to oppose each other, but to represent themselves as players, their teams, hometowns, cities, and their countries as best they can. [9] Sports often unite groups of people together for a cause. They can group teammates together to strive to compete at their best or they can unite entire countries to become fans of one particular sport or team. For example, America is united by baseball and football, sports that are considered the country's favorite pastime, whereas England is united by futball/soccer, a sport that has been played and supported for hundreds of years. Sports are an entertaining way for people to gather and learn the aspects of competition and teamwork, which can be learned anywhere from childhood to adulthood.

Sport in Culture[edit]

A goalkeeper saving a close range shot from inside the penalty area
Map showing the popularity of football around the world. Countries where football is the most popular sport are colored green, while countries where it is not are colored red. The various shades of green and red indicate the number of players per 1,000 inhabitants.


Sports hold a variety of different meanings across cultures. In a study of soccer in Brazil, Dr. Janet Lever finds that organized sports aid political unity and allegiance to the nation-state[10] . In Brazil, every city is home to at least one professional soccer team. Interestingly, different teams tend to represent different culture groups, such as different economic levels and ethnicities. This creates allegiances at a local level, but the team that represents a city in the national championships will have the support of all the people of that city, thus building political unity on a greater level. Having this firm support for the representation of teams gives people something to identify with. Their support for their team can be taken as giving support to their nation.This is even more so in World Cup championships, when the entire country of Brazil unites to support their country's official team. Brazilians fans like to boast about 'Penta' since they are the only country to win the World Cup five times; 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.[11] Soccer unifies the country of Brazil, but it is important to note that sports do not always create unity. Sports bring out a aggressive and competitive side in all athletes. However, those with those qualities are the ones to watch for they truly know how to play the sport and aren't afraid to play dirty. They also highlight inequalities, such as gender segregation between men and women. Brazilian women are far less interested in soccer, and as a result, remain separate from men in that aspect. (The last statement may not be entirely accurate as a large number of Brazilian women are some of the most passionate soccer fans in the world. Also, Brazil women's national team is among the most successful club in the sport.)[12]

In the Republic of Serbia it is thought that playing soccer enhances qualities. These aspects include aggressiveness, competition, physical strength, coordination, teamwork, discipline, and speed. These are all qualities attributed to the male gender. It is a common practice for men to watch games together in their homes, in front of local stores, etc. Women are not welcomed at these gatherings and are often asked to leave before the game starts or asked not to come until the game is over. This male dominated aspect of Serbian culture parallels the gender segregation between men and women found in Brazil.[13] Another inequality that soccer highlights is the difference between the upper class society and lower class society. Soccer was especially practiced by the poor throughout the 20th century. Many poor boys are dreaming of becoming the next Pele or Ronaldo and because of this, they promote the national soccer culture even more. Dreaming about soccer is a motivation for millions of poor children who want to escape from their poverty. In Brazilian life it's not uncommon for soccer culture to have a bigger influence than politics or economics. [14]

In Italy, “calcio” (football / soccer) is a symbol of national pride for many people. From childhood on, it is stressed that one must become a loyal supporter of the local club team. This passion can quickly ignite rivalries with neighboring towns and cities. It is not uncommon for the “tifosi” (fans) to start fights at soccer stadiums. Every four years, the World Cup Tournament unites Italians from different economic, political, and geographical backgrounds into one proud country. This strong national pride as helped the “Azzuri” win four World Cup Trophies and one European Championship. [15]


In the state of Texas, football (American) is a cultural phenomenon. It is not unusual for children to be held back in school in order to be more physically capable for football later in their schooling careers. Education has taken a back seat when compared to football, leading many parents and citizens to question the ethics of promoting football over intellectual pursuits. The fanaticism of football in Texas rivals that of the rest of the worlds obsession with soccer. [16]

Football has many widely televised games that draw a large audience every year. These games include the Super Bowl by drawing in hundreds of millions of television viewers each year in early February, and college football's multiple BCS (Bowl Championship Series) bowl games that occur around and on New Years Day. [17]

The National Football League (NFL) is the organization where there are 32 professional teams all around the United States. The NFL is becoming more popular globally. In the 2008-09 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers played regular season game in London. This was done to help make the NFL more global. The NFL plans to have more regular season games located outside the United States in the future. Football is a violent game, with hits at the professional level often characterized by two outstanding athletes running at full speed into one another with the sense of danger neutralized by the pads and helmet they wear for protection. Offensive and Defensive lineman, while colliding at lower speeds generally than their skills-player teammates, are equally susceptible to damage due to the cumulative effect of the low-impact, high-frequency hits they sustain on nearly every down. The aggressive nature of football is a major contributor to its popularity, with toughness and perseverance as its chief virtues. However, scientific research revealing the health issues suffered by players later in life, including CTE and Dementia, has lead to concern about whether the negative impact of playing the game out ways the positives.


Another sport that aids political, social, and economic aspects of culture is baseball. This universal sport has been the center of cultural life in the Dominican Republic, connecting Dominicans to each other, as well as to the rest of the Caribbean for over 100 years. [18] This small Caribbean island has been the home to many of the best players in Major League Baseball in the United States, where the major league is run and the world series is played. Major League Heroes such as Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, and David Ortiz all excelled in this sport in the Dominican Republic in order to reach their ultimate goal of playing professionally in the United States. Since the Dominican Republic is an economically poor country, little boys and teenagers alike work their entire lives to try to be the best baseball player that they can be. This constant competition is a great source of entertainment, which is why baseball games are a huge part of Dominican culture. Most women are forbidden to partake in this sport. This rule is not so much sexism as it is an attempt to keep women safe. Dominicans believe that baseball is a dangerous sport for women because of the hard ball that can be hit anywhere at any given moment. Although it is not a law that women cannot play baseball, they traditionally do not partake in this cultural pastime. For women, they created a sport called Softball, it is much like baseball but with a bigger and softer ball. For men in the Dominican Republic Baseball is not only a great hobby and way to relate to each other, it is also an opportunity to strive to become the best athletes they can possibly become. Baseball has been a great part of America and has help shape sports from history. As Asia first started to play the game of baseball, America came and took over a revolution. [19]

While symbols and language are used in a wide variety of sports, they are absolutely essential to the game of baseball. In a full nine inning game of baseball, there is almost never a moment of complete silence on the field. In American culture, certain gestures and hand motions are used by the 3rd base coach to communicate a specific action for the batter to perform (Swing, bunt, take, etc.). Hand gestures and voice commands are used by players on the field to communicate position changes, the amount of outs there are, and tips about where the batter typically hits the ball. The most important use of symbols and hand gestures in baseball comes from the catcher and are directed towards the pitcher. These gestures are an essential aspect of the game because they tell the pitcher what pitch he is throwing next (Curveball, fastball, slider, etc). Commands in baseball come from different members of the team (third base coach, first base coach, head coach, players, etc.) depending on the culture and the country the game is being played in. For example, in American culture hitting signs come from the third base coach, and catching signs come from the head coach [20]. Just as baseball can not be played without a ball or a bat, it can not be played without the use of communication, symbols, and gestures.


Equally popular in the United States is basketball, which has a growing global following as well. Basketball is played with five players on each team. Basketball is played widely throughout the United States and is popular with both men and women. It is also one of the most popular and widely viewed sports in the world.

The battle for equality of woman's sports has been an ongoing struggle for many years. The WNBA wasn't started until 1997, but with stars such as Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Diana Taurasi, and Candace Parker made for a rise in popularity. Sheryl Swoopes and Cynthia Cooper lead the Houston Comets to wins in the first four WNBA championships and were the first WNBA dynasty. The WNBA has become so popular that it's viewers had topped that of both the NHL and MLB. Title IX helped make a huge impact on the WNBA because it helped out college basketball players, allowing to give them scholarships. Besides the United States, basketball is also extremely popular in many other countries.

Basketball has been a huge part in the globalization of nations. The United States has had the largest impact on globalization within the basketball world because it has the largest and most popular professional leagues. The NBA is the largest professional basketball league in the U.S and makes a continuous effort to interact with basketball leagues around the world. This year the NBA hopes to continue its globalization efforts by having 12 teams set to play 10 games in 10 different international cities. The NBA hopes to influence more international cities to form basketball teams and leagues with these games being played in their countries and cities. [21]

The Olympics is also a way that the U.S uses to expand its basketball influence. The U.S is easily the most dominant team in the basketball world with the most tournament wins in the Olympics. The U.S tends to dominate the Olympics in the basketball world, however every year international teams continue to improve in order to compete. The U.S Olympic basketball teams consists all of NBA players, typically the best players in the league. Many watch the Olympic basketball games to see the NBA superstars all playing together. The U.S team influences every international team to improve their basketball leagues and teams, continuing the processes of globalization. [22]

Other Sports[edit]

Sports can also provide a safe alternative to political conflicts. When two conflicting countries meet in a sports arena the game can become significantly more competitive.

One of the most awesome instances of this power of sport came in the 1980 Olympics, when the United States defeated the dominant USSR in the semifinal round of hockey. Although America was in a time of crisis, the U.S. Hockey teams race for gold brought hope to an entire nation in despair.

Historically, lacrosse dominated the culture of many native American tribes. It was used to settle inter-tribal disputes, toughen the young men, celebrate festivals, and used for religious reasons. It helped keep the six nations of the Iroquois united. The Mohawk Indians called it the little brother of war. All of the able bodied men would compete on a field that could be from 500 meters to a few miles long. The games would last from sun up to sun down for up to three days.[23] Lacrosse since then has shifted away from a cultural tradition into a sport played by people of all ages.

Tae Kwon Do (Loosely translated from Korean as 'The Way of Kicking and Punching') is the national sport of South Korea. This form of martial arts has spread worldwide and is the most popular by means of people who practice this form. This form of fighting is a main part of South Korea's military training. It combines the uses of self-defense, sport, philosophy, and meditation. It is also a sport for the summer Olympics.[24]

Not traditionally a sport because it is not physically exertive, video games are becoming increasingly popular in developed regions of the world, notably The Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania and sections of the Middle East, and most notably in South Korea. A new format of professional gaming is being developed, called Major League Gaming (MLG) and is growing in aforementioned nations, where tournaments are held with the goal of winning cash prizes. These prizes can exceed 10,000 for team play, and individual play around 6,000 dollars. Alongside cash rewards, players and teams are sponsored by companies in the same manner as Nascar Drivers, Pro snowboarders and American Soccer Teams. Games such as Counterstrike and Halo, League of Legends, and Starcraft are the leading games played.

Specifically within the scene of "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" type games (MOBAs) such as League of Legends and DoTA 2 have lent themselves to practices similar to a traditional image of sports. The 2016 International tournament had a prize pool of $20,770,640.1. The same year, the League of Legends World Tour was tuned in by more viewers than the superbowl of the same year. Communities around these types of games have coined the term 'E-Sports' (electronic sports), and have earned rights with the US government to grant sports visas to professional players. It is commonplace for players within MOBA communities to self identify their game as an E-sport, however, this opinion is not shared with the general public. This is an industry however, with its fair share of hardships. In South Korea, it is not uncommon for aspiring professional gamers to train fourteen to sixteen hour days, and the handfull of people who are successful earn substantially lower salaries than the national average.In Korea, top professional players can make $35000-$40000 a year, however, players on smaller teans average between $9000 and $10000 a year. A leading cause of this being that Korean players only take home between %10 and %30 of any tournament money won, as the majority of the funds go to the companies which sponser them.[9]

Positive Effects of Getting Involved in Sports[edit]

Becoming involved with sports is beneficial in numerous ways. It promotes a healthy lifestyle, team building opportunities, strength, perseverance, leadership, and discipline. It can also increase confidence on and off the field. These are all important characteristics that will help children grow into independent, driven individuals.There has been research behind the theory that teenage girls specifically that are involved in sports may lead safer and more productive lifestyles. [25]

Many girls who are not involved in physical activities are at higher risks of teen pregnancy, abusive relationships, and developing eating disorders. The California Women's Law Center stated that, "female athletes are more likely to have intercourse at a later age, more likely to use contraceptives, have sex less often, and have fewer sexual partners. Not surprisingly, female athletes are more than half as likely to get pregnant as female non-athletes." Girls that gain confidence and self-esteem by participating in sports are more likely to make more responsible and smart decisions that affect their life. It has also been proven that female athletes get better grades and perform better on standardized tests. For example, swimming is one of the top academic performing sports along with tennis and track and field. The habits of the sports carry over into school performance. Girls set goals that help them stay focused and in line with their physical and emotional health. Coaches and parents begin to develop subconscious expectations for the athletes that keep them from getting involved with activities that they shouldn’t be involved in. Athletes (girls AND boys) are better able to keep on task and stay organized. [26]

A test done by Russell R. Pate, PhD; Stewart G. Trost, PhD; Sarah Levin, PhD; Marsha Dowda, DrPH found that approximately 70% of male students and 53% of female students reported participating on 1 or more sports teams in school and/or nonschool settings; rates varied substantially by age, sex, and ethnicity. Male sports participants were more likely than male nonparticipants to report fruit and vegetable consumption on the previous day and less likely to report cigarette smoking, cocaine and other illegal drug use, and trying to lose weight. Compared with female nonparticipants, female sports participants were more likely to report consumption of vegetables on the previous day and less likely to report having sexual intercourse in the past 3 months. <</ref>

Participation in sports has been linked to success in math and science, subjects traditionally dominated by men. One explanation for this may be that sports help girls resist traditional gender scripts that limit persistence and competition in these areas. To explore this, we contrast the effects of sports on boys and girls in academic domains that are stereotyped as masculine (physics) and feminine (foreign language). Furthermore, we differentiate sports by those characterized as masculine or feminine to identify activities that may reinforce or challenge traditional gender norms. Overall, participation in sports have had positive effects. Compared to non-participants of the same sex, girls are more likely to take physics and foreign language, while boys are more likely to take foreign language. The sport categories reveal divergent patterns for boys and girls, where masculine sports associated with physics for girls and foreign language for boys, while feminine sports are associated only with foreign language for girls. These findings confirm prior research that sports improve academics, but suggest that sports do not have uniform effects. While some sports may potentially counteract traditional femininity and help girls persist in masculine domains, other sports may not provide the same benefits.(Crissey, S. R., Pearson, J. and Riegle-Crumb, C."Gender Differences in the Effects of Sports Participation on Academic Outcomes")

Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health. Reasons for performing physical exercise include the strengthening of muscles and cardiovascular system, the honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, and for enjoyment. Frequent and regular physical exercise boosts the immune system and helps prevent the "diseases of affluence" such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.[1][2] Childhood obesity is a growing global concern and physical exercise may help decrease the effects of childhood obesity in developed countries.[27]

[28] It also improves mental health and helps prevent depression by the release of "feel good" neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin, from the brain. When being highly involved in sports, overall health becomes a top priority as well. Learning time management skills is key when every day consists of six hours of school, sports, family time and homework because otherwise the human body would be exhausted and worn down and would not be able to perform as well as they could. When people are in better physical shape, it is much more motivating to develop healthy eating habits that will last a life time. Developing healthy eating habits give people more energy to perform well in sports and exercise, and will also help prevent diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Therefore, exercise through sports and exercise must be accompanied by a healthy overall lifestyle.

