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What are characteristics of culture?

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Quick Answer

According to PreserveArticles.com, culture is shared, social, transmitted through learning, dependent upon language, cumulative, gratifying to participate in, dynamic and variable between different societies. All human societies have their own cultures.

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Culture can be defined as the cumulative shared story of a group of people, including all unique learned behaviors and information from histories to sanitary habits. In order to belong fully to a society, humans must participate in the culture to some extent. Young people and other people new to a group (for example, those who marry in) are taught the culture of a group using some language medium. Over time, cultures change and grow, so older cultures tend to be more complex and layered than newer cultures.

Before the modern era, cultures developed in isolation. In modern times, however, very few cultures have not come in contact with other cultures. This means that one of the characteristics that previously marked culture — a lack of awareness that one even has a culture — has changed, as people become more aware of the differences between their own behavior and that of other groups. This difference can lead to disorienting culture shock, which can engender tension and hostility toward the alien culture.

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