Culture - That complex whole that includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs and any other habits and capabilities acquired by human beings as members of society. Culture refers to all those ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are socially transmitted from one generation to the next. E.B. Tylor (18871)

Characteristics of Culture:

a) Only human beings have culture. (as far as is known)

b) Culture exists in the minds of individual human beings who have learned it in their past associations w/other human beings and who use it to guide their own continuing interaction w/other humans.

c) Human culture vary considerably, one from the other.

d) Although different in certain respects, culture resemble one another to a certain extent.

e) Once a culture has been learned, it tends to persist.

f) Culture are continuously being changed, even though human beings tend to resist these charges.

g) In the process of changing a culture, members of a society often borrow from other cultures. When aspects of other cultures are taken on by a culture this process is referred to as "acculturation."

h) No person can escape entirely from his culture .

i) Different individuals may behave differently in society even though they have been raised in accord to similar culture values.

Functions of Culture:

a) It enables us to communicate with other through language .

b) It makes it possible to anticipate how others in our society are likely to respond to our actions.

c) Culture gives us standards for distinguishing between what is right and wrong (norms), beautiful and urgly (values), reasonable and unreasonable.

d) Culture provides methods for training children to behave (socializaton) in certain ways generally considered appropriate in society.

e) Culture provides the knowledge and skill necessary for meeting sustenance needs.

Culture Relativism - every culture must be "judged"by its own cultural in criteria because standard of right and wrong and good and bad are relative to the cultural context within which they appear.

Ethical Absolutism - is the belief that there exist universal circumstances that are always good and always bad for human beings.

Subculture - A small within a larger culture.

Subcultures share in the dominant culture but also have a unique na distinctive set of attitudes, values, and behaviors that differ in varying degrees fromt the "dominant" culture and from other subcultures within the culture.

a) Regional - i.e. South, North, East, West,Midwwest.

b) Occupational - i.e. Truck Drivers, Farmers, Lawyer.

c) Age - i.e. Youth, Senior Citizens.

d) Homosexuals (Gay.)

d) Social Class - i.e. Middle Class, Poor, Rich.

Some web sites to visit:

American Memory from the Library of Congress

Anglo-Saxon Culture

Blender Web /Popspeak

Center For Asian and Pacific Studies


French Resources

Irish History on the Web

Japan: Culture &Society

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