Culture - Term Overview

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The term culture In general, culture is a kind of social fabric that encompasses the different forms and expressions of a given society. Therefore, customs, practices, ways of being, rituals, types of clothing and norms of behavior are aspects that are included in the culture.

Another definition establishes that culture is the set of information and skills that an individual possesses. For UNESCO, culture allows the human being the ability to reflect on himself: through it, man discerns values ​​and seeks new meanings.

Depending on the analytical approach followed, culture can be classified and defined in various ways. For example, there are scholars who have divided culture into topic (includes a list of categories), historical (culture as a social heritage ), mental (complex of ideas and habits), structural (patterned and interrelated symbols), and symbolic (meanings arbitrarily assigned that are shared by a society).

Within the concept of topical culture we must include customs, beliefs, religion, traditions, forms of behavior, holidays and society, among other topics. Its study gives us the possibility of grouping the different knowledge into well-defined topics that are taken independently: the economy and social organization are two clear examples.

Topical culture clearly differs from historical culture, which allows us to reflect on and understand the affective and effective relationship that exists between each group of people and their own past. His study is based on the events of our history taking time as a parameter. As it's not limited to the observation of historical literature, this type of culture encompasses more than historiography.

With regard to symbolic culture, we can add that it's about the ability of human beings to incorporate the traditions of each generation and share them with the next. Its name is due to the fact that these elements that are transmitted, which revolve around behavior, aren't material. Other fundamental points of symbolic culture are values ​​and norms, both strongly linked to groups of people and impossible to apply to everyone.

Culture can also be differentiated according to its degree of development: primitive (those cultures with little technical development and that don't tend to innovation), civilized (it is updated through the production of new elements), pre-literate (it has not incorporated writing) and alfabeta (uses both the language written and oral).

Finally, it should be noted that in modern capitalist societies there is a cultural industry, with a market where cultural goods are offered subject to the laws of supply and demand of the economy. While in its origins it was mentioned in this way, today it's used in the plural, cultural industries. It encompasses the creation, demonstration and distribution of cultural goods and services.

In everyday speech, the term culture is often used incorrectly to refer to a person's level of education, both to criticize them for not having risen high enough to congratulate them on the contrary. Sentences like " But what a lack of culture! "Or" It shows that it has a lot of culture "are not correct, because we all have culture, we are immersed in one that corresponds to us since we are born.

Refers to the cultivation of the human spirit and the intellectual faculties of man. Its definition has been mutating throughout history: since the time of the Enlightenment, culture has been associated with civilization and progress.

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