What Is Culture?
When we talk about culture we are referring to belief systems, values, and behaviors that support a particular ideology or social arrangement. Culture guides language use, appropriate forms of dress, and views of the world. culture. The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, .
Before going any further, let us spend some time discussing what we mean by culture. When you began reading this chapter what did you think we meant by the word culture? Your answer probably had something to do with people from different countries or of different racial and what do you mean by culture backgrounds.
You are right—to a certain degree. Culture does include race, nationality, and ethnicity, but goes beyond those identity markers as well.
The following are various aspects of our individual identity that we use to create cklture with others to form a shared cultural identity: race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and social class.
In addition to explaining the above identities, we will also discuss ethnocentrism, privilege, advantage, disadvantage, power, whiteness, co-culture, and political correctness as these terms are relevant to understanding the interplay between communication and culture.
When we talk about culture we are referring to belief systems, values, and behaviors that support a particular ideology or social arrangement. Culture guides language use, appropriate forms of dress, and views of the world. The concept is broad and encompasses many areas of our lives such as the role of the family, individual, educational systems, employment, and gender.
Race is often difficult to talk about, not because of the inherent complexity of the term itself, but because of the role that race plays in society.
Race is what how to estimate house value call a loaded word because it can bring up strong emotions and connotations. Understandings of race fall into two camps: a biological versus a sociopolitical construction of what it means to belong to a particular racial group. Moreover, these differences could be traced back to genetic differences. This theory has been debunked by numerous scientists and been replaced with the understanding that there are greater genetic differences within racial groups, not between them.
In addition, there is no scientific connection with ny identity and cultural traits or behaviors. Instead of biology, we draw on a sociopolitical understanding of what it means to be of a particular race. We can also examine the reality that the what do you mean by culture of race have changed across time and space. Now, being Irish in America is considered part of the general majority group, white or Caucasian.
For additional information check out this website. Related to race are whaat other distinct concepts: racial prejudice, racial discrimination, and racism. Racial discrimination is the outward manifestation of racial prejudice: it is when people act upon their negative beliefs about other races when communicating or setting policy. Note, it is possible to be prejudiced without acting upon those beliefs and that all races can discriminate against other races.
The final concept, racism, combines racial prejudice with social power. Racism is institutional, rather than individual, meaning it occurs in large institutional contexts such fulture the representations of particular groups within media or the fact that racial minorities do co have equal access to meqn or legal opportunities Orbe and Harris Racism often involves the unequal accessibility to resources and power.
Two other concepts that are often confused with race are ethnicity and nationality. A person may identify as Asian-American racially while their ethnicity is Chinese. Most often nationality is derived from the country where one was born, but on occasion people give up their citizenship by birth and migrate to a new country where they claim national identity. How to make good candy apples example, an individual could have been born and raised in another country but once they migrate to the United Youu and have American citizenship, their nationality becomes American.
Are you male or female? Do you identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgendered? Gender is discussed in more detail in Chapter 13, but for now think of it as the recognition that one is male, female, or androgynous. Gender is part of culture in that every society has particular gender roles and expectations for males and females.
For example, in the United States, it is considered normal for the female gender to wear makeup, while it is often considered inappropriate for a male to do so. However, in some Native American tribes it was customary for the males to adorn how to seal sink drain with paint for hunting and ceremonial rituals. However, this is changing. As ofthe Supreme Court of the Unites States made gay marriage legal in all 50 states.
Whxt top of these specific benefits, those with a nondominant sexual orientation might still have to contend on a coat of arms what is it basis that some people think they are deviant or somehow less than heterosexual people and couples. This may result in strained family relationships or discrimination in the workplace.
You are probably familiar with the concept of class—what do the labels working class, middle-class, and upper-class bring to mind? Economic standing is only one variable that influences class or socioeconomic standing. For example, in some middle class families children are expected to go to college just as their parents and grandparents had done. It may also be expected for the children to attend reasonably priced state colleges and universities as opposed to Ivy League Byy, which may be the norm in many upper-class families.
How about spirituality or religion, profession, hobbies, political persuasion, age, abilities? These too are aspects of cultural identity.
