Society & Culture

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Explain the differences and areas of overlap in the terms society and culture. It is often hard to differentiate society and culture as the terms are used interchangeably in more recent times. There has been an overlap due to an evolution to the meanings of the words society and culture which subsequently amalgamated certain parts of their meanings. Society is referred to as a group of people who share a common area, culture and behavior patterns. Culture is the sum total of beliefs, values and practices that are common in any population or community. For example, people kiss one another as a form of greeting when they meet in the western world whereas kissing may be seen as an unacceptable behavior in the eastern part of the world. Culture is often referred to as being dynamic. Culture is the underlying shared characteristics (values, religion, etc.) of a given subset of people whilst society refers to the people of a group and their interactions with each other. Culture has a historic perspective and traditional beliefs and practices are handed down over generations. These practices are reflected in all demeanors and behaviors such as art, music, teaching, structures, religion, foods, sense of dressing, literature, poetry etc. Society on the other hand has got to do with laws, government structures, constitutions, family, men women, labor, and in general all things social. Society is a more abstract concept than culture. The concept culture is conveniently divided into non material and material culture. Material culture being products of the people such as styles of architecture, types of food preparation, economic organizations and forms of technology whilst non-material culture is the cherished ideas, beliefs, values and norms which become tangible in the forms of behavior and material objects to which they give rise. Society functions through roles that are assigned to institutions, organisations and persons. The patterns of interaction in a...
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