تعريف التراث ومميزاته
الدكتور حسن يحيى
Definition & Characteristics of CULTURE
Hasan Yahya, Ph.ds,
Former Professor of Sociology
Initially, culture is defined as: “ the shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs, and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization. These shared patterns identify the members of a culture group while also distinguishing those of another group.”
The literature in sociology and anthropology show other definitions as well. “Most social scientists today view culture as consisting primarily of the symbolic, ideational, and intangible aspects of human societies. The essence of a culture is not its artifacts, tools, or other tangible cultural elements but how the members of the group interpret, use, and perceive them. It is the values, symbols, interpretations, and perspectives that distinguish one people from another in modernized societies; it is not material objects and other tangible aspects of human societies. People within a culture usually interpret the meaning of symbols, artifacts, and behaviors in the same or in similar ways.”
In Anthropology: It ” …… consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, and on the other as conditioning elements of further action.” (Kroeber, & Kluckhohn 1952)
In Sociology: Parsons defines culture “…..consists in those patterns relative to behavior and the products of human action which may be inherited, that is, passed on from generation to generation independently of the biological genes” (Parsons 1949: 8).
In Education: “Culture has been defined in a number of ways, but most simply, as the learned and shared behavior of a community of interacting human beings” (Useem & Useem 1963: 169).
In psychology: Damen defines culture as the “…. learned and shared human patterns or models for living; day- to-day living patterns. these patterns and models pervade all aspects of human social interaction. Culture is mankind’s primary adaptive mechanism” Damen 1987: 367).
Social scientists in general define it as: Banks,, Banks, & McGee (989) stated:
“Most social scientists today view culture as consisting primarily of the symbolic, ideational, and intangible aspects of human societies. The essence of a culture is not its artifacts, tools, or other tangible cultural elements but how the members of the group interpret, use, and perceive them. It is the values, symbols, interpretations, and perspectives that distinguish one people from another in modernized societies; it is not material objects and other tangible aspects of human societies. People within a culture usually interpret the meaning of symbols, artifacts, and behaviors in the same or in similar ways.” (Hofstede 1984)
Linton defines it as “A culture is a configuration of learned behaviors and results of behavior whose component elements are shared and transmitted by the members of a particular society” (Linton 1945: 32).
Kluckhohn, & Kelly define culture by meaning “……. all those historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational, and nonrational, which exist at any given time as potential guides for the behavior of men.” (Kluckhohn, & Kelly 1945)
“Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another.” (Hofstede 1984: 51).
I define culture as ” the shared and learned ways day-to-day living patterns, or models of human patterns. Which pervade all aspects of social interaction. In other words, Culture is humankind’s primary adaptive collective behavioral mechanism” (Yahya 1990)
In summary, Culture is the shared knowledge, way of life models and schemes created by a set of people geographically and historically formulating perception, interpreting, behaving, expressing, and responding to the social realities around them.
Characteristics of Culture may be summarized in the following:
1) . It is a social. Product develops by many people interacting in a group. No man is an island. Culture, therefore, is adaptive to the group.
2) Culture gratifies human biological needs such as food, shelter, clothing, protection, love, marriage, and security needs.
3) Culture is learned, acquired and shared generally by a population.
4) Culture is ideational uses ideas and symbols has meanings related to his social and natural environment as well as experiences.
5) Culture is cumulative. People are able to retain certain features of their culture that are significant to learn, share and transmit.
6) Finally, culture is passed on to succeeding generations primarily through Language/ Symbols and Communication. Religion symbols is a good example here, for example, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, etc., (777 words) www.arabamericanencyclopedia.com
Banks, J.A., Banks, & McGee, C. A. (1989). Multicultural education. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Damen, L. (1987). Culture Learning: The Fifth Dimension on the Language Classroom. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Hofstede, G. (1984). National cultures and corporate cultures. In L.A. Samovar & R.E. Porter (Eds.), Communication Between Cultures. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Linton, R. (1945). The Cultural Background of Personality. New York.
Kluckhohn, C., & Kelly, W.H. (1945). The concept of culture. In R. Linton (Ed.). The Science of Man in the World Culture. New York. (pp. 78-105).
Kroeber, A.L., & Kluckhohn, C. (1952). Culture: A critical review of concepts and definitions. Harvard University Peabody Museum of American Archeology and Ethnology Papers 47.
Parson, T. (1949). Essays in Sociological Theory. Glencoe, IL.
Useem, J., & Useem, R. (1963). Human Organizations, 22(3).
Yahya, Hasan A. Ilm al Ijtima al Tatbeeqi, Jerusalem Press-USA,1990.
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Hasan Yahya is an Arab-Palestinian-Jordanian-American theorist, sociologist, philosopher, writer and historian. He’s a former professor of Comparative Sociology and Educational Administration at Michigan State University, Lansing Community and Jackson Community Colleges. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Humanities Studies (IHS) Journal (Jerusalem-Based) and several other USA, journals. Dr. Yahya is the originator of Arab American Encyclopedia and Ihyaa al Turath al Arabi fil Mahjar-USA. His (330 plus) publication may be observed on Amazon and Kindle. To reach the writer: Email: email@example.com
Dr. Yahya Credentials: Ph.D in Comparative Socioloy 1991, Michigan State University. Ph.D in Educational Administration, Michigan State Univ.(1988). M.A Psychology of Schools Conflict Management, Michigan State Univ. 1983. Diploma M.A, Oriental Studies, St. Joseph Univ. Beirut, Lebanon. (1982) B.A Modern and Classical Arab Literature, (1976). Life Achievements: Publishing 330 plus Books on Amazon and 1000 plus articles on various topics.
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