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11 The Dynamics of Swahili Culture A Status-Centered View
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Culture and "Cultural Products"

In the Spanish case, influence comes not from people's shared understandings about the behavior at issue but from their commitment to the social relations themselves. Thus, the social structure affects behavior independently from culture. Nor is this the only way in which that occurs. To appreciate this source of influence in its proper context, it is useful to look at social structure as a product of culture much as tools or buildings are products of culture.[19]

People are affected by the tools they use, the buildings they occupy, the food they eat, and the clothes they wear without respect to their sharing the understandings that produced the tools, buildings, and clothing. People are usually led to make use of cultural products such as tools they do not know how to make or repair through their participation in social relationships. Frequently, they actively seek ends they clearly recognize by means they are thoroughly unfamiliar with, as most Swahili patients do in striving to become well. This sort of intentional striving, however, is by no means an essential part of all the processes whereby cultural elements affect those who do not share them.


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11 The Dynamics of Swahili Culture A Status-Centered View
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