What is Culture: Basic Elements of Culture and Features

Cultures are rules and laws which are passed from one generation to the next generation. This is a basic definition from which culture can be explained theoretically but to define a culture more precisely we have to classify and name its basic element moreover the subjected elements are needed to be explained in detail; to describe and understand the deep and real sense of the term “Culture”.

The basic elements of culture 

  • Language
  • Norms
  • Beliefs
  • Symbols
  • Values
  • Cognitive Elements

Language: – Every culture has a particular language which is passed by the person belongs to that particular culture to the next generation and the following generation also has to learn the language. The language can be defined, in a very precise manner, and can be compared,  in the best way, with a vehicle. Language is a medium or an instrument which is used to express one’s view and to keep forward one’s opinion.

Language is the most basic and most important element in a culture. For example, a person who speaks nagamese can be judged to be a citizen of Nagaland. The person who speaks Hindi and having an accent like that of Indians can be recognized easily, that he is a citizen of India and likewise person speaking other languages can be recognized that to which culture he/she belongs.

Norms: –  The very important element of a culture is this norms. This decides the rules and regulation of a society. Norms define two types of rules one of which it must be followed by people of that particular society these rules are known as “mos”. The other rule tells the daily habits of individual of that society it is known as “folkways“.

Beliefs:-  Before the creation of any culture by a society, society decides their source of motivation, which they considered as appropriate. For example god Shiva to Hindus,  Sikh wear bangle in one hand, bear a long beard, keeping a dagger.  Cross for Christians and a necklace or a cotton thread around the neck.

Symbols:- Importance of Symbols may differ for different people,  belonging to a different culture. For example sign of cross means nothing for Hindus but for Christians, this is a symbol of Lord Christ.

Values:– Anything or any material when collects importance in our daily life it starts having value. Value of some materials, sometimes, are received and taught by parents to their children. Some values are explained by society, in this way values of a particular society gets accumulated and move forward from generations to generations.

Cognitive elements:- Cognitive elements are that element of culture which deals with the management of difficult times or natural calamities. Cognitive elements of culture are those through which an individual learn how to cope with an existing situation whether natural or social. These qualities are learned by  children and taught, to them, by their parents, so that their son/daughter can live with peace in a particular situation

Culture is a symbolic continuous, cumulative and progressive process.

Linton: – Culture is social heredity, which is transmitted from one generation to another with the accumulation of individual’s experiences.

Also Read: What is Cultural Studies

key features of culture

1. Culture is learned

2.  Culture is social

3.  Culture is shared

4.  Culture is transmitted

5.  Culture is continuous

6.  Culture is accumulative

7.  Culture is integrate

8.  Culture is changing

9.  Culture varies from society to society

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