We may often feel restrained by the constant need to work. We live in a money-centric society where every move we make involves thinking about the monetary gains or losses it will produce. Read Bruce E. Skip to main content. Intercultural Communication. Search for:.
What Do We Mean by Culture? Understanding Race. Where Do You Come From? Gender and Sexual Orientation. The Role of Money. Licenses and Attributions. CC licensed content, Shared previously.
What Do We Mean by Culture?
Culture is a word for the 'way of life' of groups of people, meaning the way they do things. Different groups may have different cultures. A culture is passed on to the next generation by learning, whereas genetics are passed on by waltergretzky.come is seen in people's writing, religion, music, clothes, cooking and in what they do.. The concept of culture is very complicated, and the word has. Cultural invention has come to mean any innovation that is new and found to be useful to a group of people and expressed in their behavior but which does not exist as a physical object. Humanity is in a global "accelerating culture change period," driven by the expansion of international commerce, the mass media, and above all, the human population explosion, among other factors.
Humans acquire culture through the learning processes of enculturation and socialization , which is shown by the diversity of cultures across societies. A cultural norm codifies acceptable conduct in society; it serves as a guideline for behavior, dress, language, and demeanor in a situation, which serves as a template for expectations in a social group.
Accepting only a monoculture in a social group can bear risks, just as a single species can wither in the face of environmental change, for lack of functional responses to the change. In the practice of religion, analogous attributes can be identified in a social group. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology , encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies.
Cultural universals are found in all human societies. These include expressive forms like art , music , dance , ritual , religion , and technologies like tool usage , cooking , shelter , and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization including practices of political organization and social institutions , mythology , philosophy , literature both written and oral , and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.
In the humanities , one sense of culture as an attribute of the individual has been the degree to which they have cultivated a particular level of sophistication in the arts , sciences, education , or manners.
The level of cultural sophistication has also sometimes been used to distinguish civilizations from less complex societies. Such hierarchical perspectives on culture are also found in class-based distinctions between a high culture of the social elite and a low culture , popular culture , or folk culture of the lower classes, distinguished by the stratified access to cultural capital.
In common parlance, culture is often used to refer specifically to the symbolic markers used by ethnic groups to distinguish themselves visibly from each other such as body modification , clothing or jewelry.
Mass culture refers to the mass-produced and mass mediated forms of consumer culture that emerged in the 20th century. Some schools of philosophy, such as Marxism and critical theory , have argued that culture is often used politically as a tool of the elites to manipulate the proletariat and create a false consciousness. Such perspectives are common in the discipline of cultural studies.
In the wider social sciences , the theoretical perspective of cultural materialism holds that human symbolic culture arises from the material conditions of human life, as humans create the conditions for physical survival, and that the basis of culture is found in evolved biological dispositions. When used as a count noun , a "culture" is the set of customs, traditions , and values of a society or community, such as an ethnic group or nation.
Culture is the set of knowledge acquired over time. In this sense, multiculturalism values the peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between different cultures inhabiting the same planet. Sometimes "culture" is also used to describe specific practices within a subgroup of a society, a subculture e.
Within cultural anthropology , the ideology and analytical stance of cultural relativism hold that cultures cannot easily be objectively ranked or evaluated because any evaluation is necessarily situated within the value system of a given culture. The modern term "culture" is based on a term used by the ancient Roman orator Cicero in his Tusculanae Disputationes , where he wrote of a cultivation of the soul or "cultura animi,"  using an agricultural metaphor for the development of a philosophical soul, understood teleologically as the highest possible ideal for human development.
Samuel Pufendorf took over this metaphor in a modern context, meaning something similar, but no longer assuming that philosophy was man's natural perfection. His use, and that of many writers after him, " refers to all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism , and through artifice, become fully human.
In , philosopher Edward S. Casey wrote, "The very word culture meant 'place tilled' in Middle English, and the same word goes back to Latin colere , 'to inhabit, care for, till, worship' and cultus , 'A cult, especially a religious one. Culture described by Richard Velkley : .
