What Culture Is? by Asad Butt

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Culture is the full Range of learned human behavior patterns. The term was first used in this way by the Pioneer English Anthropologist “EDWARD B.TYLOR” in his book “PRIMITIVE CULTURE” published in 1871.

❖ According to Tylor “Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, moral, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. However modern anthropologist

❖ Culture, according to Tylor, is a complete self-working system of human achievements.

Culture is not limited to man; women possess and create it as well. Since Tylor time, the concept of culture has become the central focus of anthropology.

Some others definitions of culture:

❖ Culture is everything that people have (material possessions), think (values and attitudes) and do (behavior patterns) as members of a society.

❖ Culture is a shared way of life that includes values, beliefs, and norms transmitted within a particular society from generation to generation through symbolic learning and language.

❖ It is a collection of understanding and techniques that allow human to (live or) survive.

❖ The shared way of life of a group of people that includes their values, beliefs and norms.

❖ Man fights against the harsh realities of nature and establish the principles of survival are called culture.

❖ Culture includes all aspects of human activity, from the fine arts to popular entertainment, from everyday behavior to the development of sophisticated technology. It contains the plans, rules, techniques, design, and policies for living.

❖ Culture is a learned series of behaviors designed to cope with the natural and social environments All the above mentioned definitions forcefully put forward the point that culture is the total way of life of any human group, learned or acquired and not transmitted genetically despite differences and variations members of a society share many things in common and every society has it’s distinctive culture.

Culture consists of the abstract values, beliefs, and perceptions of the world lie behind people’s behavior and that are reflected in their behavior. These are shared by members of a society, and when acted upon, they produce behavior that is intelligible to other members of that society. Cultures are learned, largely through the medium of language, rather than inherited biologically, and the parts of a culture function as an integrated whole.

”Culture is a set of rules or standards that when acted upon by the member of a society, produce behavior that falls within the range of variance the members consider proper and acceptable”.

Culture is a powerful human tool for survival but it is a fragile phenomenon. It is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds. Our written languages, government, building, and other man-made things are merely the products of culture. They are not culture in themselves. For this reason archaeologists can’t dig up culture directly in their excavations. The broken pots and other artifacts of ancient people that archaeologist uncover are only material remains that reflect cultural patterns—they are things that were made and used through cultural knowledge and skills.

People maintain cultures to deal with problems or matters that concern them. To survive, a culture must satisfy the basic needs of those who live by its rules, provide an orderly existence for the members of a society. In doing so, a culture must strike a balance between the self-interests of individuals and the needs of society as a whole. And finally, a culture must have the capacity to change in order to adapt to new circumstances or to altered perceptions of existing circumstances.

Diverse Definitions of culture by John Bodley (1994)

|Topical: |Culture consists of everything on a list of topics, or categories,...
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