Humans, what make us the most intellectual species on
planet Earth? Is it just because of our morphological characteristics and
highly developed neural network or also because of our culture? Yes, some truth
is behind our body geometry but a greater role is also played by the norms,
values and ideas passed on to us by our fore fathers. These complex integrated
pattern of learning that is passed on just like genes from earlier civilization
to today’s generation, is defined as culture. Human societies consists of social
behaviours and norms which is known as culture
People have different ideologies on the true definition of
it but in every language it is somehow similar to its fundamental values. A
great soviet era Psychologist named Lev Vygotsky quotes, ‘Language and Culture
are the frameworks through which human experience, communicate and understand
reality’. So a greater portray on its importance can be derived from his
message. And sociologist Georg Simmel (1858–1918), referred to culture as ‘the cultivation of
individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in
the course of history.’ Therefore, culture in the sociological field can
be characterized as the mind sets, the methods for acting, and the material objects
that together shape a people’s lifestyle.
that are common to all cultures are called Cultural Universals. These do not
change over time but the way they are expressed do change with time. Some
examples are language, food, music, and clothes. Cultural Universals meet basic
human needs. Culture can be expressed materially (physical, tangible objects)
and non-materially (customs, beliefs, philosophies). Both are equally important
in defining and continuing a culture.
have been descending with the expansion of new thoughts and items from
generation to generation. This dynamic procedure of society expands culture
with refreshment which creates some new and different culture in every
generation. For its continuity and survival, society struggles as it adjusts according
to environmental situation of its surrounding. Societies and cultures are going
through changes. As long as people keep on inventing something that did not
exist before, discover new things and also keep on spreading cultural qualities
from one group to another, the changes will keep on continuing.
norms and values are important parts to culture which cannot be separated from
one another. They always coexist. Language is the foundation of every culture. It
consists of word meanings and symbols which not only describes a culture but
shapes it as well. Language includes speech (spoken sounds), written characters
(letters), numerals, symbols (& % J), and gestures (waving
are built up measures or standards of behaviour kept up by society. People have
to meet up certain standards or follow certain rules to be a part of a particular
norms are composed and have particular outcomes for clinging to them or
breaking them. Casual or informal norms are not composed but rather are understood;
outcomes come as praise or criticism. Norms that are important to society’s
welfare are called Mores. These behavioural standards generally carry some
moral consequence, are difficult to change, and result in severe punishment if
violated or dishonoured. Incest, child abuse and multiple marriage partners are
some of its examples. On the other hand norms that govern daily behaviour
without much concern for society’s welfare are called Folk ways. These behavioural
standards generally do not carry a moral implication and change easily.
(Examples are church dress, business attire, helping a stranger.) We are more
likely to formalize mores than folk ways.
are the concept of what is ‘great’, legitimate, attractive, what is determined to
be ‘awful’, despicable, and unfortunate inside a culture. We value particular substantial
things (people, objects, wealth) and general things (health, power, status). A
culture demonstrates its value of a specific thing by the lengths it goes to
protect it. The most commonly devalued things in our culture are women,
children, Judeo Christian beliefs, and education.
is variation in culture. Ways in which segments of the population develop
cultural patterns that differ from the dominant culture is known as cultural
variation. Subcultures and counter cultures are 2 types of cultural variations
where subculture is a section of society that has a distinct pattern of mores,
folk ways, and values different from those of the dominant culture that are familiar
to those both within the group and those
outside of the group. Subculture members belong to the dominant culture while
at the same time engaging in behaviours that are unique and different to a
subculture. Subcultures can be based on one’s age (teenagers, retired folks),
region (WV “Hillbillies”, Ozark Appalachians), ethnic group (Swedish), beliefs
(neo-Nazi), vocation (police, truckers) and shared interests (Computer users).
It is not unusual of a subculture to develop its own language.
counter culture is a segment of society that rejects the values and norms of
the dominant culture and seeks alternative norms and values. The “hippies” of
the 60’s and the “survivalists” of the 80’s and 90’s are the most obvious
examples. The Dominant Culture works to monitor and alter these groups so as to
limit their growth and influence.