Even common symbols can involve radically different meanings for individuals and groups of the same culture. Golden arches can make a person salivate, while another plans a vegetarian protest. The same flag can be waved to support or oppose a given war. Even when they agree on what to do and what do not, people do not always observe what their culture dictates or what other people expect from it. Many rules are violated, some very often (for example, automotive speed limits). Some anthropologists find it useful to distinguish between ideal culture and real culture. The ideal culture consists of what people say it should be done and what it does. Real culture refers to true behavior that anthropologists observe. Culture is both public and individual, and is manifested both in the world and in the minds of people. Anthropologists are interested not only in public and collective behavior, but also in what they think, feel and the actions carried out by individuals. The individual and culture are linked because social life is a process in which individuals internalize the meanings of public messages (ie cultural). Then, alone or in groups, people influence their culture by converting their private (and often divergent) understandions into public expressions (D’Andrade, 1984). Conventional, culture has been seen as the social glue transmitted through generations, which links people through their common past, and not as something that is created and reworked continuously in the present. The tendency to consider culture as an entity instead of conceiving it as a changing process is variable. Contemporary anthropologists now emphasize how daily action, practice or resistance can make and redo culture (Gupta and Ferguson, 1997b). Agency refers to the actions that individuals perform, either alone or as groups, to train and transform cultural identities. The focus on the culture known as practical theory (Ortner, 1984) recognizes that individuals within a society or culture have various reasons and intentions, and different degrees of power and influence. Such contrasts can
They are associated with gender, age, ethnicity, class and other social variables. The theory of practice refers to how various individuals, through their ordinary and extraordinary practices, influence, create and transform the world in which they live.