Characteristics and elements of culture


Culture is a complex system of knowledge and customs that characterizes a certain population and that is transmitted to subsequent generations. The language, habits, and values are some of the aspects that are part of the culture. In this article we will describe Characteristics and elements of culture.

The word culture comes from the Latin word meaning “to cultivate”, “to cultivate” or “to care” and refers to cultivating knowledge and education, in the sense of the intellectual capacity acquired by a people or civilization.

Culture is the result of the accumulation of experiences and adaptation to different circumstances, which a population had for a long period. It is a culture that guarantees the survival of the social group. Culture and its Characteristics and elements

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defined culture as “ the set of distinctive spiritual and material, intellectual and affective features that characterize a society or a social group and that encompasses, in addition to the arts and letters, ways of life, ways of living together, value systems, traditions, and beliefs ”.

Characteristics of culture

  • Culture is characterized by being learned, shared, and dynamic, that is, it adapts to the context in order to guarantee the survival of the social group.
  • Culture is not something instinctive or natural of the human being but is a product of learning that it incorporates throughout life. It is a capacity that differentiates it from the rest of the animals.
  • The way of life in the community makes the continuity of culture possible. There is a wide cultural diversity as there are so many societies or countries in the world, that is, different cultures can coexist.
  • In recent years the human being has developed new skills and technologies that implied an accelerated advance in cultural evolution worldwide, such as the 2.0 culture of the Internet and social networks.

Elements of culture

Although there are several very different cultures, they all share the following elements:

  1. Symbols that are recognizable throughout the community.
  2. The language and the particular language.
  3. The idiosyncrasy, that is, the way of being of the people.
  4. The belief system that gives life direction, such as religion or rituals.
  5. The values ​​that provide social order.
  6. The laws regulate a certain system of rules and sanctions.
  7. Customs, such as the type of music, clothing, or food.
  8. Collective celebrations, such as a national holiday or carnival.
  9. The advancement of technology impacts the development of daily life.

Cultural ethnocentrism

The diversity of cultures around the world generates a phenomenon that anthropology calls ethnocentrism. It consists of the attitude of a person, group or society of superiority over others, by assuming that their own culture is the best and the only adequate way of being.

To a greater or lesser extent, manifestations of ethnocentrism are evident throughout the world. In small doses, it contributes to generating a sense of cultural pride and united groups. In extreme cases where there is no room for tolerance, a destructive culture can become, as in situations of colonization or genocide.

The anthropological analyzes this concept under the precept that no culture is better than another and that only can be judged on whether meet the needs and rights of its population. Cultural diversity is necessary to guarantee the continuity of humanity according to the different environments it inhabits. We hope that you have understood the concept of Culture and its Characteristics and elements

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