It is essential to mention that there exist hundreds of methods to define culture. For instance, the culture is interpreted as “the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society” (Storey 17). On the other hand, the culture could be defined as the level of the spiritual development of an individual accumulated during the educational process. Thus, it is still impossible to provide the final definition, which could explain all the aspects of the human heritage. Therefore, the answer to the question “What does it mean to be a part of a culture?” depends on the subjective understanding of the phenomenon of culture. It is rational to observe the most relevant interpretations of the phenomenon to provide the dialectical response to this question.
It is crucial to note that the notion of culture is closely interconnected with values. The values are formed on the basis of the long-term experience of a community. The values reveal the most important aspects of an individual’s worldview and determine his or her way of life and thinking. For instance, the modern Western civilization is shaped by the values of individualism, equality, personal freedom, and liberalization of economic relations. In such case, it is necessary for a person to respect other people, avoid discrimination and biased attitude towards other people, and constantly make efforts to develop spiritually in order to be the part of the Western culture.
It is obvious that the system of values differs in various social systems. It happens due to the peculiarities of historic changes inside a community. For example, the emergence of terrorism was based on the culture of radical Islam. At the same time, the groups of extremist Islamists were organized by the spiritual leaders of the Middle East as the response on the European policies of colonialism. The ideas were popularized due to the constant efforts of the extremists to recruit supporters. In the 21st century, some citizens of the United States or the EU share the radical values of ISIS or Al-Qaeda. It becomes clear that in conditions of the constant evolutionary change, culture is also transformed due to the change of values or beliefs. Accordingly, the ability of an individual to pass through the process of spiritual change also shows his or her involvement in specific culture.
It is important to note that culture is not only about values. The achievements of a community crystallize in the form of knowledge, skills, experience, or traditions. The ability of a person to understand the versatile aspects of the community’s functioning is crucial for the acceptance of the cultural norms. For example, the celebration of holidays gives a unique opportunity for all members of a social group to share positive feelings. The practice of celebration is fundamental for the existence of unity and mutual respect. The refusal of an individual to celebrate holidays and general ignorance towards the traditions and customs of a community demonstrate the refusal to participate in the cultural discourse of this social group.
The third structural element of the system of culture is language. It is beneficial for a person to know the language of a community in order to be a part of its culture. Evidently, the cultural experience of generations is retranslated through poetry and literature. The ability to read the novels and poems in the source helps to plunge into the stream of an author’s consciousness.
It is possible to conclude that it is not easy to enter into a specific culture. It is essential for an individual to share the values of a community, to know its language, and be aware of traditions, holidays, and accumulated spiritual experience. Moreover, there are also many other minor aspects of human life, which reveal the involvement of a person in cultural life of a social group.
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Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. Routledge Publishing. 2015. Print.