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Jan 14

Mahbub Murad

Culture and Its Characteristics

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Culture: The quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letter, manner etc. is considered as culture. It is a particular form or stage of civilization. It develops our mind or society by education and training. Culture is a term which helps a particular person to maintain his daily activities like knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects. 

Definitions of Culture:

Culture has been defined in various ways by sociologists and anthropologists. Following are the important definitions of culture.

According to E.B. Tylor, “Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, Jaw, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”.

Malionwski defines “Culture the handwork of man and conventional understanding manifest in art and artifact which persisting through which he achieves his ends”.

Mac Iver is of the view that “Culture is the expression of our nature in our modes of living, and our thinking, intercourses in our literature, in religion, in recreation and enjoyment.

According to E.S. Bogardus, “Culture is all the ways of doing and thinking of a group”.

Edward Sapir says, “Culture is any socially inherited element of the life of man, material and spiritual”.

Redfield remarks that “Culture is an organized body of conventional understanding manifest in art and artifact which persisting through, characterizes a human group”.

Some Definitions about Culture:

Culture is the systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people.

Culture is communication, communication is culture.

Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.

A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

Culture is symbolic communication. Some of its symbols include a group’s skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and motives. The meanings of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated in a society through its institutions.

Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other hand, as conditioning influences upon further action.

Culture 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.

Culture is a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.

Characteristics of Culture

For a clear understanding of the concept of culture, it is necessary for us to know its main characteristics. Culture has several characteristics. Following are the main characteristics of culture.

1. Culture is Continuous and Cumulative

In its historical growth, Culture exists, as a continuous process and it tends to become cumulative. Culture is growing completely which includes in itself, the achievements of the past and present and makes provision for the future achievements of mankind. Culture may thus be conceived of as a kind of stream flowing down through the centuries from one generation to another.

2. Culture is Shared

Culture, in the sociological sense, is not something that an individual alone can possess. For example customs, tradition, beliefs, ideas, values, morals, etc. are shared by people of a group or society. Culture is something adopted, used, believed practiced or possessed by more than one person.

3. Cultural is Social  

Culture is a product of society. It does not exist in isolation neither it is an individual phenomenon. It makes and develops through social interaction. It is shared by the members of society. No man can acquire culture without association with other human beings. Man becomes man only among men. It is the culture, which helps man to develop human qualities in a human environment.

4. Culture is Trans missive

Parents pass on culture traits to their children and them in turn to their children arid so on. So, we can say, Culture is capable of being transmitted from one generation to the next. Culture is transmitted not trough genes but by means of language. Language is the main vehicle of culture. Language in its different forms like reading, writing and speaking makes it possible for the present generation to understand the achievements of earlier generations.

5. Culture is Learnt

If we observe deeply we will be able to say that, Culture is not inherited biologically, but learnt socially by man. It is not an inborn tendency. There is no culture instinct as such culture is often called learned ways of behavior. Wearing clothes, combing the hair, wearing ornaments, cooking the food, drinking from a glass, eating from a plate or leaf, reading a newspaper, driving a car, enacting a role in drama, singing, worship etc. are always of behavior learnt by man culturally. 

6. Culture is Enjoyable

Culture provides proper opportunities, and prescribes means for the satisfaction of our needs and desires. These needs may be biological or social in nature. Our need for food, shelter and clothing and our desire for status, name, fame and money etc. are all, for example, fulfilled according to the cultural ways.

7. Culture is Consistent and Interconnected

Culture, in its development has revealed tendency to be consistent. At the same time, different parts of culture are inter­connected. For example the value system of a society, a society is closely connected with its other aspects such as morality, religion, customs, traditions, beliefs and so on.

8. Culture is Dynamic and Adaptive

Culture is subject to slow but constant change. Change and growth are latent in culture. We find amazing growth in the present Bangladeshi culture when we compare it with the culture of the ancient society. Hence, culture is dynamic. Culture is responsive to the changing conditions of the physical world. It is adaptive.

9. Culture varies from Society to Society

It is well known to us that every society has a culture of its own. It differs from society to society. Cultures are not uniform. Cultural elements such as customs, traditions, morals, ideals, values, ideologies, beliefs in practices, philosophies institutions, etc. are not uniform everywhere. Ways of eating, speaking, greeting, dressing, entertaining, living etc. of different sects differ significantly. Culture varies from time to time also.

10. Culture is Super Organic and Ideational

Culture is sometimes called the super organic. The term implies the social meaning of physical objectives and physiological acts. The social meaning may be independent of physiological and physical properties and characteristics. For example, the social meaning of a national flag is not just a piece of colored cloth. The flag represents a nation. Similarly, priests and prisoners, professors and profanation, players, engineers and doctors, farmers and soldiers and others are not just biological beings. They are viewed in their society differently. Their social status and role can be understood only through culture.

11. Culture is diverse.

The culture is different from each other as we must consider the social experiences, traditions, norms, mores and other cultural ways in the community.

12. Culture is compulsory.

The human beings always consider the harmonious relationship with any of group cultures being grown for a period of time.

1. The group members of the conformed with the ways of living within the bounds of beliefs, expectation, and norms.

2. The behavioral conformity is expected to follow any violations within the norms have specific sanctions as to the provisions of law or even a given set of norms in the social context.

3. The social interaction of man follows the collective activities with common goals including specific norms, traditions, and beliefs which is followed as a blue print of its distinct cultural existence in the society.

13.  It is patterned and integrated

The culture is patterned by specific dimension of social life such as the economic and political activities. These are the norms of conformity for the human beings to follow in order to meet the psychological and social needs. The social activities

a)The economic activities are patterned by the innovation and inventions of cultural groups that need to be integrated by the social life of the members of the society.

b) There are activities that we always do such as going to toilet, washing the hands, cleaning the house, driving the car, going to bedroom and etc. We tend to follow certain habits that are patterned by specific culture of a given society. Remember that the American way of life maybe totally different to the Africans and Asian way of life.

c) There are cultural values that are patterned to be followed to live on specific group of people with unique cultures that individual must also follow to integrated similar social life.

14.  It is Symbolic.

The communication process uses symbols to identify the given actions, attitudes and behaviors of the people.

a) The use of language has varied types of symbols depending on its natural environment, exposure and education to groups or tribes, the social experience and influence.

b) The social experiences as a whole provides specific communicative symbols along arts, music, literature, history and other forms of societal actions.

c) The abstract knowledge is reinforce in the way they understand and learn the feelings, ideas and behaviors of certain group of people in the society.


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About the author

Mahbub Murad

Mahbub Murad

I am a Lecturer of English at Mohanagar Ideal College and the admin of this site. If anyone wants to share his/her idea or get any support, he or she can contract me. - Cell: 01761519111
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1 comment

  1. Mahbub Murad
    Mahbub Murad

    The post has been created with combination of my friends, related books and different sides. So my friends if you get any benefit from it I will think our hard working and analyzing will be fruitful.

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