Benefits of a Team[edit]

Working with other athletes on a team creates a tight-knit community, and one learns to trust the other players and to rely on the help of others in order to obtain a common goal. The environment in a functioning team is collaborative and non-threatening; allowing for more open and focused learning. Skills such as combined effort and compromise are learned far quicker in competition. These sorts of connections can last beyond the field of play and carry into athletes’ social and business lives. For example, how one plays and communicates on the field can reflect how one communicates to members at a business meeting and how they work to obtain their goals. Working in teams can benefit a group to overcome difficult challenges because the minds and work of a group can be more powerful and successful than just one person. They allow for diversity in thought on how to approach a challenge and allow for the group to be sustained by constant support. [29] Sports can make athletes more health-conscious, motivated, focused, and energetic. Being part of a team can enable athletes to communicate much better with others, consider others needs, solve critical thinking problems and become a leader.

Negative Aspects of a Team[edit]

Although teams generally create a positive environment and learning experience, that is not always the case, especially at the high school age level. In high school, anyone is welcome to try out for sports teams whether they’re experienced or a beginner. In these tryouts, they are instructed to perform various drills to demonstrate ability and potential, which usually result in the older more experienced players being selected for the varsity team, with the less experienced but potentially good younger players on the JV and C teams. The idea is to earn your spot on the team, but this system isn't necessarily a good one. Many teenagers come into these tryouts working their hardest to prove themselves and earn a position, but many of them are extremely disappointed and discouraged when they don’t make the team. It is at this time that the coach’s interaction with them is critical. If the coach does not encourage them to try again next year, or doesn’t bother to tell them their strengths, weaknesses, and what they could work on to improve, then they are likely to come away with a bad experience with high school sports. If they are unfairly overlooked, or were recovering from an injury, they may feel cheated and frustrated. For the students that did make the team, the feeling of relief is only temporary, because although sports are all about competition- which can be healthy and motivating- the coach can turn it into competition among teammates, pitting them against each other for positions and playing time. This can easily create stress not only about doing their best to impress the coach, but also worrying about relationships with their teammates. The idea is to try to build a team with trust and support, but typically the players are doing whatever it takes to get ahead of their teammates, creating the opposite effect.

Healthy Living[edit]

There is currently an epidemic in America regarding overeating and unhealthy lifestyles. One major concern is that of the rising obesity rate in young children. Children are growing without knowledge of correct diets and exercise and by the time they mature, they have become involved in a lifestyle that is unhealthy. In comparison to other countries, America is falling behind in the movement towards a healthier world. Other reasons for this recent spike concerning obesity in America are the rapid development of technology over the past century, which has almost completely removed physical exercise from our daily routines, unless one makes a purposeful effort to exercise. Some examples of technology that are blamed are the invention of automobiles, which has taken away the aspect of walking from one place to another, and the invention of the assemble line in factories, which makes, packs, and ships food in a faster and more efficient way. [30] Also from these developments we have achieved the ability to stock grocery store shelves with inexpensive, high calorie, good tasting food produced in bulk.[31] These technological developments have allowed America as a society to grow in population, while at the same time damaging the health of its own citizens.

Healthy living and physical fitness are very important aspects in our daily lives. Being physically fit not only helps people live healthy lives, it also helps people live longer. If you are able to keep up an active lifestyle throughout your life you will be able to slow the onset of osteoporosis as well as reduce chronic disease risk. Also, people who make physical activity and exercise a part of their daily lives when they are young are more likely to keep it in their lives as they grow older and benefit from it throughout their lifespan. Physical activity is defined as any movement that spends energy. Exercise is a subset of physical activity, but it is an activity that is structured and planned. While many children engage in physical activity, usually by playing with their friends, the amount of physical activity they get as they grow into adolescents usually declines. In America, today obesity and overweight occur in over 20% of children. On top of that, inactivity and poor diet contribute to 300,000 deaths per year in America. It’s proven that significant health benefits can be obtained by including 30 min of moderate physical activity, which must be performed at a minimum of three days per week, and can even be split up into three 10 minute chunks, which will reap the same results as one 30 minute session. However more frequent exercise will certainly lead to more rapid improvements. [32] [33]

There are numerous positive effects of participating in sports. First of all, being involved in sports ingrains in you a lot of values and disciplines in the sport you are playing and also just in life. Playing in sports helps you develop team work with your teammates. Everyone on the team is striving for a common goal (to win) and it takes unselfish team play to have success in sports that have teams. It also develops a discipline of hard work. Success doesn’t come easy and in order to succeed in sports and in life, you will need to work your tail off. When you practice dedication and hard work in a sport you play, you realize how much work it takes to succeed and in the future, it is more likely for you to succeed later in life. Sports are very positive. [34]

We are currently in the middle of an obesity epidemic within our country. The rate of obese people has tripled in the past 15 years. It's been found that 60+% of American adults are not regularly active. To maintain a healthy weight and balance caloric intake you must get a minimum of 60 min of moderate to vigorous activity most if not every day of the week. If we begin to instill proper nutrition and exercise habits in adolescents we should be able to keep this epidemic from proceeding into the next generation. [35]

Sport and Globalization[edit]

It can be observed that over the decades, sport has become a vehicle for driving the effects of globalization, a worldwide process concerning the diffusing of people, ideologies, and goods across national boundaries and how it promotes the interactions between and the integration of different cultures. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world.

Globalization is not new, though. For thousands of years, people—and, later, corporations—have "been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances, such as through the famed Silk Road across Central Asia that connected China and Europe during the Middle Ages"[36]. Likewise, for centuries, people and corporations have invested in enterprises in other countries. In fact, many of the features of the current wave of globalization are similar to those prevailing before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

International teams and leagues and the participation in mega-sporting events fuel a cornered market that strays away from the small community ideology of sport and turns it into an industry. The some of the largest and easily recognizable examples include the Olympics and the World Cup. These events have become so incredibly massive by following marketing and business strategies rather than merely investing in the thrilling splendor of professional competition.

“Many of the accumulation strategies utilized by sports managers around the world were generally conceived in the United States”[37] — this can support the perspective that the globalization of sport is rather an Americanization of international industry. Sport as a market means that several large corporate entities have a share in the process of creating the global production. This includes the small group of mass global telecommunication networks, world renowned sports brands, transnational corporations, and international sports management firms. These groups determine the scheduling and productions of large global sporting events, take advantage of cheap overseas labor to produce sports equipment and apparel, promote certain leagues and teams internationally to sell merchandise and the franchises, and to control the careers of athletes centered around when and where they compete.

Lucie Thibault of Brock University mentions the diverse athlete origins that can be traced in professional leagues worldwide, the increase in the new participation in at international sports events by countries that had not participated before, and the increase in the number of athletes competing in sports that break many barriers of gender, religion, and climate all as positive implications of sports globalization. However, she also touches on the solidly negative truths of globalizing the sports industry. Thibault mentions the luring of athletes out of their homelands to compete for foreign countries, the overseas exploitation of third world peoples in the production of sportwear and equipment, and the ecological footprint of mega-sports events [38].

Sport is more or less a device of consumption in today’s global markets. Spectators consume all aspects of the teams or sports they are partial to and marketing engineers strategically use the demographics to create a global experience. “Media have the expertise and technical equipment to produce sport into a package that can easily be consumed by spectators” [39] and cultures around the world take part. The direction of international mega-sport and the effect it has on global economies, culture, and environment may or not be taking a turn for the worst. Some may suggests that it is creating more harm and negative impact than what it creates positive. Surely this is not massively advertised, but that does not mean all of its affects do not exist. The Olympics, the World Cups, Paralympics, and the Commonwealth Games are only a few examples of major events that fuel this industry and will continually be produced by TNCs, global telecommunications, and major sportwear and equipment companies. Athletes, teams, and leagues will be controlled, showcased, and used to promote events and brands in an effort to fuel the perpetually massive profits created by this method of globalization.

Culture Sharing Through International Competition[edit]

International competition provides a unique platform for social statements to be made. Radio, television, and streaming technology allow athletes on a world stage to communicate values directly to people all around the world. Similar to federation or league competitions, international competitions attract a large, sustained viewer base. However, international competitions have a larger global viewership. ‘Mega-events’, such as the Olympic Games, are “...important points of reference for processes of change and modernisation within and between nation-states...”. [40]

The Olympic Games in Mexico City, 1989 provided a platform for United State’s Black athletes to draw attention to the continuing racism in the states. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medalists respectively in the 200m [41], stood at the podium shoeless, in black socks and Smith in a black scarf. Each raised a black-gloved fist into the air, a symbol of both black power and black unity. The white silver medalist in the 200m, Peter Norman of Australia, showed solidarity with the cause, wearing an OPHR (Olympic Project for Human Rights) pin.[42] Smith and Carlos were condemned by the International Olympic Committee, and received death threats. Returning home, they were praised by the African-American community.


Art stems from playful creativity; something that all human beings possess. Keep in mind that those activities described as “art” are different from free play because they abide by certain rules. Art includes sports, dancing, theater arts, etc. Artistic rules direct particular attention to, and provide standards for evaluating the form of the activities or objects that artists/players produce. Although, art is ultimately subjective and governed by the culture within which it is produced and created for.

Anthropologist Alexander Alland defines art as “play with form producing some aesthetically successful transformation-representation” (1977, 39). In Alland’s definition: form is the appropriate restriction(s) put upon the type of play being organized. For example, a painting is a two-dimensional form. “Aesthetically successful” means the creator of the piece of art and/or audience “experiences a positive or negative response” from the art piece. Something aesthetically poor in quality will have an unsuccessful response resulting in an emotion of indifference towards the art piece from an audience or even from the author. The easiest way to explain the term transformation-representation is to remember that symbols represent something deeper than what is shown and thus may not have any connection with what they are representing. Since Alland suggests that transformation-representation have a dependency on one another, the two should be referred to together as well. Transformation-representation is another way of talking about a metaphor. A drawing is a metaphoric transformation of experience into visible marks on a two-dimensional surface. Also, a poem metaphorically transforms experience into concentrated and tightened language.

Art by intention includes objects that were made to be art, such as Impressionist paintings. Art by appropriation, however, consists of all the other objects that “became art” because at a certain moment certain people decided that they belonged to a category of art. Most often the category was formed by Western society and the objects or activities may not necessarily fit in that same category in another society’s culture. [43]

Anthropologist Shelly Errington argues that in order to transform an object into art, someone must be willing to display it. When Western society sees an item that fits their definition of art, it is placed on the “art” market. Errington also noted that the Western view of art tends to select objects that are: ‘portable, durable, useless for practical purposes in the secular West, and representational.’ A problem exists where Western’s definition of art begins to exploit certain cultures for their objects that offer ‘exotic’ allure. The demand for ‘exotic’ art in Western society, for example, is strong. This art is typically fashionable decoration at one moment and out of fashion next year. This “come-and-go” fashion can threaten international economic policies and resource extraction projects with the artifact bearing society. Like play, art challenges its contributors with providing alternative realities and the opportunity to comment on or change worldly views.


Art Movements[edit]


Impressionism was a term used to describe paintings that looked unfinished because they showed visible brushstrokes. The paintings depicted everyday life. In 1874, impressionist painters organized an exhibition in Paris that launched the impressionist movement. They called themselves the Anonymous Society of Artists. The most notable members were Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro.[45]

Post Impressionism[edit]

Post impressionism started in the late 1880s. Post Impressionist artists painted in a similar style as impressionist artists, but they added new ideas. They did not only paint what they saw in everyday life. They used more symbolism. The most famous members of this movement were Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Cézanne. However, they worked separately and did not see themselves as a part of a movement. [46]


A style of art pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in 1907. Cubism took ordinary shapes and broke them up into abstract geometric forms [47]. Cubism played with perspective and form and broke the long established rules of traditional western art reinvigorating the art scene of the time. Cubism is considered by many to be one of the first forms of modern art.

Dada and Surrealist[edit]

Described as anti-art, Dadaism challenged what can be considered art. Dada was a response to the chaotic times at the start of WW1, an avant-garde rebellion throughout Europe. It was anti-war and a social critique of the conformity of the time. It quickly spread to Berlin where it was facilitated by the Bauhaus art school, along with modernism and surrealism, where the movement flourished. Possibly the most famous piece of Dada art was Marcel Duchamp's 'Fountain' which was a porcelain urinal on a pillar with the name 'R. Mutt' inscribed on it. 'Fountain' was an attempt by Duchamp to shift art from a creative process to an interpretive process which was a key part of the Dada movement. Other well-known works such as those by Salvador Dali, who created 'The Persistence of Memory' featuring melting clocks and 'Un Chien Andalou' a surreal short film are still widely studied today. Dadaism and Surrealism hold international acclaim and are an integral part of art history.

Pop Art[edit]

Merging and breaking down fine art and pop culture icons pop art was a satirization of the mass production culture of America. Pop art was a stark contrast to the serious and ultra creative abstract art of the time, it was playful and ironic and didn't take itself serious. Pop art called into question the images we knew and played off them.


