What is Culture? Characteristics of Culture

Culture is a social behavior and norms found in human societies. It considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies.

Meaning and Definitions of Culture

According to Horton___” Culture is everything which is socially shared and learned by the members of a society”.

According to Tylor___” It is that complex whole including beliefs, art, region, values, norms, ideas, law, taught, knowledge, custom and other capabilities acquired y a man as a member of a society”.

Thus, It as the sum-total of human achievements or the total heritage of man which can be transmitted to men by communication and tradition. It is a way of life of the people in a certain geographical area. Life style and social pattern of a society being the direct consequence of the accumulated heritage of ages past distinguish and differentiate one community from another.


Characteristics of Culture

  • Culture is learned: Culture is not inherited biologically but it is learnt socially by man in a society. It is not an inborn tendency but acquired by man from the association of others, e.g. drinking, eating, dressing, walking, behaving, reading are all learnt by man.
  • It is social Thing: It is not an individual phenomena but it is the product of society. It develops in the society through social interaction. It is shared by the man of society No man can acquire it without the association of others. Man is man only among men. It helps to develop qualities of human beings in a social environment.
  • It is shared: Culture is something shared. It is nothing that an individual can passes but shared by common people of a territory. For example, customs, traditions, values, beliefs are all shared by man in a social situation. These beliefs and practices are adopted by all equally.
  • It may transmitted: It is the capable of transmitted from one generation to the next. Parents papas cultural traits to their children and in return they pass to their children and son on. It is not transmitted through genes but through language. Language is means to communication which passes cultural traits from one generation to another.
  • It is continuous process: It is continuous process. It is like a stream which is flowing from one generation to another through centuries. “Culture is the memory of human race.”
  • Accumulative: It is not a matter of month or a year. It is the continuous process and adding new cultural traits. Many cultural traits are borrowed from out side and these absorbed in that culture which adopt it, as culture is accumulative and combines the suitable cultural traits.
  • Culture is integrated: All the cultural aspects are inter-connected with each other. The development of culture is the integration of its various parts. For example, values system is interlinked with morality, customs, beliefs and religion.
  • Change in nature: It remains changing but not static. Cultural process undergoes changes. But with different speeds from society to society and generation to generation.