Please keep in mind that I am not naturally scientifically inclined. But my curiosity was piqued this last week as I watched my in-laws and my husband interact. I thought about what culture is and where it comes from. Why does my husband act the way he does and do the things he does?
In many ways, he is just like his dad. He is quiet, brilliant, a voracious reader, persuasive, strong-willed, generally undemonstrative and has an elephant’s memory. His father is a doctor, but, in so many ways Patrick is the quintessential soldier – most likely a product of his environment in the Army. He is stoic, commanding, methodical, critical, undemonstrative, determined, silent and competitive. So, what made Patrick – Patrick? How is he a product of his culture? My husband and I are of the same generation. However, my culture has made me loud, chatty, warm, gregarious, dramatic, emotional, introspective, impulsive and accepting.
Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning “to cultivate”) is a term that has various meanings. For example, in 1952,Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of “culture” in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions.However, the word “culture” is most commonly used in three basic senses:
- Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
- An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
- The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group