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Aidan Parchelo

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What Does Culture Mean to You?

We've all seen them: those tired, meaninglessly abstract definitions of culture from school textbooks or contrived montages from tourism agencies. What I'm interested in, however, is your subjective experience and understanding of culture, be it your own culture, that of others, or a juxtaposition between the two (or many).

While there technically are "experts" out there in the field, I hold a strong conviction that our interaction with culture as human beings is necessarily personal, subjective, and experiential, not theoretical and abstract.

I'm really not looking for one "right" or "sufficiently universal" answer: as far as I'm concerned, what it means to you is closer to truth than anything published in the literature these days!

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    Feb 25 2012: I've found culture to be "fluidic" if that is the right word,it changes over time,one generation practices a set of traditions passed down then the next practices a slight variant and then the next generation changes it again or the group decides to change it all together.

    A culture might be influenced by outside cultures and events,i've seen this happen within my own culture over the last 40 years,the base skeletal structure is still there from previous generations but it is vastly different to what it use to be.I would say that this century will see the rise of something different that i don't have the words for.

    Oh and technology and the economy are major culture drivers,especially in the last 12 years.
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    Feb 20 2012: I define culture in two ways.

    First and foremost I understand culture as a set of values, norms of behaviour, rules, ethics, language etc., within a group of people such as, but not limited to, a population, a team, a class, a tribe or even a family. The setting these people are represented in may or may not have an impact on the culture they form as a group of human beings.

    The second way I understand culture is culture as art, theatre, music, films etc. In other words, leisure activities for people created by people intentionally for others to embrace, enjoy and interpret.

    I know that my definition is closely related to the definitions you have probably read in school text books but aside from that, I do believe that it is a rich definition which makes sense to me.
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    Feb 20 2012: Culture refers to the language,values, traditions (food), and rules that result in specific types of behavior among members of a group. Sometimes the group is open to outside influence of other cultures, and sometimes the group is resistant to outside influence. It depends on whether the group feels threatened.

    If you are interested in learning about a different culture, there is a great deal of respect that needs to be presented up front. Then you will need to adopt the values and behaviors of the group to establish trust. This takes a great deal of time and effort and it is possible that an outsider will never be considered a member of the group. Again, it depends on how threatened the group perceives itself to be.

    Typically language, symbols, and behavior are the outward manifestations of group membership.
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    Feb 20 2012: A culture might include languages and means of communication, beliefs and values, social relationships and institutions, rituals and practices, and technologies used in daily life. A culture might include several languages and multiple sets of divergent beliefs.
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    Feb 19 2012: For me 'Culture' is near synonymous with 'tradition' in the sense that you just do something..not because there is any legitimate reason, logic or point to it, you simply do it because other people did it before you.

    Worst of all is that alot of the things that fall into such categories arose through:
    1) People who didn't understand how reality works in some manner at some time in history
    2) It was formed to benefit a situation that no longer exists
    3) The reason behind doing it has been lost to time
    Which makes it all the more idiotic.