Culture (Latin: cultura, lit. "cultivation") is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator, Cicero: "cultura animi". The term "culture" appeared first in its current sense in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, to connote a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture or horticulture. In the 19th century, the term developed to refer first to the betterment or refinement of the individual, especially through education, and then to the fulfillment of national aspirations or ideals. In the mid-19th century, some scientists used the term "culture" to refer to a universal human capacity. For the German nonpositivist sociologist Georg Simmel, culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history".
In the 20th century, "culture" emerged as a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of human phenomena that cannot be attributed to genetic inheritance. Specifically, the term "culture" in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively. Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society, its so-called material culture and everything else, the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term "culture".
Famous quotes containing the word culture:
“The fact remains that the human being in early childhood learns to consider one or the other aspect of bodily function as evil, shameful, or unsafe. There is not a culture which does not use a combination of these devils to develop, by way of counterpoint, its own style of faith, pride, certainty, and initiative.”
—Erik H. Erikson (19041994)
“There has never been in history another such culture as the Western civilization M a culture which has practiced the belief that the physical and social environment of man is subject to rational manipulation and that history is subject to the will and action of man; whereas central to the traditional cultures of the rivals of Western civilization, those of Africa and Asia, is a belief that it is environment that dominates man.”
—Ishmael Reed (b. 1938)
“What culture lacks is the taste for anonymous, innumerable germination. Culture is smitten with counting and measuring; it feels out of place and uncomfortable with the innumerable; its efforts tend, on the contrary, to limit the numbers in all domains; it tries to count on its fingers.”
—Jean Dubuffet (19011985)