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Culture and It’s Elements Essay

Culture (Latin: cultura, lit. “cultivation”)[1] is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator, Cicero: “cultura animi”. The term “culture” appeared first in its current sense in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, to connote a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture or horticulture. In the 19th century, the term developed to refer first to the betterment or refinement of the individual, especially through education, and then to the fulfillment of national aspirations or ideals. In the mid-19th century, some scientists used the term “culture” to refer to a universal human capacity. For the German nonpositivist sociologist Georg Simmel, culture referred to “the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history”.[2] In the 20th century, “culture” emerged as a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of human phenomena that cannot be attributed to genetic inheritance.

Specifically, the term “culture” in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively. Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society, its so-called material culture and everything else,[3] the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term “culture”

SOCIAL ORGANIZATION

· Creates social structure by organizing its members into small units to meet basic needs. · Family Patterns: family is the most important unit of social organization. Through the family children learn how they are expected to act and what to believe. · Nuclear family: wife, husband, children. This is a typical family in an industrial society (US). · Extended family: Several generations living in one household, working and living together: grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. Respect for elders is strong. · Social classes: rank people in order of status, depending on what is important to the culture (money, job, education, ancestry, etc.)

CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

· Rules of Behavior are enforced ideas of right and wrong. They can be customs, traditions, rules, or written laws.

RELIGION

· Answers basic questions about the meaning of life. · Supports values that groups of people feel are important. · Religion is often a source of conflict between cultures. · Monotheism is a belief in one god.

· Polytheism is a belief in many gods.
· Atheism is a belief in no gods.

LANGUAGE

· Language is the cornerstone of culture.
· All cultures have a spoken language (even if there are no developed forms of writing). · People who speak the same language often share the same culture. · Many societies include a large number of people who speak different languages. · Each language can have several different dialects.

ARTS AND LITERATURE

· They are the products of the human imagination. · They help us pass on the culture’s basic beliefs. · Examples: art, music, literature, and folk tales

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

· People form governments to provide for their common needs, keep order within society, and protect their society from outside threats.
· Definition of government: 1. Person/people who hold power in a society; 2 Society’s laws and political institutions.

· Democracy: people have supreme power, government acts by and with consent.
· Republic: people choose leaders who represent them.
· Dictatorship: ruler/group holds power by force usually relying on military support for power.

ECONOMIC SYSTEMS

· How people use limited resources to satisfy their wants and needs. · Answers the basic questions: what to produce, how to produce it, and for whom. · Traditional Economy: people produce most of what they need to survive (hunting, gathering, farming, herding cattle, make own clothes/tools). · Market Economy: buying and selling goods and services · Command Economy: Government controls what/how goods are produced and what they cost. Individuals have little economic power · Mixed Economy: Individuals make some economic decisions and the government makes others.

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