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Culture Definition

24 Roles Of Culture

Culture is the meaning, understanding and value that emerges with with the shared experience of groups. This is unique in that it isn't necessarily controlled by any one entity but emerges with the collective contributions of a group and its institutions over time. The following are common examples of the role of culture.

Offers Shared Identity

Culture can be part of a person's identity and their sense that they are part of something greater than themselves.

Shapes Values

Culture provides an ethical framework and set of values such as principles of sportsmanship that evolve within the culture of a sport.

Shared Experience

Opportunities for shared experience such as holidays, events and festivals that are celebrated by a culture.

Shapes Norms

Culture generates, transmits and preserves expectations for behavior known as norms.

Shapes Attitudes

Culture includes much communication, interaction, media and shared meaning that tend to shape attitudes across a group. This can include attitudes adopted by the entire group or some type of fragmentation of attitudes within a culture such as political polarization.

Shapes Sensibilities

Sensibilities are rules of life that people view as common sense. These are actually formed by culture and aren't necessarily common across cultures. For example, a culture that tends to feel that a meal isn't truly complete without a soup.

Creates a Sense of Safety

Culture can provide safety in numbers whereby you may be able to do things as a culture that you might not get away with as an individual. For example, a youth culture that pushes for access to public space.

Shapes Roles & Responsibilities

Culture shapes social and professional roles such as parent, friend or teacher.

Creates a Sense of Belonging

Culture can provide individuals with a sense of connectedness and belonging.

Facilitates Communication

Culture provides shared systems of communication such as language, norms, body language, cultural references and conventions of humor.

Facilitates Cooperation

Culture facilitates economic and political cooperation whereby groups large and small cooperate to their mutual benefit. It should be noted that societies play a larger role here but culture does help, particularly with language and norms that help people to coordinate towards common goals.

Facilitates Civility

Civility is the process of resolving differences within the systems of society and norms of society. For example, a nation with a culture and tradition of peaceful protest that represents a form of civil political participation.

Preserves Traditions

Culture can act as a stabilizing force that passes on elements of the past known as traditions to each successive generation.

Creates a Sense of History, Past and Roots

Culture can provide cross-generational shared experiences, storytelling and references that create a connection and sense of the past.

Facilitates Socialization

Inclusion in a culture generates cultural capital that helps people to establish common ground for socialization. For example, a common language, set of cultural references and activities that give you things in common with others.

Learning & Education

Culture provides the things that are required to learn such as language and norms that help you to interact with others.

Cultivating Arts

Culture provides a framework for creative expression such as a music scene or art scene.

Framework for the Human Experience

National and traditional cultures may provide an end-to-end framework for the entire human experience. For example, a culture that provides everything from rituals for celebrating your birth to ceremonies for your passing with frameworks for everything in-between such as fashion.

Aesthetic Life

Culture may cultivate a sense of what is beautiful and appealing and how to live a life surrounded by such things. For example, it may provide a sense of fashion, a sense of what makes food good or an appreciation of nature and beauty in others.

Sense of Meaning & Purpose

Culture may provide a narrative and set of beliefs and values to explain various aspects of life. For example, a religion that provides a comprehensive explanation for life and its meaning.

Creates Heritage

Heritage is value that is passed down from the past such as a priceless work of literature or a building of much architectural value.

Shapes Lifestyle / Way of Living

Lifestyles are the way that people decide to live their day-to-day life. This can be greatly influenced by culture.

Provides Complexity

Culture helps to add great complexity to the human experience whereby humans have built many layers of life above the bland realities of mere safety and survival.

Adapts and Emerges To Serve New Social Processes

Culture emerges with any sustained social interaction between people as a group. As such, it constantly evolves and adapts to serve new social groups and situations.

Culture Characteristics

This is the complete list of articles we have written about culture characteristics.
Cultural Context
Cultural Issues
Epic Meaning
High Context
Low Context
Social Status
Super Culture
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Culture Characteristics

The common characteristics of culture.

Cultural Symbols

The definition of cultural symbol with a list of examples.

Collectivist Culture

The definition of collectivist culture with examples.

Cultural Issues

The definition of cultural issues with examples.

Art Examples

An overview of art with examples of different styles.

Importance Of Culture

An overview of the importance of culture.

Cultural Behavior

An overview of cultural behavior with examples.


The common types of music.


An overview of culture.

American Things

A list of iconic American things.

Social Norm List

An list of common social norms.

Technology Culture Examples

Examples of technology cultures.

Global Perspective

The definition of global perspective with examples.

Through The Looking Glass

The meaning of the phrase through the looking glass.

Cultural Life

An overview of cultural life with examples.

Impact Of Technology

Examples of the social, cultural and economic impact of technology.

Traditional Technology

An overview of traditional technology with examples.

Visual Arts

An overview of visual arts with examples.

Rural Things

A list of rural things.

Literary Themes

A list of common literary themes.
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