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4 - Gendered Stereotypes and Cross-Cultural Moral Values through the Eyes of Kurban Said

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2017

Sara Abdoullah-Zadeh
Affiliation:
PhD candidate in the Department of Azerbaijani Literature at Baku Slavic University and a member of Azerbaijan Comparative Literature Association.
Carl Niekerk
Affiliation:
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Cori Crane
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
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Summary

In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by our culture.

—Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion

Cultural Stereotypes

ONE OF THE characteristic features distinguishing one nation from another are the stereotypes peculiar to that nation. According to American sociologist Walter Lippmann, who introduced the term “stereotype” (from Greek words stereos —hard—and typos —the imprint) into the Western scientific literature, stereotypes are formed under the influence of an individual's cultural environment. Each person is an individual by her or his own nature. And as we have long known, character has social and psychological roots and thereby depends on one's world outlook, one's knowledge and experience, the moral principles one has learned, the social groups in which one lives and functions, as well as one's active interaction with other people. One's perspective on the world may be linked to one's beliefs, moral views, and ideals; control one's behavior; be reflected in one's thoughts; be realized in one's actions; and substantially take part in the formation of one's character. One's outlook and morals inform one's character in the form of habits—an accustomed way of moral behavior.

We may also use the idea of cultural stereotypes to understand the national character of a nation, national character being nothing but the totality of the character traits attributed to the people who inhabit that nation. Since stereotypes are considered to be the core of traditions particular to each nation, they are an integral part of that nation's national character as well. Cultural stereotypes specific to each society begin to be adopted starting from the moment when a person starts to perceive herself or himself as a part of a certain ethnos and culture. While even the most prevailing stereotypes in a society may be gradually replaced by new ones when political and cultural changes happen in connection with that society's development, some cultural stereotypes associated with a national character tend to remain stable. Referring to this durability, Lippmann writes that stereotypes are so persistently passed on from generation to generation that they are often accepted as a given, as an unquestioned reality or a biological fact.

Type
Chapter
Information
Approaches to Kurban Said's Ali and Nino
Love, Identity, and Intercultural Conflict
, pp. 73 - 88
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

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