Cultural and Social Influences on the Society
Culture influences most aspects of human life. It determines the values and norms adopted by the society. These norms and values act as a tool of judgment on the rights and wrongs. This affects the relationship between people since what one culture considers right might be wrong in another culture. Morality is, therefore, a relative aspect of human lives. However, various cultures share common values and norms such as the high regard for human life and the banning of incest. People from these cultures have no conflicting ideas on the issues. The norms that one picks throughout his or her life determine the kind of person he or she becomes and influences their perspective on life. This may cause difficulty in intercultural interactions due to the differences in values and ideologies. Some cultures support certain ideologies and the members of the culture uphold them without any modifications (Abbinnett 10).
Language varies with cultural differences. A language becomes a source of connection to people who speak it, since it makes it possible to communicate without straining. The learning of the language of a culture indicates the acceptance of the culture and its origin. Languages give the people of a particular culture a sense of belonging, since it uniquely identifies them. Language barriers affect the interaction of people of different cultures, so one has to learn the mother tongue of the other for them to have a comprehensive conversation.
Culture hugely affects the identity of a person. One major form of identity of a person is the name. The name in most cases includes some cultural aspect. Some cultures name newborns after their ancestors. This ensures the continuity of the cultural identity across generations. When a person describes his or her origin, the mentioning of their culture is expected. Most people base their identities firstly on culture and after that on the inclusion to the family and religion.
Culture can be classified as either material or non-material. Material culture usually comprises of physical objects that are held in great regard, mainly since they have a direct or indirect implication of the society in which they are found. These include physical artifacts such as those in museums that tell of a society and its beliefs and practices. Non-material culture consists of the ideals such as beliefs and thoughts that are propagated by a society as its foundation.
Further classifications of culture include high and low culture. High culture is considered as being that of the informed and only achieved by those who are well educated or who have a ‘dignified’ or wealthy background. An example is artwork such as paintings that are often expensive and not accessible to those who are not wealthy. Low culture is considered as that of the masses, as its appeal is wide and not that well informed. An example includes sports, as well as other forms of media that are easily accessible to any individual. None can be termed as being better than the other is, as various forms or culture lead to a society’s diversification and their existence therefore becomes reliant on each other.
The basis of institutions, such as family and religion, derives its existence from culture. Some cultures dictate the religion that its members should follow. It becomes challenging to separate religion from culture in such instances. Being a member of such a culture, one must share a similar ideology on the religion shared. Families uphold the values of culture and are, therefore, the backbone of the culture, since it is through this institution that children grow up and get an education on cultural practices.
Religion and culture are determinants of the mode of dressing adopted by the members. Some cultures prohibit women from wearing trousers and the women refrain from these items of clothing. Some religions also dictate the mode of dressing for their believers. The dress code of a person can, therefore, tells a lot about the cultural background of an individual. The kinds of foods and the choice of lifestyle all depend on culture. Consumer culture is, therefore, a common feature among people in the society. Some cultures alienate certain groups of people among them. This leads to the formation of subcultures. The subculture members seem to have different ideologies and norms from those of their cultures. This phenomenon causes the unique identification of the persons in the subculture. Status also becomes a form of identification within the culture. You can belong to the poor, middle class or upper class.
Within every culture, there are people of diverse personalities. The difference portrays itself in the formation of various groups. In school, all kinds of groups emerge mostly for people with similar personal experiences while at the workplace we form secondary groups for a favorable working environment.
The United States can be considered as both a democracy and capitalism depending on the aspects of the country under scrutiny. On an ideal level, the nation is a democracy as most of its economic and political structures are founded on the will of the people. However, as is expected in an economic state, its capitalism is noted because the availability of resources is limited to those who have the wealth to acquire it. Competition is therefore present it the society, both on an individual and a corporate level, thereby leading to its capitalist nature.
Abbinnett, Ross. Culture and Identity: Critical Theories. London: SAGE, 2003. Print.