Culture can be viewed as the customs, arts and social interactions of a particular nation, people, or other social group. It can also be defined as an appreciation of the arts and human intellectual achievement. In both views of culture, examples can provide a good way to get a quick understanding of culture.
Identifying the Cultures Around You
Examples of culture can be seen everywhere around you.
Culture at work can be shown in a variety of ways including how people dress, how the offices are designed, how the employees are treated and the way the company interjects its culture into its products services and how it projects itself to its customers.
- An office might be casual or formal in design.
- Employees may be encouraged to dress casually to encourage a feeling of equality and to encourage comfort and productivity.
- Management might project a caring and personable attitude by sending cards and gifts to employees on key dates in their lives such as birthdays, marriages, births and deaths of family members.
- The caring and personable attitude of management may be projected to the customers through a high level of service, personal recognition of key customers and corporate involvement in community and charitable organizations.
- The design and location of the offices may relate to the employee's seniority with more senior employees having larger offices or cubicles which are located the furthest from the door.
The attitudes and ways in which people act are an example of the corporate culture at your office.
Culture of Diversity
You may live in a town that is very accepting of people of different races, genders, sexual orientations and national origins.
- The community calendar may be filled with festivals and events that include community members from different races and national origins.
- The local library may provide informational seminars and research materials for citizens born in other countries.
- There might be multiple sports options for citizens of both genders and all ages.
- The agenda of the city staff, local businesses and religious organizations may promote a wide variety of exciting shopping, educational and religious experiences.
These actions would be examples of a culture of diversity.
The activities of the citizens generate the popular culture. What you listen to, what you read, what you wear and how you speak are all examples of your popular culture.
- The favorite music of the culture may include artists on the Billboard Top 100 or from the newest pop stars on YouTube.
- Best selling books and popular films can play a big role in shaping the opinions and experiences of a culture.
- Interaction through social networking can provide the vehicle for people of all ages, races, interests and genders to quickly communicate and share their ideas.
- Fashion trends can be a bellweather of both the current culture and the direction in which a popular is moving. Casual clothes may relect a more relaxed culture while fast-moving, quick-changing trends may echo the fast-changing cultural trends.
- Language is a key way to communicate the goals, thoughts and experiences of popular culture. Multiple languages, slang expressions, new words for new experiences can all work together to decribe the current culture.
All of these things are examples of popular culture.
You might visit a new country and marvel at the way in which people in that country talk, think or act.
- The language of a country binds together the citizens of a country and can allow for their effective communication. Dialects and accents can help identify the various subcultures within a country.
- The way a country approaches their culture is often reflected in how they spend their collective time, money and energies and may be reflective in how they establish their laws.
- The etiquette and customs of a country can play a key role in developing the appearance of a country. How a country acts is an important factor in the country's fashion, language, family lives and business-to-business dealings.
- The beliefs of a country, both religious and historical, are often at the core of a country's culture.
These are examples of exposure to a foreign culture.
Recognizing Examples of Culture
You may not think about being exposed to these different examples of culture every day, but you intuitively know that there are certain attitudes, feelings and ideas that exist when you go to a certain place.
You can also instinctually tell the difference between different cultures.
- Going to a stuffy and formal law firm is always going to have a different feeling than going to a casual tech start-up.
- Going to a progressive place like Amsterdam is always going to feel different than going to a very conservative country such as a Muslim country in the Middle East.
These attitudes, feelings, ideas and things that you perceive as you go about your day are all examples of culture. These examples relate to the type of culture defined simply as shared attitudes, values and beliefs of a people.
This type of culture is important because it helps you to learn how to think, act and feel if you want to fit in with the mainstream. It also explains why you might experience culture shock when you suddenly move to a new country or start interacting with a new group of people who have very different attitudes and beliefs from the ones you are used to.
High Culture and Sophisticated Taste
While one definition of culture relates to the attitudes and beliefs of a group of people as a whole, there is also another definition of culture as well. This definition refers to high culture - culture, in this sense, refers to having what has come to be known as "sophisticated" taste in the fine arts or humanities.
Examples of this kind of culture include:
- An appreciation for opera
- A love of classical music
- Enjoying the ballet
- Attending art exhibits
- Reading fine literature such as the classics
- An appreciation for gourmet food and wine
Ironically, people who embrace "culture" of this type might tend to look down their noses at popular culture. The so-called "cultural elite," therefore, often like to separate themselves from the culture as a whole.
Understanding the different meanings and types of culture is important. When you think about different examples of culture, it helps to give you a better understanding of the world around you and of the ideas, beliefs and values that you experience every day.