In the words of anthropologist E. Tylor , it is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. The Cambridge English Dictionary states that culture is "the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time. The word is used in a general sense as the evolved ability to categorize and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively.
This ability arose with the evolution of behavioral modernity in humans around 50, years ago and is often thought to be unique to humans. However, some other species have demonstrated similar, though much less complicated, abilities for social learning. It is also used to denote the complex networks of practices and accumulated knowledge and ideas that are transmitted through social interaction and exist in specific human groups, or cultures, using the plural form.
It has been estimated from archaeological data that the human capacity for cumulative culture emerged somewhere between ,—, years ago. Raimon Panikkar identified 29 ways in which cultural change can be brought about, including growth, development, evolution, involution , renovation, reconception , reform, innovation , revivalism, revolution , mutation , progress , diffusion , osmosis , borrowing, eclecticism , syncretism , modernization, indigenization , and transformation.
Alexander , has proposed a model of cultural change based on claims and bids, which are judged by their cognitive adequacy and endorsed or not endorsed by the symbolic authority of the cultural community in question. Cultural invention has come to mean any innovation that is new and found to be useful to a group of people and expressed in their behavior but which does not exist as a physical object. Humanity is in a global "accelerating culture change period," driven by the expansion of international commerce, the mass media, and above all, the human population explosion, among other factors.
Culture repositioning means the reconstruction of the cultural concept of a society. Cultures are internally affected by both forces encouraging change and forces resisting change. These forces are related to both social structures and natural events, and are involved in the perpetuation of cultural ideas and practices within current structures , which themselves are subject to change.
Social conflict and the development of technologies can produce changes within a society by altering social dynamics and promoting new cultural models , and spurring or enabling generative action. These social shifts may accompany ideological shifts and other types of cultural change. For example, the U.
Environmental conditions may also enter as factors. For example, after tropical forests returned at the end of the last ice age , plants suitable for domestication were available, leading to the invention of agriculture , which in turn brought about many cultural innovations and shifts in social dynamics.
Cultures are externally affected via contact between societies, which may also produce—or inhibit—social shifts and changes in cultural practices. War or competition over resources may impact technological development or social dynamics.
Additionally, cultural ideas may transfer from one society to another, through diffusion or acculturation. In diffusion , the form of something though not necessarily its meaning moves from one culture to another. For example, Western restaurant chains and culinary brands sparked curiosity and fascination to the Chinese as China opened its economy to international trade in the late 20th-century.
Diffusion of innovations theory presents a research-based model of why and when individuals and cultures adopt new ideas, practices, and products. Acculturation has different meanings. Still, in this context, it refers to the replacement of traits of one culture with another, such as what happened to certain Native American tribes and many indigenous peoples across the globe during the process of colonization.
Related processes on an individual level include assimilation adoption of a different culture by an individual and transculturation. The transnational flow of culture has played a major role in merging different cultures and sharing thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.
Immanuel Kant — formulated an individualist definition of "enlightenment" similar to the concept of bildung : "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Against this intellectual cowardice, Kant urged: Sapere Aude , "Dare to be wise! Moreover, Herder proposed a collective form of Bildung : "For Herder, Bildung was the totality of experiences that provide a coherent identity, and sense of common destiny, to a people.
In , the Prussian linguist and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt — called for an anthropology that would synthesize Kant's and Herder's interests. During the Romantic era , scholars in Germany , especially those concerned with nationalist movements—such as the nationalist struggle to create a "Germany" out of diverse principalities, and the nationalist struggles by ethnic minorities against the Austro-Hungarian Empire —developed a more inclusive notion of culture as " worldview " Weltanschauung.
Although more inclusive than earlier views, this approach to culture still allowed for distinctions between "civilized" and "primitive" or "tribal" cultures. In , Adolf Bastian — argued for "the psychic unity of mankind. Franz Boas — was trained in this tradition, and he brought it with him when he left Germany for the United States. In the 19th century, humanists such as English poet and essayist Matthew Arnold — used the word "culture" to refer to an ideal of individual human refinement, of "the best that has been thought and said in the world.
