Social and political organization varies between different cultures.
Celebrations, rituals and patterns of consumption are important aspects of folk culture.
Human symbolic expression developed as prehistoric humans reached behavioral modernity.
Religion and expressive art are important aspects of human culture.

Culture (ər/) is the social behavior and norms found in human societies[citation needed]. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization (including practices of political organization and social institutions), mythology, philosophy, literature (both written and oral), and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.[1]

In the humanities, one sense of culture as an attribute of the individual has been the degree to which they have cultivated a particular level of sophistication in the arts, sciences, education, or manners. The level of cultural sophistication has also sometimes been seen to distinguish civilizations from less complex societies. Such hierarchical perspectives on culture are also found in class-based distinctions between a high culture of the social elite and a low culture, popular culture, or folk culture of the lower classes, distinguished by the stratified access to cultural capital. In common parlance, culture is often used to refer specifically to the symbolic markers used by ethnic groups to distinguish themselves visibly from each other such as body modification, clothing or jewelry. Mass culture refers to the mass-produced and mass mediated forms of consumer culture that emerged in the 20th century. Some schools of philosophy, such as Marxism and critical theory, have argued that culture is often used politically as a tool of the elites to manipulate the lower classes and create a false consciousness, and such perspectives are common in the discipline of cultural studies. In the wider social sciences, the theoretical perspective of cultural materialism holds that human symbolic culture arises from the material conditions of human life, as humans create the conditions for physical survival, and that the basis of culture is found in evolved biological dispositions.

When used as a count noun, a "culture" is the set of customs, traditions, and values of a society or community, such as an ethnic group or nation. Culture is the set of knowledge acquired over time. In this sense, multiculturalism values the peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between different cultures inhabiting the same planet. Sometimes "culture" is also used to describe specific practices within a subgroup of a society, a subculture (e.g. "bro culture"), or a counterculture. Within cultural anthropology, the ideology and analytical stance of cultural relativism holds that cultures cannot easily be objectively ranked or evaluated because any evaluation is necessarily situated within the value system of a given culture.


The modern term "culture" is based on a term used by the Ancient Roman orator Cicero in his Tusculanae Disputationes, where he wrote of a cultivation of the soul or "cultura animi,"[2] using an agricultural metaphor for the development of a philosophical soul, understood teleologically as the highest possible ideal for human development. Samuel Pufendorf took over this metaphor in a modern context, meaning something similar, but no longer assuming that philosophy was man's natural perfection. His use, and that of many writers after him, "refers to all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism, and through artifice, become fully human."[3]

In 1986, philosopher Edward S. Casey wrote, "The very word culture meant 'place tilled' in Middle English, and the same word goes back to Latin colere, 'to inhabit, care for, till, worship' and cultus, 'A cult, especially a religious one.' To be cultural, to have a culture, is to inhabit a place sufficiently intensive to cultivate it—to be responsible for it, to respond to it, to attend to it caringly."[4]

Culture described by Richard Velkley:[3]

... originally meant the cultivation of the soul or mind, acquires most of its later modern meaning in the writings of the 18th-century German thinkers, who were on various levels developing Rousseau's criticism of "modern liberalism and Enlightenment". Thus a contrast between "culture" and "civilization" is usually implied in these authors, even when not expressed as such.

In the words of anthropologist E.B. Tylor, it is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."[5] Alternatively, in a contemporary variant, "Culture is defined as a social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses and material expressions, which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life held in common.[6]

The Cambridge English Dictionary states that culture is "the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time."[7] Terror management theory posits that culture is a series of activities and worldviews that provide humans with the basis for perceiving themselves as "person[s] of worth within the world of meaning"—raising themselves above the merely physical aspects of existence, in order to deny the animal insignificance and death that Homo sapiens became aware of when they acquired a larger brain.[8][9]

