"Knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other skills and habits developed by man as a member of society comprise that complicated whole" - Edward B. Tylor
The basic idea that guides anthropologists' work is that of culture. Culture is the comprehensive amalgamation of ingrained and shared beliefs, values, and practices that foster cohesion within a society.
Today's idea of culture has been broadened to encompass women and numerous nuances, resulting in several descriptions of culture with certain underlying unifying characteristics.
What Is The Concept Of Culture?
In the past, the concept of "culture" was something different. It was a mix of beliefs and imagination. However, today's culture stands for "ethnicity", which includes art, law, morals, custom and any other capabilities acquired by any member of society.
However, modern conceptions of culture include a lot more ground. Culture permits both intergroup conflict and racial and ethnic division. Being a part of multiple cultures (also known as subcultures) simultaneously is feasible.
Social Darwinism And Ethnocentrism
In earlier times, anthropologists distinguished between the prime cultures. One was "Primitive", and back then, it was adopted by "Western" culture.
People expected more aggressive and advanced cultural variations through primitive concepts. These kinds of cultures resemble European and American countries. Scholars also study these concepts thoroughly to gain more ideas.
It is all about 'Social Darwinism', but this concept is no longer accepted in anthropology platforms and social science.
Ideas like Social Darwinism are ethnocentric because they express the researcher's propensity to compare other cultures to their own and find those groups lacking. The 18th to 20th centuries' Ethnocentrism resulted in colonialism and genocide.
In the last few decades, anthropologists and social science researchers have worked hard to overcome the roots of ethnocentrism. Today, they approach each culture as valuable as humans. Culture should not be underestimated. Humans should have greater acceptance and a broader mentality regarding accepting different cultures.
This process is called Cultural Relativism - a repositioning that promotes a greater acceptance of every culture.
What Are The Crucial Elements Of Culture?
When it comes to defining culture, every anthropologist has a slightly distinct interpretation of the term.
However, the five fundamental components of culture are as follows:
- Language enables the expression and sharing of values and the communication of affects and feelings, cognitions or thoughts, and experiences such as delight or suffering.
- Objects, ideas and items are the three ingredients that are considered as meaningful symbols to the people who believe in culture.
- Beliefs are a great thing that changes a person's mind over time and are shared between the people of a society.
- Values offer generally recognized moral standards that serve as a guide for what is right and wrong as well as what is good and evil.
- Norms serve as examples of society's accepted norms of conduct. Violation of norms is called societal taboos. Taboos are blatant transgressions of social mores, like murder.
Let's have some broadened ideas on different kinds of cultures:
- While some aspects of civilization are common to most cultures worldwide, their expressions differ greatly.
- Verbal language can be structured by maintaining proper rules. It is mostly suitable for communication.
- People are categorized according to kinship and marital laws (such as mother, father, and aunt). For instance, some cultures permit men or women to engage in many marriages, although many cultures view marriage as a union between two people.
- Labor activities are based on the genders
Cultures around the World
Understanding if a single individual can carry the culture within a different generation is complicated. Most of the time, a single person tries to modify the culture and bring some uniqueness to make it unique to society.
It also expresses the culture and identity.
However, people of some specific cultures generalize the meaning and create rough discriminations within the cultural groups.
The Western Culture
- Western culture is based on European heritage – on people who practised Germanic, Celtic, Hellenic, Jewish, and other branches of Christianity and Judaism.
- Western culture places high importance on democracy, personal accountability, equality, human rights, modernization, and logical thought. It has various subcultures since the individual is valued highly. The group is less significant than the individual, who may fluctuate depending on their activities.
- In Western civilization, people believe in smarter acts, are more open-minded, and are more open about their feelings and suggestions. People of Western culture discuss sensitive topics like pregnancy, childbirth, and sexuality on an open platform. These are very common among them.
The Eastern Culture
- Eastern culture is generally found in Asian countries. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam are the common religions of Eastern culture. People in Eastern culture highly value their families and maintain their dignity.
- Eastern cultures emphasize family ties, respect for elders, and the idea that the group should succeed as a whole.
