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Culture Definition

21 Reasons Culture is Important

Culture is the shared meaning and practices that emerge in groups. Every enduring group has a culture and it is common to belong to multiple cultures such as the culture of a neighborhood, city, nation, ethic group, religion, art, hobby, sport or generation. Culture is an expansive concept that includes anything that isn't related to practical goals such as economic production, safety and security. The following are examples of the importance of culture.

Human Experience

Culture is a valuable element of the human experience that is thought to add meaning and purpose to life.


Membership in cultures can help to give individuals a rich sense of identity.


Culture includes the elements of life that are fun and stress reducing. For example, culture includes elements of play, games, pastimes, entertainment and sport. These make life less bland as opposed to a constant focus on serious goals.


Culture creates change as youth adopt a different culture from their parents and push for change to the status quo. Likewise people of any age can push for change to national culture, traditional culture, local culture, subcultures, super culture and global culture.


Culture is passed from one generation to the next and acts as a stabilizing force in a world of change. This may provide a sense of connection and continuity with the past.

Cross-Generational Experience

Culture such as holidays and pastimes provide experiences that can unite people of different ages such as the generations of a family. For example, a pastime such as cherry blossom viewing in Japan that practically everyone in the nation has experienced.

Intelligence & Knowledge

Culture such as language is a basic element of human intelligence. A natural language such as French, English or Mandarin includes diverse concepts that are essentially a way to sustain complex knowledge over time. Likewise, language is a building block of human thought itself.


Heritage is the culture of the past that has survived to this day. This can be viewed as a gift from the past to the present. For example, beautiful architecture that helps to provide a city with a high quality of life and economic opportunity.

Shared Experience

Culture emerges from the shared experience of groups and is essentially a framework for social interaction. For example, the culture of a sport that provides a forum for competition, teamwork and comradery.

Shared Meaning

Culture extends the basic motivations of survival with higher level shared meaning. In many cases, economic production and other serious goals becomes secondary to these pursuits.

Personal Expression

Cultures can provide a venue of personal expression. For example, a cosplay culture that expresses elements of fandom, storytelling, character and aesthetics.


The pursuit of originality whereby culture such as a music scene is a source of creative expression and creative inspiration.

Risk Taking

An escape of paternalism that would have us cease all risk taking activity. Culture serves as a counter to cold calculating arguments that maximize safety and security by giving up adventure, purpose and epic experience.


Culture is the basis for massive industries such as travel, entertainment, music, restaurants and the night economy. A significant portion of economic production is in someway connected to culture. For example, mobile devices that are simply a tool for accessing online culture such as social media.


Culture helps to prevent isolation by pulling people in and including them.


Culture provides shared meaning and norms that help to promote civility.

Respect & Tolerance

Culture need not isolate people into the groups to which they "belong." People can acquire new culture or show interest in the culture of others as a means of building relationships. Likewise, tolerance and respect for other cultures can facilitate peace and diverse interactions.


The cold logic of economic production and other serious goals can create a bland world that is unsuitable for human happiness. For example, it might be logical for workers to live in small concrete rooms with plastic fixtures that are all identical for reasons of efficiency. Culture says no to this by shaping life with the incredible variety of the human experience. This occurs with a process of emergence that eludes attempts to centrally plan and control.

Quality of Life

The quality of life of an individual, community or nation can't be completely measured with statistics such as life expectancy at birth and GDP per capita. Many of the other elements of happiness such as a feeling of connection with others are related to culture.

Time & Place

Culture can capture the spirit of a time and place and act as a symbol or artifact of the moment. For example, art, architecture, films, magazines and other durable culture that are likely to survive after the people who experienced a moment in culture are long gone.

Human Potential

Humans have potential to go far beyond the basics of survival to pursue life in an imaginative way together. This is what culture represents.

Culture vs High Culture

High culture is culture that has been adopted by the upper class as evidenced by its acceptance by high status institutions. This places high value on priceless artifacts of human heritage such that society will protect them. However, culture belongs to everyone and exists in every group. High culture represents only a tiny part of all culture that is produced.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about culture.
American Culture
City Culture
Cultural Capital
Cultural Diffusion
Cultural Diversity
Cultural Issues
Cultural Rights
Culture Change
Culture Shift
Culture Shock
Digital Culture
Epic Meaning
Experience Age
Game Culture
Global Culture
High Context
High Culture
Human Behavior
Human Culture
Low Culture
Mass Culture
Material Culture
Modern Culture
Nonmaterial Culture
Performing Art
Personal Culture
Physical Culture
Pop Culture
Rite of Passage
Shared Experiences
Shared Meaning
Social Expectations
Super Culture
Traditional Culture
Traditional Knowledge
Youth Culture
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