The word is used in a general sense as the evolved ability to categorize and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively. This ability arose with the evolution of behavioral modernity in humans around 50,000 years ago, and is often thought to be unique to humans, although some other species have demonstrated similar, though much less complex, abilities for social learning. It is also used to denote the complex networks of practices and accumulated knowledge and ideas that is transmitted through social interaction and exist in specific human groups, or cultures, using the plural form.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kultuur
Alemannisch: Kultur
አማርኛ: ባሕል
العربية: ثقافة
aragonés: Cultura
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܡܪܕܘܬܐ
অসমীয়া: সংস্কৃতি
asturianu: Cultura
Avañe'ẽ: Arandupy
Aymar aru: Yati
azərbaycanca: Mədəniyyət
বাংলা: সংস্কৃতি
Bân-lâm-gú: Bûn-hòa
Basa Banyumasan: Budaya
башҡортса: Мәҙәниәт
беларуская: Культура
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Культура
भोजपुरी: संस्कृति
български: Култура
Boarisch: Kuitua
བོད་ཡིག: རིག་གནས།
bosanski: Kultura
brezhoneg: Sevenadur
буряад: Соёл
català: Cultura
Чӑвашла: Культура
Cebuano: Kultura
čeština: Kultura
Chamoru: Kuttura
chiShona: Tsika
Cymraeg: Diwylliant
dansk: Kultur
Deutsch: Kultur
ދިވެހިބަސް: ސަގާފަތު
eesti: Kultuur
Ελληνικά: Κουλτούρα
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Cultùra
español: Cultura
Esperanto: Kulturo
estremeñu: Coltura
euskara: Kultura
فارسی: فرهنگ
Fiji Hindi: Sanskriti
français: Culture
Frysk: Kultuer
furlan: Culture
Gaeilge: Cultúr
Gaelg: Cultoor
galego: Cultura
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Vùn-fa
한국어: 문화
հայերեն: Մշակույթ
हिन्दी: संस्कृति
hrvatski: Kultura
Ido: Kulturo
Ilokano: Kultura
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: সংস্কৃতি
Bahasa Indonesia: Budaya
interlingua: Cultura
Interlingue: Cultura
íslenska: Menning
italiano: Cultura
עברית: תרבות
Jawa: Budaya
kalaallisut: Kulturi
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ
къарачай-малкъар: Культура
ქართული: კულტურა
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: تَہزیٖب
kaszëbsczi: Kùltura
қазақша: Мәдениет
Kiswahili: Utamaduni
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kilti
kurdî: Çand
Кыргызча: Маданият
Ladino: Kultura
Latina: Cultura
latviešu: Kultūra
Lëtzebuergesch: Kultur
lietuvių: Kultūra
Limburgs: Cultuur
Lingua Franca Nova: Cultur
Livvinkarjala: Kul'tuuru
la .lojban.: kulnu
magyar: Kultúra
македонски: Култура
Malagasy: Kolontsaina
മലയാളം: സംസ്കാരം
Malti: Kultura
मराठी: संस्कृती
მარგალური: კულტურა
مصرى: ثقافه
مازِرونی: فرهنگ
Bahasa Melayu: Budaya
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ùng-huá
Mirandés: Cultura
монгол: Соёл
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ယဉ်ကျေးမှု
Nederlands: Cultuur
Nedersaksies: Kultuur
नेपाली: संस्कृति
नेपाल भाषा: तजिलजि
日本語: 文化
Napulitano: Cultura
Nordfriisk: Kultuur
norsk: Kultur
norsk nynorsk: Kultur
Novial: Kulture
occitan: Cultura
олык марий: Тӱвыра
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Madaniyat
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ
Pälzisch: Kultur
پنجابی: کلچر
Papiamentu: Kultura
پښتو: هڅوب
Patois: Kolcha
ភាសាខ្មែរ: វប្បធម៌
Plattdüütsch: Kultur
polski: Kultura
português: Cultura
română: Cultură
Runa Simi: Kawsay saphi
русиньскый: Култура
русский: Культура
саха тыла: Култуура
Scots: Cultur
Seeltersk: Kultuur
shqip: Kultura
sicilianu: Cultura
Simple English: Culture
سنڌي: ثقافت
SiSwati: Inhlonipho
slovenščina: Kultura
Soomaaliga: Dhaqan
کوردی: چاند
српски / srpski: Култура
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kultura
Basa Sunda: Budaya
suomi: Kulttuuri
svenska: Kultur
Tagalog: Kalinangan
தமிழ்: பண்பாடு
татарча/tatarça: Мәдәният
తెలుగు: సంస్కృతి
тоҷикӣ: Фарҳанг
Türkçe: Kültür
українська: Культура
اردو: ثقافت
Vahcuengh: Vwnzva
vèneto: Cultura
vepsän kel’: Kul'tur
Tiếng Việt: Văn hóa
Võro: Kultuur
Winaray: Kultura
吴语: 文化
Xitsonga: Ndzhavuko
ייִדיש: קולטור
Yorùbá: Àṣà
粵語: 文化
Zeêuws: Cultuur
žemaitėška: Koltūra
中文: 文化