Above all, music is the organization of sound and silence. Beyond this, music means many things to many people, including:

  1. A sound, or the study of such sounds, organized in time in a melodious way.
  2. (figurative) Any pleasing or interesting sounds
  3. Something wonderful.
    That's music to my ears!
  4. A guide to playing or singing a particular tune; sheet music.
  5. Appreciation of or responsiveness to sounds or harmonies
    Music was in his very soul.


The creation of music dates back to prehistoric time. The "oldest song" ever discovered was in "cuneiform, dating to 4,000 years ago from Ur."[48] This indicates to historians that people in many cultures throughout time have listened to, and incorporated the creation of music into their cultures. In ancient times, the Greeks would use basic pipes to create phonic sounds and compose tunes. Although, it wasn't until later that music became true entertainment for people in their everyday lives. In the Medieval era, people began to record music through writing. The Church devoted huge amounts of money to the writing of Gregorian Chants, named for the Pope at the time. The Churches served as a valuable space for recording and saving music. With the invention of the printing press, however, more non-theistic music was able to be recorded. The powerful connection people had with each other through music only strengthened over time. It was music that brought people together during the 14th century as a result of their poor economy. As time went on, new technological advances encouraged and aided the sped up circulation of music to many different people, countries, and cultures. Music is a way to express feelings and tell stories across time by using selective lyrics and notes. Other creatures, besides humans, also use music as a way to portray an expression with either productive uses like mating songs or simple uses like a singing bird. Music changes with cultures and people who listen to it, compose it and invent it. [49]

Song and Words[edit]

Although the major discussion of text and literature is within the chapter on [Communication and Language], the anthropological study of a song, or words as art, warrants its own discussion here in the context of play and art. A quote to keep in mind when studying cultural arts such as music and dance is "There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found the time when he as an old man, to learn music and dancing, and he thought is was time well spent."- Michael De Montaigne[50]


In colloquial terms, classical music is considered any western music written or created up to the mid 1800s. Classical music is generally divided into seven different eras including Gregorian, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Early Romantic, and Romantic. Each era consists of its own stylistic components that set each apart from one another. However, while all 'classical' music is generally considered one in the same, in reality the variations among each era make each unique and distinguishable from each other.


Gregorian music was the first form of written western music. It is characterized by simple vocal patterns performed exclusively by one or two men. Of the two men, the one with the higher range would sing the melodic line while the other would sing a single drone note throughout the piece. In these pieces, very few notes were used. These notes were equivalent to the current day A, E, and D. This practice was brought about by the church who believed everything must be done in threes due to the holy trinity. Because these notes sounded the most consonant together, they were chosen to be the only ones allowed. These intervals are now known as perfect unison, perfect fourth, and perfect fifth.


Medieval music was rather similar to Gregorian music in the sense that it was still very simplistic, followed rigid rules, and was influenced immensely by the church. However, the major difference between the two is that Medieval music involved instruments. This was the first time instruments were introduced to western music. This change was largely due in part to royalty needing more sound because they were speaking to larger groups in larger areas and wanted to seem more important


The Renaissance was an incredibly influential music era known as the Golden Age. Many new additions to the era set it apart from the previous two eras including allowing women into choirs, the introduction of new instruments, and restrictions on notes were not as limited. The addition of women to choirs gave immense texture to pieces. This led to the creation of a music style called madrigals which typically involved four to six parts with one person on each part. The new addition of instruments included many primitive versions of current day instruments, fretted string instruments, and percussion instruments. This was also the first time chromatic instruments were used which expanded which notes could be played.


Baroque music was one of the most flamboyant and over the top music eras. It was often characterized by massive symphonies of 300 plus people and lengthy pieces. Many textures or parts were involved in these pieces making them incredibly difficult to interpret. Additionally, during this time woodwind instruments greatly expanded their range while brass instruments remained comparatively behind. Non-fretted string instruments such as violins and cellos were also introduced during this time.


The Classical era, in a sense, took a step back from the extravagance of the Baroque era. Comparatively, the Classical era was rather simplistic however, it was still far more elaborate than the Renaissance era and the eras proceeding that because of additional technology. During this time, symphony sizes shrunk significantly and rarely exceeded over about 150 people. Additionally, the chorus began being phased out almost entirely and mainly only served as background for certain pieces, the main focus was on instruments. This was also the first time the catholic church allowed specific minor keys to be performed. Tuning instruments had changed significantly during this time making these keys sound more coherent and smooth. By doing this, all keys were slightly out of tune which caused many previously forbidden to be acceptable. However, some minor keys were still banned as they sounded so horrid, playing them was considered blasphemous. Other technological advances included fully chromatic brass instruments, primitive snare drums were invented, and woodwind fingering was standardized. Many well-known composers created their work during this time such as Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. Their work was also well-documented due to the way in which is was recorded.

Early Romantic[edit]

The Early Romantic era was yet another transitional period. This era was all about simplification and minimization. One main focus was breaking music down to the basics. Chamber music also became incredibly important during this time. Both vocal and instrumental music experienced a newly flexible range with key signatures and scales. The only restricted musical component at this point was the major-minor scale. This happened due to advances with tuning and a less restrictive church. Another important advancement during this era was the release of concert music to the general public. In previous years, commoners were not allowed in concerts and were only exposed to folk music. No major expansions or developments of instruments occurred during this era.


One key characteristic of the Romantic era was that it drew stylistic components from various other previous eras. However, one main difference was the simplification of those styles. Similar to the Early Romantic era, the Romantic era was still highly focused on making music as basic, yet beautiful, as possible. Saxophones were also invented during the late Romantic era. Additionally, Romantic style music is the most similar to the music found in film scores and video games. The most well-known composer of this era was Gustav Holst. He wrote for the American military and massive symphonies. Some of his most famous pieces include 'the Planets,' 'the First Suite,' and 'the Second Suite'. Both of these Suites were written for the military band.

Modern Day Influences[edit]

Through this chain of development, from Baroque into Romantic, and then into modern music, what we hear in movies and video games would not be the same without all these previous influences. Many modern day composers, such as John Williams and Hans Zimmer, were heavily influenced by the Romantic era. One well-known example is found in John William's film score for the Star Wars film series. One Romantic composer William's drew from heavily was Gustav Holst: "The Planets has been mined for any number of sci-fi spectaculars, and Mars in particular has been a favorite of film composers including Williams, whose stormtroopers march to a distinctly Martian beat". [[10]] Another composer William's was influenced by was Wagner, who was also influenced by Holst. The film score that was closet to a Wagner piece was Darth Vader's iconic theme: "Where the ordinary filmgoer most conspicuously hears Wagner in Star Wars, is in the brass-laden theme for Darth Vader and his evil Empire—which is distinctively reminiscent of Wagner's music for his majestic Valkyries" [[11]]. Classical music's influence on Star Wars is only one example of many. Most every modern day composer draws ideas and influences from the music found throughout these seven eras.

Electronic Dance Music[edit]

Electronic Dance Music, also known as EDM, is an umbrella term for dance music that is electronically composed by a DJ (disc jockey) and often played in clubs, raves, and festivals. This emerged from the disco era in the 1980s. The attraction to EDM music at parties or on the dance floors is "the chemical and musical object of electronic dance music is capable of the virtualization of its immediate environment and the adjustment of the subject’s everyday life" [51]. EDM is often associated with drug use as many of their listeners partake in the use of both legal and illegal drugs (although not all people). Some of the most popular drugs to use at raves are Molly (Ecstasy), Adderall, Cocaine, Alcohol, and Marijuana. Due to the increase in drug use at raves or music festivals where EDM is most popular, anti-rave culture and laws have emerged. "As EDM cultures continue to expand globally it is necessary to adopt methodological approaches that are rooted in the local and at the same time engage with the global. Such approaches would be more fruitful and would offer a more accurate picture than focusing on one specific site of research" [52]. It is very common to see mostly young adults listening and going out to places that play EDM. Raves are often held at night when most people are going to sleep so "ravers slip into an existential void where the gaze of authority and the public do not penetrate. Electronic dance music has also been integrated into other genres by artists like Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Suicude, Afrika Bambaataa, David Bowie, and many more." [53].


Indie music is music that is produced without the help of major music labels. Indie is short for "Independent", and Indie artists usually do not associate themselves with big names labels. It is more of a "do-it-yourself" music genre. A lot of bands, not only in the US but all over the world, pride themselves in being able to make it big, without the help of a major label. Indie bands also tend to focus on the love of their music more, rather than just trying to make money. While Indie music is becoming more popular with the current generation, independent artists were first recognized in the 1980's, such as the B-52's and later Nirvana. These bands who have made a distinct name for themselves were once considered "college radio music" and made their careers through the independent music scene. [54]


There are a number of different meanings related to folk music, but it is most commonly referred to as traditional music. It has also been known as world music or roots music. The term “Traditional music” is used because it gives it a more specific meaning in order to distinguish it from the other definitions given to describe “folk music.” [55]

American Folk Music In American culture, folk music refers to the style that emerged in the 1960's. Typically folk artists use acoustic instruments and vocals to convey messages about current events, often with lyrics communicating the artist's views on social or political issues. The creation and national circulation of this music was extremely important and valuable in connecting the public to its own current events and creating a dialogue about what was going on. [56] The Folk genre exploded in the 1960’s with artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Before the 1960's explosion of folk music into popular culture, folk music thrived with artists such as Woody Guthrie [57] and Ramblin' Jack Elliot. Modern folk artists include The Tallest Man On Earth, Bon Iver, and Fleet Foxes.

It is nearly impossible to discuss folk music without mentioning Carl Sandburg. Born in 1878 in Illinois, Sandburg spent a lot of his early career traveling and working as a laborer on railroads. During this time, Sandburg acquired a vast variety of different songs and tunes. Sandburg became the first musician to be considered a "folk singer" because he performed the songs he had accumulated during his work. Sandburg compiled all of his favorite songs into what he called the American Songbag. One of his favorites from this collection was the song and symbol of the legend John Henry [58]. John Henry symbolized the power of the black worker and their struggle against machine labor and nonblack laborers. For black culture at this time, this was a big deal. Carl Sandburg was one of the first musicians to openly support black workers. Through the song and the symbol of John Henry, Sandburg was able to revolutionize folk music and spread a powerful message against the mistreatment of blacks, especially in the workplace.

Rock and Roll[edit]

Rock and Roll is a form of music that evolved in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Rock and Roll incorporates elements from many genres including doo-wop, country, soul and gospel, but it is the most closely tied to the blues, a well known example of this is Elvis Presley's music. It is from here that it gains its earliest chord progressions and lyrical style. Many artists have gone on to cover and recreate the sounds of early blues musicians such as Son House, Robert Johnson, Ledbelly, and BB King(the king of blues). This style spread to the rest of the world, causing a huge impact on society. Rock and roll is characterized by an emphasized off beat, or the 2nd and 4th beat of a four-four time signature, guitar use, electronically amplified instrumentation and lyrics that range in terms of subject matter. [59]

New York was an important center for several styles of popular music. Swing Dance bands and the crooners who sang with these bands helped keep American optimism and spirit alive through World War II. Rock music developed out of the number of different styles of music that existed in the forties and became a style of its own in the early fifties. In many ways, the popularity of rock music among both black and white musicians and fans aided the movement toward racial integration and mutual respect of people of any ethnic background. [60] Music served as a unifying common ground among citizens, especially during political, social, or economic unrest. Music was something that everyone, despite their lifestyle, could relate to and enjoy.

Post Rock[edit]

Post Rock employs basic heavy rock instrumentation and expands upon song structure basing organization around building, which is referred to as crescendo in music terminology. Post rock bands are largely instrumental (no vocals) and generally don't use a verse-chorus song structure. Instead, a typical post rock song will begin with one musical idea or melody, and build on it until the level of sound and volume are overwhelming. At that point the song is brought back down to a close.

Punk Rock[edit]

Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed the perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They created fast, hard-edged music, typically with short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY (do it yourself) ethic, with many bands self-producing their recordings and distributing them through informal channels. This is considered to be “punk rock” style and is as much a stage show as it is a lifestyle. The ethos of this sub-culture revolves around the idea of self-identity and recognition within a world of consumerist ideology.[61] There is no shortage of bands and musicians who fit into this genre, but when looking at actual songs, genuine “punk” is considered to be loud, fast, and short. These bands generally have a drummer, guitar, and bass, but always include a vocalist which serves as their literal voice as a whole. The vocalist rarely needs classically trained singing skills and is usually not considered “punk” if they have had training in the past because it is a signal of conformity. Non-conformity is a large basis of the punk lifestyle and music. However, many punk bands are not the uneducated, drug-using, degenerates people make them out to be. A large number have a "power to the people" outlook on music and life. If there is a social, economic, or political issue going on in the society around the musicians, you will likely hear about it in the lyrics of the music. More often than not, "punk" music contains mindless non-conforming headbanging noise, yet theirs is a smart rebellious sub-culture that fuels the youth with a "stick it to the man" mindset that is necessary to any citizen-run culture. [62] [63] Punk's non-conformist ethos caused it to draw further and further into itself throughout the late 1970's and 1980's due to the media's attempts to classify it. The constant commercialization of "New Wave", as major labels and the media called it, spurred a small but incredibly influential scene called "No Wave". They continued the non-conformist ideals of Punk by making incredibly avant-garde, socially conscientious music. Bands such as Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, D.N.A. and the Contortions headed up this original group of bands. This retreat into increasingly noisy and dissonant music is a fine example of musical non-conformity in action. This scene spawned bands such as the Sonic Youth and the Pixies, both of whom cite it as a major influence. [64] Some might also say that the punk rock era,in the mid-seventies, started the new genre of indie or independent music, where bands forego signing to record labels. [65]

Hard Core[edit]

Abbreviated hXc, Hardcore started as an offshoot of punk rock music, putting out music of a very fast paced tempo. It is biggest in the US and in parts of Europe. What really sets apart hardcore from punk is the abrasive nature and technicality incorporated. These two features of hardcore gave it the uniqueness needed to branch off from its father genre and become its own, with genre offshoots underneath it. Mathcore, Metalcore, breakcore, and grindcore are all examples off offshoots of hardcore and all are linked by their abrasive nature, fast temps and use of screamed vocals.


