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What Is Culture In Sociology?

Culture has been defined in a number of ways; some thinkers include in culture all the major social components that bind men together in a society. In sociology we use the word to denote acquired behaviors that are shared by and transmitted among the members of the society. It is an accumulation that a new generation inherits. It is a heritage into which a child is born. Thus to the student of sociology a person lacking in culture is an impossibility because individuals of necessity share in the culture of their group.

The essential point in regard to culture is that it is acquired by man as a member of society and persists through tradition. Taylor and Redfield in their definitions have emphasized these points of acquisition and tradition.

How does man acquire Culture?

The essential factor in this acquisition through tradition is the ability to learn from the group. Man learns his behavior and behavior that is learnt denotes his culture. Thus culture is a system of learned behavior shared by and transmitted among the members of a group. Man begins to learn it since his birth. By picking up the culture and by tapping the heritage of his past, man becomes distinctively human. Man is therefore called the culture-bearing animal. Culture is not innate. Traits learnt through socialization, habits and thoughts are what is called culture. Culture is learned. Anybehavior that is socially acquired is called learned behavior. Culture is inclusive of the expectations of the members of the group. It is a social product that is shared by most members of the group. Culture embodies the ideas and norms of the group. It is a sum-total of the ideal patterns and norms of behavior of a group. Culture fulfills those ethical and social needs of the groups that are ends in themselves. Culture possesses an order and system. Its various parts are integrated with each other and any new element that is introduced is also integrated. Culture evolves into more complex forms through division of labour that develops special skills and increases the interdependence of society's members.

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