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What is meant by the term "culture?"

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Quick Answer

"Culture" refers to the collective belief systems, values, attitudes, meanings and attitudes expressed by a group of people. Human nature is determined, to a large extent, by culture and the ideals that are expressed through cultural norms.

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Culture defines how groups and individuals relate to people within the same culture and people of different cultures. It appears in the form of language, religion, biases and behaviors of communities. Culture is passed down from generation to generation through shared knowledge and communication. It is through culture that individuals understand their role within their society and develop a mindset that conforms with the values and behaviors of other members of their culture.

Subcultures are another form of culture. They are most common in environments where there are a lot of people from a wide range of cultures who all live together. For instance, in the United States, subcultures of the predominant American culture include African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Mexican-Americans. Each subculture has its own set of standards, values and attitudes that share similarities and differences with the predominant culture. Often, people conform to the norms of subcultures in order to align themselves with people that come from their common ancestral background and experience.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the functions of culture?

    A:

    Culture functions as a way to bring a group of people with similar interests, backgrounds, and beliefs together while shaping their views of the world. Culture strengthens bonds between people and can easily change and evolve by adding new trends or removing old traditions.

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  • Q:

    What is meant by "a dry sense of humor"?

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    If a man has a dry sense of humor, it means he delivers humor without changing expressions. He seems to be serious even though he is making a joke.

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  • Q:

    What are some examples of high culture?

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    High culture is a term frequently used by academics to refer to a set of cultural products most highly regarded by a society. In this sense the term largely invokes the arts, so examples include those classic works of visual art, music and literature that are most frequently celebrated, taught and studied. However, depending on context, the term also refers to mannerisms or conventions frequently exhibited by social elites.

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  • Q:

    What is a cultural background?

    A:

    The term "cultural background" is a reference to any culture or subculture that an individual identifies as his or her heritage or background. Culture describes the beliefs, behaviors and traits of an ethnic, social or age demographic. Cultural background can also simply indicate a person’s nationality, even if they have no social ties or physical traits that identify with that group.

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