(noun) The ideas and self-concepts of a group or society (e.g., artifacts, attitudes, beliefs, customs, norms, symbols, and values) in a particular place and time, passing from one generation to the next.
Example: The culture of a nonprofit that promotes community activism as a method of curbing violence against women.
Audio Pronunciation: (cul·ture)
Download Audio Audio Pronunciation: culture.mp3
- Plural: cultures
- Culture is either nonmaterial (e.g., language) or material (e.g., pottery).
- A highly diverse culture is called a mosaic culture.
- Sociologists study (adjective) cultural aspects of society to make (adjective) culturally relevant observations and conclusions.
- “[C]ulture is a kind of knowledge, not behavior: It is in people’s heads. It reflects the mental categories they learn from others as they grow up. It helps them generate behavior and interpret what they experience. At the moment of birth, we lack a culture. We don’t yet have a system of beliefs, knowledge, and patterns of customary behavior. But from that moment until we die, each of us participates in a kind of universal schooling that teaches us our native culture. Laughing and smiling are genetic responses, but as infants we soon learn when to smile, when to laugh, and even how to laugh. We also inherit the potential to cry, but we must learn our cultural rules for when crying is appropriate” (Spradley and McCurdy 2008:2).
- “Cultures do not generally remain static. There are many forces working toward change and diversity. Some societies and individuals adapt to the this change whereas others suffer culture shock and succumb to ethnocentrism” (Kendall 2006:57).
- “Whereas a society is composed of people, a culture is composed of ideas, behavior, and material possessions. Society and culture are independent; neither could exist without the other” (Kendall 2006:42).
- Word origin of “culture” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Alexander, Jeffrey C. 2006. The Meanings of Social life: A Cultural Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Bennett, Andy. 2005. Culture and Everyday Life. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge.
- During, Simon, ed. 2010. The Cultural Studies Reader. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge.
- Featherstone, Mike. 2007. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Friedland, Roger, and John Mohr, eds. 2004. Matters of Culture: Cultural Sociology in Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Giulianotti, R., and Roland Robertson. 2006. “Glocalization, Globalization and Migration: The Case of Scottish Football Supporters in North America.” International Sociology 21(2):171–98. doi:10.1177/0268580906061374.
- Griswold, Wendy. 2013. Cultures and Societies in a Changing World. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Jenks, Chris. 1993. “Introduction: The Analytic Bases of Cultural Reproduction Theory.” Pp. 1–16 in Cultural Reproduction, edited by C. Jenks. London: Routledge.
- Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1990. Continental Divide. New York: Routledge.
- Robertson, Roland. 1978. Meaning and Change: Explorations in the Cultural Sociology of Modern Societies. New York: New York University Press.
- Rojek, Chris, and Bryan Turner. 2000. “Decorative Sociology: Towards a Critique of the Cultural Turn.” Sociological Review 48(4):629–48. doi:10.1111/1467-954x.00236.
- Roszak, Theodore. 1969. The Making of a Counterculture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and its Youthful Opposition. London: Faber.
- Sardar, Ziauddin, and Borin Van Loon. 2010. Introducing Cultural Studies. London: Icon.
- Spillman, Lyn, ed. 2002. Cultural Sociology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
- Steiner, George. 1983. In Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes on the Redefinition of Culture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- culture jamming
- culture shock
- culture war
Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Spradley, James P., and David W. McCurdy. 2008. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. Boston: Pearson Education.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Dillon, Michele. 2014. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011a. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011b. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Giddens, Anthony, and Philip W. Sutton. 2014. Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.
Kendall, Diane. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: the Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/wordnet/).
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Thorpe, Christopher, Chris Yuill, Mitchell Hobbs, Sarah Tomley, and Marcus Weeks. 2015. The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. London: DK.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
How to Cite the Definition of Culture
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 22, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/culture/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
culture. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/culture/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 22, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/culture/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“culture.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/culture/>.