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What is culture?

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Culture is a word for people's 'way of life', meaning the way they do things. Different groups of people may have different cultures. A culture is passed on to the next generation by learning, whereas genetics is passed on by heredity. Culture is seen in people's writing, religion, music, clothes, cooking, and in what they do.

The concept of culture is very complicated, and the word has many meanings.

The word 'culture' is most commonly used in three senses:

  • Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture.
  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behaviour.
  • The outlook, attitudes, values, goals, and practices shared by a society.

Now, 'culture' includes all human phenomena which are not purely results of human genetics. The discipline which investigates cultures is called anthropology, though many other disciplines play a part.

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