Culture: A Society's Shared and Socially Transmitted Ideas, Values and Perceptions

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Human behaviour is both part of nature and nurture. The genes that define each of us are the way nature expresses itself. Nurture offers us other things that nature failed to give. One of these things is culture. According to the book “Anthropology: The Human Challenge”, culture is “a society’s shared and socially transmitted ideas, values and perceptions, which are used to make sense of experience and generate behaviour and are reflected in that behaviour.” To simplify, culture is the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. (Culture) How can we say that a certain trait is a cultural manifestation? There are five characteristics of culture: learned, shared, symbolic, integrated, and dynamic. (Haviland, Prins and Walrath) Basically, culture is learned. It is not inherited through genes though some people believe that certain cultural mannerisms can be. One good example would be the common Filipino religion practice, which is praying. Devout Filipino Catholics say their prayer before and after meals. In catholic and some non-sectarian schools, the teachers train the children to pray together before and after their break time. Saying that a certain cultural trait, like praying before meal, is inherited is a misconception. There is no scientific explanation to say that it can be biologically transmitted. A person cannot be born and eventually know his social group’s basic ideas and practices. He doesn’t even know that he belongs to a group. He has to learn things from experience, knowledge, and habits through the use of senses. Culture can be socially transmitted by imitation, instruction, and observation which are all easily offered by mass media today. Culture is shared. The society’s ideas, tradition, standard values, and customs are familiar to its members. They can predict what the other members can do in a situation. Without this trait, culture cannot be understood by others. When you eat with...
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