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What is Culture

What is Culture

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Published by Carlos Hernandez

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Published by: Carlos Hernandez on Sep 23, 2012
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Carlos Hernandez CHT 3500 Response Paper #1

Culture is a tough thing to define as it is constantly evolving as time proceeds forth. Culture currently represents the behaviors, customs, values, and traditions of a society. Culture can be both tangible and intangible. Some physical things that represent culture include art, books, and food. For example, Americans tend to be known for consuming pizza, soda, french fries, and burgers, all of which are said to make up their culture, while in contrast, Chinese people may be known for consuming dumplings, rice, and tea. There is no definite pinpoint for a society as several subcultural and regional cultures exist within a society and even within these there are differences among people. An example of beliefs as a part of culture, include political, religious, and philosophical beliefs a society holds. In the United States, society tends to value democracy, individuality, freedom, and pre-dominantly Christian values, while the freedom of religion also exists within the nation. In comparison, Asian societies, such as the Chinese, tend to lean towards group-think, collectivism, Buddhism, and freedom remains a much lower priority to the people. Much of these values are controlled by the government in these nations and government tends to have a large impact on the culture of a society. Tradition is also an important part of culture. History helps create an identity for the people of a society. Independence Day in the United States helps remind Americans of their ancestors who

fought Great Britain for freedom and democracy, which now make key American values. In China, the Chinese New Year is an important tradition that reminds the society of their spirituality and their rich and long history. The red envelopes passed on to family members represent good fortune and are meant to ward off bad spirits. These traditions are unique to the culture of these societies, although there may be similarities to others. Behavior is yet another important part of culture and can also be considered a part of the customs of a society. Behavior can best be shown in the way a culture interacts in business transactions. Shopping for goods in the United States is simple and requires looking at a price tag and making a transaction. In China and many other Asian countries, purchasing something at a market can require haggling and in order to get the best price, one must invest time and effort into receiving a sale. As China and other Asian nations have become more globalized, haggling has also been replaced in some areas with the Western way of doing business, and this is why culture cannot be simply defined, but is instead constantly evolving as a society interacts with new ideas. The scope and degree of culture is vast and constantly changing. The increasing globalization of the world has reshaped many cultures and the evolution of politics and government reshapes the behaviors, customs, values, and traditions that make up a society. The intangible elements of a culture may be lost as time presses forward, but the tangible parts of a society live on in history and remind of societies long past, such as the pyramids of Egypt or the architecture of ancient Rome and Greece. Culture is always around us.

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