Portal:Culture

Introduction

Celebrations, rituals and patterns of consumption are important aspects of folk culture.

Culture (/ˈkʌlər/) is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization (including practices of political organization and social institutions), mythology, philosophy, literature (both written and oral), and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.

In the humanities, one sense of culture as an attribute of the individual has been the degree to which they have cultivated a particular level of sophistication in the arts, sciences, education, or manners. The level of cultural sophistication has also sometimes been seen to distinguish civilizations from less complex societies. Such hierarchical perspectives on culture are also found in class-based distinctions between a high culture of the social elite and a low culture, popular culture, or folk culture of the lower classes, distinguished by the stratified access to cultural capital. In common parlance, culture is often used to refer specifically to the symbolic markers used by ethnic groups to distinguish themselves visibly from each other such as body modification, clothing or jewelry. Mass culture refers to the mass-produced and mass mediated forms of consumer culture that emerged in the 20th century. Some schools of philosophy, such as Marxism and critical theory, have argued that culture is often used politically as a tool of the elites to manipulate the lower classes and create a false consciousness, and such perspectives are common in the discipline of cultural studies. In the wider social sciences, the theoretical perspective of cultural materialism holds that human symbolic culture arises from the material conditions of human life, as humans create the conditions for physical survival, and that the basis of culture is found in evolved biological dispositions.

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In the news

23 April 2019 – 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings
ISIL claims responsibility for the bombings in Sri Lanka that took place on Easter Sunday. (New York Times)
Sri Lankan investigators believe that the bombings were revenge for attacks on New Zealand mosques carried out by a gunman during March. (Reuters)
23 April 2019 – 2019 Visayas earthquake
According to PHIVOLCS, the epicenter of the earthquake is located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) northwest of San Julian, Eastern Samar. PHIVOLCS originally records the earthquake, which is tectonic in origin, at magnitude 6.2, but later upgrades it to 6.5. (The Philippine Star)
21 April 2019 – 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings
A series of explosions at churches and hotels in four cities in Sri Lanka, including the nation’s commercial capital and largest city Colombo, kills at least 321 people and wounds around 500 others. ISIL has since claimed responsibility for the attacks. (BBC)
The Sri Lankan government temporarily blocks access to all social media platforms to stop the spread of “false media reports” about the attacks. (The Washington Post)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that several United States citizens were killed in the attacks and Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry officials have stated that at least five of the victims were of British nationality. (CNN)

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