- Elders frequently make choices for younger members as they are typically the elders of their kinship networks.
- Traditions are highly valued, and it is acknowledged that commonalities connect human beings. Independence is valued less than group cohesion, and individuality is discouraged.
- People of Eastern culture are more reserved and shy and don't like to share their personal feelings and suggestions with anyone. Primarily if the suggestion and feeling are completely against a certain group or a single person. Parents believe in arranged marriage concepts.
- Many topics, such as pregnancy and sexuality, are still considered taboo when conversing in an open platform or discussing with groups or acquaintances.
Society in the Eye of Sociologists
- According to sociologists, society is something that shares a common culture. It's a combination of various people from different backgrounds.
- But the cultural bond in society may vary depending on race, gender, shared beliefs and other cultural activities. The society also carries a geographical meaning and refers to people who share a common culture in a specific location.
- The culural connection may be based on shared ethnic or racial characteristics, gender, or shared attitudes and interests. People who live in a certain location and have a common culture are called members of that society.
- For instance, people who lived in cold regions evolved different civilizations from those who lived in desert conditions. Around that time, a wide range of human cultures emerged worldwide.
- Culture and society are integrally related to each other. A culture consists of some "social objects", whereas a society consists of people from various cultures.
- The majority of people in the entire globe worked in small groups and resided in the same area when the terms society and culture first came to have their current definitions.
- These concepts have less practical meaning in the 6 billion-person world of today since more people are interacting and sharing resources globally. Even so, people frequently refer to culture and society in more conventional ways, as in the case of belonging to a particular "racial culture" inside a larger "U.S. society."
What Are The Symbols Of Culture?
What Is The Core Of a Culture?
A core of the culture is VALUE.
Values are generated within the society we belong to, such as the actions of our parents or teachers that demonstrate what is right and wrong. By the time we are 10 to 12 years old, values have mostly been formed.
What we mean by culture is this collective programming, which consists of values as the core and the three layers that surround that core.
Collective Programming - It consists of both culture and values. Three layers surround culture and consist of many values.
Culture-related problems rarely arise while things go smoothly; instead, they surface when we feel nervous or afraid and revert to "back to basics" thinking.
The Layers Of Culture
Even people from the same culture boast multiple layers of mentality. The following levels of culture have various layers:
- National Level Culture: Connected to the entire country.
- Regional Level Culture: Associated with regional language, religion, or ethnicity variations.
- Gender Level Culture: Associated with differences between genders (male vs. female)
- Generation Level Culture: Linked to the distinctions between parents and children, parents and grandparents.
Cultural Difference Measurement
A variable focuses on a single-measure and composite-measure procedure that is useful to operationalize.
When it comes to measuring cultural differences, a single-measure technique is used. This technique acts as an indicator to measure the absolute concept of a domain.
After experimentally sampling its domain, the composite-measure technique entails using several indicators to create an index for the notion. Hofstede (1997) developed a composite-measure method to assess cultural variances between various societies:
- Uncertainty Avoidance Index
- Masculinity Index
- Power Distance Index
- Individualism Index
Changes In Culture
From a different angle, it is possible to see how biological evolution is moving in the direction of greater expansion and life security:
The progression from instinctive behaviour - actions dictated by an organism's inherent characteristics- to easily variable behaviour, whose patterns may be learned and passed down from one person to the next.
Finally, this progression leads to a system of objects and events, meaning that it cannot be fully understood through the use of the senses alone.
Of course, this system is culture, and the race is the human species. Culture is an artificial environment humans create thanks to their capacity to use symbols.
Although "culture" may be tearing itself apart from its core, in a manner, it reflects a wish.
The goal of culture is for a group of people to jointly identify a good way of life. Culture helps to manifest itself in their customs, institutions, and pursuits, and for those things too, in turn, enable people to thrive in their particular ways.
But we can’t say that we are living a perfect culture, we need to modify and preserve our culture for future generation. Our culture and how we currently understand the term "culture" are pretty different.
However, it is conceivable to picture a society where our common attitudes and structures facilitate everyone's personal development. Perhaps in such a society, the definition of "culture" would be clearer; we wouldn't need to research it.