Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Culture: An Introduction


Culture Definition, Characteristics and importance, Culture Heritage

Origination of Word

The 'Culture' word in Middle English meant "place tilled". This word is derived from a French term which in turns derives from Latin term 'colere' which means to tend to the earth and grow or to inhabit, care for, till, worship.

What is culture?

Culture is a way of life of a group of people. Food we eat, Clothes we wear, Music we listen, Festivals we celebrate, Language we speak, God we believe in all are part of culture. It is the sum of total of the learned behavior of a group of people that are generally considered to be the tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation. Art, music, literature, architecture, sculpture, philosophy, religion and science all are part of culture. It differs from place to place, region to region and country to country. History of that place play role in development of that place culture. For example, there is wide difference between our (Indian) culture from that of USA.


There is no well established definition of culture.

According to Cambridge English Dictionary, the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time is known as culture.

According to E.B. Taylor definition, that complex whole which includes, knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

• According to H.T. Mazumadar, Culture is the sum total of human achievements, material as well as non-material, capable of transmission, sociologically, i.e., by tradition and communication, vertically as well as horizontally.

• In NIOS book, Culture refers to a human-made environment which includes all the material and non-material products of group life that are transmitted from one generation to the next.

• Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.

Culture Heritage

Heritage means property which we inherited from our previous generations (predecessors). Now, what Culture Heritage means. Now, we can easily give answer, The culture we inherit from previous generations is called Culture Heritage. For example: India's Culture Heritage,

• Architectural: Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar etc.
• Intellectuals: Contributions of Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya in the field of Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology, Nagarjuna in the field of Chemistry, Susruta and Charak in the field of Medicines and Patanjali in the field of Yoga.  etc.
• Literature: Vedas, Upanishads Gita etc.

Characteristics of Culture
Characteristics of Culture

• Culture is learned: Culture is not inborn, we do not inherit it. These are learnt from our family members, society in which we live and institutions through both direct instruction and through observation. The culture is very much influenced by the physical and social environment. The process by which a child learns his or her culture is known as Enculturation.

• Culture is shared: Culture is shared and believed or practiced by a group of people. It is not something that an individual alone can possess.

• Culture is cumulative: The knowledge included in culture is based on thousand of years of accumulated situations. Each generation adds their own knowledge in their culture before passing to next generation.

• Culture is dynamic: No culture remains constant. As the time passes by, new idea and sources of knowledge is adds up and changes in every culture according to circumstances.

• Culture is social: Culture is a product of social interaction. It does not exist in isolation. Many person interact with one another to develop culture.

• Culture is diverse: Culture is a system that has several mutually interdependent parts. However, all cultural aspects are interdependent on each other and become culture as whole.

• Culture is idealistic: It is sum-total of the ideal patterns and norms of behaviour of a group that are expected to be followed by individuals so as to gain social acceptance from the people with the same culture.

• Culture varies: Culture are not uniform. It varies from society to society. Each society culture is unique to itself.

Importance of Culture

• Culture is intangible and invisible but it act as binds people together.

• It lays down a design for living.

• Culture distinguishes man from animal.

• It provides predefined solutions to life problems.

• It makeups the personality of a person. After we born, we learn many things from it which adds up to our personality.

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