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Culture is the characteristic of group of people defined by everything such as language, religion, lifestyle etc. Different people in different societies have different culture but they also have some similarities. The culture varies in different things such as clothes, foods, religion and many others.
Culture is the identity of a group of people living in specific place; they have their own sketch of life what the culture says they follow that. We have seen that a lot of people do some specific thing they first thought about their culture, what my culture says on this occasion. Especially on the occasion of wedding, and some other celebrating days they follow strictly their culture. Those who do not follow their culture or do some changes in that, they haven't give any values to them because they are not following their religion.
Different people define culture in different ways, for example "Culture: learned and shared human patterns or models for living; day- to-day living patterns, these patterns and models pervade all aspects of human social interaction. Culture is mankind's primary adaptive mechanism"1. Another author says that "Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another."2. from these definitions it is clear that both explains the same idea but in different words, says that culture is first learned after learning it is then shared so it's a common fact that the younger first learn the culture from their elders and when these young become elders they transfer it to the next generation. But the culture learned it includes all the aspects of human interaction and thus it become the mankind's adoptive mechanism. In the second definition the author says that the culture is the programming of mind so it includes everything related with the mind programming and because of these different minds programming different group of people distinguish from each others.
Culture has its own characteristics; we will discuss some of its characteristics here.
As we discussed earlier that culture are learnt from their elders, culture is not the thing you study for it and you know it but it is just the process you pass from it, after that you will know about the culture. It is just like the thing that inherited in someone nature. All action the action we do like eating, dressing wearing ornaments etc is the result of culture we learned. One author says about learning culture "Babies and children learn about their culture by watching their parents and close family. They copy behavior they have seen and adopt different roles"3 and that's fact that babies and children learned culture by watching their parents and close family and then they apply these different roles in their Daily life and thus adapt their culture.
Culture is something that is shared that is shared among groups of people. It is not the thing that someone posses it individually. Culture is always transferred through sharing so it mean that for transferring the culture the sharing is must. The sharing of culture refers to the term called enculturation according to author "Process of learning culture is called enculturation"4. Culture is shared in many ways; the main way for transferring the culture is the language. Language is the form of social communication and the knowledge is transferred through group discussion, public speaking and informal communication. The second way is the use of communication technologies nowadays like TV, DVD, internet etc play also important role in sharing the culture. These modern technologies have exposed every culture to the whole world.
Culture is social it is not the individual phenomena. it is the product of society and originates and grows through social interaction. Something is differentiable to us through comparison, so for distinguishes culture we have to compare it with some other then we will know about all aspects of that culture therefore the culture must be social and without it there is no concept of culture. One author says that "culture can be thought of as the normative order, operating through operational and social influence, that guide and constrains the behavior of people in collectives"5 .so from above statement it is clear that culture is the overall thought in a normative order, and these thoughts are pass through several operational and social influences, it means that their also occur some changes in culture but these changes are collectively and thus people of that culture adopt their behavior to the culture.
Culture is the continuous process, Culture is growing whole which includes in itself, the achievements of the past and present and makes provision for the future achievements of mankind. Culture is the result of past and present changes that occur in it, and thus it absorb that changes in itself and the culture become the result of past and present experiences and the process continue to next generation and so on. "Hence some sociologists like Lotion called culture the social heritage of man"6.
Culture is always adaptive, even changes occur in culture but is very slow process and generally it is adaptive to all the people associated with that culture. when their occur some changes in the culture then at the same time people become use to with it and thus they feel nothing about their culture even people of other cultures will says anything about that culture but the people of that culture they are adapt with it. One author says about it that "The biological modifications and adjustments are always flexible to adapt even in the harsh conditions of the environment"7.it means that the changes occur in the culture is flexible, easy for everyone to follow.
Culture always varies. All the elements of culture like dressing, ways of eating, speaking etc varies from society to society. In every culture there always changes occur in some interval of time, almost the changes speed is very slow but we never say that culture is not variable.
Parts of culture:
There are two types of culture
- Material culture
- Non-material culture
Material culture includes all those things that people creates and gives meaning to it. Material culture include lot of things, some of them are given below:
Dressing is the important thing in culture. It identify the cultural society, for example when a stranger from other country come to Pakistan and he know little about here culture dressing so he will definitely identify the place. Every culture gives most importance to their culture. They did not appreciate those who are not wearing their own cultural dress.
