Non Characteristics Of Culture Essay


I approach the more specific reasons why the role of culture is inescapable from the perspective of EBS-as I do all aspects of environmental analysis and design -- because I regard this emergent discipline as the only valid starting point.

I have long argued that all specific problems and questions in EBS can be understood in terms of what I call the three basic questions of EBR (which thus define the field):




These are all researchable questions, and answers to them must be based on research. In turn, this research-based knowledge is the only valid basis for design, although this is not a topic I will discuss here.2 Here I argue that in all three of these basic questions, culture plays a major role.

In the first question, these characteristics are partly evolutionary and bio-social, partly psychological, and partly cultural. Culture itself evolved with humans and thus plays a role even at that level, including insights into how human environments evolved from hominid (and even animal) ones. As already mentioned, cross-cultural psychology is a major, rapidly growing field so that even psychological characteristics are influenced by culture to varying extents. Thus affective responses, evaluation, preference, and meaning tend to be much more culturally variable than cognition which, in turn, is more influenced by culture than is perception. Nothing needs to be said here about the role of cultural variables themselves.

The role of culture in the second question follows from group variability. Different groups are affected differently by the same attributes of environments. At the same time that different aspects of environments become salient to different groups, their preferences vary on the basis of their different evaluations of environmental quality based on differing values, ideals, images and schemata. Their choices also vary-and choice, or habitat selection, is the major effect of environments on people. The meanings which groups express through built environments (seen broadly as cultural landscapes), how they express them and how they decode such meanings also vary. Thus the variety of environments and their characteristics, and changes to them, are also a result of cultural variables.

In terms of the third question, a number of the mechanisms that link people and environments-perception, cognition, preference, affect, meaning, supportiveness, and congruence-are influenced by culture to varying extents (as already pointed out).

It follows that culture plays a role in all three of the basic questions of EBS. To reiterate: The extent, importance and strength of such influence and the specifics are empirical questions, i.e. to be answered through research; they are not matters of a priori decisions, guesswork, opinion or wishful thinking.

There are, of course, other formulations of EBS. I will briefly discuss one (by Gary Moore, Paul Tuttle and Sandra Howell3) and show that in it also, culture plays an inescapable role.

On this view, EBS can best be understood in terms of three components: settings and places, user groups, and socio-behavioral phenomena. Without arguing the case in detail, one can suggest that settings and "places"4 are culturally defined. What we call regions, cities, suburbs, dwellings, rooms of various kinds (e.g. living rooms, family rooms, dens, kitchens, bathrooms, studies, offices, seminar rooms), parks, streets and the many building types and their parts and so on and on, as well as the settings of which they are composed, are all culturally defined. User groups are at least partly a function of culture on the basis of my argument earlier. Finally, how people behave and their social structures are all culturally highly variable and can be seen as specific expressions of culture. Thus culture plays a role in socio-behavioral phenomena.

I think it is safe to suggest that culture will be found to be inescapable in any other conceptualization of EBS.

Culture is the Centre of a society and without culture no society can even exist. It is the main difference between human beings and animals. It is a heritage transmitted from one generation to another. It includes all the ways and behaviors is social life. Man is born in the environment of culture, in which he seeks his way of behaving and acting in a given society. Your can also find out effects of ethnocentrism.

Definition of Culture

Following are some important definitions of culture by sociologists

Horton and Hunt definition of culture, “Culture is everything which is socially shared and learned by the members of a society.”

Tylor defined “It is that complex whole including beliefs, art, region, values, norms, ideas, law, taught, knowledge, custom and other capabilities acquired y a man as a member of a society.”

It is the totality of human experience acquired during transmission of heritage from one generation to another and to learn the ways of learning, eating, drinking, behaving, walking, dressing, and working is the culture of man.

Features & Characteristics of Culture

Some of the important characteristics of culture has been cited below.

1. Culture is learned

Culture is not inherited biologically but it is leant socially by man in a society. It is not an inborn tendency but acquired by man from the association of others, e.g. drinking, eating, dressing, walking, behaving, reading are all learnt by man.

2. Culture is social

It is not an individual phenomena but it is the product of society. It develops in the society through social interaction. It is shared by the man of society No man can acquire it without the association of others. Man is man only among men. It helps to develop qualities of human beings in a social environment. Deprivation of a man from his company is the deprivation of human qualities.

3. Culture is shared

Culture is something shared. It is nothing that an individual can passes but shared by common people of a territory. For example, customs, traditions, values, beliefs are all shared by man in a social situation. These beliefs and practices are adopted by all equally.

4. Culture is transmitted

Culture is capable of transmitted from one generation to the next. Parents papas cultural traits to their children and in return they pass to their children and son on. It is not transmitted through genes but through language. Language is means to communication which passes cultural traits from one generation to another.

5. Culture is continuous

It is continuous process. It is like a stream which is flowing from one generation to another through centuries. “Culture is the memory of human race.”

6. Culture is accumulative

Culture is not a matter of month or a year. It is the continuous process and adding new cultural traits. Many cultural traits are borrowed from out side and these absorbed in that culture which adopt it, as culture is accumulative and combines the suitable cultural traits.

7. Culture is integrated

All the cultural aspects are inter-connected with each other. The development of culture is the integration of its various parts. For example, values system is interlinked with morality, customs, beliefs and religion.

8. Culture is changing

It remains changing but not static. Cultural process undergoes changes. But with different speeds from society to society and generation to generation.

9. Culture varies from society to society

Every society has its own culture and ways of behaving. It is not uniform every where but occurs differently in various societies. Every culture is unique in itself is a specific society. For example, values, customs, traditions, ideologies, religion, belief, practices are not similar but different in every society. However the ways of eating, drinking, speaking, greeting, dressing etc are differs from one social situation to another in the same time.

10. Culture is responsive

Culture is responsive to the changing conditions of a physical world. It intervenes in the natural environment and helps man from all dangers and natural calamities e.g. our houses are responsible to give us shelter and safety from storm and heavy rains.

11. Culture is gratifying

It is gratifying and provide all the opportunities for needs and desires satisfaction. These needs may be biological or social but It is responsible to satisfy it. Our needs are food, shelter, clothing and desires are status, fame, money, sex etc are all the examples which are fulfilled according to the cultural ways. In fact it is defined as the process through which human beings satisfy their need.

12. Linked with society

Last but not the least one of the characteristics of culture that culture and society are one and the same. But if we say that these turn two are twin sister, it would not be wrong. Society is a composite of people and they interact each other through it.  It is to bind the people within the society.

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