Discuss the main characteristics of Culture.
Culture is a system of learned behaviour shared by and transmitted among the members of a group. Thus, culture is not innate. It is learned through socialization. Culture embodies the ideas and norms of a group. It is the total social heritage and is passed from one generation to another through traditions and customs. Culture fulfills those ethical and social needs of the groups which are ends in themselves.
Culture is something which is relative because it cannot usually be strictly compared as well as contrasted with other cultures, but even then there is every scope for any one to say that one culture is better than other. Culture has its own characteristics. It is not that innate and cultural traits can be acquired through socialization and habits. In other words, culture is learnt, it does not come of its own. When we talk of culture we do not talk of culture of any individual.
It is something collective. It includes the expectations of the group as a whole. It is a social product. In the words of Walter Paul, Culture is the totality of group ways, thought and action duly accepted and followed by a group of people.
It is rightly said that what is included in culture is not all attainable. It is always idealized and efforts are made to achieve these ideals. It reflects ideal norm, behaviour of a group. Then another characteristics of culture is that it has always links with the past. It is past which is given to the future in the form of customs, traditions etc. Each group has certain common ends which are met by the culture. It thus meets ethical and social needs of the group as a whole.
Various parts of the culture are closely linked and integrated with each other. Culture is thus not a disintegrated whole. Not only this but any element which gets introduced and accepted by the culture also gets integrated.Culture is usually passed on with the help of language.