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    Definition of Culture (1360 words)

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    “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Martin Luther King Jr.

    We are all different. One thing that makes us who we are as people is culture. Culture can simply be defined as a way of life of a group of people which they pass down to their descendants from generations to generations. There are many unique people in different societies that partake in different cultures Clothes, foods, religion and many other things can have a role in someone’s culture.

    Culture is the characteristic of a unit of people defined by language, religion, lifestyle etc. The idea of structural-functional theory is an important aspect of culture which show and help us understand how society runs itself. Cultures enforce moral codes and belief systems that can bring people together or break them apart therefore causing at times cultural conflicts. A society is therefore made of a variety of groups of people who interact together despite their various cultures for a social cohesion.

    Every Cultures are defined by their own characteristics some being social characteristics where Culture is the product of society and begins to develop through social interactions, rather than an individual singularity.

    This can be understood as the normative order, functioning through effective and social influence, which guide and restricts the performance of people in different groups, and others being shared characteristics where Culture is shared through family and friends, this in turn leads to the characteristic of learning because we teach others about the different cultures around the world.

    Culture is shared in a variety of different ways; for example, language is the custom of social communication and the knowledge is transferred through group discussion, public speaking and informal communication. Another important role in sharing culture is the use of communication with the advances in technologies like TV, DVD, Internet etc. These modern technologies have uncovered every culture throughout the whole world.

    Culture is mankind’s primary adaptive mechanism, and there are different types of cultures. The way people dress is one of them. Dressing is important because it identifies the cultural society, for example foreigners that migrate to the United States have to adjust to the way people dress here in the U.S. and vise versus. Religion is another aspect of culture, it is the most important in a cultural society. When dealing with religion you must be very respectful to all of the culture members, they strictly obey their religion.

    Culture has great importance. Culture is what overall creates and identifies the United States of America today. Without culture the building blocks to a society is impossible. Overall I came to the conclusion that culture is the basic root of any community, which in turn teaches the way of living. Culture provides solutions to the critical problem that is faced throughout multiple communities.

    Culture allows for the invention to educate us to deliberate for the whole nation rather than independently. With this we begin providing the society with the notion of family, religion, economy and educational system because WE are family. Although culture is crucial for society, it should be noted that the theory of conflict apply to every society.

    Conflict is the basis of social inequity. The theory of conflict by Karl Marx is a view which states that within all societies, there is a continuous competition for control over economic, political and social resources based on vested interest; this theory argues that people who create system are the one to run it; this theory is developed at two different levels which I can qualify as the big level and the small level. At the big level it focusses on those who have and does who doesn’t have and their conflict of interests based on their social class.

    At the small level the theory of conflict increases internal cohesion and solidarity within each of the competing groups, helps clarify perceptions of the mission of the group to which a person belongs, it draws attention to issues and problems like protests and can lead to competing groups to seek out and form coalitions.

    At my own level, the only time I experience cultural conflict was went I move here in Atlanta from Cameroon/Africa. From relocating to the United states there were so many things that were very different from each other such as the language they talked on the street (subway) because leaving Africa, I learned British English and here in the street they were some words I used and people just had no clues of what they meant though they were English words, the sports Americans enjoy is American football which you could easily assimilate to be soccer, but it has nothing to do with soccer.

    The food they eat on daily bases as well as the way they greet. Though culture itself changes over time. My first friend was white, and his family was weird to me at the beginning and different, they prepare food that was off to me I must say compare to what I used to eat on a daily basis (firm whole meal).

    Also, the way they greeted me was weird, the father just shook my light very lightly like if he was scared of me while I had a firm grip on him then him going in for a hug with a pat on the back and the mother just said “hi” while I was half way of doing the kissing on the cheek thing. Well much more like a peck than a kiss. I felt very embarrassed when greeting them and didn’t know what action to make after the awkwardness I had between them and also not wanting to have a bite out of their food they had made, though in my culture, you should never reject or not eat the meal the woman had provided.

    It just shows bad respect that you don’t like their food, or it looks gross, so you should just eat a little out of it and so I did and wanted to barf very urgently. After this encounter I leaned to wait on my friends moves before I great them to avoid any embarrassment; also, I have learned to adjust to some American meals. Culture can be anything that makes one social group different from another like the clothing they wear, food prepared in their homes to the language and scent they use. Though, in my opinion that most impact I have seen is the type of greeting you do when meeting someone.

    Not every culture or country rely on the same greeting method. Giving that in the situation I had mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t make the same mistake of being awkward when greeting another person. I personally just stopped doing what I do to greet a person and just wait on what he or she do when greeting because I also wouldn’t want to disrespect them in their way of greeting that they think is offensive or too sexual or too much contact. As seeing this in a sociological perspective, I would say this is a form of symbolic interaction theory just because when greeting someone you display yourself a type of way and the behavior of one another when interacting.

    The symbolic interaction theory view states that society is the product of the countless interactions between individuals and that these interactions require the use of symbols like the greeting symbols of my personal life experience mentioned earlier. This aspect of society is important when it comes to social interaction between individuals from different cultures.

    All in all, when I look at society, I can easily relate it to a football game in terms of a system with functions. Football is like a small society with a group of individuals with a common interest which all concur to winning the game. There is a leader in every group with rules, regulations, values and norms, which applies to everybody. You can think of football in terms of a system with functions, in terms of each individual’s role, in terms of conflict, in terms of symbolic interactionism.

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