Heavy metal started in the late 60's and 70's and began as a sub-genre of Rock music. Since then, it has grown and expanded so that Metal is its own genre along with a plethora of sub genres under it.

Metal is characterized by darker tones and heavy, loud sound. Different facets of Metal specialize in different types of sound, but, overall, Metal can be classified as heavy rock.

Black Metal[edit]

An extreme sub-genre of heavy metal, black metal uses fast tempos and screaming vocals similar to hardcore music. The term "black metal" was coined by the British band Venom with their second album Black Metal (1982). Black metal has deep roots in the US, but its well known home is in parts of Europe, particularly Norway.

Black metal has been met with great hostility from mainstream culture, mainly due to the misanthropic and anti-Christian standpoint of many artists. Moreover, a handful of musicians have been linked with church burnings, murder or National Socialism. For these reasons and others, black metal is often seen as an underground form of music.


Lil Wayne is a rap icon in the American rap scene.

Most often, rap is known as the reciting of rhymes to a rhythmic beat, but its roots extend far beyond that. The origins of rap music can be traced all the way to West Africa where it originated. Those who possessed this musical talent were held in high regards to those around them. Later, when the "men of words" were brought to the New World, a new creation of African music and American music were mixed together to create a new sound.[66] Throughout history, there have been various forms of verbal acrobatics involving rhyme schemes in which rap has manifested, including schoolyard and nursery rhymes as well as double Dutch jump rope chants. Modern day rap music finds its immediate roots in the toasting and dub talk over elements of reggae music. However, reggae was not immediately accepted and thus evolved into something else entirely. One of the first artists to adopt this style was Kool Herc. [67] Early raps involved reciting improvised rhymes over instrumental or percussive sections of popular songs, often incorporating the use of common slang words. Rap grew throughout the seventies, evolving into a musical form of verbal skill and free expression. It quickly became popular among a younger crowd, giving them an outlet that allowed freedom of expression of individuality. Today, rap continues to be popular in cultures around the world, evolving and moulding itself to fit every culture that it reaches. [68] An example of the globalization of rap music is the group Orishas[[12]]. Orishas originated in Havana, Cuba, and often incorporates traditional salsa and rumba beats to their music. The members of Orishas emigrated to Paris, France, and are now extremely popular in Europe, as well as their native Cuba. Rap is a genre of music that recently became popular with the youth of the U.S.A. The rhythmic vocal characteristics are similar to spoken Japanese. This "gangster life" connotation evolved from the American dream - the ability to work your way up from the ghetto to the high life of a rap superstar. The lyrics often include acts of violence, drugs, extortion, and sex. This sub-culture, created in the early 90's, has flooded mainstream music, topping charts on popular television stations and encompassing the radio. Despite some controversial aspects of the rap music scene, it continues to grow, influencing music across the world. African hip-hop/rap groups have recently started creating more music, claiming the original rap genre for their own, where it was thought to have originated thousands of years ago. [69]

Though "gangster rap" is the wider known "rap", it is not the only type. With rap comes many subcultures, and some of these move away from this "gangster" mentality. You do not have to be a gangster, or from the ghetto to be a rap artist. People often do not think there is more content than sex, drugs, and violence in rap music because most mainstream rap and rap videos have led the majority of people to believe that is what rap is about. Rap originally stemmed as a form of protest for people who didn't have a voice before. South African youth used it as a way to rebel from the apartheid and oppression, which broke open in 1976. [70] In parts of Africa (mainly in West Africa) rap as we know it has become very popular, but with a twist. African rap artists use many American influences as to their production and song structure, but have very different vocal styles, instrumentations, and lyrics. This blend of Western rap and African music is sometimes called "High-life". [71] Rap is just a genre of music - it goes a lot deeper than what is heard on the radio. [72]

Rap plays a roll in cultures all over the world. Rap artists all over the world, and even different parts of a town or neighborhood, have their own style and originality. Although most rappers 'bite' or copy the style of another artist, they want to be known for having their own style and being unique in their own ways. In the United States, rap can be extremely influential. Rap artists can develop what is known as 'beef' with one another where they have developed a hate relationship due to problems in the rap game. They sometimes rap about their enemies as a way of retaliation without escalating into violence. However, this sometimes can induce violence and artists can lose their lives. In the case of 2pac (Tupac Shakur) and The Notorious B.I.G. (Cristopher Wallace), arguably the two best rappers in the game, resolved their beef with violence and they both were shot dead in the mid-1990's.

The violence and language in rap music has been a concern of the United States Congress. On September 25th, 2008 in a hearing convened by Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat of Illinois, lawmakers asked music industry executives about their company's role in the production of explicit rap, at one point inviting them to read aloud from rap artist 50 Cent’s lyrics (lyrics known to be rather explicit). Some Parents feel that their children are threatened by the violence in rap music because it makes them devalue life. Congress and society alike wish for cleaner music with a more positive message for society. [73]


Hip-hop was born in the late 1970’s in New York City as a form of street art. Hip-Hop began in South Bronx under the working class African-Americans, West Indians, and Latinos. Youth Hip-Hop is comprised of four main elements: Rap (vocal), DJ (Playing and technical manipulation of records), Graffiti (aerosol art), and B-boy or B-girl (freestyle dancing). These four components of Hip-Hop were derived from the youthful population that were trying to represent themselves through these competitive, innovative, and expressive activities [74]. This type of music has also traveled all over the world and many people in different cultures are now taking the "Hip-Hop" idea from the United States and making their own. For example in Dakar, Senegal the artists use Hip-Hop to express political views and their struggles that they experience without the right government. This was discussed in a documentary made by musicians called "Democracy in Dakar". The Hip-Hop music in Dakar is overall more controversial and political than the Hip-Hop in the United States because of the battles with their government. [75]

One could say that Hip-Hop is the Blues of the Modern Era in the sense that it is a form of expressing pain and struggle. The struggle is what makes Hip-Hop different across the globe. Different parts of the world have different pains and struggles and they can be heard and highlighted in the songs. At the surface all Hip-Hop culture may look identical (baggy clothes, fitted baseball hats, expensive Nike sneakers, bandannas, etc.), but one can notice the huge differences in the lyrical content and in the structure of the beat.

In countries that are more politically aware, Hip-Hop artists rap about the political struggles that their countries are experiencing, like in Senegal. In the United States, you can hear lyrics about both the struggle to survive in tough neighborhoods as well as political messages. Hip-Hop artists incorporate elections, war, economic struggle, and oppression into their lyrics. Some of the more mainstream artists may not have as many controversial lyrics as some of the underground artists, but the messages are still there.

Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist who studied Japanese hip-hop for a year and half in 1995. His work showed how Japanese hip-hop originally came from the United States, but has now created it’s own identity. The Japanese hip hop culture is similar to that of the United States in that people go to clubs to listen to well known performers. However, in Tokyo, a show will start at midnight and end at 5am. In these clubs, people will not only dance, but they will also do business deals. Another difference is that well known hip hop artists live at home with their parents and live the rest of their life just like everyone else. This is much different from the United States where hip-hop artists are some of the most rich and famous people in the country.

West Coast Hip Hop/Rap[edit]

West Coast hip hop originated in California in the early 1980’s, particularly in the Bay Area. Early rappers in this genre included Too $hort, Ice T, 2pac and the N.W.A (Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre). When West Coast hip hop was originating the goals of the rappers were fame and respect, not fortune. Classified as "hardcore gangster rap", the artists emerging from California at this time wanted to contrast electric and other lighter forms of hip hop, as well as match the intensity of rap emerging from the East Coast. Although West Coast hip hop began to gain popularity in the early 80’s, it was not until the end of the 80’s that it began being successful. Ice-T’s 1989 “6’n da Mornin’” started to gain some national exposure but it was until the N.W.A’s 1988 release of “Straight out of Compton” that put West Coast on the map. [76].

Later West Coast rappers include: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G, Rodney O, Mac Dre and Andre Nickatina. In the early 90’s the rivalry between the East and West Coast began to heat up and N.W.A split. All the artists began working on solo carriers, but it was Dr. Dre's revolutionary production style that continued to dominate West Coast hip hop. The style is called G-funk, but it's often grouped into Gangsta Rap in general. G-Funk can usually be recognized by heavy bass, slower tempo, and melodic synths. [77] Throughout the rest of the 90’s West Coast hip hop continued to split apart into two very different scenes. Gangsta rap and conscious hip hop, the split caused many inter-coast rivalries including the Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur rivalry. [78].

Hip-Hop in Japan[edit]

The Teriyaki Boyz, known to American's from the movie "The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift," are a popular Japanese Hip-Hop group.

Japanese hip-hop, which began in the 1980’s and continues to develop today, is an intriguing case study for exploring the globalization of popular culture. Hop-hop is but one example among many of the transnational cultural styles pushed by entertainment and fashion industries, pulled by youth eager for the latest happening thing, and circulated by a wide range of media outlets eager to draw readers and to sell advertising. In Japan, the street ethic of hip-hop remains, but it is performed most intensely in all-night clubs. In Tokyo, a particular combination of local performance sites, artists, and fans points to ways that urban areas are crucibles of new, hybrid cultural forms. [79]

Japanese dancers and artists consider certain nightclubs to be the “genba” (or “actual site”) of where Japanese hip-hop is established. These nightclubs are places where hip-hop is performed, consumed and then transformed through local language and through the society of these clubs. These nightclubs are also a place for the mingling of dancers, artists, writers and music company people. [80]

Country Music[edit]

Johnny Cash

Country music was founded in the early 1920s and descended from folk music. The music style primarily came from the southern area of the United States. Early country produced two of the most influential artists of all time: Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. Although their impact on music was not recognized until after their death, both have surely shaped the way lyrics are written and the way songs are performed in all genres of music history. In 2006, country music increased by 17.7 percent to 36 million. The music has stayed steady for decades, reaching 77.3 million adults everyday on the radio. Country music is not only a big genre in the United States, but all over the world in countries like Australia and Canada. Country has many styles and sounds that have been put in to categories. Hillbilly boogie, bluegrass, folk, gospel, honky tonk, rockabilly, country soul, country rock, outlaw, country pop, neo-country, truck driving country, and alternative country are all the types of music that country has to offer.

A cappella[edit]

A cappella is a style of only vocal performance. It is distinct in that it is vocal performance without any accompaniment. Many times, when people sing, it is done along with a piano, guitar or various other instruments. However, the a cappella style of singing is characterized by no additional instrumental performance. [81] A cappella literally translates to 'in the manner of the chapel', as music was traditionally performed without instruments in the church.

While services in the Temple in Jerusalem included musical instruments, traditional Jewish religious services after the destruction of the Temple do not include musical instruments.[citation needed] The use of musical instruments is traditionally forbidden on the Sabbath out of concern that players would be tempted to repair their instruments, which is forbidden on those days. (This prohibition has been relaxed in many Reform and some Conservative congregations.) Similarly, when Jewish families and larger groups sing traditional Sabbath songs known as zemirot outside the context of formal religious services, they usually do so a cappella, and Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations on the Sabbath sometimes feature entertainment by a cappella ensembles. During the Three Weeks use of musical instruments is traditionally prohibited. Many Jews consider a portion of the 49-day period of the counting of the omer between Passover and Shavuot to be a time of semi-mourning and instrumental music is not allowed during that time.[82] This has led to a tradition of a cappella singing sometimes known as sefirah music.[83]

Barbershop Style[edit]

Barbershop Quartet in Disney World.

"Keep the Whole World Singing" ( is the motto of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Affiliated with countries world wide such as Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Great Britain, the purpose of the Barbershop Society is to celebrate harmony in the barbershop style, promoting fellowship and friendship among men of good will.

One can find barbershop songs from a variety of time periods and genres which gives everyone the opportunity to relate to the barbershop style. Such examples are Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback", Michael Jackson's "Thriller", BYU's "Super Mario Bro.'s Melody", and "Come Fly With Me" as performed by Realtime quartet.

A common misconception is that barbershop style music is only written for and sung by men. Female barbershop quartets, sometimes called "beautyshop quartets", also exist and many thrive. A society for four-part female groups are The Sweet Adelines International ( watch youtube video ). One of the more familiar "pop" groups is The Chordettes, made famous because of their songs "Mr. Sandman" and "Lollipop". [84]

Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Music[edit]

The influences of Cajun style and Creole music, which evolved into Zydeco, a more contemporary form, can only be found in southwest Louisiana; a blend of European, African, and Amerindian styles. This music is unique in its qualities and is claimed to have come from Nova Scotia in 1755, as the Acadie brought with them music with French origins. The stories told through the music come from European stories that have been altered to fit the lifestyles and life experiences in the south of the New World. Over time and through the 19th century the music has been transformed through the influence of African rhythms, blues, and improvisational singing as well as many singing styles and techniques derived from Native Americans. The fiddle was used for song and dances. Barry Ancelet, author of his monograph Cajun Music: Its Origins and Development, describes how Cappella dance was also used for dance, supplying the rhythm and beats through clapping and stomping [85].

Jamaica: The Mento[edit]

In 1951 the first Jamaican recording studio opened. A new type of music was formed by combining European and African folk dance music together. Disc-jockeys such as Clement Dodd (the "Downbeat") and Duke Reid (the "Trojan") traveled around the island playing there music. The people of the Jamaican ghettos were unable to afford bands, so they hired people like Dodd and Reid. By the end of the 1950’s it transformed into Caribbean music and New Orleans' "rhythm'n'blues". As time went on the music changed to a dominant bass instrument with ska.[86]


Ska is a musical genre that originated in the 1950s in Jamaica and led to the creation of rocksteady and reggae. The history of ska is typically divided into three parts, or waves. The first wave is the original ska scene that developed in Jamaica. The second is the scene that developed in Britain in the 1970s. This music is different from the original Jamaican ska because it usually possessed more well-developed compositions, faster tempos and a less-polished aesthetic. Additionally, both influences drawn from punk-rock. The Specials, a 2-Tone Ska band from Coventry, England, is typically seen as the archetypal second-wave ska band. The third wave of ska involved artists from most of the Western world. This period beginning in the late 1980s was the first time ska had become popular in the United States. Bands from the third wave include Streetlight Manifesto, Reel Big Fish, and Mustard Plug.


