Culture is the Centre of a society and without culture no society can even exist. It is the main difference between human beings and animals. It is a heritage transmitted from one generation to another. It includes all the ways and behaviors is social life. Man is born in the environment of culture, in which he seeks his way of behaving and acting in a given society. Your can also find out effects of ethnocentrism.
Definition of Culture
Following are some important definitions of culture by sociologists
Horton and Hunt definition of culture, “Culture is everything which is socially shared and learned by the members of a society.”
Tylor defined “It is that complex whole including beliefs, art, region, values, norms, ideas, law, taught, knowledge, custom and other capabilities acquired y a man as a member of a society.”
It is the totality of human experience acquired during transmission of heritage from one generation to another and to learn the ways of learning, eating, drinking, behaving, walking, dressing, and working is the culture of man.
Features & Characteristics of Culture
Some of the important characteristics of culture has been cited below.
1. Culture is learned
Culture is not inherited biologically but it is leant socially by man in a society. It is not an inborn tendency but acquired by man from the association of others, e.g. drinking, eating, dressing, walking, behaving, reading are all learnt by man.
2. Culture is social
It is not an individual phenomena but it is the product of society. It develops in the society through social interaction. It is shared by the man of society No man can acquire it without the association of others. Man is man only among men. It helps to develop qualities of human beings in a social environment. Deprivation of a man from his company is the deprivation of human qualities.
3. Culture is shared
Culture is something shared. It is nothing that an individual can passes but shared by common people of a territory. For example, customs, traditions, values, beliefs are all shared by man in a social situation. These beliefs and practices are adopted by all equally.
4. Culture is transmitted
Culture is capable of transmitted from one generation to the next. Parents papas cultural traits to their children and in return they pass to their children and son on. It is not transmitted through genes but through language. Language is means to communication which passes cultural traits from one generation to another.
5. Culture is continuous
It is continuous process. It is like a stream which is flowing from one generation to another through centuries. “Culture is the memory of human race.”
6. Culture is accumulative
Culture is not a matter of month or a year. It is the continuous process and adding new cultural traits. Many cultural traits are borrowed from out side and these absorbed in that culture which adopt it, as culture is accumulative and combines the suitable cultural traits.
7. Culture is integrated
All the cultural aspects are inter-connected with each other. The development of culture is the integration of its various parts. For example, values system is interlinked with morality, customs, beliefs and religion.
8. Culture is changing
It remains changing but not static. Cultural process undergoes changes. But with different speeds from society to society and generation to generation.
9. Culture varies from society to society
Every society has its own culture and ways of behaving. It is not uniform every where but occurs differently in various societies. Every culture is unique in itself is a specific society. For example, values, customs, traditions, ideologies, religion, belief, practices are not similar but different in every society. However the ways of eating, drinking, speaking, greeting, dressing etc are differs from one social situation to another in the same time.
10. Culture is responsive
Culture is responsive to the changing conditions of a physical world. It intervenes in the natural environment and helps man from all dangers and natural calamities e.g. our houses are responsible to give us shelter and safety from storm and heavy rains.
11. Culture is gratifying
It is gratifying and provide all the opportunities for needs and desires satisfaction. These needs may be biological or social but It is responsible to satisfy it. Our needs are food, shelter, clothing and desires are status, fame, money, sex etc are all the examples which are fulfilled according to the cultural ways. In fact it is defined as the process through which human beings satisfy their need.
12. Linked with society
Last but not the least one of the characteristics of culture that culture and society are one and the same. But if we say that these turn two are twin sister, it would not be wrong. Society is a composite of people and they interact each other through it. It is to bind the people within the society.
Cultures undergo a gradual change. With passing time, some beliefs change, certain traditions or rituals are eliminated, language and mannerisms of people change, and thus their culture. Migration and globalization lead to a mixing of cultures. When people from different parts of the world come together, they influence each other and effectively, each other's cultures. These factors contribute to the formation of a multicultural society and sometimes, even new cultures develop.
Over time, some traditions are dropped out of a culture because they are dangerous or due to their arduous nature. Due to education and increased awareness, newer generations become flexible to change and look at concepts like religion and culture with a broader perspective and have a liberal view about them. So some rituals or customs become less rigid, some are replaced by simpler ones and some are discontinued.
Due to the exposure to various cultures across the globe, people adopt some aspects of other cultures. This affects what they teach their children, thus influencing the culture of their future generations and in a small way, leading to a cultural change. Social thinking undergoes a transition and so does culture. Gender roles change. For instance, traditionally, the males were meant to work and earn for their family, while women stayed at home and looked after the children. Today, these roles have changed. In many families, women work away from home, while men take care of the kids.
All cultures change in time although their rate of change varies. It's often seen that the politically or economically stronger countries influence cultures in other parts of the world, and lead to social changes worldwide. An example of this is the influence of American and European cultures on other countries.