7 junio, 2024

What are the cultural components?

The cultural components They are the set of practices, forms of social, artistic and political expression, traditions, customs and regionalisms that characterize a society and distinguish it from others. As a whole framework that is part of the culture of society, these components are developed throughout history and evolution.

If culture is defined as «everything that man does, says or thinks», then it can be determined that the cultural components are clearly subject to the actions of man and his peers in a given physical space, which will develop and mark their identity more and more clearly.

For man, communication is not possible without the use of language, both verbal and non-verbal. Since man has had the ability to communicate among equals, the first cultural components have begun to develop. Language can be considered the main trigger forging culture in the world.

The physical space where man decided to settle also greatly influences the cultural development of the first societies.

The processes of miscegenation that took place with the discovery of America also caused a kind of renaissance in the cultural structures and models at that time.

If that new step was the mixture between ancient cultures, today there is a new phenomenon that affects cultural components throughout the world: globalization.

Main cultural components

– Political and civic

Once a society is established, the creation of certain symbols encourages the notion of identity of its members.

In today’s nations, the main cultural components that represent them are symbols such as the flag, the shield and the national anthem.

Similarly, the political and government systems adopted by nations reveal the cultural values ​​of their members.

At the citizen level, the relationships and trust generated between them and the strata of power throughout history determine generational positions and reactions to any change, or even to the absence of it.

An example of this can be considered the political system implemented by the United States since its independence, which for more than 200 years has maintained its operation without being perverted by personalistic ambitions, as has happened with many nations in Latin America.

This type of political behavior by the rulers and the ruled is due to cultural baggage.

Example

The flag and shield are a political cultural component of an international nature. Since the Middle Ages, nation-states have evolved their flag based on the socio-political contexts that best represent their population.

– History and customs

History is a fundamental part of the identity of a society; it is knowing where they come from and how they have come to be what they are now.

The level of roots of a culture can depend to a large extent on the sense of identity they have with their own history.

From history and generations, customs and traditions arise: practices that continue to the present (some with greater integrity than others), and that keep certain values ​​alive within an ethnic and social environment.

These traditions usually take the form of religious or pagan celebrations, with regional differences within the same nation.

The celebration of characteristic historical dates is also another form of celebration and cultural evocation. Miscegenation and cultural exchange have modified the integrity of these practices in almost the entire world.

This should not be considered negatively, since it is the same individuals who assimilate changes in their activities until they become their own again.

Example

The British often drink tea, being one of their most popular traditions. The origin of this custom has a historical component, since it corresponds to when the English began to harvest stolen tea from China in the 18th century.

At that time, drinking tea was considered a ritual of high society, so its consumption soon spread among the rest of the population.

– Artistic practices and body of knowledge

Music, plastic arts, literature, cinema and theater are expressive forms that can provide a fairly clear perception of a society’s identity; Not only that, but they can also provide an approach to the problems they face in their present, how they see themselves before the rest of the world, and how the world perceives them.

For this reason, the first artistic supports, such as painting, music, poetry and literature, have been present throughout the historical development of a nation, providing enlightened and even critical views of the different stages experienced.

Today many nations invest in artistic production to guarantee an enduring cultural record and identity. Similarly, art has always served as a critical alternative in periods of crisis and oppression in history.

Other sets of knowledge, such as gastronomy, can be considered a highly important cultural component, since in a globalized environment like today, it serves as a letter of introduction to the rest of the world, and its integrity is not conditioned by territorial limits. .

Behaviors towards cultural factors such as fine arts, sports, gastronomy, and even specialized branches such as science, research and urban planning are all results of the individual’s cultural character within society; and at the same time they are producers of greater cultural identity.

It is not surprising that certain societies, by repressing or prohibiting their citizens’ access to certain activities or knowledge, generate apathy in them in the face of new alternatives that could be exploited for productive and beneficial purposes.

Example

Flamenco is part of the identity of the Spanish and above all of the Andalusian. This musical genre is born from the mixture of various cultures such as Arab, Jewish or Gypsy and its popularity remains to this day, largely due to the constant evolution it undergoes.

– Language and dialect

As mentioned at the beginning, language is a fundamental part of culture in general, and from this not only the languages ​​that exist to this day, but also the dialects and colloquialisms that are born within each environment where it is spoken.

This component is of great importance, and it is what distinguishes, for example, that English (its accent and its expressions) is so different in the United States, England, Ireland and New Zealand; as well as the different variants of Spanish that exist in Latin America compared to Spain.

The dialect is a form of cultural identification of one’s own and that of others, and it is the one that little by little contributes to the continuous development of culture in a given environment.

In the globalized present, even languages ​​have been influenced by «universal» discourses, and have had to adapt to these new elements in such a way that whoever utters a few sentences feels identified with each word and point of view they decide to express.

Example

The Arabic language is widespread in Africa and part of Asia, and there are also other countries where it is spoken due to immigration, such as Spain or France.

There is a standard variety of this language that derives from classical Arabic, but each region then applies certain lexical and phonological differences. This is the result of the cultural identity of each country.

References

Adams, R.N. (1956). Cultural Components of Central America. American Anthropologist881-907.
Carrasco, AS (sf). Evaluation of the cultural components of the curriculum: towards a definition of culture through dialogue with students. XVIII International Congress of the Association for the Teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language (ASELE) (pp. 559-565).
Herrmann, RK, Risse, T., & Brewer, MB (2004). Transnational Identities: Becoming European in the EU. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Kaufman, S. (1981). Cultural Components of Identity in Old Age. ethos51-87.
Liddell, S.K. (sf). Blended spaces and deixis in sign language discourse. In D. McNeill, language and gesture (pp. 331-357). Cambridge University Press.

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