Various forms of culture include music, art, and literature. In addition, there are many sub-cultures centered around certain activities or interests. Among these are martial arts, which are extensive systems of combat practices practiced for self-defense, competition, fitness, and mental development. Cycling sports have also developed sub-cultures. Similarly, running is a type of sport that involves rapid foot movement, with both feet off the ground at regular intervals. Cultural studies also encompass the field of classical studies, which deals with ancient cultures and literature.
Scholars believe that there are more than 3800 distinct cultures throughout the world. They are not necessarily geographically bounded by countries, and one region may contain dozens of communities, each with a different system of beliefs and practices. Cultures also include religion, as these are an expression of a spiritual tradition. Although spirituality is a form of religion, it is not a system, but rather an inward, subjective, transcendental, and unsystematic process.
Cultures are also built on values. Values are broad tendencies that can be good, bad, right, natural, and unnatural. Most values are unconscious, but can be inferred from behavior and the actions of individuals. Some aspects of culture are visible, such as symbols and heroes. Rituals, on the other hand, are intangible and cannot be directly observed. In many cases, the true meaning of a culture is unknown to outsiders.
The notion of culture and heritage reflects how human societies live. It includes customs, beliefs, religious practices, art, and other manifestations of human creativity. It is also reflected in the landscape of a region, including natural resources. In addition, it encompasses political and ideological beliefs. People of different cultures and backgrounds learn from each other, and this is evident in many fields of human endeavor. Pablo Picasso, for example, was influenced by the masks of African villagers. Similarly, freed African slaves influenced architecture of plantation mansions.
There are two kinds of cultural practices: appreciating and appropriating. Appreciating culture means appreciating the cuisines and traditions of other cultures, while appropriating involves taking things from another culture without permission or authority. The process is akin to cultural appropriation, but differs radically from assimilation. If the majority group adopts another culture, it is regarded as cultural appropriation. For example, when you learn a language, you are adopting that culture.
Despite the diversity of cultures, the extent of cultural awareness in a business may be low. Companies with global roles must understand multiple cultural axes simultaneously. As Hofstede explained in his book Cultures and Organizations, a company must learn to understand cultural differences on multiple axes. For example, cultural awareness in a marketing department requires a holistic approach to cultural diversity. Its goal is to make its products and services more competitive globally.
Protection of cultural property is a multi-faceted issue that is rooted in history. Ancient Rome recognized the value of private works of art in common, and sculptures on private buildings were protected. This principle still holds true today. The right to enjoy art is protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Cultural heritage protection is a shared responsibility. And, the protection of cultural property involves balancing the rights of public and private parties. People are often reluctant to take down a private building to protect it.