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Paper Topic:

Define culture. Explain the components of culture. Then, by providing specific examples, use your own cultural heritage to illustrate these components. Define subculture and counterculture. Then apply these terms to your own, or to someone else’s life

Definitions and explanations of culture , subculture , counterculture cultural relativism and ethnocentrism

Culture is a complex issue that belongs not only to the competence of sociology , but also to a number of areas of knowledge like linguistics psychology , public relations and managerial science . This means , culture should be primarily viewed as a background for human performance even in the most invisible and subtle daily matters and routines , which are often overlooked by non-scientists , but thoroughly scrutinized by those involved into the related research . Bourdieu defines culture as the cumulative deposit of knowledge

, experience , beliefs , values , attitudes meanings , hierarchies , religion , notions of time , roles , spatial relations , concepts of the universe , and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generation through individual and group striving (Bourdieu , 1977 ,

. 121 . On the other hand , the approach to culture as to a chaos of these components is initially erroneous , - on the contrary , all cultures are well-organized and structured , all their components are interrelated and interact in certain ways , as appropriate in the situation or settings . Cohen defines culture as a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another (Cohen , 1985 br

.79 . The scholar therefore solves the question of hierarchy of components : culture is a peculiar code , into which knowledge , beliefs attitudes , material objects and the other constituents are incorporated .The appearance , diversification and elaboration of cultures is associated with the overall development of humanity , physical perfection of human-being (the growth of brain ) and the division of global community into societies , which naturally needed certain means of distinguishing between the members of their own group from strangers , so that basic purpose of culture is safety or survival in general (such vital components as language and gestures were really determinative in terms of survival

Let 's examine the major components of culture in details . First of all symbols (Chapter 2 , are signs , understood and interpreted by the members of certain culture in the same way . Gestures , mimics , body language , symbolic movements - all these aspects of culture belong to symbols . For instance , in Japanese culture , a would-be-geisha , who wishes to work in this area , should enter the world of `adult ' geishas through certain performance in tea house that includes dance or song with further serving tea to guests . In this sense , culture shock is associated with the poor understanding of strange symbols of the culture , to which the traveler or newcomer does not belong

Language is an autonomous form of symbolic system , due to its significance and central position in practically each culture . As written in the Chapter 2 , language is a system of symbols that allows people communicate with one another (p . 40 . Furthermore , language not only allows communication , but also ensures the continuity of culture . Whether spoken or written , language is a cultural heritage in coded form , the key to cultural transmission , the process by which one generation passes culture to the next . Just as our bodies...

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