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MANIFESTATIONS OF CULTURE Cultural differences manifest themselves in different ways and differing levels of depth.

Symbols represent the most superficial and values the deepest manifestations of culture, with heroes and rituals in between. Symbols are words, gestures, pictures, or objects that carry a particular meaning which is only recognized by those who share a particular culture. New symbols easily develop, old ones disappear. Symbols from one particular group are regularly copied by others. This is why symbols represent the outermost layer of a culture. Heroes are persons, past or present, real or fictitious, who possess characteristics that are highly prized in a culture. They also serve as models for behavior. Rituals are collective activities, sometimes superfluous in reaching desired objectives, but are considered as socially essential. They are therefore carried out most of the times for their own sake (ways of greetings, paying respect to others, religious and social ceremonies, etc.). The core of a culture is formed by values. They are broad tendencies for preferences of certain state of affairs to others (good-evil, right-wrong, natural-unnatural). Many values remain unconscious to those who hold them. Therefore they often cannot be discussed, nor they can be directly observed by others. Values can only be inferred from the way people act under different circumstances. Symbols, heroes, and rituals are the tangible or visual aspects of the practices of a culture. The true cultural meaning of the practices is intangible; this is revealed only when the practices are interpreted by the insiders.

Figure 1. Manifestation of Culture at Different Levels of Depth


The cultural value system motivates individual behaviour, which is adjusted to a particular context (Luna and Forquer-Gupta, 2001). Immigrants transport a set of values from their communities of origin to destination, embracing and/or modifying specific cultural elements for the new environment. Immigrant`s cultural value system are build up over time, while the immigrant exercise it, into a particular communities, networks or groups. According to Luna (2001) there are three elements behind a cultural value system, as social culture, regional subculture and family values. This perception includes cultural elements (values, heroes and rituals) that individuals share in common with the group they belong. (see Figure 1) Values are a fundamental pillar of the concept of culture, and in consequence an engine for individuals behaviour. Hofstede (2001) established culture principles help individuals to assign a meaning to the context they are in. Immigrants move to different destinations adjusting their culture for a better fit. Even values from communities of origin could be a particular set, destination location affect the perception and exercise of culture -and valuesby the individual (Luna and Forquer-Gupta, 2001). The concept of heroes refers to cultural characters or figures that symbolize a set of cultural characteristics related to the group. For example, a successful immigrant pioneer represents figures to emulate for newcomers, or an important know individual from the same ethnic background represent a font of aspirations and desires. These heroes may influence behaviour of individuals, and also consumption behaviour for some products and brands, associated to their culture. Hofstede (2001) considers the definition of ritual as a social action devoted to the manipulation of cultural meaning for purposes of collective and individual labelling. Social actions are seen as an opportunity to foster or adjust symbols of culture identity. Consumption behaviour is also motivated by rituals, because these social actions engage goods and services. Rituals give a context for individuals consumer behaviour. Products and services are basic elements at rituals and can be used by its ability to strength rituals. (Luna and Forquer-Gupta, 2001). Symbols are another significant component of culture, and are define by Hofstede (2001), as a group of processes and goods with significance to a singular group. On immigrant communities these symbols could be easily identified on consumption products. Symbols are tools to express cultural values. Luna (2001) defines culture as lens, where reality is modify continuously, but is unique to a particular group of individuals. Culture is a dynamic concept (Chung and Fisher, 1999), the emergence position detonates the impact of globalization, migration or ethnicity. Individuals add different elements to recreate their culture in the context of their groups. According to Portes (1993), under ethnic resilience perspective most new-arrived individuals keep those cultural values from their communities of origin, in an attempt to maintain intact cultural identity. Culture has a significant effect on consumer behaviour, creating a positive relation where consumption fosters cultural expressions of individuals and their communities. Consumer behaviour may be accepted or discarded by other individuals from the group, which create a set of distinctive patrons relate to the cultures of a specific group.