Bob Marley is arguably the biggest Reggae icon and is a symbol for peace and love.

Reggae music is a genre that originated in Jamaica's late 1960's and speaks to the struggle fought by grassroots warriors. Worshiping the offbeat, reggae often accents the second and fourth beats of each bar. To Jamaicans, reggae means "the king's music," and the king to whom it refers was Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia. Reggae groups used modern amplified instruments, including lead and rhythm guitars, piano, organ, drums, and electric bass guitar, along with Jamaican percussion instruments (Charlton, Katherine. "Rock Music Styles"). Common themes found in on reggae records include peace, love, religion, poverty, and/or injustice. A familiar example of a popular rock n' roll song exhibiting the reggae-style riddim is the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da". The roots of reggae are tied tightly to the Rastafari movement and sometimes encourage the praise of Jah through the smoking of marijuana.


Emerging in Japan in the early 1970s, karaoke machines are technological and cultural wonders. They allow singers to sing along to their favorite songs in a unique way. Often in social settings like bars, karaoke machines consist of 5 functional parts as described by “Karaoke Around the World: Global technology, local singing”:

  1. Sound Source
  2. Visual Source
  3. Microphone
  4. Sound and Visual Distribution
  5. Accessories (Echo chamber, automatic scoring system, etc)

Together these parts form an interactive experience that sets karaoke apart from traditional music sharing experiences like concerts. Karaoke machines mirror Japan’s passion for singing and technology. Thus it is not surprising that the karaoke industry is built on technology and invests heavily into research and development.

The first musical scholar to research karaoke was Charles Keil, an American ethnomusicologist. Visiting Japan in 1980, Keil found that Japanese were not afraid to match themselves against the perfection of the musical and vocal accompaniment. Keil was also impressed by the passion displayed by karaoke singers holding the microphone as if “charging it with their emotions”. What seemed like an isolated phenomenon quickly grew into a global sensation as karaoke machines can be found all over the world. Karaoke is a product of cultural globalization. As such it continues to evolve and adapt to meet the demands of the digital world. [87]

Karaoke is so much more popular in Japan than in the West. In Japan people are judged on participation and effort. Westerners see karaoke as a kind of talent contest, from which the less musically gifted had best abstain. The result is a reversal of the stereotype of the non-expressive, inscrutable Oriental versus the outgoing, flamboyant Westerner; instead it's the Westerner who shies away from the spotlight while the Asian takes command of the situation. The author argues that karaoke is a positive social development in that it brings people together, and provides tips on how non-Japanese businessmen can sing their way to better relations with their Japanese counterparts. [88]

Filipino Music[edit]

Western music has greatly influenced the music in the Philippines. The most logical explanation behind this is the historical fact that the Philippines are the oldest Western-colonized Asian country. They were exposed to two mainstream, western cultures for over three and a half centuries. The Mediterranean, through Spain and Anglo-Saxon and The United States of America. [89]

[13]. The classical renditions of Filipino music show the blend of varieties of culture. This is not to say that you won’t come across native compositions but just that those nuances of Western form of music like symphonies, sonatas, and concertos are too much used. Filipino music has yielded international composers like Antonio Molina, Felipe Padilla de Leon, Eliseo Pájaro and José Maceda, known to be the avant-garde composer of the country.

Filipino music is generally played with traditional and indigenous instruments like a zither with bamboo strings, tubular bamboo resonators; wooden lutes and guitars and the git-git, a wooden three-string bowed instrument. In fact you may come across Filipino communities having their individual folk songs to be sung at special events like hele, a lullaby, the talindaw, a seafaring song, the kumintang, a warrior song and the kundiman, a love song.

Karaoke is performed extensively in the Philippines as well, in many bars, restaurants, and other places of leisure throughout towns. The influence of Western music is widespread in Karaoke in the Philippines, but not dominant. Many Filipinos are familiar with both classic rock acts (such as the Beatles, the Eagles, and the Rolling Stones) and contemporary Western musical acts (such as Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and Britney Spears) but also sing songs from their own popular Filipino musical acts. A favorite among the high school students was “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston, while an older crowd might prefer “Hotel California” by the Eagles. [90]

Music in Italy[edit]

Music is a major part of Italian culture. Opera, an Italian tradition, is popular among Italians and they continued this musical tradition when they immigrated to Canada. In Italy in the 17th century, Opera music was first introduced by composer Claudio Monteverdi. Monteverdi composed his first opera named L'Orfeo in 1607. Italy is known for having some of the world’s best opera singers, conductors, and composers up to the present day. The most famous names in the contemporary world of Italian opera music are Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. [91]


Korean pop music has been trending in South Korea since the 90s, but hasn't gone global until recent years. Also known as the 'Hallyu Wave', Korean pop has become a worldwide phenomenon earning top places on US billboard and iTunes charts. Recently popular Korean pop group BTS broke headlines ranking no.1 in worldwide albums on the billboard charts the second week of October 2016.[92] K-pop, a shorter term, has it's roots embedded in Korean society sine the early 20th century with a popular genre of music called trot with a similar sound to foxtrot. It wasn't until the 90s that pop music in Korea transformed incorporating American styles such as techno, rap, and rock. The formation of boy bands and girl bands also became a staple. This new style of K-pop gained popular interest in eastern Asian countries such as china, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan. [93]
The culture around K-pop has always been a fascinating and controversial one. Large entertainment companies hold auditions or scout out young adults ranging from the age of 10-20 years old. These teens are trained in dancing, singing, and entertainment skills for years until they are fit to debut in group. Unlike western musical groups where many bands have a lot of free will on their content, most Korean pop groups are limited on the content they create. The entertainment companies that manage these bands usually have teams that create the music, choreograph the dances, and even control the appearance of the members. Most of these groups consist of all males or all females. Many K-pop idols are not even full Korean or Korean at all. In the past several years entertainment companies have scouted and held auditions in other countries looking for foreign potential which truly places itself on a global level.


An important factor in many modern cultures is their literature. Many schools spend a great deal of classroom time reading and discussing works that are considered culturally significant by society. These books generally embody another time period when things were considerably different than they are today. This literature works to continue the understanding of what happened in the past and what effect it had on the individuals involved; while drawing connection between the past and present by identifying universal emotions. Literature can span a great number of subjects. Authors such as Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and Charles Dickens are all given a significant amount of time and discussion in American schools.

Reading and literature is introduced to children in the school system starting in pre-school, all the way through graduate school. It is important to introduce literature to students and has a positive effect. "I read to my graduate students at the beginning of class…because it gives them time to get settled and to clear their minds of the day's activities," she told Education World. "As a beginning teacher," Bowman-Kruhm continued, "I quickly became aware that reading aloud to my class had benefits... my students became very quiet, they heard some good literature, and they got through an entire book. One student said it was the first book he had read in its entirety since first grade." Reading books to a classroom starting at a young age gives them a chance to get into a story and find their own like for reading. The more variety offered the better the chance for more students to connect and find a genre they personally enjoy. [94]

However, there is a great deal of culturally impacting literature that is not given time in schools. This may be because, while still telling a great story, the literature does not express the human condition in a way that is important to modern western society. Besides the “great works” discussed in schools, many authors of fiction are overlooked even though a great deal of our modern culture has been influenced by these authors.

Influential Authors[edit]

J.R.R. Tolkien[edit]

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit book series, has been called the father of the genre of "high fantasy". [95] He has influenced a number of artists and musicians [14].

Later, Tolkien taught at Oxford University alongside fellow author CS Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia), with whom he created a writing club called The Inklings. Encouraged by his academic colleagues, he invented the fantasy world of Middle Earth, the language of the Elves, characters like Aragorn the Straddler, Tom Bombadil, and the evil Cygons. In crafting Middle Earth, Tolkien combined influence from English folklore and mythology with Norse mythology and biblical lore. Tolkien spent more than ten years writing the primary narrative and the appendixes to the Lord of the Rings series, during which he always had the support of the Inklings, most of all from his close friend Lewis.[15]. Tolkien's novels- such as The Hobbit often include coming-of-age elements and follow the Hero's Journey plot.[96] His legacy is survived by his son Christopher, who has spent his life editing his father's posthumously published works, such as The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin. [97]

C.S. Lewis[edit]

C.S. Lewis's work, including The Chronicles of Narnia series, has been translated into more than 40 languages and has sold over 100 million copies since the series was released. The Chronicles of Narnia consist of seven books including the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which was published in 1950. It tells the story of four children: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie. They discover a wardrobe in Professor Digory Kirke's house that leads to the magical land of Narnia, which is currently under the spell of the evil White Witch. The four children fulfill an ancient, mysterious prophecy while in Narnia. The Pevensie children help Aslan and his army save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who has reigned over the kingdom of Narnia in winter for 100 years.[16]

The complete set of books from The Chronicles of Narnia in reading order are: the Magician's Nephew; the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; the Horse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; the Voyage of the Dawn Treader; the Silver Chair; and the Last Battle. C. S. Lewis is a well-renowned Christian author whose stories held strong Christian themes. The Narnia series contains much Christian content within the plot but can still be appreciated by readers of different religious backgrounds due to its enjoyable storyline.

Although often criticized for the heavy religious overtone [17], his work continues to attract an enormous fan base both religious and non-religious. The books take on a Christian theme and also adds Greek and Roman Mythological ideas. Many modern authors admit to being influenced by his work, including Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter' '[18].

C.S. Lewis also wrote non-fiction pieces including "Mere Christianity" and "The Problem of Pain" and some other lesser known works of fiction such as "The Screwtape Letters" and "The Great Divorce". Lewis is known for his deep, thought provoking works of both fiction and non-fiction. [98]

J.K. Rowling[edit]

J.K. Rowling, known most notably for her young adult fantasy novel series Harry Potter, has been an influential literary figure since her series found fame. The Harry Potter franchise has been a global and cultural phenomenon, and the novels have been popular among children, teens, and adults, becoming one of the best selling book series in history.

In creating the fantasy world of Harry Potter, Rowling drew much inspiration from various mythologies, particularly in regard to the fantastical creatures inhabiting the world, and on European folklore of witchcraft and magic.

These features of mythology and folklore make the Harry Potter series accessible to a wide audience familiar with similar stories and myths that have been a feature of western European and American culture for centuries. They are also made accessible to a wide audience by virtue of their readability, for in being young adult novels they are simple enough for children to read, but complex enough to hold the attention of adults as well.

The Harry Potter novels have thus permeated popular culture, and have been a wellspring of literary value in that they have encouraged many younger readers in literary pursuits and impacted child and teen readership over the past twenty years.

The novels can be considered a cultural influence not just in their immense popularity, but in the values they promote that are generally considered positive by western cultural standards in regard to child development of morality. Fables, mythologies, sagas, and other fantastical stories have long been used as tools to encourage behavior in children (and even adults) that adheres to cultural norms of morality—this trend is continued by the Harry Potter series, whose reach ensures that the cultural virtues presented in the novels are instilled in numerous young readers.

Chuck Palahnuik[edit]

Charles Micheal Palahnuik has written a handful for popular and unique novels. He has created novels that are categorized as horror but without containing supernatural events. His books are filed into the horror genre because his characters are shaped by society and go through traumatic events that led to their self destruction. Chucks books can create the invisible window people look through and see what society can cause people to do. It has been said that Chuck Palahniuk has been influenced by the minimalist Tom Spanbauer [99]. It was Tom Spanbauer's writing workshops that got Chuck to start his novels, such as his first one "Invisible Monster." This was rejected the first time by publishers because it was viewed as too disturbing. People find the horrible truth that Chuck reveals can be too much for the common person in society.


Plato's discussions of rhetoric and poetry are both extensive and influential. Teaching among middle school, high school, and college students, he sets the agenda for the subsequent tradition yet understanding his remarks about each of these topics—rhetoric and poetry—presents us with significant philosophical and interpretive challenges. It is not clear why he links the two topics together so closely (he suggests that poetry is kind of rhetoric). Plato's famous statement that “there is an old quarrel between philosophy and poetry” (Republic, 607b5-6) states that there is a clash of values among these two statements.. Plato is (perhaps paradoxically) known for the poetic and rhetoric qualities of his own writings, such as in The Iliad, and is represented through The Odyssey. [100]

Haruki Murakami[edit]

Haruki Murikami is a Japanese writer born in Kyoto. His large influences by Western culture are often apparent in his writing. This is one of the characteristics that set him apart from other writers. Another of these characteristics would be his many references to classical music within the themes and titles of his writing. His works mainly consist of surrealist post modern fiction. Murikami has a unique way of blending his Japanese heritage with his Western influences making it both familiar yet foreign to the reader. [101]

Digital Publishing[edit]

A recent development in literature is the age of digital publishing and the rise of the e-book (electronic book). Instead of books, newspapers and magazines being printed onto paper, digital publishing has created an environmentally friendly and convenient way to read. The major difference between digital publishing and printed publishing is that in digital publishing there is no physical copy. This means that there is no paper and that no ink is needed to create the product. This is a massive change for literature.

The benefits of this change are convenience and accessibility. With e-books, literature can be accessed on any e-reader, phone, tablet or laptop and as such, they have the added convenience of large amounts of reading material per small amounts of space. For example, e-books became very popular on public transportation in Japan. Before e-books, small versions of manga, Japanese graphic novels, were carried and read on public transit. Now the small versions of manga have been replaced by their e-book counterparts. [102] Accessibility is an important improvement on how readers can get ahold of literature. Digital publishing has no limit on how much can be held, unlike libraries or bookstores. Libraries and bookstores are only going to provided books that are expected to be rented or bought. E-books create a never-ending supply of literature, from the huge hits like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings to the unknown works of a self-publisher. The author Hans Roosendaal summed up this process well when he said that digital publishing "gives authors the ability to increase the visibility of their works or makes it easier for readers to do a database search. The use of it shortens the information cycle." [103] The well known distributors of e-books are major companies like Apple iBook, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, or Google Play Bookstore. The downfall of printed literature can be seen in the decline of libraries and the bankruptcies of major bookstores that haven't adapted to the new world of e-books. [104]


Dance is moving rhythmically to music to increase enjoyment of the experience. However, if the moving is not to music than the silence is engaged to prove a point. Dance can be created by a set of sequenced steps. It is used as a form of expression, social interaction, and a way of presentation in different cultures. Dance also may be regarded as a form of nonverbal communication between humans, and is also performed by other animals. Different dances require different skill level, some may be more physically exhausting than others. Regardless of the technique or style, If the proper physics are not taken into consideration, injuries may occur.

