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Thread: What does "Culture" mean to you ?

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    What does "Culture" mean to you ?



    It has happened to me to be in a state of serious misunderstanding with some people about the meaning of the word "culture". They said they liked "culture" and me too, yet we had nothing in common.

    There understanding of culture was usually related to modern and quite specific cultural elements, such as electronic music, cinema d'auteur, modern art exhibitions, literature or theatre.

    When I talk about culture, what first springs to mind is a society's culture as opposed to other ones. So it is about the way of thinking, the customs, the dressing style, the etiquette, the canons of beauty, the cultural values, the way of doing things, etc. When applied to the arts, "being interested in culture" for me means liking such things as classical music or architecture. Literature and theatre, maybe, but anything modern usually doesn't fit in because it is limited to a very small segment of modern society and does not reflect the true culture of that country. Versailles is representative of French culture, but the Pompidou Centre is not, because it only represent that architect's style, not a wider nationwide and long-lasting current.
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    It's a term I can't define... I went to the dictionary to see what he has to say about it, and it said:
    Quote Originally Posted by dictionary.com
    1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
    2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
    3. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
    4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
    5. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.
    6. Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.
    (and there was more about biology, agriculture etc...)

    I don't like the word "excellent" in the above, because that is so subjective.

    I suppose I see it like #5: "the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group"... with the group in most cases being a certain country, but also other groups within the country, e.g. in my city there is a lot of Asian culture, although of course the overall culture is English... and how are these things defined and measured? I am really not sure... I can see why some people think of 'culture' as like the arts, literature, theatre, cinema, music etc, because these things all reflect the culture of a country, race or whatever, but they are not the actual culture... and people use the word in other ways, too, like saying for example "the Mediterranean work culture is more laid-back than American" or whatever...


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    I don't like dictionary definitions because they are so vague and approximate. What's more every dictionary has a different definition, which proves that different people have different understandings of almost every conceptual words in a language. That's why I ask specifically what you (all) first spring to your mind when you hear the term "culture".

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    Well, I think of it as "the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group", or at least that seems like words with a broad enough meaning to encompass what I think is "culture"... including how these behaviours and beliefs manifest themselves in the form of the arts (literature, music, visual arts, architecture etc.) as well as in "popular culture" i.e. what is seen in mainstream marketing, entertainment, lifestyles... also including prevailing/popular views, philosophies etc... it is too broad to be easy to define in any meaningful way.

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    I think that "culture" is everything that is not dertermined biologically and that makes us what we individually are (the term could be applied to a single individual), or, something distinctive to a particular group of people...

    There are even sciences, like Psychology and Sociology that have to struggle in a very broad manner such concept.

    Undoubtly, it is associated with the concept of "learning".

    @Kinsao
    Well, I think of it as "the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group", or at least that seems like words with a broad enough meaning to encompass what I think is "culture"... including how these behaviours and beliefs manifest themselves in the form of the arts (literature, music, visual arts, architecture etc.) as well as in "popular culture" i.e. what is seen in mainstream marketing, entertainment, lifestyles... also including prevailing/popular views, philosophies etc... it is too broad to be easy to define in any meaningful way.


    I agree...

    However, sometimes the term is used to say that such or such people "do not have culture" (i.e. they are uneducated, rude, or have "bad taste"). This is a very particular use... and I sense that here is very much relevant to say that culture is a relative concept, and maybe it is better to keep it void of judgement, if one pretends to be use it a scientific manner.

    I see the question this way: Everything we learn, is culture (at least individually), most of it is prevalent in our environment (time and place) and therefore could be labeled as part of the societal culture. An then, there could be a quest to see if this that we learn, reflects what we arbitrary deem as proper of the "un-contaminated", or "un-spoiled" traditions from some society or place.

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    To me culture means identity, identity of me, my ancestors... It's very important to have your identity, that's something you cannot pay to have it :) Even if you pay it, you know inside yourself it's not what you wanted :)

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    For me I suppose my definition would depend on how the word was used.

    If someone said "We are so cultured" (as a joke) I take that as a refference to high culture like classical music and the arts.

    If someone said "I'm really into culture" (which would be an odd thing to say ) I'd take that to mean ethnic values, lifestyles etc.

    I once heard someone remark "Australia has no real culture", in this context I took it to mean they lacked a history of "high Culture", or perhaps they were putting down enthnic values/lifestyle of Australians. In this case I guess there might be an ambigious overlap.

    English is a slippery fish!

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    Yes it does depend on how you use the word as to the meaning.

    A cultured person would be someone well read, travelled, dressed and mannered or sometimes an upper class person. As opposed to a person's culture, which would indicate the person's ethnicity, its customs and lifestyle.

    The "Australia has not real culture" remark is a real sore point to many Australians, for some odd reason many Australians feel they should be able to compete, historically, with Europe.

    The remark means both lack of history and lack of customs and enthicity etc, and when thought about is really a silly accusation in two ways a) modern Australia is only 200yrs old, hardly enough time to evolve anything that would resemble its own seperate culture especially when it barely has its own identity. b) Australia actually does have a wonderful history and culture, it is just not a white one so is rather arrogantly overlooked by many, including white Australians.

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    Culture is something created and learned from a philosophical standpoint.

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    Culture is something created and learned from a philosophical standpoint.
    I think it is a very good definition you give.

    In the broadest sense, is what the human creates for itself, opposed to a not creative and not variable nature.

    Technology, Art, Law, Moral, Economy, Science, usw. are part of that we call "culture".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spion Stirlitz View Post
    I think it is a very good definition you give.

    In the broadest sense, is what the human creates for itself, opposed to a not creative and not variable nature.

