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Celebrations, rituals and patterns of consumption are important aspects of folk culture.

Culture (/ˈkʌlər/) is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. 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.

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.

Selected general articles

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Cultural differences can interact with positive psychology to create great variation, potentially impacting positive psychology interventions. Culture influences how people seek psychological help, their definitions of social structure, and coping strategies. Read more...
  • Cultural practice generally refers to the manifestation of a culture or sub-culture, especially in regard to the traditional and customary practices of a particular ethnic or other cultural group. In the broadest sense, this term can apply to any person manifesting any aspect of any culture at any time. However, in practical usage it often refers to the traditional practices developed within specific ethnic cultures, especially those aspects of culture that have been practiced since ancient times.

    The term is gaining in importance due to the increased controversy over "rights of cultural practice", which are protected in many jurisdictions for indigenous peoples and sometimes ethnic minorities. It is also a major component of the field of cultural studies, and is a primary focus of international works such as the United Nations declaration of the rights of indigenous Peoples. Read more...
  • A dominant culture is a cultural practice that is dominant within a particular political, social or economic entity, in which multiple cultures are present. It may refer to a language, religion/ritual, social value and/or social custom. These features are often a norm for an entire society. It achieves dominance by being perceived as pertaining to a majority of the population and having a significant presence in institutions relating to communication, education, artistic expression, law, government and business. The concept of "dominant culture" is generally used in academic discourse in fields such as sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.

    The culture that is dominant within a particular geopolitical entity can change over time in response to internal or external factors, but one is usually very resilient and able to reproduce itself effectively from generation to generation. In a multicultural society, various cultures are celebrated and respected equally. A dominant culture can be promoted deliberately and by the suppression of minority cultures or subcultures. Read more...
  • Model of culture change

    Culture change is a term used in public policy making that emphasizes the influence of cultural capital on individual and community behavior. It has been sometimes called repositioning of culture, which means the reconstruction of the cultural concept of a society. It places stress on the social and cultural capital determinants of decision making and the manner in which these interact with other factors like the availability of information or the financial incentives facing individuals to drive behavior.
    These cultural capital influences include the role of parenting, families and close associates; organizations such as schools and workplaces; communities and neighborhoods; and wider social influences such as the media. It is argued that this cultural capital manifests into specific values, attitudes or social norms which in turn guide the behavioral intentions that individuals adopt in regard to particular decisions or courses of action. These behavioral intentions interact with other factors driving behavior such as financial incentives, regulation and legislation, or levels of information, to drive actual behavior and ultimately feed back into underlying cultural capital. Read more...
  • Culture & Social Cognition is the relationship between human culture and human cognitive capabilities. Cultural cognitive evolution proposes that humans’ unique cognitive capacities are not solely due to biological inheritance, but are in fact due in large part to cultural transmission and evolution (Tomasello, 1999). Modern humans and great apes are separated evolutionarily by about six million years. Proponents of cultural evolution argue that this would not have been enough time for humans to develop the advanced cognitive capabilities required to create tools, language, and build societies through biological evolution. Biological evolution could not have individually produced each of these cognitive capabilities within that period of time. Instead, humans must have evolved the capacity to learn through cultural transmission (Tomasello, 1999). This provides a more plausible explanation that would fit within the given time frame. Instead of having to biologically account for each cognitive mechanism that distinguishes modern humans from previous relatives, one would only have to account for one significant biological adaptation for cultural learning. According to this view, the ability to learn through cultural transmission is what distinguishes humans from other primates (Tomasello, 1999). Cultural learning allows humans to build on existing knowledge and make collective advancements, also known as the “ratchet effect”. The ratchet effect simply refers to the way in which humans continuously add on to existing knowledge through modifications and improvements. This unique ability distinguishes humans from related primates, who do not seem to build collaborative knowledge over time. Instead, primates seem to build individual knowledge, in which the expertise of one animal is not built on by others, and does not progress across time. Read more...
  • Émile Bernard, Smoking Hashish, 1900.

    Cannabis culture describes a social atmosphere or series of associated social behaviors that depends heavily upon cannabis consumption, particularly as an entheogen, recreational drug and medicine.

    Historically cannabis has been used an entheogen to enduce spiritual experiences - most notably in the Indian subcontinent since the Vedic period dating back to approximately 1500 BCE, but perhaps as far back as 2000 BCE. Its entheogenic use was also recorded in Ancient China, the Germanic peoples, the Celts, Ancient Central Asia, and Africa. In modern times, spiritual use of the drug is mostly associated with the Rastafari movement of Jamaica. Several Western subcultures have had marijuana consumption as an idiosyncratic feature, such as hippies, beatniks, hipsters (both the 1940s subculture and the contemporary subculture), ravers and hip hop. Read more...
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    In the news

    13 March 2019 – Killing of Susanna Feldmann
    Ali Bashar confesses in court in Germany to killing teenager Susanna Feldmann. Bashar is a failed asylum seeker from Iraq. The case prompted national debate and a pledge by Angela Merkel to call for improvements to the deportation system in Germany. Counterterror police traveled to Iraq in order to return him to Germany, as he had already been deported when he was identified in connection to the murder; Iraq has no extradition treaty with Germany. (BBC)
    11 March 2019 –
    Mixed martial artist Conor McGregor is arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, on charges of robbery and criminal mischief. (LowKick MMA)
    Actor and former Minister of Culture Salvador del Solar is appointed new Prime Minister of Peru. (El País)
    27 February 2019 – 2019 Taplejung helicopter crash
    A helicopter crashes in Taplejung, Nepal, killing 7 people, including Nepal's culture and tourism minister Rabindra Prasad Adhikari. (The New York Times)
    4 February 2019 –
    25-year-old Australian footballer and refugee from Bahrain, Hakeem al-Araibi, is ordered to defend an extradition order back to Bahrain in a Bangkok court, after being detained upon arrival in Thailand for his honeymoon with his wife in November 2018. International community is treating it as a human rights issue; a campaign to free al-Araibi and return him to Australia is growing. (news.com.au)


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