Dance in South America[edit]

Argentine Tango

The Argentine Tango originated around 1880 in the periphery of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The dance was popularized in bars, cafés, gambling houses, and brothels. Because the original lyrics frequently referred to sex and obscenities, it is logical that the popularization took place in the underground society. During this time period, even dancing in front of each other or touching at all was considered too much, so the tango’s close embrace and cheek-to-cheek dancing was considered raunchy. Initially people of good reputation looked down on the tango and wanted no part in it. This meant that if a man wanted to practice the dance, his only possible partner was another man. The men got together and practiced the dance as a way of capturing the attention of women.

Eventually the tango slowly started to catch on in Boarding House Common Areas, where immigrants stayed. It took a while to spread, but eventually it caught on after some of the movements were “purified.” Even then the Tango was still generally something that the middle and upper class would keep secret; it was still considered shameful and sinful. It was not until the Argentine Tango made its way to Europe that it was truly accepted in higher society. After it was introduced to Parisian nobility, it became the craze of the time there. When the tango finally came back to Argentina, it was “received as the most beloved son.”—Sergio Suppa [105]

Dance in the Philippines[edit]

The traditional dances of the Philippines reflect the cultural influences of the Spaniards, Muslims, Indians, Middle Easterners, and Western Europeans. Each region of the Philippines that was influenced by a separate culture developed its own traditional style of dance. Many folk dances were also created to imitate the early lifestyle of the Filipinos and for spiritual purposes such as warding off evil spirits. [106] Some of the most traditional dances of the Philippines are the following:

Muslim Influenced Dance

Towards the end of the 12th century, traders and settlers from Borneo and the Malay Peninsula came to the Philippine Islands and brought Islam to the Filipinos. Today, there are more than 1 million Muslim Filipinos residing in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. When the Spanish came to the Philippines, the Filipino Muslims, also known as Moros, were able to resist being conquered and as a result, their Islamic lifestyle remains untouched, for the most part, even until this day, despite the completely different lifestyle of the rest of the Filipino population. There are four main Muslim ethnic groups: the Maranao, Maguindanao, Samal, and Tausug. The traditional dances in this suite make use of bright colors and rhythmic movements that represent the Middle Eastern and Indo-Malaysian influence on the culture. In this suite there is also a ribbon dance that was most likely a result of Arabian influence. Thought to be the most difficult Philippine dance is the Singkil Dance of the Maguindanao in which a woman of royal blood advertises herself to suitors by gracefully dancing with an umbrella, fan or neither while skilfully moving with bamboo poles.[107] Another dance inspired by the war between the Muslims and the Christians is the Maglalatik which originated from the Laguna province. In this dance, the Moros wear blue pants and the Christians wear red pants. In the first half of the dance, the war over the residue of coconut milk is depicted followed by the reconciliation between the two groups.[108] This suite features specific costumes: The Malong which is a tube-like dress that is worn in a variety of ways, and the Kumbong which is a traditional headdress. The instruments played in accompaniment with the dancing are: the Agong which is a brass gong with a knob at its center, and the Kulintang which is a collection of brass gongs laid on a wooden frame. [109]

Barrio Fiesta Dance

Great preparation is taken for Fiestas and special occasions. Food, music, dance, games, and traditional processions are all part of this traditional occurrence in Filipino villages. If the fiesta is for a wedding celebration called a Gala (Boholano), it is customary for the bride and groom to arrive with their friends and be entertained by the people who cater to them. The entertainment includes dance and musical performances as well as clashing of pots, pans, ladles, and utensils to create excitement through noise. It is then tradition for the guests to stick paper money to the bride and grooms clothing right before the final dance which involves the newlyweds participating in playful chasing. Another popular dance in this suite is called the Kalatong which is a dance from the province of Batangas and incorporates bamboo pipes used as percussion instruments. The last dance in this suite is the Tinikling; a dance that copies the movements of the long-legged Tikling bird which hops over the traps set by farmers among the rice stalks. When Philippine dancers do this dance, they hop over bamboo poles in complicated and highly coordinated leaps while the poles are being clashed together and slapped to the floor beneath them. The Tinikling is a playful courtship dance, as are most indigenous dances, that becomes more complicated as it progresses. Tinikling originated from the islands of Leyte and is the official Philippine national dance.[110] The costumes in this suite are the Balintawak which is a floor length dress with stiff butterfly sleeves and a vividly colored overskirt that matches the sleeves. The men wear colorful shirts called Camisa de Chinos. Props for these dances usually include an oil lamp called a Tinggoy, and wooden clogs called Bakya.[111]

The Maria Clara Dance

Maria Clara is a legendary figure in the Philippines who symbolizes the virtues and nobility of the upstanding Filipina woman. She was the main female character in a literary piece by Jose Rizal about the colonizing of the Philippines by the Spaniards. A style of dance and dress was created in honor of her, and portrays its Spanish influence. The Maria Clara dress is formal attire made of an intricately designed blouse and a flowing skirt with a panuelo (square of natural fibers) worn over the shoulders. While men are in a Barong Tagalog, which is a traditional Filipino shirt typically made of pineapple fibers with long sleeves and detailed embroidery. Props for this dance are bamboo castanets and the abanico (Asian fan). This suite consists of many different dances that mean different things to the Philippine culture.

Igorot Dance

The Igorot are a Philippine tribal people living in the central cordillera area of Northern Luzon. The six different tribes, known collectively as the Igorot, are the: Apayao, Bontoc, Ibaloy, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Kankanay. These peoples prefer to be referred to by their separate tribal names rather than simply as Igorot which was the classification word ascribed to them by the Spaniards. These tribes have religious beliefs in common that conjoin them to nature. They also honor household gods with special offerings. Dance is performed at their ceremonies as an expression of community harmony, as appeasement to their gods, in honor of their ancestors, to heal sickness, to attain the support of their gods for upcoming wars, to keep bad luck away, to seek deliverance from natural disasters, to insure a plentiful harvest, pleasant weather and to celebrate the circle of life. In these dances, women place jars and/or baskets on their heads to demonstrate the role of women in the community as food gatherers and water fetchers. For the men, there is the Manmanok dance where they use bright, woven blankets to attract the women, and the Takiling where the men dance and chant while they beat on their gangsa, brass gongs, to demonstrate their skill in weapons and hunting.

Dance in the Philippines is greatly influence by the Spanish due to the Spanish Regime. Dances and music took on the tempo and style of European dances. For example, the tempos of the Tinikling dance and the Itik-Itik acquired the tempo of the Jota and Polka. [112]Some more examples of dances that Filipinos are known for are:

Pandango Sa Ilaw: A Spanish dance which requires a good amount of balancing skills due to having to hold three oil lamps on the head and the back of each hand. This dance originated from Lubang Island, Mindoro.

Cariñosa: The name of this dance describes a woman who is affectionate, friendly and loveable. This dance includes using fans and handkerchiefs while being in a flirtatious manner.

Rigodon: This dance originated in Spain and is most commonly used at formal affairs.

Tinikling: The national folk dance involves a pair of dancers hopping between two bamboo poles, which are held just above the ground while being struck together at in relation to the music. [113] This dance imitates the agility and grace birds used to avoid the bamboo traps in the fields set by rice farmers. The dancers symbolize the birds, therefore displaying their agility through footwork, while the bamboo poles symbolize the traps. [114]

Dance in Zulu and Masai Culture[edit]


Dance is a very important part of many African cultures. This is true for the Zulu and Masai in particular. Both cultures are pastoralist and have many other cultural similarities. Despite this, they express their dance very differently. To explain this we will delve into various cultural aspects of Masai and Zulu society in which dance is used to find societal similarities as we as stylistic dance differences. To begin we must first take a look at some societal similarities between the Zulu and the Masai. This includes age sets, raiding traditions, and the importance of cattle. Emphasis of the Zulu society was on warfare and raiding. Age sets played a large role in this as young men were divided into these and at a certain age set were raiders and warriors. During raids, Zulu warriors would pick up cattle, which were a measure of wealth in their society . Shaka, the uniter of the ancient Zulu nation, gave the Zulu their pride in warfare with his dynasty. Military service was mandatory and rigorous training. He also revolutionized the style of combat with his bullhorns method and his short stabbing spear, which was also used in warrior dances. His constant invasion of other societies is what gave his empire so much power and it instilled a sense of nationalism in his people. Warriors were chosen by what age set they were in. Age sets having been a group of people within about a ten-year age span . Many times these age sets were organized into elders, warriors, and children . In the process of initiation after puberty, women had a special dance that was performed. In Shaka’s society cattle were a measure of wealth. If you didn’t own cattle you couldn’t get married or pay for luxuries . Cattle could be earned by raiding other societies or through outstanding military action . Sacrificing them was also a large part of their society; making sacrifices for a safe return from battle or in preparation for a successful one . The Masai culture, in contrast, considered themselves a purely pastoralist society and consequently placed a lot of emphasis on cattle . They were also a raiding society. Although they used hunting as a part of initiation ceremonies it was not a regular occurrence in Masai society. Like the Zulu, the Masai used cattle as a form of wealth. They found cattle so sacred that they would not eat meat from the cow and drink milk from it in the same meal because they saw it as disrespectful to mix those things taken from the living with those taken from the dead . The Masai also believed that all cattle were rightfully theirs given by God and so were justified in taking them from other tribes .

War Dance[edit]

Both the Zulu and Masai kingdoms placed an emphasis on war and raiding. It is natural then that they had a dance to accompany and portray these actions. They both had a name for these warriors. The Zulu warriors were called Indlamu and the Masai were known as the Moran. In the case of the Zulu, their dance was named after their warriors. Many times Zulu dance was characterized by its stomping movements, which had a feeling of heaviness and connection with the earth. One example of this was the Indlamu, or warrior dance. This dance was performed at weddings along with other dances. Typically the Indlamu, or Zulu war dance, was performed in a large group with the dancers entering in two by two . It was performed in unison and in some versions had three sections, the entry, and preparation followed by two routines. There was one leader who gave the cues for when to begin and when to end . This was usually characterized by a foot stomp. In the version with three sections the first section of the dance was the entry where the men are crouched and moving in a circle around the dance area; the dancers then sat as their leader did a solo . When his solo was done the leader gave the signal to start the main section of the dance, which was performed in all versions. This final section was performed using a series of stomps in rhythm to the beat of sticks, or in some cases a drum . It also included a series of kicks, which varied between tribes but usually consisted of either a leg thrust straight in front of them or thrust from the front and carried around to the side . In both instances the leg stayed bent . The dress for this occasion was usually traditional. Ostrich feathers were tied to the legs below the knees and on the upper arms in some cases . They also wore loincloths . As they danced they carried their shields and a spear. They also had a headdress that was similar in style to a crown. The Masai also had a warrior dance called the Adumu . It was a ceremonial dance done for themselves: to form a trance-like state for the warrior. This dance, unlike its Zulu counter-part, was not performed for weddings but was instead used as a mental preparation. It was a test of strength and endurance. The dance began with the warriors creating a circular formation. Unlike the Zulu, The Masai warriors started out standing around the outside of the circle swaying back and forth and then one or two came to the center to start the dance . They jumped up and down in a straight rod-like fashion with the goal of coming into a trance-like state . For the Masai when the person in the middle gets tired he is replaced with someone from the outside of the circle. The rhythm for this dance was found in a chant that the warriors forming the edges of the circle sang while the dancers in the middle jumped higher and higher into the air. During the warrior stage of life in which this dance was performed the Masai wore their hair in long braids . Their traditional clothing was made of red cotton and very conservative in comparison to the Zulu attire of a loincloth . The cloth covered them from their chest down and was sometimes similar to a dress in its appearance. There is a very obvious contrast in these two styles of warrior dance. The Zulu with their creation of this connection through their body with the earth is almost polar opposite of the Masai who are reaching up into the sky with their jumping movements. The formation of the Masai differs from that of the Zulu in that the Zulu had a very militaristic line formation to their dance while the Masai stood in a circle. There was also no specified person to begin the Masai dance while the military leader is the designated beginner in the Zulu version. The setting in which these dances were performed is another difference. The Masai dance was performed as a mental preparation and was not intended to be a public event but the Zulu dance was performed at weddings and other occasions. The source of the beat in the Zulu dance came from sticks instead of from a chant like in the Masai dance. The Masai and Zulu had very different costuming choices as well. The Zulu chose to wear loincloths. The Masai chose to wear long red robes, which is a stark contrast to the loincloth.