    Technology, Art, Law, Moral, Economy, Science, usw. are part of that we call "culture".
    Thanks for your quote and I agree with yours. Your definition couldn't be better. Best regards.

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    Culture develops through normative interactive practice and is molded by a society's epistemological cache, the habitus: a social community's set of inclinations, preferences, proclivities...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady View Post
    Thanks for your quote and I agree with yours. Your definition couldn't be better. Best regards.
    You are wellcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady View Post
    Culture is something created and learned from a philosophical standpoint.
    In reality, I don't believe that "philosophy" has to enter the definition... or at least I think that now we could explain it from a totally scientific point of view.

    Maybe you could expand your point of view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spion Stirlitz View Post
    In reality, I don't believe that "philosophy" has to enter the definition... or at least I think that now we could explain it from a totally scientific point of view.

    Maybe you could expand your point of view.
    He will never answer you that question. He recently got banned...

    Anyways, Grüße aus Tempelhof!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    He will never answer you that question. He recently got banned...

    Anyways, Grüße aus Tempelhof!
    Grüsse.

    Warum war der Benutzer (Brady) gesperrt? Ich dachte er war eine sehr intelligente Person, in diesem Strang.

    Was passiert in diesen Foren? Warum gibt es so viele Rassismus und Hass gegen Türken und Lateinamerikaner von diesen Spaniern?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spion Stirlitz View Post
    Grüsse.

    Warum war der Benutzer (Brady) gesperrt? Ich dachte er war als eine sehr intelligente Person, in diesem Strang.

    Was passiert in diesen Foren? Warum gibt es so viele Rassismus gegen Türken und Lateinamerikaner von diesen Spaniern?
    "Brady" war auch "hangman." Und hangman war auch gesperrt. Source.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    "Brady" war auch "hangman." Und hangman war auch gesperrt.
    Hi, Sparkey.

    So "Brady" was caught with two accounts. That explains. It is not tolerated in many many forums.

    Nice to see an American that still speaks German.

    (And probably better than I, since I and my family still speak too much Russian at home).

    I have always wanted to visit California. I want specially to visit Hollywood and the Sequoia National Park. Maybe this year I will organize a trip with some friends here.

    Greetings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spion Stirlitz View Post
    Hi, Sparkey.

    So "Brady" was caught with two accounts. That explains. It is not tolerated in many many forums.

    Nice to see an American that still speaks German.

    (And probably better than I, since I and my family still speak too much Russian at home).

    I have always wanted to visit California. I want specially to visit Hollywood and the Sequoia National Park. Maybe this year I will organize a trip with some friends here.

    Greetings.
    Probably not better than you. Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut. I just took a few courses and haven't kept on top of it, but I could read what you wrote, at least.

    California is a good place to visit. I used to live not far from Sequoia National Park and have been there plenty of times. Lots of good hiking. If you don't mind a terrifying drive on the side of a cliff to get there, Mineral King is a particularly beautiful and secluded part of it. King's Canyon is also great.

    Back on topic... culture... is particularly difficult to define. It's rather a summation of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Probably not better than you. Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut. I just took a few courses and haven't kept on top of it, but I could read what you wrote, at least.
    Well, I consider your interest for the language as much more than average, given the fact that German is dwindling fast in the USA. Your Munchausen avatar also make clear that you have some affinity to the German culture.

    California is a good place to visit. I used to live not far from Sequoia National Park and have been there plenty of times. Lots of good hiking. If you don't mind a terrifying drive on the side of a cliff to get there, Mineral King is a particularly beautiful and secluded part of it. King's Canyon is also great.
    Thanks. I take note and will follow your recommendations.

    Back on topic... culture... is particularly difficult to define. It's rather a summation of things.
    I agree. I guess that this kind of topics pop up precisely because it is an interesting yet complex and controvertial theme.

    Now, talking about that thread you people have down there... wow!! It seems that there is an interesting kind of Spy novel developing in here .

    I find that exciting and make everything more interesting.

    "Best Regards" .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spion Stirlitz View Post
    Well, I consider your interest for the language as much more than average, given the fact that German is dwindling fast in the USA. Your Munchausen avatar also make clear that you have some affinity to the German culture.
    Absolutely, the German culture is one of several for which I have a particular affinity. I do have some German heritage, although it isn't very immediate, coming from the first wave (pre-American Revolution) of German immigrants to America. To learn about their culture has been illuminating to me... one of my favorites was to learn about how one of the early German immigrant families I descend from were members of the Ephrata Cloister.

    I think culture-mixing and persistence of culture amongst diaspora is another interesting topic that probably relates to this thread. I'm firmly of the belief that people can be of multiple cultures and draw from an array of cultural practice, sometimes without even knowing it. At the same time, minority culture can be a significant influence on the majority culture in a region. So, while some see "melting pot" and "multiculturalism" as fundamentally at odds, I view the natural process as the two complimenting one another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spion Stirlitz View Post
    Now, talking about that thread you people have down there... wow!! It seems that there is an interesting kind of Spy novel developing in here .

    I find that exciting and make everything more interesting.
    Watch out... nobody is who they say they are...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spion Stirlitz View Post
    Now, talking about that thread you people have down there... wow!! It seems that there is an interesting kind of Spy novel developing in here.
    Lol, it pays to be cautious you know!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura50 View Post
    To me personally it means a group of people share many common values. Such as beliefs and every day way of life.
    It has to be more than that, because we can easily imagine two people of the same culture with few values in common, few shared beliefs, and different lifestyles. Although, certainly those things are components.

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    I think culture is the people. Their beliefs and the way of life.

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    Any better answers here? Thanks.
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