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".
Read more about Culture: Etymology, Cultural Change
Famous quotes containing the word culture:
“Cynicism makes things worse than they are in that it makes permanent the current condition, leaving us with no hope of transcending it. Idealism refuses to confront reality as it is but overlays it with sentimentality. What cynicism and idealism share in common is an acceptance of reality as it is but with a bad conscience.”
—Richard Stivers, U.S. sociologist, educator. The Culture of Cynicism: American Morality in Decline, ch. 1, Blackwell (1994)
“To be a Negro is to participate in a culture of poverty and fear that goes far deeper than any law for or against discrimination.... After the racist statutes are all struck down, after legal equality has been achieved in the schools and in the courts, there remains the profound institutionalized and abiding wrong that white America has worked on the Negro for so long.”
—Michael Harrington (19281989)
“The white dominant culture seemed to think that once the Indians were off the reservations, theyd eventually become like everybody else. But they arent like everybody else. When the Indianness is drummed out of them, they are turned into hopeless drunks on skid row.”
—Elizabeth Morris (b. c. 1933)