Wedding Dance[edit]

As previously stated both societies placed an emphasis on cattle. Once a young man earned enough cattle he could be married and there was a ceremony. During that ceremony there was dancing. This was true of both the Zulu and the Masai. The Zulu had a different dance that they perform at weddings called the Inkondlo. This dance was performed as the bride made her entrance into town. The bride and her bridal party made up of other girls from her age set performed this as they came into the village. The dance began with the bride behind her bridal party. The girls are singing the inkondlo wedding song . The party started out in a bent posture and gradually became erect . In some versions, dancers formed 2 files circling outward away from one another and wheeled back across the center to form a line at the end of their movement . This portion of movement was quick and spirited with movements back and forward. The bridal party started the next section of the dance with the bride and her bridesmaids coming out from behind the party . When in front the bride does a solo to complete the first section . The movements in this section were very proper and pleasant. The Inkondlo itself was a rhyming poem. They used this as the basis for the dance. It was performed as part of the dance. The Masai wedding dance was called a Kayamba; named after the rib-like instrument used in the accompanying music. The young girls of the tribe were the performers in the case of the Masai. The music used a repetitive melody doubled by a chorus. It was accompanied by a high-pitched bungo horn. Rattles and whistles were minor accompaniments. The Kayamba is one of these rattles; made of wood and reeds with little pebbles on the inside . This music was very dynamic with its many parts. As the young girls danced they added to the music with bells tied to their ankles . This made the dance very rhythmic. The Masai wedding dance would have been more for the entertainment of the wedding party than it’s Zulu counter part. The wedding dances of the Masai and Zulu contrast nicely. The Masai dance was very rooted in its music and performed as entertainment for the wedding party. The Zulu dance was a celebratory way of bringing the bride into town that used a simple poem chant. It is interesting to note that these dances were both named after the music used in them; the Zulu after the Inkondlo poem and the Masai after the Kayamba instrument. The Kayamba music was very dynamic and had many parts to it. The Zulu music was very simplistic with its one part chant. Performers of the wedding dances were very different as well. The young girls of the kingdom performed the Masai dance. In contrast, the bridal party performed the Zulu dance.

Coming of Age Dance[edit]

Both men and women in Masai and Zulu culture had age sets. To become part of the next age set there were rituals and ceremonies to take part in. Many times those ceremonies included dancing. In Zulu, society women had a very special ceremony, as they became women. The ritual that is most intriguing about Masai initiation comes after the killing of a lion. The Zulu women had a very interesting dance ritual as part of their initiation into womanhood. Part of their initiation was to stay isolated in their hut for a week with only their mother and one friend . After this period they came out and danced. In preparation for their dance they made grass costumes. They weaved together grass to make their outfits that would later be burned after the ceremony . The friends and sisters of the woman being initiated would also participate in the grass, costumed dance . The final ceremony was full of singing and dancing. The woman was officially initiated with her friends and sisters. The final act of the ceremony was the burning of the grass clothing that signaled the step into womanhood . As a part of their initiation into manhood, the Masai were required to go on a lion hunt . When they were successful there was a ceremony that involved the Engilkainoto dance . This dance was performed for the tribe as a celebration of the feat. The lion conquerors picked a female partner to dance with and danced in the middle of a crowd gathered to watch them celebrate . Each couple proceeded through the crowd to the center to dance together. The warriors wore ostrich feathers on their head . They also carried a spear with the paws or tail of the lion attached . Their female partners wore beaded dresses. Besides the fact that these initiation ceremonies were for different sexes there were some other contrasts in the dances performed during them. For one thing, the Zulu dance was done as a group of women as a sort of core instead of being a partner dance like the Masai. Their costumes differed in that the Masai wore their warrior uniforms and decorated their spears with the paws and tail of the lion. The girls in the Zulu dance wore grass outfits that were burned at the end of the ceremony. The girls in the Masai dance wore beaded clothing which was much more permanent.

Ethiopian Dance[edit]

Ethiopia has a lot of different dances depending on the region. The main dance is called Escista. It is mainly preformed using the shoulder and chest to make rapid movements. Another famous dance is called Gurage, which is different because leg movements are very essential. Gurage uses kick moves that go with the beat that is being played. Another big dance is Tigrenga, this dance requires the participation of a group. The group would make a circle and move in the circle according to the beat. Some people may choose to go in the middle of the circle to preform their own moves. These dances are mostly performed at weddings and holiday gatherings. A conclusion that can be drawn from this, is that the Zulu and Masai use different movements to characterize similar cultural events. Zulu dancers have a very heavy, grounded feeling to their dance while Masai dancers have a very taught and jumpy feel. By using dances about similar aspects of life it is made easier to compare their styles. Although their expressions of life aspects may be different, the things they dance about give us a sense of what is important to them.

Trance State, Dance, and Mayotte Culture[edit]

The act of being in a state of trance is by itself most widely and basically defined as any state of altered consciousness or cognizance that differs from ordinary wakeful awareness; in other words, entering a state of trance is achieved when one’s “physical body” becomes partially or completely dormant while the person’s mind stays awake. During this process of entering the trance state, as well as while actually operating in the trance state, the brain wave frequency of the individual in trance actually changes. This change in brain wave frequency is a response to the altered levels of physical and mental activity. Specifically, entering the trance state is characterized by a considerable change or difference from a beta brain-wave state. The human brain is known to have many different brain-wave states which include beta waves, delta waves, theta waves, alpha waves, mu waves, and gamma waves. All of these brain waves are always present in the human mind at all times, however certain waves are more powerful or heightened when engaged in different activities or states of consciousness. For example, beta waves in the brain are associated with wakefulness, consciousness, alertness, activeness, and concentration; so as a result, when one is awake and engaged during the day this brain wave is the strongest and most heightened while the other brain waves are put to the background or periphery. The beta brain wave is put to the background however when an individual enters into the trance state, where at that point the brain’s other frequencies are heightened and moved to the foreground.

The act of entering trance-like states is often times a ceremonial or spiritual practice in which many cultures around the world participate in. Many of these cultures and tribes across the world that participate in trance rituals often use music and, especially, dance as ways of participation in order to enter the trance state; dancing in particular is used by some cultures as a way of entering a trance state, whereas other cultures may dance as a product of being in the trance state. Different cultures across the globe use different methods and different techniques while engaging in trance-inducing rituals, however, one common theme found across many of these cultures who participate in trance rituals is the use of dance. Dance is an integral component of not only trance-inducing rituals, but the trance state itself. In many different ways the process of “trance” can be considered as and included under the categories of both art as well as dance.

One culture in particular where dance and the process of entering into trance states is a major factor in their lives is the people of Mayotte. Mayotte is an archipelago that rests between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. This archipelago is currently a region that is owned and under the influence of France, however many indigenous groups still live and practice their traditional customs on Mayotte. Many of the indigenous peoples living on Mayotte traveled from nearby African countries, including Mozambique and Madagascar, and settled on the various islands of Mayotte. Many of these original people to inhabit Mayotte believe in spirit possession and call upon spirits to possess them through dance and other rituals in order to enter the trance state. No one uniform dance is practiced during the rituals and instead many unique dances are performed by the different people involved; this is because the Mayotte people believe in and call upon many different spirits whom all have different dances associated with them, and in fact participators in the trance state often improvise and create their own dances while “possessed” by these different spirits. Rituals involving dance in Mayotte often involve participation of spectators who clap their hands while participants, possessed by a certain spirit, dance in front of them. These dances can vary from graceful movements to fast rapid dances [19] depending on the type of “spirit” the participator is possessed by; the participators are in the trance state when they are possessed.

Native American Dance[edit]

Native American dance has profound and deep spiritual meaning within their culture. A prime example of this would be the mask rituals of the Kwakiutl, a Native American tribe local to Washington state. These rituals bring together song, dance, and storytelling in a fantastic and mystical way. The story's range from story's about the origin of the Kwakiutl, to silly stories meant to scare children into being good. All of these dances are accompanied by chanting and drums, which are made primarily out of cedar and animal skins.

[115] The Ghost Dance was created and performed by Paiute in in the 1890s as a result of the harsh conditions surrounding Native Americans after half a century of dominance by another culture. One direct causes of this was the complete slaughter of buffalo herds throughout the last half of the 19th century. A depletion of their food sources meant that many Native Americans were forced to live and work on reservations carved out of the land by the U.S. government. [116] (Garth Ahern-Hendryx)

Dance, Art or Sport?[edit]

In American society, it is sometimes stereotyped as simple, or un-athletic to be a ballerina. Dance is "not a sport" but rather just a form of art. However in many places across the nation, football players are being sent to ballet class to be taught the art of balance, walking/ running through their toes and quick action pivots. Retired Steelers players Lynn Swann and Herschel Walker, along with ex-competitive bodybuilder Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had at one point incorporated ballet classes into their regular work outs. Dance of all kinds, whether it be modern, jazz, ballet, kick [117], tap, hip-hop, break dancing, krumping, salsa, waltz, foxtrot and even pole dancing all takes an extreme amount of control and strength and athletes have begun to recognize the benefits. Walker even took it a step further and performed in a show with the Fort Worth Ballet. "Despite having gone through 2-a-day training camps and getting hit repeatedly by massive linebackers, Walker called the ballet performance, 'The hardest thing I've ever done.'” Likewise dancers are training equally hard and as long as many professional athletes. The Southwest Washington Dance Ensembles company dancers rehearse up to 8 hours on Saturdays for shows starting up to 4 months before the opening, along with taking anywhere between 3 to 6 classes a week. While I was performing with the group I remember the very long and hard hours that I spent in the studio and then followed by a long shift working as a waitress. I suppose the biggest differences between dance and athletics is that stadiums do not get sold out for a single performance( the venues are incredibly smaller) and the amount of money dancers receive for their performance is much less. While football players and other professional athletes are getting paid millions of dollars a year, many professional dancers do not receive even close to that amount of money. The field is also much more competitive, as only prima ballerinas get to the lead roles. However, in other cultures such as Russia where the Moscow ballet is a much bigger deal, audiences would much rather pay high prices for a viewing of the FireBird. The lack of interest and in general recognition of the hard work that dancers put into their "sport" is a reflection of the priorities of entertainment of America. When it comes to other cultures, such as Bahia, Brazil, countries do treat dance as a form of art AND a sport. In "Dance Lest We All Fall Down," the story of anthropologist Margaret Wilson's experiences living for a time in Bahia, she discusses and participates in capoeira. Capoeira was first created in Brazil by the slaves brought from Africa. It is said to be a combination of African martial arts and Brazilian dance moves. It is also said that this form of "fighting" was a self-defense mechanism designed by the slaves to look like dance so they wouldn't get in trouble with those in control. Capoeira is similar to what we know as martial arts, only it involves a small group of people who surround the dancers in the middle as they "fight" (without ever making physical contact) to the beats of multiple instruments. The fighting stops when either player is exhausted, another player steps in or the music ends. Roda is another style in capoeira, or a cultural frame of capoeira, where the players form a circle around 2 other capoeiristas who proceed with a simultaneous capoeria battle. Roda illustrates the athletic aspect of the art of capoeira in the rhythmic battle, that only comes to an end when the beat ends or another player takes one capoeirists spot. The circle surrounding capoeiristas is also a tradition in the art and culturally symbolic to challenging oppression in Brazil. These capoeira groups travel around "playing" with different capoeira groups, or in other words competing, and the more modern version has become the National Brazilian Sport, even though it began as a mysterious and ancient form of art. Many could describe capoeira as a form of dance as well which shows that dance can be interpreted as a sport or an art depending on the cultural constructs of each country. It just so happens that here in America, dance is widely known as an art rather than a sport. Yet this does not mean dancers are not athletes.

Works Cited [118] [119] [120] [121] [122] [123] [124] [125] [126] [127] [128] [129] [130]

Visual Art[edit]

Cave Paintings[edit]

The cultural practice of painting is an art whose origins date back tens of thousands of years in the form of cave paintings. While cave paintings have been discovered all over the world, some of the earliest examples of this art occur in Africa in the region of Namibia. These paintings, which depict animals painted on stone slabs, have been dated to be nearly 30,000 years old and were speculated to have been done by the San people. Since their discovery in 1969, these paintings were thought to be the earliest known examples of cave art. However, that distinction was lost with the discovery of the Cauvet cave in 1994. The cave, which was happened upon accidentally by potholers in Southern France, contains wall paintings depicting animals from bison, horses, and deer to lions, rhinoceroses, and mammoths. Radiometric dating placed the ages of the earliest of these paintings at approximately 31,000 years old, which clearly places them as the earliest forms of cave art to be discovered so far. [131]

The actual purposes of cave art have been the source of much speculation. In studying the practices of modern tribal societies, some modern scholars have theorized that cave paintings were probably tied into the concepts of religion and magic that were held by the societies of those early painters. However, the precise reason as to why the paintings were created in the first place is still a topic of debate. Whether the paintings were made to bless the efforts of early hunters or were meant to act as a shamanic aid for tapping into the spiritual world, or were created for a wholly different reason is a question that may never be answered. However, the existence of cave paintings themselves reveals that even from earliest times, humans have been interested in being able to depict the objects and environments of the world around them. It is an interest that has continued to be prevalent within human culture across the course of history.

There were a few basic methods that prehistoric people probably used to paint these cave walls. It is theorized that they used sharp tools or spears to etch figures, mostly animals, into the rock. The paint or color that they used to decorate the cave art was most likely used from charcoal, soot, clay, or various types of berries. Basic tools to apply color could have been constructed out of straw, leaves, or hair attached to sticks or reeds. They also might have sprayed on color through hollow reeds or bones in an airbrush type fashion. [132]

Classical to Modern Painting[edit]

Graffiti by RE Krew of Chalco Baner, Arian, Greko, Higer and Septimo. Mexico City 16 September 2009

Throughout time, painting, much like most other art forms, has been used to express emotion, invention, and the change in times. The first known painting was found to be in caves in France around 32,000 years ago.[133] More familiar art work dates ancient Greek, Rome and Renaissance time period.[134] During this time, religion was the main theme of artwork and later began to depict political characters in complex and intricate portraits. Far eastern styles, such as Chinese and Japanese, were also concerned with depicting religion but with different media. While they preferred ink and silk, Western culture began adopting the lightness of watercolors and oils. African art differs greatly from Western art as they had an abundance of functional art. Masks and jewelry were important accessories that were used in ritual ceremonies symbolizing spirits and ancestors. Although murals can be dated as far back to the beginning of artwork, Muralism, or “Muarlismo”, was a movement that brought much attention to Mexican artwork in the 1900’s. The Mexican mural movement was born in the 1920s following the Revolution (1910-1917) and was part of the government's effort to promote its ideology and vision of history. The murals were done in a way to strengthen Mexican identity and artists were commissioned to create images of the cultural history of Mexico and its people. Perhaps inspired by the murals of the 20th century, the urban Graffiti on construction panels on side of the Palacio de Bellas Artes continue to decorate Mexico City.


