JImmy's Draft of Definition Essay.docx - Jimmy Tsz Yuen...

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Jimmy Tsz Yuen Chan Professor Lovejoy English 101 August 7, 2017 Understanding Culture Culture is a broad concept that arose mostly in the nineteenth century as a way of talking about nature, thoughts, and actions of human beings. It was borrowed from music, art and was expanded to all aspects of human activities and behavior. Culture has diverse approaches to its definition depending on the scholar’s point of emphasis, which could be topical, historical, symbolic, behavioral, normative, functional or even mental. Edward Tylor defines culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Tylor). Kluckhohn emphasizes the historical aspect of culture by defining it as “historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational, and nonrationality" (Kluckhohn and Kelly). From these two definitions, one can deduce that using culture is a major way human beings adapt to their society. According to Noboru Takahashi et al from East Asian Children and Money as a Cultural Tool, "We ignore, or cannot recognize the dynamic process by which a culture manifests itself to us...we can only perceive a static and fixed cultural difference” (Noboru Takahashi P15). Since culture is a broad concept, it is necessary to highlight its characteristics, concepts related to culture, and finally its functions. For example, culture is learned, shared, adaptive, symbolic, functional, pattern, relative, pluralism and differentiates people from animals. Characteristics of Culture To start with, culture is learned. People are born with culture, within the culture, and they are supposed to learn culture. For example, people have to learn the rules of their society. In the economy, people have to learn ways of earning money and surviving through the peaks and lows of the economy. In all cultures, children learn their culture from significant adults like parents or their guardians. The process of teaching and learning one’s culture is known as cultural transmission or enculturation. It is a long and continuous process that occurs throughout a person’s lifetime. For instance, longtime learning is a process which is included your attitude to learn, share the knowledge, reading
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practicing, academic curiosity, thinking ability, creativity and extending. All those are very important in making people a lifetime. Scientists and anthropologists have also proven that human beings may not be the only ones who learn behavior; but also some chimpanzees learn behavior and language but people remain to be the only ones that have culture.
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