Culture is an important aspect of every group in the world as it is a reflection of the people. Culture is defined as the shared patterns of behavior as well as interactions, cognitive constructs and the understanding that are shared by socialization (Jandt, 2015). Culture is also considered the central thought in anthropology, addressing the occurrences that are passed through social learning in the human societies. Additionally, the culture of a particular group of people is bound to change. The world is made up of many ethnically diverse societies.
However, the study of culture is important as it allows individuals to determine the level of complexity that distinguish particular civilizations from the societies that are less complex. As such, it is difficult to define a culture in one way as it is always in a constant motion. Nevertheless, the past should also be preserved and respected regardless of the unavoidability of change.
Characteristics that Define a Culture
The characteristic, as well as the knowledge of a specific group of people, encompasses the food, religion, language, music, and clothing among other things. Therefore, culture includes the things that give the society its identity. Although cultures vary in the different parts of the world, they share certain characteristics and their basic elements persist to be the same. One of the major characteristics of culture is that it is learned through an enculturation process of learning how to be a society member (Jandt, 2015). However, despite the learning nature of culture, it is never the same for everyone. Culture is shared in terms of beliefs, memories expectations as well as values from one generation to another. Although, some aspects of a culture may change with time, the norms are carried through generations.
Another characteristic of culture is that it is based on symbols. Every culture uses certain symbols to create messages that stand the test of time, and they uniquely define a group (Jandt, 2015). For instance, the culture of Iran is highly symbolic; deriving from the pre-historic times and it is the only country in the Middle East using the solar calendar while at the same time making the advent of the New Year at the spring equinox (Marashi, 2011). Culture is also all-encompassing as well as integrated, meaning that in order to understand a particular culture, an individual must comprehend what it includes. Additionally, if one aspect of culture changes, it will affect other areas as well due to the integrated, patterned system. Lastly, culture is instrumental, adaptive as well as maladaptive (Jandt, 2015). As such, culture is essential as it gives the people the identity to deal and cope with situations in a particular setting.
Iran, also known as Persia is in Western Asia, has a diversified population. The country borders the Caspian Sea, the Gulf of Oman as well as the Persian Gulf. The political, as well as the economic history of the country, has been shaped by its mountains. The mountains provide major basins that favor agricultural as well as an urban settlement (Barthold, 2014). As a very rugged country, Iran has plateaus as well as mountains which are majorly dominated by Elburz Mountains in the north, while its western borders are dominated by the Zagros Mountains. Additionally, the country consists of parallel ridges that are interspersed with plains that intersect the country from northwest to southeast (Barthold, 2014). As such, the urban and the suburban terrain follows the basing of the mountains and most of the regions that surround the towns have a complex economic relationship.
Additionally, major highways, as well as railroads, were constructed through the mountains to connect the population centers (Barthold, 2014). Furthermore, the key infrastructure in the country includes Iranian pipelines, shipping oil terminals refineries as well as gas pipelines. The country has major petroleum as well as gas hubs in the world today. The infrastructure is vital to the economic as well as political development in the country which continues to increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The weather of Iran is diverse as it encompasses 11 climates out of the 13 in the world. Its climate ranges from the arid and semi-arid, to the subtropical that is along the Caspian coast as well as the northern forest. For instance, the northern edge of the country remains humid for the better part of the year while the west areas in the basin of Zagros mostly experience severe winter, heavy snowfall (Barthold, 2014). The diversity in the climate of Iran makes water scarcity to be one of the most severe security challenges for the people. As such, the people, most of who live in the urban areas, have to deal with the changing weather conditions. Nonetheless, the societies have adapted to the changing weather patterns over the years.
One of the major military conflicts that affected the society was the Iran-Iraq war which entrenched as well as stabilized the political systems while at the same time deteriorating the economy of the country. One of the major effects of the conflict was the formation of a unique political system and after a brief period of instability, an Islamic Republic was formed, headed by a “Spiritual Leader” (Banakar, 2015). The republic is also governed by a president as well as a parliament and the political system formed from the mayhem of war and revolution characterized the society as a whole.
Additionally, the war with the Iraqis resulted in the suffering of the economy since most of the oil sectors were located in the areas of conflict. Since Iran continued to highly rely on the exportation of oil through the Gulf region, the war disrupted the process making the country suffer economically. The social-cultural interactions of the people were also affected in a great way as Iran suffered from international isolation (Vejdani, 2014). As such, the people only relied on themselves without much interaction with the outside world, except with Syria and Lebanon. Therefore, the Islamic Republic suffered from inadequate war capabilities due to lack of enough materials to produce arms as well as spare parts.
One of the defining factors in the culture of Iran is their religion, where more than 90 percent of the people associate themselves with the Shia branch of Islam (Banakar, 2015). Infant, Shia branch is the official religion of the state although a smaller percentage associates themselves with the Sunni as well as the Sufi branches of Islam. Farsi is the official language in Iran, and it has been one of the most prominent languages in the Middle East throughout history.
The culture of Iran is also one of the oldest in the whole region and its influence has been manifested in territories such as Italy, Macedonia, Russia, Greece as well as some parts of Asia due to its geopolitical position (Marashi, 2011). One of the major focuses of the people in Iran is the family whose foundations and values are taken very seriously. The responsibilities of families and the members are well respected, and their loyalty is placed before everything (Banakar, 2015). The culture of the people allows them to hold families with the highest level of order.
Arts and literature is another characteristic of the society with its great art heritage being visible in poetry, paintings, architecture as well as calligraphy (Vejdani, 2014). Many cultures have been influenced by the heritage that has been translated into several languages. The country has a long history of the wool rug as well as fine silk weaving, making the Persian rugs to be universally known as the most beautiful in the world. In addition, their etiquette and customs are very important segments of the culture in Iran (Vejdani, 2014). The customs define the daily living as well as association with the people in the society. As such, most of the interests, relationships as well as the social aspects are governed by the customs of Iran which describe the way of life. Although the country is multicultural as a result of millennia of immigration, most people identify with the Iranian culture as well as civilization.
The culture of Iran is one of the most influential in the Middle East as a result of its geopolitical position. The major encompassment of the Iranian culture is based on their language, religion, family values, customs as well as art and literature. Although the region has suffered from a long period of war and instability that caused political as well as economic disparity, Iranian culture has throughout history influenced areas such as Greece and Italy among others. Additionally, the society has strong values that originate from the family unit and kinship to the governance of the country. The people of Iran, therefore, enjoy a wide range of cultural as well as civilization advantages since the country also holds a significant position in the world in terms of energy security as well as economy.