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Culture . Elements of Culture. What elements do we use to define culture?

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elements of culture
Elements of Culture
  • What elements do we use to define culture?
  • For us, culture has a specific meaning. The anthropologists believe that the behaviour, which is meant, is called culture. In other words the behaviour which is transmitted to us by someone is called culture. The way of living, eating, wearing, singing, dancing and talking etc. are all parts of a culture. Are there more?
  • In common, parlance, the word culture, is understood to mean beautiful, refined or interesting. In World Cultures, we will use the word culture to denote acquired behaviour, which are shared by and transmitted among the members of the society. In other words, in a general sense, culture is a system of learned behaviour shared by and transmitted among the members of a group. But as we will see it is much more and is central to fully understand what makes us who we are, and others who they are.
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Elements of Culture

E.B. Tylordefines "Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society".

Edward Sapirsays, "Culture is any socially inherited element of the life of man, material and spiritual".

Bronisław Kasper Malinowskidefines "Culture the handwork of man and conventional understanding manifest in art and artefact which persisting through which he achieves his ends".

Which do you agree with and why?

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Elements of Culture
  • For a clear understanding of the concept of culture, it is necessary for us to know its main characteristics. The following are the main characteristics of culture.
  • 1. Culture is Learned
  • Culture is not inherited biologically, but learned socially by man. It is not an inborn tendency. There is no culture instinct as such but culture is often called learned ways of behavior
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Elements of Culture
  • 2. Cultural is Social
    • Culture does not exist in isolation neither it is an individual phenomenon. It is a product of society. It originates and develops through social interaction. It is shared by the members of society.
    • No man can acquire culture without association with other human beings. Man becomes man only among men. It is the culture, which helps man to develop human qualities in a human environment. Deprivation is nothing but deprivation of human qualities.
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Elements of Culture
  • 3. Culture is Shared
    • Culture in the sociological sense, is something shared. It is not something that an individual alone can possess. For example customs, tradition, beliefs, ideas, values, morals, etc. are shared by people of a group or society.
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Elements of Culture
  • 4. Culture is Transmissive
    • Culture is capable of being transmitted from one generation to the next. Parents pass on culture traits to their children and them in turn to their children arid so on. Culture is transmitted not trough genes but by means of language. Language is the main vehicle of culture. Language in its different forms like reading, writing and speaking makes it possible for the present generation to understand the achievements of earlier generations. But language itself is a part of culture.
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Elements of Culture
  • 5. Culture is Continuous and Cumulative
  • Culture exists, as a continuous process. In its historical growth, it tends to become cumulative. Culture is growing completely which includes in itself, the achievements of the past and present and makes provision for the future achievements of mankind
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Elements of Culture
  • 6. Culture is Consistent and Interconnected
    • Culture, in its development has revealed tendency to be consistent. At the same time, different parts of culture are inter­connected. For example the value system of a society, a society is closely connected with, its other aspects such as morality, religion, customs, traditions, beliefs and so on.

7. Culture is Dynamic and Adaptive

  • Though culture is relatively stable, it is not altogether static. It is subject to slow but constant change. Change and growth are latent in culture. When we compare our present culture with that of our parents or grandparents, we see striking differences and yet constants that seem to remain through time.

Culture is responsive to the changing conditions of the physical world. It is adaptive. It also intervenes in the natural environment and helps man in his process of adjustment. Just as our house shelters us from the storm, so also does our culture help us from natural dangers and assist us to survive. Few of us indeed could survive without culture.

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Elements of Culture
  • 8. Culture is Gratifying
    • Culture provides proper opportunities, and prescribes means for the satisfaction of our needs and desires. These needs may be biological or social in nature. Our need for food, shelter and clothing and our desire for status, name, fame and money etc are all, for example, fulfilled according to the cultural ways. Culture determines and guides the varied activities of man. In fact culture is defined as the process through which human beings satisfy their wants.

9. Culture varies from Society to Society

    • Every society has a culture of its own. It differs from society to society. Culture of every society in unique to itself. Cultures are not uniform. Cultural elements such as customs, traditions, morals, ideals, values, ideologies, beliefs in practices, philosophies institutions, etc. are not uniform everywhere. Ways of eating, speaking, greeting, dressing, entertaining, living etc. of different sects differ significantly. Culture varies from time to time also. No culture ever remains constant or changeless. If Washington were to come back to see American society today he would be bewildered to witness the vast changes that have taken place in our culture.
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Elements of Culture
  • 10. Culture is Super Organic and Ideational
  • Culture is sometimes called the super organic. By super organic, Herbert Spencer meant that culture is neither organic nor inorganic in nature but above these two. The term implies the social meaning of physical objectives and physiological acts. The social meaning may be independent of physiological and physical properties and characteristics. For example, the social meaning of a national flag is not just a piece of colored cloth. The flag represents a nation.
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Elements of Culture
  • And of course we need to see what Wikipedia has to say about culture:
  • From Wikipedia.
  • The following outline is provided as an overview and content index to culture:
  • Culture – set of patterns of human activity within a society or social group and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. Customs, laws, popular styles, social standards, and traditions are all examples of cultural elements.
arts and literature
Arts and Literature
  • Literature – the art of written works.
    • Fiction – any form of narrative which deals, in part or in whole, with events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary and invented by its author(s).
    • Poetry – literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning.
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Arts and Literature
  • The ArtsAnd Literature– vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. The arts encompasses visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts.
  • Economics
    • a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services
  • Languages
customs and traditions
Customs and Traditions
  • Customs and Traditions
government types
Government Types
  • Governments can be classified into several types. Some of the more common types of governments are:
  • 1. Democracy - The word "democracy" literally means "rule by the people." In a democracy, the people govern.
  • 2. Republic - A literal democracy is impossible in a political system containing more than a few people. All "democracies" are really republics. In a republic, the people elect representatives to make and enforce laws
government types1
Government Types
  • 3. Monarchy - A monarchy consists of rule by a king or queen. Sometimes a king is called an "emperor," especially if there is a large empire, such as China before 1911. There are no large monarchies today. The United Kingdom, which has a queen, is really a republic because the queen has virtually no political power.
government types2
Government Types
  • 4. Aristocracy - An aristocracy is rule by the aristocrats. Aristocrats are typically wealthy, educated people. Many monarchies have really been ruled by aristocrats. Today, typically, the term "aristocracy" is used negatively to accuse a republic of being dominated by rich people, such as saying, "The United States has become an aristocracy.
government types3
Government Types
  • Dictatorship - A dictatorship consists of rule by one person or a group of people. Very few dictators admit they are dictators; they almost always claim to be leaders of democracies. The dictator may be one person, such as Castro in Cuba or Hitler in Germany, or a group of people, such as the Communist Party in China.
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Government Types
  • 6. Democratic Republic - Usually, a "democratic republic" is not democratic and is not a republic. A government that officially calls itself a "democratic republic" is usually a dictatorship. Communist dictatorships have been especially prone to use this term. For example, the official name of North Vietnam was "The Democratic Republic of Vietnam." China uses a variant, "The People's Republic of China."
religion s
social organization
Social Organization
  • What types can you think of ?
science and technology
Science and Technology
  • Science is a way of practicing knowledge, as well as the knowledge itself, whereas technology is the application of science, particularly to industrial or commercial objectives. Technology can also be defined as the scientific methods and materials used to achieve industrial objectives.