In a broad sense, culture is the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time and space, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.
Cultural is also used to refer to patterns of human activity within a community, with the symbolic structures that give significance to such activities, which may include customs, laws, dress, architectural style, social standards, and traditions. The concept of cultural is often associated with the study of history, although it can also refer to specific kinds of art and other creative endeavors such as dance and music.
New Cultural History
A branch of the Humanities that focuses on the study of culture as it relates to human history, society and identity. It includes a range of disciplines, including history, political science, sociology, philosophy and literature, and is often used to study specific communities or regions.
Its focus on the study of cultural phenomena, rather than simply on the cultures themselves, has meant that new cultural history often takes up issues in neighboring fields as well, such as sociology or anthropology, and has exercised an influence over these areas.
The New Historicism Movement
During the twentieth century, historians of all disciplines have made a concerted effort to abandon the hegemony of textual analysis and to apply more contextual considerations to their inquiry. This has tended to be most apparent in literary studies, but it has also been reflected in some other humanities and social sciences.
New cultural history has often incorporated themes and methods from these other fields, such as the study of rituals and performance (including those concerned with gender), sexuality and race. This has resulted in a new approach to the subject that is sometimes called “historical-cultural” or “ethnocultural.”
The study of culture is important for a number of reasons. First, it helps to build relationships among people from different backgrounds, which can lead to a more understanding and inclusive society. It is also helpful for people who want to learn about the world around them and develop empathy toward people from different lands, cultures and ethnic groups.
Second, it enables individuals to understand how their own culture and heritage may impact the ways they interact with others. Third, it can help to teach young children how their actions and words affect the world around them.
The importance of a vibrant cultural life is reflected in the fact that culture is considered the fourth pillar of sustainable development by UNESCO, along with health and nutrition, education and climate change. This is because a healthy and vibrant culture can make the world a better place for everyone.