Open main menu

Introduction

Celebrations, rituals and patterns of consumption are important aspects of folk culture.

Culture (/ˈkʌlər/) is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization (including practices of political organization and social institutions), mythology, philosophy, literature (both written and oral), and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.

In the humanities, one sense of culture as an attribute of the individual has been the degree to which they have cultivated a particular level of sophistication in the arts, sciences, education, or manners. The level of cultural sophistication has also sometimes been seen to distinguish civilizations from less complex societies. Such hierarchical perspectives on culture are also found in class-based distinctions between a high culture of the social elite and a low culture, popular culture, or folk culture of the lower classes, distinguished by the stratified access to cultural capital. In common parlance, culture is often used to refer specifically to the symbolic markers used by ethnic groups to distinguish themselves visibly from each other such as body modification, clothing or jewelry. Mass culture refers to the mass-produced and mass mediated forms of consumer culture that emerged in the 20th century. Some schools of philosophy, such as Marxism and critical theory, have argued that culture is often used politically as a tool of the elites to manipulate the lower classes and create a false consciousness, and such perspectives are common in the discipline of cultural studies. In the wider social sciences, the theoretical perspective of cultural materialism holds that human symbolic culture arises from the material conditions of human life, as humans create the conditions for physical survival, and that the basis of culture is found in evolved biological dispositions.

Selected general articles

Did you know...

Need help?

Do you have a question about Culture that you can't find the answer to?

Consider asking it at the Wikipedia reference desk.

Get involved

For editor resources and to collaborate with other editors on improving Wikipedia's Culture-related articles, see WikiProject Culture.

Selected images

In the news

11 December 2018 – 2018 Strasbourg shooting
A gunman kills at least three people and injures at least 13 others in Strasbourg, France, during the annual Christmas market. The shooter fled the scene but has been identified by police as a known extremist. The incident is being treated as an act of terrorism. (BBC) (The Daily Telegraph) (The Guardian)
7 December 2018 –
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou attends a bail hearing in Vancouver while she awaits extradition to the United States. She is charged by Canadian and American prosecutors with conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions in order to commit evasion of United States sanctions against Iran so as to conduct business with Iran. (Reuters)
5 December 2018 –
The chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested on 1 December in Vancouver, Canada. She faces extradition to the United States. Huawei says she faces unspecified charges. (CNN)
14 November 2018 –
A hot air balloon filled with fireworks and other pyrotechnics explodes midair during Tazaungdaing festival celebrations in Taunggyi, Myanmar, injuring nine people on the ground. (ABC News)
30 October 2018 – Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority
A judge in Ecuador rules against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who had contested new rules imposed on him in the country's embassy in London. Assange had argued that the conditions violated his "fundamental rights and freedoms", and were intended to force him to leave. His lawyers have appealed against the ruling. Assange took refuge in the embassy six years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden in a sexual assault case that has since been dropped. (BBC)

Subcategories

Category puzzle
Select [►] to view subcategories

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Purge server cache