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What Is Culture?

Culture is the use and meaning people attribute to objects, practices, and ideas. These meanings are not necessarily founded on reason or logic. If you think about television and schoolchildren, you are probably thinking about a cultural practice. But what does culture mean, exactly? How does it affect people? What do we mean by culture? We often hear the word culture used in a broad sense, including both literal and figurative meanings. Here are some common examples.

The dominant culture is the dominant one in a society. For example, the United States has several subcultures, including hippies, punks, and graffiti artists. However, these subcultures may not persist for long and may even become dominant. If you think of an area where culture has been suppressed, you may be thinking about a culture that has been pushed to the fringes of society by an influential elite. This type of culture may not even be culturally predominant.

A similar process occurs in every culture. Although there are noticeable differences, all cultures share some elements in common. These are known as cultural universals. These are global patterns that apply to all societies. One example of a cultural universal is the family unit. Every human society recognizes a family structure, which regulates sexual reproduction and child rearing. However, the nature and function of the family unit can vary greatly. In Asian cultures, for instance, all family members live together in one household.

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