Culture Definition Essay

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Introduction What exactly is culture? This question has puzzled anthropologists, historians, and common people alike since travelers first encountered people from another place. In their attempts to define culture, some have overlooked or oversimplified key aspects of this complex phenomenon- creating a narrow definition of culture. A narrow definition of culture can be identified by its tendency to elevate one culture over another, or invalidate the culture of a particular people group. History is full of examples of the consequences of using a narrow definition of culture- it was used to justify conquest, imperialism and racism. In modern times of increasing immigration and globalization, the narrow definition of culture still exists, frequently…show more content…
Now that there is a general consensus that multiple cultures exist, there exists the challenge of defining them. Division lines between cultures have been drawn along geographic region, language, religion, shared norms, and environment in order to understand different people groups. Each method for understanding culture offers a unique lens by which we can understand culture, but also omits important shared characteristics that also help define…show more content…
In many African countries for example, country borders are only the first stage of understanding the culture because within the borders exist many tribes. Each of these tribes has their own unique language, customs, and history and their lands may extend across country borders. In this case, language, rather than borders, may be the more effective method of understanding and classifying cultural differences. In other situations, however, using language to define a culture may be quite ineffective for drawing conclusions about cultural similarities, especially when considering countries that were former European colonies. For example, the culture of Belize is very different from that of Australia, even though they speak the same

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