Characteristics And Importance of of Culture
Meaning and Characteristics of Culture, what is culture, meaning of culture, characteristics of culture
What is culture?
Culture can be defined as all the behaviors’, ways of life, arts, beliefs and institutions of a population that are passed from generation to generation.
Also Culture refers to the sum total way of people’s life in a given society at given time.
Culture has been called “the way of life of an entire society”. It encompasses all aspects of human life, such as;-
- codes of manners,
- norms of behavior,
- Burial ceremonies,
- wedding, dressing style,
- economic system,
- beliefs, as well as the
- craft, arts and many others.
>Culture is acquired or absorbed by man through living and participate in the cultural life of his group and changed by contact which outside cultures or inspiration from within.
> It is a phenomena that is practiced by all societies in the world. As a universal phenomenon it has been held as a mankind asset which upholds and perpetuates his time announced virtues . Culture links the past and present and synthesize man achievement and aspiration
The Origin of Culture
As stated before, culture is the totality of people’s way of life, so it is compatible with human life. It is argued historically that, culture started simultaneously with the creation of man and the formation of communities of people, as they were adopting themselves to their environment and struggled to sustain their livelihoods.
As human beings started to struggle for basic needs in their environment, they used different tools, ranging from stone to iron tools such as;- axes, arrows pots and knives.
At the beginning culture was also determined by wearing style. Previously man made clothes using animal’s skins, grasses and trees. Language was used in communication especially when man established permanent settlements.
Language united people during working, such as cultivating and hunting; through language man was able to construct songs and poems, which were used as a part of refreshments particularly when issues arose such as traditional rites.
Although culture went hand in hand with human life, it varied according to the needs of the society, and the influence of environment.
Characteristics And Importance of of Culture
ASPECT OF CULTURE
Culture consists of two main aspect; – namely:
i) Material culture
ii) Intellectual culture/ non material culture
1. Material culture.
This is the extent of materials or wealth produced or used in a society. Material culture refers to things or objects that can be seen and touched.
Always are those tangible or physical artifacts (objects) made by human being. They include such things like spears, cooking pots, houses/buildings, furniture, medical equipment’s, coins, computer, stools, cars and many others.
These cultural objects reflect the nature of the society in which they were made. Material culture shows the extent to which man has achieved in mastering the nature.
Such achievement include the level reached in the production of the instruments of labor, the technical skills developed, the scientific organization of labor, the availability of everyday needs of human and many others achievements.
2.Intellectual culture /Non Material Culture
These are intangible or abstract things creations of human society. They include such things like
- speech and
- institutional arrangements.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE
Culture, which is the collection of values, beliefs, behavior, customs and attitudes, has the following characteristics;-
a). Culture is dynamics: means peoples ways of are not static and stagnant. Cultural values are imparted from one generation to another, thus resulting to the continuation of traditions.
Culture undergoes gradual change over time. Culture loses some of its traits and gain new ones. E.g. passage of time, emerge of new technologies, new mode of work and social thinking undergoes transition and so does culture.
b). Culture is Interactive: culture always interact and affects each other, e.g. the coming of European to Africa was completely affected
c). Culture is adoptive: Culture is learned, understood and adopted according to the Generation and environment,
d) Culture is complex as a whole: Culture is complex phenomenon in Society as a whole. Complexity comes from Beliefs and Faith, feeling, Customs and Tradition, cultural norms.
Good or Bad can only judged by certain society and not international communities. E.g. Dressing style of Christian/ European is different from Muslims
IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE
The notable importance of culture include the following;
1. Knowledge; skill and wisdom from the elders to the young generation. Culture for that matter is used as a medium of bringing up the young to become respectable member of their society. Such knowledge and skill are passed on to the young generation through various cultural activities such as initiation ceremonies.
2. Teaches the youth about various social value such as language, taboos and beliefs of the societies. It can also inculcates political and economic values of the society
3. It serves as an identity of a particular society. Culture helps one society to be easily identified from other societies ,or a nation from other nation . For example people from Tanzania can easily be identified from other people of East Africa simply because of the fluent speaking of Kiswahili language when compared with people from Kenya and Uganda. Maasai people can be identified from other people just because of their style of dressing known as “LUBEGA” and the way they plait or cut hairs which is quite different from other societies.
4. It help to promote unity among the people .It binds people together as one society or nation. This becomes possible because of the same culture value that the member of the particular society share together such value include things like language ,taboos, customs etc.
5. It exposes the younger to tasks similar those of their elders. This is achieved through such things initiation ceremonies where both the girl and the boys are given special training concerning with proper morals of their societies.
Another place where the young ones learn various tasks similar to that of their elder is in the family. Family as the first institution of socialism play a significant role in educating the young ones about various task similar to those of their family member and their society in general.
6. Through work of art culture can serve as a means of providing people with enjoyment or entertainment. For examples various kinds of tradition dances, music, sport and games etc. are used for entertainment people after long period of work or passing through hard or difficulties such as war, hunger etc .
Cultural traditional dances ,music and game are also used to entertain people during various ceremonies such as wedding birthday and many other.
7. Equips the young people with insightful knowledge concerning with bad and good cultural practices .This help to refrain them from bad cultural that might have a bad impact to them.