definition of culture

Culture is the set of forms and expressions that will characterize a given society over time.. By the set of forms and expressions is understood and includes the customs, beliefs, common practices, rules, norms, codes, clothing, religion, rituals and ways of being that predominate in the common people that integrate it. The term culture has a very broad meaning and with multiple meanings. The same happens with words like science, knowledge or faith, specific words with different evaluations and meanings.

By mentioning the word culture, one is referring to a broad set of knowledge referring to a specific field. We can speak of culture from a personal, union or collective approach and also as an idea referring to a globality of values ​​shared by a community.

We say that an individual has a broad culture when he manifests diverse knowledge in very varied subjects: sports, literature, law or medicine.

The variety of cultures, as well as the varied universe of forms and expressions that they represent, is the subject of study mainly in disciplines such as sociology and anthropology. For example, and to illustrate with an example what we discussed above, the celebration that takes place after obtaining a soccer championship is usually one of the most observed rituals in various Latin and European cultures.

If the notion of culture is used within a profession (let's say medicine as an example) we would be talking about medical culture, that is, the set of knowledge, methods and vocabulary typical of this professional activity.

In the context of a community of people, culture is applied in a very general sense, when mentioning the ideas, values, beliefs and traditions that make it up. This is what happens when we refer to Roman, Greek or Scandinavian culture.

In a general sense, culture is not a finished reality, but is totally dynamic and changing. In Western culture, the set of its elements changes over time, producing the phenomenon of fusion between cultures. This phenomenon is very common and happens when two approaches or cultural visions are related (let's think of the East and the West), causing as a final result a synthesis between the two worldviews.

Regarding the origin of the word and as a consequence also of the use that will be given to the term, more or less, it dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was used to refer to the cultivation of land and livestock, since it comes from the Latin cultus which means caring for the fields and livestock, while, when it is already in the 18th century or the Enlightenment, as it is also known, in which a deep vocation for the cultivation of thought will be born in many, immediately the term will change into the figurative sense of cultivating the spirit.

Culture has its own places; centers or institutions in which it takes place. Museums, schools or libraries are places specialized in culture, where people learn and exercise to reach a certain level of knowledge.

The value and importance of culture is indisputable. There is a global consensus on its relevance. In fact, when a town has a high illiteracy rate or a lack of schools, there is an obvious social problem. The absence of knowledge or the poverty of the same is what is called as ignorance. The border between the two is difficult to pin down, as it requires a subjective assessment that is subject to debate and discussion.

Culture has a simple and everyday look when it is popular in nature. And it takes a higher level if it is a specialized culture. In any case, culture cannot be dispensed with, we live in it.

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