Gradually the dressing importance is also disappearing from the people. There a lot of people when they goes to the other cultural society, they adopt that and forget about their culture. According to my survey I have done some days ago a lot of people say that we are not giving so much importance to our culture. Nowadays the culture is changing so much fast because of this reason that the people not giving so much importance to their culture, especially dress.
According to the Colombia university press "everything having to do with foodâ€”its capture, cultivation, preparation, and consumptionâ€”represents a cultural act"8 so definitely food when reach to us first it pass from different stages like its cultivation, every culture has its own process of cultivation, capturing and preparation. This mean that food is also one of the important part of the material culture.
Building means construction. Building also plays important role in culture identity. Different cultures have different type of buildings. Some cultures have big houses while some have small. There are also some cultural people who don't construct houses also, all life they pass in different places. Usually the cultural people from rural areas have big houses while those living in the city have small houses. The reason may be in rural areas the population is so much low and the place available for the house is very cheap as compare to the city. May be of this reason this culture is raised in the rural areas.
Non-material culture consists of thoughts and behavior that people learn as part of the culture they live in. It includes language, rules, customs, family, religion or beliefs, values, and knowledge. We will discuss some of them;
Language is one of the most important forms of material culture, without language there is no concept of culture. Different cultures have different speaking of language. Even when the language is same between the two cultures but still there will be difference in speaking and one will easily difference between them. Sometime because of cultures a large number of cultures are treated as one culture, for example in Pakistan there is a lot of cultures but still to the out countries they treat as just like one culture and is known as Pakistani culture. Even subcontinent is also treated as one culture but this in a specific occasion for example Asia is the largest subcontinent but the countries outside the Asia also says the words like Asian culture and we says the European culture or African culture. Language is the root cause of culture. Humans learn their culture through language, the parents first learned language to the kids after that they gradually also learn their culture.
Family is one of the most important concept in the culture. Different cultures define family in different ways. Some says that those who have a blood relation with you is your family member, other says that only your wife and kids are included in your family. According to an author "Anthropologists say a culture's biological and marital kinship rules and patterns of reciprocal obligations define family"9, the definition varies of different cultures. The people from rural background define family in a large sense they include all of their relatives in the family and those from urban background define family in a little narrow sense as compared to the urban background people.
Religion is the most important in cultural society. In most of the culture the religion is very respectful to all of the culture members and they also strictly obey their religion. And the most respectful religion among all the culture is Islam. Those cultures that have Islam as religion they apply the order of Islam in their daily life and mostly these people led a very happy life without much resources. According to my survey a lot of my audience says that they follow their religion strictly and says five time prayers which is the most important thing as considered to Islam, and those audiences whose religion was other than Islam they mostly says that we are not so much following our religion.
Education also play important role in building a cultural society. Education is the basic need of human. Without education humanity is not possible, therefore almost all the cultures gives importance to education and they possess only education for their success. But still there are also so cultures which do not gives focus to education. Some cultures give importance only to boys education and not to female. The number of these types of cultures is decreasing slowly. In general most cultures gives importance to education and they love the educated people of their culture.
Importance of culture:
Culture has great importance. Culture is the identity of the nation, without culture the society is impossible. An author says about the importance of culture that "culture is the set of transmitted and learned behavior patterns, beliefs, institutions and all other products of human work and thought that characterize the functioning of particular population, profession, organization or community"10, so the only representative of the particular community or population is the culture. Culture is the basic root of any community which gives them the ways of life. The culture provides solution to the critical problem that is faced to community. Culture teach us to think for the whole nation not individually, it provide the concept of family, nation etc.
1: Damen, L. (1987). Culture Learning: The Fifth Dimension on the Language Classroom. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley
2: Hofstede, G. (1984). National cultures and corporate cultures. In L.A. Samovar & R.E. Porter (Eds.), Communication Between Cultures. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
4: Understanding culture (Dato'Dr Sothi Rachagan)
5: (Kotter and heskatt, 1992, reusseau, 1990)
8: food is culture(Massimo montanari nov. 2006)
9: The Definition of "Family" in a Free Society(Gordon Neal Diem, D.A. 1997)
10. hofstede G. culture and organization. New York: MC graw-hill; 1997