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50 Examples of Nonmaterial Culture

 , updated on February 28, 2024
Nonmaterial culture are elements of culture that are intangible such that they have no specific physical manifestation. This can be contrasted with material culture that includes all physical things produced by a culture. Generally speaking, the bulk of culture is intangible such that only a very narrow band of the human experience is captured as physical items. The following are common examples of nonmaterial culture.
Aesthetics
Archetypes
Beliefs
Color Meanings
Community
Cultural Knowledge
Cultural Memory
Culture Change
Dance
Dining Practices
Education
Enculturation
Etiquette
Expectations
Film
Gestures
Humor
Identity
Language
Marriage Customs
Media
Memes
Morals
Mores
Music
Myth
Nightlife
Norms
Pastimes
Performing Arts
Philosophies
Processes
Respect
Risk Taking
Rites of Passage
Rituals
Roles
Sensibilities
Services
Shared Experience
Social Constructs
Social Status
Social Structure
Sports
Stories
Styles
Symbols
Taboos
Traditions
Values
Many of the intangible elements of culture above also have material representations. For example, media can be intangible such as a radio broadcast or tangible such as an LP record.

Overview

Nonmaterial culture are the intangible beliefs, symbols, cultural expressions, social practices, heritage and way of life associated with a culture.

Nonmaterial Culture vs Material Culture

Nonmaterial culture is intangible and material culture is tangible. This means that nonmaterial culture has no specific physical form and material culture is physical. These are often two different aspects of the same thing. For example, food is material culture but cooking practices are nonmaterial culture.

Summary

Nonmaterial culture is the shared meaning and practices that exist within a social group. This includes symbols such as stories, beliefs such as values, cultural expressions such as a dance, social conventions such as etiquette and way of life such as parenting practices.
Next: Material Culture

Human Culture

This is the complete list of articles we have written about human culture.
Accountability
Aesthetics
Architecture
Art
Artifacts
Cold Logic
Communication
Concepts
Crafts
Cultural Behavior
Cultural Competence
Culture
Dance
Emergence
Entertainment
Epic Experiences
Events
Expectations
Fashion
Games
Goals
Heritage
Hobbies
Human Culture
Humor
Ideas
Identity
Institutions
Intentions
Know-how
Knowledge
Language
Leisure
Lifestyle
Literature
Low Culture
Markets
Material Culture
Media
Myths
Nonmaterial Culture
Norms
Nostalgia
Parties
Postmodernism
Products
Recreation
Respect
Responsibility
Risk Avoidance
Risk Mitigation
Risk Taking
Rites Of Passage
School Culture
Services
Social Status
Sport
Subcultures
Traditions
Transportation
Trust
Values
Way Of Life
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