The Importance of Understanding and Appreciating Culture
Culture is a set of patterns of human activity within a community. These elements may include social standards, laws, and dress. UNESCO has designated culture as the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development. A culture is a social unit that includes all individuals and can be both physical and virtual. It is a way to understand society and its diverse aspects.
Cultures are constantly evolving. Every day new things are invented, affecting not only the material culture but also the non-material culture. New ideas and technologies enter culture, altering the way people live their lives and make the world around them. This is a key process in the development of cultures. The evolution of culture depends on the ways in which people perceive and understand things.
Many historical events have shaped Western culture over the last 2,500 years. One of the most important events is the fall of Rome in A.D. 476, which opened up the continent to many warring states, each with their own unique cultures. Another event that profoundly changed society was the Black Death in the 13th century. This epidemic reduced the population of Europe by one-third to one-half, and caused a massive shift in the way society worked. Survivors of the plague gained power and Christianity spread throughout Europe. Meanwhile, a culture of frugality, humility, and compassion was created.
Developing relationships with people from different cultures is essential for building strong, diverse communities. However, in order to do so, one must learn and appreciate different viewpoints and cultures. As the world grows increasingly multicultural, understanding and valuing cultural differences will make you a better community builder. For example, if you want your students to be successful in school, make sure that they feel like they belong to a community.
Culture is not only about ideas but also about objects. Cultural objects are often symbolic of ideas. The idea of capitalism and paying for transportation is often expressed in physical objects, such as a metro pass. UNESCO has also created a cultural heritage convention, the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Cultural appropriation occurs when a majority group appropriates another culture in order to enrich itself. One famous example of cultural appropriation is Madonna’s use of voguing in her music video for “Vogue.” Voguing was a gay drag ball subculture. Madonna profited from its popularity and used it in her music video.
In addition to influencing behavior, cultural norms influence the way a group functions. For example, some societies have “folkways” based on moral principles or views. Moreover, these norms may be legally protected. For example, in Canada, women may greet men on the street and men may enter saunas and hot tubs while naked.
Art forms that are often considered cultural include theatre, comedy, and dance. Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art in which performers use their bodies to perform a story.