In practice, culture referred to an elite ideal and was associated with such activities as art , classical music , and haute cuisine. Another facet of the Romantic movement was an interest in folklore , which led to identifying a "culture" among non-elites. This distinction is often characterized as that between high culture , namely that of the ruling social group , and low culture.
In other words, the idea of "culture" that developed in Europe during the 18th and early 19th centuries reflected inequalities within European societies. Matthew Arnold contrasted "culture" with anarchy ; other Europeans, following philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau , contrasted "culture" with "the state of nature.
Just as some critics have argued that the distinction between high and low cultures is an expression of the conflict between European elites and non-elites, other critics have argued that the distinction between civilized and uncivilized people is an expression of the conflict between European colonial powers and their colonial subjects.
Other 19th-century critics, following Rousseau, have accepted this differentiation between higher and lower culture, but have seen the refinement and sophistication of high culture as corrupting and unnatural developments that obscure and distort people's essential nature.
These critics considered folk music as produced by "the folk," i. Equally, this view often portrayed indigenous peoples as " noble savages " living authentic and unblemished lives, uncomplicated and uncorrupted by the highly stratified capitalist systems of the West. In the anthropologist Edward Tylor — applied these ideas of higher versus lower culture to propose a theory of the evolution of religion.
According to this theory, religion evolves from more polytheistic to more monotheistic forms. This view paved the way for the modern understanding of religion. Although anthropologists worldwide refer to Tylor's definition of culture,  in the 20th century "culture" emerged as the central and unifying concept of American anthropology , where it most commonly refers to the universal human capacity to classify and encode human experiences symbolically , and to communicate symbolically encoded experiences socially.
Martin Lindstrom asserts that Kulturbrille , which allow us to make sense of the culture we inhabit, also "can blind us to things outsiders pick up immediately. The sociology of culture concerns culture as manifested in society. For sociologist Georg Simmel — , culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history.
Culture can be any of two types, non-material culture or material culture. The term tends to be relevant only in archeological and anthropological studies, but it specifically means all material evidence which can be attributed to culture, past or present. Cultural sociology first emerged in Weimar Germany — , where sociologists such as Alfred Weber used the term Kultursoziologie cultural sociology.
Cultural sociology was then "reinvented" in the English-speaking world as a product of the " cultural turn " of the s, which ushered in structuralist and postmodern approaches to social science. This type of cultural sociology may be loosely regarded as an approach incorporating cultural analysis and critical theory. Cultural sociologists tend to reject scientific methods, instead hermeneutically focusing on words, artifacts and symbols. As a result, there has been a recent influx of quantitative sociologists to the field.
Thus, there is now a growing group of sociologists of culture who are, confusingly, not cultural sociologists. These scholars reject the abstracted postmodern aspects of cultural sociology, and instead, look for a theoretical backing in the more scientific vein of social psychology and cognitive science. The sociology of culture grew from the intersection between sociology as shaped by early theorists like Marx ,  Durkheim , and Weber with the growing discipline of anthropology , wherein researchers pioneered ethnographic strategies for describing and analyzing a variety of cultures around the world.
Part of the legacy of the early development of the field lingers in the methods much of cultural, sociological research is qualitative , in the theories a variety of critical approaches to sociology are central to current research communities , and in the substantive focus of the field. For instance, relationships between popular culture , political control, and social class were early and lasting concerns in the field. In the United Kingdom, sociologists and other scholars influenced by Marxism such as Stuart Hall — and Raymond Williams — developed cultural studies.
Following nineteenth-century Romantics, they identified "culture" with consumption goods and leisure activities such as art, music, film, food , sports, and clothing. They saw patterns of consumption and leisure as determined by relations of production , which led them to focus on class relations and the organization of production.
In the United States, cultural studies focuses largely on the study of popular culture ; that is, on the social meanings of mass-produced consumer and leisure goods. From the s onward, Stuart Hall's pioneering work, along with that of his colleagues Paul Willis , Dick Hebdige , Tony Jefferson, and Angela McRobbie , created an international intellectual movement.
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