What Is Culture, What Does It Mean?July 2, 2021
You may have heard that the word culture comes from the Latin word “cultura”, which means to team and produce, and the same word is used in many world languages.
The word “hars”, which is used in Arabic and we come across in our Turkish, also means “working the soil”. Again, the word “ekin” used in Turkish is synonymous with the word “culture”.
Soil cultivation can be culture, food preparation, ritual or play is also culture. In this case, the word culture has acquired such rich meanings in the light of the developments and changes over time, which is not surprising, because “production” is a phenomenon that has taken place not only at the agricultural level in human history, but also at the level of the evolution of ideas, the development of technique and technology, and such changes are one of the lifestyles It is impossible for it not to be effective until the ways of thinking and beliefs.
Historical information shows us that culture is based on an accumulation in all societies. This accumulation, according to cultural historians, includes processing (energy, agriculture, mining, metallurgy, hunting and fishing have always been developed by processing), craft (producing consumer goods and mechanical objects that will help solve technical problems related to it), transformation (material with physical, chemical, technological means). transforming into another object, such as synthetic objects) and finally changing the living space (construction, architecture, roads for transportation, landscaping).
The creation of all these actions by different communities in different geographical areas actually constitutes the essence of world culture and sooner or later the mutual relations of all communities and thus mutual interaction are inevitable. The word has passed into Turkish from the French “cultura”. The use of the word culture in everyday life, art, education, science, etc. Although it has different meanings in different fields, it is possible to reach a general definition of culture.
According to this, culture is one of the material and spiritual values that are common to the majority of the members of a society, which includes all kinds of knowledge, habits, value measures, general attitudes, opinions, beliefs and mentalities, and all kinds of behavior in a society, and that helps to distinguish it from other societies. is a whole.
On the basis of culture, there are beliefs that form the explanation schemes of a society’s existence and universe. These beliefs form values by shaping certain social habits and problem-solving procedures. Ensuring social order is achieved when values gain sanction power, that is, when they become norms. The activities of transforming nature take place with the knowledge and equipment produced by man for this purpose, namely technology. All these activities and expressions eventually form symbols, which are abstract representations of themselves. Culture also brings about the sharing of a common language. Values, which will ensure the continuation of the social relationship and turn into traditions and customs with its repetition, are accepted as common founding elements. In order for a rule to be considered a norm, it must be an element of pressure at the social level, and if it is not followed, it has a negative response.
Although culture is one of the most important concepts of sociology and anthropology, it is still one of the most ambiguous, complex and controversial concepts of social sciences in general, especially sociology and anthropology. Anthropologists Alfred L. Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn, in their book titled Culture: A Critique of Concepts and Definitions, compiled in 1952, state that there are 164 different definitions of culture. The famous cultural theorist Raymond Williams (1983) also points out that there are 164 different definitions of the concept of culture, and states that ‘culture’ is one of the two or three most complex concepts in the English language.
This is of course not unique to English, on the contrary, in many languages there is considerable ambiguity regarding the definition and meaning of ‘culture’. “A multicultural person” or “Southeastern food culture” or; When we say “European Capital of Culture Istanbul” and “Circassian culture”, culture does not appear in the same sense. When we say “wine culture” and the “culture and arts page” of newspapers, or when we say “Anatolian culture” and “Culture-Art Festival”, in all these examples, we certainly do not use culture in the same sense.
The use of the term culture in both everyday life and academic discourse is quite wide and has different meanings in different contexts. Therefore, culture is a very familiar and familiar phenomenon on the one hand, and an intractable phenomenon on the other. it does not come and is abstract” (Bauman, 1996: 162-163).
It should be emphasized that there is a difference between anthropology and sociology, which takes culture as a research subject, in terms of perspective on culture.
While anthropology tries to reveal the origin and development of the cultures of human societies from the past to the present, sociology is the root of culture.