Notes compiled by Mary Lynn Damhorst, 8/20/07
Culture vs. Cultured
All people have culture.
Culture is not something held only by the elites of a society,
such as only the wealthiest, most educated, or most sophisticated in understanding the
What is Culture?
A. A system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members
of a society
Note the emphasis on learning of behaviors or ways of doing things.
learned, and individuals learn culture through the ongoing process of
Parents, families, schools, peers, workplaces, etc. all socialize individuals to ways of
We find differences across cultures in dress, language, food
preferences, and other behaviors in part because these behaviors are learned -- not
knowledge that is innate, instinctual, or determined by genetic programming.
Cultural patterns are characteristic behaviors and often include a complex array of
that are common and less common in a culture.
A culture may afford more
than one way of doing the same thing.
in behaviors may be found in
some aspects of any culture.
B. A complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs, and
any other capabilities and habits acquired by members of a society
Linton emphasized that culture is a complex whole -- a network of behaviors related
to all aspects of life.
Dress is shaped by and reflects many characteristics in any
dress is a complex map of cultural characteristics
Scupin (1998) proposed that culture includes both abstract and concrete components.
of symbols, events, activities, or action
and how the meanings are created and selected
include the forms of action, behavior, event, activity, or
artifacts.Dress may be a concrete object such as a shirt, a pair of shoes, or a
hairstyle, but those concrete artifacts develop meanings in a culture. The fashion
process, situations in which we use dress, and groups that are associated with
wearing of types of dress all bring meaning to those artifacts.