What is Culture?

1444 Words6 Pages
Question One

What is culture?

Culture can be interpreted in multiple ways and have many different meanings to different individuals. Consequently, it is because of those facts that a definition is so hard to create. To some, culture results from consumed meanings by a social group (Lewis, 2008). Others view culture as something based on economics and servitude (Marx, as cited by Lewis, 2008). Hebdige ambiguous concept

As I attempt to tease out a personal definition of culture based on my own experiences and various readings this semester, I select a few common themes that bare significance in my conceptualization of culture. Beliefs, values, social constructs, are some of the concepts used in many of the definitions of culture. These terms will serve as the basic principles on which I will base my own definition. To me, culture is an ideology, a relationship between social constructions and individuals. Culture results from created sets of beliefs, values, and goals from which individuals make meaning through interpretation and use to guide interactions amongst themselves and their environment.

My definition of culture stems from two major concepts: ideologies and social constructions. Ideology itself is a very complex concept with multiple definitions. For clarity, I am referring to Althusser’s concept of ideology. Althusser (as cited by Lewis, 2008) believed ideology was a “representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence”. This applies to my personal definition of culture because these imagined conditions are what make up the beliefs, values, and goals that cultures abide by. This imaginary relationship then transitions into another major part of my definition ...

... middle of paper ...

...tudent affairs professionals, we always talk about the power of a single story. Each student is special and has their own experiences that they have that have affected their development. These experiences influence each student both interpersonally, as well as intrapersonally. One habit student affairs professionals have to take into consideration when studying student cultures is to never generalize a student and pay close attention to assumptions made when studying a student culture or subculture. Studying student cultures and subcultures from a macro level will help professionals understand the experiences of a large number of students. But as practitioners, we must be wary of over generalizing and bringing our own biases into our research.

As clearly shown above, culture is a very complex topic. It means many different things to various people.

More about What is Culture?

Open Document