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Culture Development - Essay Example

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The word culture has Latin in origin, which means, " to cultivate" and refers to the patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures which gives significance to such activities. The term culture refers to a group and society who has similar ways of living and thinking, and exhibit a common set of behaviour…
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Culture Development
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Download file to see previous pages A few examples include the learning a belief, way of doing things, even if they do not share a biological relationship which has led to development of the human "instincts".
According to anthropologist, culture is not a product of biological evolution, but it is rather a mean of human adaptation to the world. Culture enables humans to change rapidly to the physical changes in the earth. The cultural phenomena is universal however, cultural adaptations changes from place to place with different set of meanings from place to place and people to people. As the culture has a symbolic system, it meanings also differs from place to place with changing beliefs, myths, rituals, tools making, house design, living and eating habits. A few anthropologists differentiate between symbolic and material culture, however since 1980 majority of archeologists agree, that the symbolic culture and material culture are interwoven and symbolic culture is expressed through material culture.
Culture normally has certain unique characteristics such as: (a) symbols, which is an abstract way of referring to objects, ideas and feelings with the help of language;(b) culture is shared with in a group; (c) culture is not hereditary, but learned, even though people differ biologically, culturally they can have similar habits and behaviour; and
Human being compr
(d) Culture is adaptive. People use culture to quickly adjust and adopt to the changes in the world.
Culture as a symbol
Human being comprehends and communicates in symbols. It is these symbols, which allow people to develop complex ideas and thoughts with other people and language and arts are symbolic in nature, which makes it easier than gestures to express human emotions through symbols. A symbol some times has a relation or may not have any association with an object or idea. For example for Americans, the combination of white, blue and red colour has special meaning, the people in China consider red colour sacred one. In reality such colour may not have any practical purpose, but if these colour are combined in a shape of flag, people are willing to die for it as it stands as a symbol of honour for a nation.
In order to convey, new ideas, human being has to constantly create new symbols and add more meanings to their expressions and feelings. Sometimes, one word is used to convey an idea, and some times combination of words are used to convey some deeper meaning. Human beings right from birth are able to construct and comprehend such complex symbols.
Language provides a mean to store and communicate such expression, but some times it exceeds the capacity of the non-human animal. For example Chimpanzees, which are the closest genetic relative to human have few unique calls and gestures to communicate with each other. Chimpanzee in the lab experiments have been taught to communicate in sign language and were able to master a vocabulary of few hundred words, however chimpanzees do not have developed vocal tract like human beings.
Culture through Learning
Human beings are not born with culture, it is rather learned by living in a society. In all human societies children learn culture by imitating adults through the process of enculturation, which takes years to complete. In all human societies, children learn culture from adults and this process is called enculturation, or cultural transmission.
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