Characteristics of Culture

·         Culture is man-made:

The development or existence of culture is not a natural thing coming directly from the sky but is man-made. Kimball Young (1939) rightly said, “The cultural world is the creation of man himself as he has learned how to manage nature and himself throughout his entire existence.” In the words of Taylor, “Culture consists of the works of man.”

·         Culture is an acquired trait:

Contrasting to biological heredity, culture can be called as the social heredity (Ottaway). Its meaning and definitions say that it is not innate but is acquired and learned by the people through social contacts and interaction, no matter formally or informally. According to Robertson (1992), “Culture is that which individuals, groups and societies produce and acquire to function effectively.”

·         Culture is a distinct entity:

It has distinctiveness which makes it vary from place to place. It varies widely around the globe. Different societies of the world have their distinct cultural patterns which help in establishing different identities of different nations. Every society is characterized by its distinct and unique culture.

·         Culture is material as well as non-material:

Culture includes intangible ideas, customs, traditions, beliefs, etc. along with tangible objects and things created by human interaction. The look at an object gives an idea about its culture.

·         Culture is transmittable:

Cultural traits are transmitted from one generation to another. This transmission is a continuous process. Every generation has the freedom to modify cultural heritage and transmit it to the coming generations.

·         Every culture has utility:

A culture is considered to be good if it possesses the quality of being utilized by the individual as well as the entire society. It should be ideal for the group. The decay of any cultural pattern depends upon its level of utility.

·         Culture is dynamic:

Culture is not static but dynamic. It tends to change according to the changing trends and time. Our own beliefs, ideas, thinking patterns, behaviors, etc. are different from our forefathers. That’s due to the changing nature of culture.

·         Culture is social, not individual heritage:

Culture is not an individual product, but a social product that is being shared by the members of the group.

·         Culture is symbolic:

Culture and its transmission are based on symbols that are exclusive to human beings. Symbols are the central component of culture. Symbols refer to anything attached with meaning and used for communication with others. Language is one of the symbols of culture which helps in the preservation and creation of culture for retrospective as well as prospective analyses.

·         Culture is learnt:

culture is not inherited biologically, but learned socially by human beings. It is not an inborn tendency. There is no cultural instinct as such. Culture is usually called ‘learned ways of behavior’. Culture is social culture doesn’t exist in isolation. Neither is it an individual phenomenon. It is a product of society. It originates and develops through social interactions. It is shared by the members of society

·         Culture is shared:

culture in the sociological sense, is something shared. It is not something that an individual alone can possess.

·         Culture is continuous and cumulative:

culture exists as an endless process. In its historical growth, it tends to become cumulative. Culture is s ‘growing whole’ that incorporates in itself, the achievements of the past and the present and makes provision for the longer-term achievements of mankind.

·         Culture is consistent and integrated:

culture, in its development, has revealed a tendency to be consistent. At the same time, different parts of culture are interconnected

·         Culture is dynamic and adaptive:

Though culture is comparatively stable it’s not altogether static. It is subject to slow but constant changes. Change and growth and latent in culture.

Culture: meaning and types

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