Also known as street art, graffiti is any two-dimensional symbol or image placed in the public sphere without authorization or commission. It is relatively recent in terms of art, typically involving spray paint, but also employs other kinds of paints, and even decals. Graffiti is illegal and considered vandalism, or destruction of property. While it can be controversial or even obscene, graffiti has also come to serve as a medium for social, political, and economic commentary. With the works of notorious artists such as Banksy gaining worldwide recognition, it has become a global phenomenon. [135] Art has historically been a means of expression through creative transformation, street art and graffiti in particular has gained a reputation for outspoken opinions and a critical eye towards the status quo. Giving a voice to the 'common man', it is readily viewable by hundreds of people on the sides of buildings, train cars, subways and metros, bridges, and more, creating a dialogue without endangering the artist from persecution and arrest, so long as they don't get caught. While a major platform remains the 'tag', a series of letters, symbol(s), or a word that acts as the signature of the artist, there are increasing pictorial images that have garnered attention and redubbed 'graffiti' as 'street art'. Places of great social unrest have some of the most interesting and profound street art, such as Iran, [136] Brazil, Eastern Europe, and the like. Berlin, Germany is home to a historic (in the sense of modern-day graffiti) street art movement during the Soviet reign of East and West division post-WWII that continues today. There are countless forms of so-called graffiti, much as there are many types of other art forms, it can be large or small, explicit or implicit, contentious, engaging, or have no real meaning at all except to the artist who now has a platform to display their work; it has persisted and grown, despite the fear of retribution, and will likely continue to flourish as a new art of the streets.


Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard and/or plastic material, sound, and/or text and or light, commonly stone (either rock or marble), metal, glass, or wood. Some sculptures are created directly by finding or carving; others are assembled, built together and fired, welded, molded, or cast. They can either be constructed in the round, also known as free-standing, which allows the viewer to walk around the full sculpture and view it from any angle, or as a relief sculpture, in which the forms extend forward but remain attached to a background surface and is meant to be viewed from the front like you would observe a painting. Within these categories there are many sub-fields of low-relief or bas-relief, but as time passes we have witnessed the traditional means of sculpture manipulated and reworked to create the modern sculptures of today. [137] Sculptures are often painted. A person who creates sculptures is called a sculptor. Because sculpture involves the use of materials that can be molded or modulated, it is considered one of the plastic arts. The majority of public art is sculpture. Many sculptures together in a garden setting may be referred to as a sculpture garden. [138]

Over the ages there have been many great sculptors who have effectively personified the spirit of their time. A few of these are Michelangelo [139], Auguste Rodin [140], and Gian Lorenzo Bernini [141]


By definition, media is the means of communication, as radios, televisions, newspapers, and magazines that reach or influence people widely. This meaning of media has been around since the printing press made it easier to produce large masses of papers to spread news to the public. Today, mass media can be seen as a form of art because there are so many aspects and rules to creating an appropriate message that also must be effective to the public. Media can also be seen as a form of art because it is a form of expression that reaches out to a large sum of people. Media is a less obvious form of art compared to some fine arts such as paintings, drawings, and sculptures, but certain aspects of the media have just as much creativity and effort put into them that make the media a form of art that can be seen in everyday life.


The word photography derives from two ancient Greek words: photo, meaning "light," and graph, meaning "drawing". "Drawing with light" is a way of looking at the term photography. [142] Arguably invented in the 5th century B.C. by Mo Ti, a Chinese philosopher, photography has been a means of creating still images. Mo Ti was able to describe the pinhole camera which is the simplest type. This can be made from black paint, a blank photo, and cardboard. The idea is that with one small pinhole, light can emit to the back of the box to the photo in such a way that reflects the projected scene. Mandé Daguerre is credited for the first printed photograph. His image was processed on a copper plate coated with silver iodide and it printed clear, sharp, and had the potential to be duplicated by others. It was named the daguerrotype. [143] Photography has advanced considerably since then starting in the early 1900's with the discovery of chemical compound that permanently hold the image. [144] This new technology brought with it a new ways of recording historical documents. One of the first examples of this is the photographs of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln understood the importance of photography and in 1860 he had his portrait taken by Mathew B. Brady, the most famous professional photographer in the history of American photography. Native Americans in the past have refused to have their photograph taken for fear of losing their soul. In San Juan Chamula, Mexico it is illegal to take photographs in church. [145]


Ceramics is the art of making objects from clay. Clay is a naturally occurring material that is manipulated and decorated to create ceramic art. When dry, clay is similar to a powder, but when mixed with water it becomes a moldable, plastic material which is pinched, rolled, or shaped into forms that are then left to dry into fragile creations. After the clay is completely dried to where it is cold to the touch it must be fired in a kiln at temperatures as high as 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes its new form permanent, and changes the chemical composition of the clay so it can never be made into the moldable, plastic state again. There are many techniques used by potters to create ceramics. Slab construction (firm and soft), coil, molding in the hands, and throwing on a potters wheel are all means of forming clay into ceramic art. A major requirement for ceramic art is it must be hollow. This is because most ceramics have practical uses such as holding food or liquid, and also because thick pieces of clay, or shapes that are not correctly hollowed and vented, are difficult to dry and fire successfully without exploding in the kiln. After the clay has undergone its first firing, potters often decorate their pieces with glaze, a paint like liquid that contains a variety of minerals mixed with heavily watered down clay. If painted with glaze, the ceramic art must undergo a second firing in the kiln to permanently fuse the glaze to the clay and seal the piece so it is capable of holding liquid. [146]

The word ceramics is from the ancient Greek word, keramakos, and means "of pottery". The earliest known practice of ceramics is dated back to as early as 20,000 years ago in China. This is an art form that has been practiced by nearly every culture we know of. The culture of Pueblo people is showcased in the work of some folk potters in New Mexico. Techniques during the first stage of firing have developed over generations of Pueblo potters that transform the local red clay of New Mexico into burnished black masterpieces of ceramic art. What began as a necessary tool for Pueblo people, allowing them to gather, transport, and store food and water, has become a exquisite art form held highly in the eyes of the international fine art communities. [147]

Television and Film[edit]

It is no doubt that the roles of television and film have become more prominent in everyday life as decades have passed and improvements have been made in technology. People tend to watch television and films for entertainment or news purposes, especially since they have become more available and accessible to watch to people around the world. However, they are treated differently in different countries, from a portion of Serbia only being able to watch a certain channel to having 500 channels on every television in almost every home in America. Although television and film have become more common as years have passed, most people do not realize the work and corruption that exists through the media and is being placed in the homes of millions. [148]

Television in America[edit]

The average American household has the TV on for an average of 7 hours, 12 minutes per day. [149] This is most likely because 98% of homes in the United States have at least one television set, while the average home has between 2 and 3 televisions. As a nation, we watch 250 billion hours of television annually and almost 50% of Americans admit that they watch TV too often. TV is one of the top advertising agents because it is so common; 30% of TV broadcast time is devoted to advertisement and in a year most children will see 20,000 30 second commercials. [150] 82% of Americans believe that "most of us buy and consume far more than we need." [151]

Children that start watching TV at a very young age are more likely to be unhealthy and obese later in life. It takes away from them going outside and interacting with other kids. This can also result in weight gain due to inactivity and increased snacking. [152] In the span of 30 years (from 1963 to 1993), the percentage of American children ages 6 to 11 who were seriously overweight went from 4.5 to 14. [153]

However, television isn't necessarily all bad. Many viewers, myself included, regard TV as a much-appreciated source of relaxation and tune in to their favorite shows as a means of resting their bodies and recharging their minds after a long day at work or school. TV can also help to meet emotional needs, albeit on a somewhat superficial level, as it often functions as a source of escapism and even catharsis. In short, while I agree that watching too much television can have negative side-effects such as increasing rates of consumption and contributing to childhood obesity, I also believe that, in moderation, it is a perfectly healthy practice that can serve valuable functions in the lives of viewers.

Studies from the University at Buffalo and Miami University of Ohio have shown that television can also help stave off loneliness and rejection. It follows the 'social surrogacy hypothesis', which states that humans can use technologies to provide themselves a false sense of social belonging when there has in fact been no actual social interaction. Connecting with characters can help ease a viewer's need to connect with others, allowing a person to feel as though his/her social needs are being met. The first study found that subjects were less lonely while watching their favorite programs. The second study found that those who connected with the programs on a deeply social level described the programs at further length. The third study found that subjects just thinking about their favorite programs were buffered against drops in self-esteem and increases in negative moods and feelings of rejection. The fourth study found that those who had written about their favorite program (as referenced in the second study) felt fewer feelings of loneliness. The question remains, however, if this 'social surrogacy' actually fulfills social needs or simply suppresses them. [154]

Media and Television[edit]

From sitcoms that cover a wider range of materials overtime (such as divorce, mixed race relations, single parents etc.) to questioning the acts of politicians and government acts, media helps define what “legitimate” behavior is. In 1970, 25% of Americans reported getting their political information from the television, by 2005 that number has more than doubled to 70% getting the majority of their information from the television. Today, between 6-8 firms control over 50% of all media coverage. These firms include: Time Warner/AOL, Disney, Bertelsmann, Viacom, News Corp, and Vivendi. This number has changed drastically over the past several decades, in 1981 there were 46 major firms, in 1986 there were 24, in 1990 there were 17, and in 1996 there were 11. [155]

Video and attendance of transnational fiestas[edit]

Among the transnational Mixtec community, spanning the United States and Mexico, video has become an important form of communication across the international boundary of the border. Attendance of community fiestas associated with patron saints days, Quinceañeras and weddings is required by close kin, especially god parents. However, for many families crossing the border and traveling many miles is prohibitive to attending these fiestas. Since the late 1980s, video has been increasingly used to allow distant family members to 'participate' in the fiestas from the comfort of their living rooms. In parts of California it is common to see Tias (aunts) and comadres (friends) replaying the videotaped fiestas for years after the event occurred. [156]


Theater is a fine art which incorporates performers, props, settings, and music to exhibit a real or fictional event. It is often performed on a stage but can be displayed in other settings such as a black box, an elevated platform, or even a street corner. It is a popular means of expression that has been practiced since the early days of human civilization. The earliest example of theater can be found in the Greek city state of Athens. It was presented during festivals, religious practices, weddings, politics, etc. as a form of entertainment and news. Theatre has been localized very well in the U.S. with most towns having their own theatres, both professional and volunteer based. National Broadway tours make it to most major cities and most, if not all, high schools and colleges in the nation offer some form of theatre for students. [157]

Shakespearean Theater[edit]

The works of William Shakespeare have influenced culture in a multitude of ways, from modern reinterpretations of his works to traditional style word for word theater. Shakespeare's plays still have an effect on culture today through linguistics, with phrases such as, "... of Shakespearean proportions" to imply something of large significance, or referring to a lover who refuses to give up as a "Romeo." Modern Shakespearean Theater has a culture of it's own, with the various actors and writers forming a specific sub-culture devoted to the 400 year old works. An excellent example of this is the still operating Shakespearean Theater in Ashland Oregon, where actors and writers have gathered and created a place to express their subculture and love for the art for others. Shakespeare's works can also be seen as argument with his satirical pieces about corrupt governments and failing kings. [158] In a artistic sense this allowed Shakespeare to get away with criticizing politicians of his time, and perhaps helped bring satirical writings into the limelight to make way for later prominent satirical authors.

Improvisational Theater[edit]

Improvisational Theater, also known as “Improv,” usually consists of a group or band of “players” who join in improvised exercises or games that involve playing a part of a scene. The nature of Improv is to be spontaneous and in the moment. It is synonymous with organized flexibility. Much like regular theaters, Improvisational Theaters will perform regular shows and performances; highlighting the principle players. However, Improv Theater is unique since there is no set script to be rehearsed and memorized. There may be an outline of where the director wants the show to go, but usually not. Occasionally, music and/or other mixed visuals are added to the exercises. Often, there is a set theme involved for the exercises and/or performances: such as a musical. If a director is necessary for the Improv performance to function, an artistic director will be utilized. Often, that director is a former player or is currently involved in the exercises. The “directors or managers,” tend to work together in collaboration regarding their individual responsibilities for the group. These types of organizations differ from competition-based organizations because the competition-based organizations have a structure and organization goal preset for them. This flexible structure is intriguing to Improv Theater groups because the members can come and go to rehearsals as they please. Rehearsals for Improv groups concentrate more on honing their skills as Improv actors, compared to conventional play rehearsals.

Musical Theater[edit]

Musical Theater is a popular form of theatrical performance in which the dialogue of the characters are communicated and expressed through spoken word, song, and dance. Although music has been used in theaters for centuries to magnify the audience’s experience, Musical Theater specifically focuses on the integration of dialogue into the song and movement of the performers. Over the course of its existence, Musicals have been related to Operas. A general way to determine the difference however, can be through the delivery of dialogue. Whilst Operas are sung indefinitely, musicals will have an occasional spoken dialogue, dance, and the incorporation of popular genres of music at the time. While musical plays have been being performed since ancient Greece, modern western Musicals have only been performed since the early 20th century. <ref>

Current Musicals[edit]

Many modern musicals convey differing and distinctive messages, stories, and styles capturing the audience’s attention of curiosity such as Hamilton (2015), Book of Mormon (2011), Wicked (2003), Young Frankenstein (2007), and In the Heights (2008). A portion of Musicals have appeared in films including but not limited to Chicago (2002), Les Miserables (2012), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber (2007), Mamma Mia (2008), Love’s Labour’s Lost (2001).

Eastern Musicals[edit]

The majority of western musicals performed today derive from Greek roots in theater and performance. However, many other forms of musical theater existed to east in Asia such as Chinese, Japanese, and Taiwanese Operas. The first recorded Chinese opera was known as the Canjun Opera and was supposedly performed during the Zhoa Dynasty sometime between 319 AD – 351 AD. Another eastern form of musical theater is Noh. Noh Is the Japanese term for “talent” or “skill” and is used to describe a Japanese musical. It has been performed since the mid-14th century and is still practiced today in specific Noh theaters. Taiwanese Opera or Koa-á-hì is the only known form of drama to emerge from Taiwan as early as the 18th century. Most of the songs are stories and folktales with occasional supernatural elements.


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