PRESERVE CULTURE

Culture is one of the most important and basic concepts of sociology. In sociology culture has a specific meaning. The anthropologists believe that the behaviour which is meant is called culture. In other words the behavior which is transmitted to us by someone is called culture. The way of living, eating, wearing, singing, dancing and talking are all parts of a culture. In common parlance, the word culture, is understood to mean beautiful, refined or interesting. In sociology we use the word culture to denote acquired behavior which are shared by and transmitted among the members of the society. In other words, culture is a system of learned behaviour shared by and transmitted among the members of a group. For a clear understanding of the concept of culture it is necessary for us to know its main characteristics. Culture has several characteristics. Following are the main characteristics of culture. Culture is not inherited biologically, but learnt socially by man. It is not an inborn tendency. There is no culture instinct as such culture is often called learned ways of behaviour. Unlearned behaviour such as closing the eyes while sleeping, the eye blinking reflex and so on are purely physiological and culture sharing hands or saying namaskar or thanks and shaving and dressing on the other hand are culture. Similarly wearing clothes, combing the hair, wearing ornaments, cooking the food, drinking from a glass, eating from a plate or leaf, reading a newspaper, driving a car, enacting a role in drama, singing, worship etc. are always of behaviour learnt by man culturally. Culture does not exist in isolation. Neither it is an individual phenomenon. It is a product of society. It originates and develops through social interaction. It is shared by the members of society. No man can acquire culture without association with other human beings. Man becomes man only among men. It is the culture which helps man to develop human qualities in a human environment. Deprivation is nothing but deprivation of human qualities. Culture in the sociological sense, is something shared. It is not something that an individual alone can possess. For example customs, tradition, beliefs, ideas, values, morals, etc. are shared by people of a group or society. Culture is capable of being transmitted from one generation to the next. Parents pass on culture traits to their children and they in turn to their children and so on. Culture is transmitted not through genes but by means of language. Language is the main vehicle of culture. Language in its different forms like reading, writing and speaking makes it possible for the present generation to understand the achievements of earlier generations. But language itself is a part of culture. Once language is acquired it unfolds to the individual in wide field. Transmission of culture may take place by intuition as well as by interaction. Culture exists, as a continuous process. In its historical growth it tends to become cumulative. Culture is growing whole which includes in itself, the achievements of the past and present and makes provision for the future achievements of mankind. Culture may thus be conceived of as a kind of stream flowing down through the centuries from one generation to another. Hence some sociologists like Lotion called culture the social heritage of man. Culture, in its development has revealed tendency to be consistent. At the same time different parts of culture are inter­connected. For example the value system of a society, a society is closely connected with its other aspects such as morality, religion, customs, traditions, beliefs and so on.
Though culture is relatively stable it is not altogether static. It is subject to slow but constant change. Change and growth are latent in culture.
We find amazing growth in the present Indian culture when we compare it with the culture of the Vedic time. Hence culture is dynamic. Every society has a culture of its own. It differs from society to society. Culture of every society in unique to itself. Cultures are not uniform. Cultural elements such as customs, traditions, morals, ideals, values, ideologies, beliefs in practices, philosophies institutions, etc. are not uniform everywhere. The social meaning may be independent of physiological and physical, properties and characteristics. For example, the social meaning of a national flag is not just a piece of coloured cloth.

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