MISUNDERSTANDING THE DEFINITION OF CULTURE by Marie Morrell – April 6, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – The definition of culture is highly misunderstood and misused. 

Many people confuse “culture” with “multiculturalism”, a term which means the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place. Canada is the most multi-cultural country in the world, and the home of immigrants of every ethnic and religious group from every country in the world. Five hundred years ago only the Aboriginal people lived on this land called “Canada”, in 1535, by explorer Jacques Cartier.  Cartier misunderstood the word “kanata” the Huron-Iroquois word for village and used it to refer to both the settlement of Stadacona and the land surrounding it.

Culture encompasses everything in one’s life. “Culture” exists since the beginning of the world; it’s all about evolution, at every stage, of civilization. It’s about shared beliefs, learned values and attitudes, which influences our perception of things and form our behaviour. It’s about the way particular groups of people carry out their day-to-day activities, following a consistent systematic way (a routine).

According to “Culture “ experts, culture is about language (the most sophisticated medium of expression), art and science (the most advanced and refined forms of human expression), thoughts (the ways in which people perceive, interpret, and understand the world around them and why the whole world is in so much trouble because misinterpretation and misunderstanding), spirituality (the value system transmitted through generations for the inner well-being of human beings, expressed through language and actions), social activity (the shared pursuits within a cultural community, demonstrated in a variety of festivities and life-celebrating events, interaction in al its forms (the social aspects of human contact, including the give-and-take of socialization, negotiation, protocol, conventions, sports, etc.).  All of the above collectively define the meaning of “Culture”.
Culture takes into account trends, an inclination about following certain general tendencies affecting societies, such as drug, violence, poverty, criminal behaviour, fashion, music, dance, film making, writing, etc.
Culture also refers to bias, a prejudice in favour of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair based on gossip or emotion instead of logic or reason. Biases affect judgment and decision-making. In most instances, this negativity, affecting culture, is the result of statistics bias (data collection and analysis), which can take several forms and falls under several definitions, but in each case, represents some sort of deviation from the truth. There is also”media bias” which implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article.
As you can see “Culture” has a complex definition. I hope this article will help you get a clearer picture. 

Marie Morrell

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