Culture is something that is difficult to define because it encompasses many aspects of our day to day living. CULTURE is a set of meanings, beliefs, values and rules for living shared by groups and societies as the source of their identity.
1. Humans create culture: Culture distinguishes us from the rest of nature. Only humans have culture.
2. Culture consists of ways of doing things: It is not about the actions, but about how we do those actions and the meanings and beliefs about how things should be done. Culture is a set of values about things we do everyday, such as driving cars, opening doors or going to the movies.
3. Culture is public: Culture is about how we as a community of people do things. It is not private; it is public. Ex: Media; parades; sporting events
4. Culture arises from tradition: Many of the ways we do things, we got from our parents / ancestors. Some of these traditions go back hundreds or thousands of years. Ex: Family traditions; sports traditions; Catholic Mass
5. Culture is made up of rule-governed actions: Because the way we do things comes from tradition, we feel that we have a duty to keep them that way. The traditions function like rules. Ex: Catholic Mass; family dinners; Super Bowl / Stanley Cup Playoffs
6. Culture becomes established in institutions: Over time, our way of doing things becomes established in a set and familiar way. Actions are linked together to form a “system” of doing things. We sometimes call these systems institutions (i.e. institution of family). Ex: School, Parish, Youth Group, Soccer Team
7. Culture gives us our identity: The way we do things gives us a sense of our cultural identity. The way we do things in Canada is different from the way things are done in other countries. Ex: Italian-Canadian, Catholic, hockey player