What is Culture?




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What is Culture?


             It is a long debate about what culture is and how the community makes its own culture before elaborating on the culture and its relation to different aspects. It must be noted how other studies, such as a psychologist, cognitive psychologist, and anthropologist, think about the culture. Every subject introduces its concept of culture that may have similar things. Some take culture as a representative; some focus the general facts of culture, and others give attention to the specific conventions of the culture. This paper aims to identify the difference between definitions of cultures and the viewpoints of different studies and assure that these definitions possess complete information or not.

“Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs” by Thomas Wolfe.

There are two aspects of culture that we will discuss in this piece of writing. According to a cultural psychologist, culture is the specific facts and figures. Any knowledge or facts that we learn from the other individuals and use it in our practical life is considered as culture. It is the part of social learning, and every individual has positive or negative effects on the actions and behaviours of the other individual. Humans are social beings, so they learn by observing each other actions. So in this way, we can say that culture consists of faith, a sense of motives, and advancement in science, and those actions that people learn from the other behaviour of other people (Jahoda, 2012).

The second aspect of culture is that culture recognizes the actions of a specific group of individuals. It is basically about those people that live in the same area and shared their norms and values. Individuals living in a particular area have the same ideas to explain, communicate with each other, follow similar norms, and have identical religious beliefs. When all these factors shared in a particular community make a culture of that area. When we see culture in a global view, we include those parts of the world vastly in an area. For example, when we say Asian countries, it means we are talking about the people of Asia that live there and share similar behaviours and customs that make its culture as a whole (Jahoda, 2012).

“Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the books they read, and the speeches they hear” by Walter Lippmann.

According to sociologists, culture can be divided into two parts: one is material, and the other is non-material. (University of Minnesota Libraries, 2019) Material culture includes all those things that are tangible that people easily share these things. For example, book tickets, use buses and go to the same grocery stores to buy something. Non-material culture consists of all ideas, beliefs, non-tangible things, and people cannot touch them (Rohner, 1984).

According to Heine (2020), it is stated that culture is mostly seen in our dressing style and meal. But the other factors included in culture are moral values, recognition of people in a particular area, and the roles of male and female (gender role) in our society. Every region of the world has different thinking about giving honour to adults and elders, sex before marriage, homosexuality, and heterosexuality. Locke says that when an infant born, his/her mind is a black slate. As they grow, they learn of doing behaviours from the surroundings, such as respecting the elders and not lying. All these things are a part of the culture, and they tend to follow these norms. The culture is the behaviour that people learn from the environment. Some behaviours are inborn that transfer through genes from parents to children. According to psychologists, culture is the combination of both innate learned behaviour (Lehman et al., 2004).

The definitions discussed above have all the information that must be a part of the culture. They include ideas, beliefs, technological advancements, morality, norms, and values. All these are essential aspects of culture. They must consist of other elements of the concept of culture that are marriage, religious beliefs, and communications. There is a need to focus on these aspects because every community has their customs in marriage ceremonies and have different languages used to communicate with each other.

It has been noticed by previous research that culture has no limits related to the demography. Cultural psychologists feel it difficult to separate two communities due to cultural differences, and there is a complexity that occurs in groups according to cultural boundaries. Secondly, culture cannot remain constant; it changes with time. We see that new ideas and habits recognize in culture by replacing the previous one. It is also a very challenging thing for the people because they cannot quickly learn one thing at a given time.


Culture is shared norms and values within the culture. Several similarities exist within one culture, but some aspects are different. When we talk about western culture, we observe that they have an individualistic culture. It is in this sense that western people do not depend on each other for their routine work. They are independent people.

On the contrary, Asian culture is a collectivistic culture; people always depend on each other for their tasks or routine work. The difference between western and Asian cultures is that western people learn ethics and etiquette like respect for your elders, but they are not forced to follow it. On the other hand, Asian people learn norms and ethics that they have to be followed at any cost. There is no freedom for them regarding these customs (Little, 2013).

The following differences noticed in the following definitions of the culture according to a specific region’s culture. If two cultures have the same religion, then they have the same religion. Every definition of culture talk about the etiquettes that are of many types. But there is a difference in the etiquette system of two cultures. If we take Western and Eastern culture, the people have to share their ideas in every situation even they may wrong their elders. But in Asian culture, young have no right to wrong their elders. It is considered disrespectful.


After reviewing the different culture concepts, it is concluded that culture is the group of people that shared norms in a similar context. It includes any type of culture, either tangible or non-tangible. It is the central construct in the development of an individual, and the people learn more from their surroundings and norms. This makes the culture of a community because its people recognize these beliefs. We are all part of the specific culture, and we must follow these norms to bring peace in the society.


Jahoda, G. (2012). Critical reflections on some recent definitions of “culture”. Culture & Psychology, 18(3), 289-303. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354067X12446229

Lehman, D. R., Chiu, C., & Schaller, M. (2004). Psychology and culture. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 689-714. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141927

Little, W. (2013). Introduction to sociology, Chapter 3. Culture. Opentextbc.ca. https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology/chapter/chapter3-culture/

Rohner, R. P. (1984). Toward a conception of culture for cross-cultural psychology. Journal of Cross- Cultural Psychology, 15(2), 111-138. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022002184015002002

University of Minnesota Libraries. (2019). 3.2 The Elements of Culture. In Sociology: Understanding and changing the social world. Chapter 3.2 The elements of culture. Open.lib.umn.edu. https://open.lib.umn.edu/sociology/chapter/3-2-the-elements-of-culture/