Culture is the given society's shared ideas, values, symbols, modes of expression, trends, etiquette, cuisines, religion, logic, rituals, and artistic expressions.
Culture Sociology Definition

Definition of Culture

The cultural anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor defined culture as “The complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities acquired by man as a member of society.”

Abraham M. Francis defines culture as “A total way of life of a social group, meaning everything they are, they do and they have. It is a complex system that consists of beliefs, values, standards, practices, language and technology shared by members of a social group.”

Ralph Linton states,” A culture is an organized group of learned responses characteristic of a particular society.”

James Spradley states, “Culture is the acquired knowledge people use to interpret experience and generate behavior.”

According to Robert Morrison MacIver, “Culture is the expression of our nature in our modes of living and our thinking. Intercourse in our literature, in religion, in recreation and enjoyment.”

American anthropologist E. Adamson Hoebel states, “Culture is the sum total of integrated learned behavior patterns which are characteristics of the members of a society and which are therefore not the result of biological inheritance.”

In the opinion of H.T. Mazumdar, “Culture is the sum total of human achievements, material as well as non-material, capable of transmission, sociologically, i.e., by tradition and communication, vertically as well as horizontally.”

According to Anderson and Parker, “Culture is the total content of the physio-social, bio-social and psycho-social universe man has produced and the socially created mechanisms through which these social products operate.”

American sociologist Robert Bierstedt states, “Culture is the complex whole that consists of everything we think and do and have as members of society.”

Polish-British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski defines culture as “The handiwork of man and the medium through which he achieves his ends.”

Sociological Explanation

A given society’s shared ideas, values, symbols, modes of expression, trends, etiquette, cuisines, religion, logic, rituals, and artistic expressions are referred to as its culture. Culture components are acquired behaviors; youngsters develop them as they grow up in a specific culture and elder members instruct them on how to live. Cultural traditions are handed down through the generations. The term “acculturation” refers to this process of cultural learning.

Symbols and artifacts are examples of cultural production and usage. Culture can be thought of as the way of life of a whole society. It includes rules about how to act, what to wear, how to speak, rituals, social norms, and religious beliefs. Sociologists emphasize that social factors, not genetics or biology, are the primary drivers of human behavior.

The capacity of human people to jointly create symbolic meanings and pass those meanings down to subsequent generations sets them apart from other creatures. Acquiring and understanding culture involve going through a multi-step process that is, at its core, social in nature. The historical aspect of cultures, their relativity, and the variety of their members are characteristics that define cultures.

Humans are not only capable of constructing cultural forms and being nourished by them, but they are also capable of theorizing about culture itself.

Culture is the symbolic aspect of social life that has been examined extensively. In broader terms, sociologists would argue that it is nearly difficult for any human behavior to exist outside of the impact of cultural factors. The best moral and artistic accomplishments of civilization are those of culture.

If a group of people believe in something and do it consistently, then that thing may be considered their culture. Culture can also refer to ideas.

The research that Émile Durkheim conducted on the collective consciousness, collective representations, cognitive categories, and ritualistic attributes contributed to the theory that cultural processes are fundamental and constitutive social forces.

Marxism from the middle of the 20th century and conflict theory after the 1960s argued that culture was more of a guarantee of authority, oppression, and disparity, and as a result, regarded culture as propaganda.

As postmodernists shifted away from an emphasis on the structure to examining cultural forms in the 1980s and 1990s, the notion of culture emerged as a critical organizing element in later research studies of sociology.

For its examinations of culture, sociology has extensively adopted structuralist, symbolic, and cultural anthropology.

Instead of focusing on a specific factual area or institutional domain, cultural sociology is a field of social investigation into the construction of meaning that is determined by its analytical viewpoint. Cultural sociologists look at how meaning is created, why meanings differ, how meanings affect how people behave, and how meanings play a crucial role in fostering conflict and cooperation.

It has been possible to adapt literary theory and semiotics into a set of sociological instruments since culture is seen as a structure unto itself.

Three layers of culture exist, and they are taught patterns of behavior, components of culture that operate below conscious levels, and culturally dictated patterns of cognition and perception.


Western culture of clothing, such as suit culture and food culture of burgers, are some examples of cultural aspects of society.

U.S. National Flag is not any piece of cloth but has a culture associated with it.


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