Cultural Glossary

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The term “Artist” may refer to recording artists, filmmakers, visual artists, dancers and/or musicians.






The term “Student” may refer to any person currently enrolled in a learning institution including middle school, high school, continuation school, college, university, non-profit organization, and/or any recipient of community educational programming delivered as service (ie. Youth Programs, Adult Education, , etc.).



Activity of the people, by the people, for the people, among the people. Historically rooted in indigenous activity of ethnic communities predating colonial conquest and dominance as well as historically shaped by a response to and reaction to oppression. This culture of which we speak includes, music, language, food, customs, art, expression, spirituality, religion, martial arts, healing, thought, philosophy, educational traditions and ways of organizing oneself and ones’ people that can be seen, heard, felt, experienced by the participant, creator and observer.


There is also a culture of dominance that is intrinsically at odds with the above mentioned culture that seeks power through violence, maintains power through violence, fear, coercion and deception and is the prevailing force in modern society and civilization through which all other culture is subjugated, attacked, appropriated, destroyed.


Someone who works to express, create, maintain and represent culture is a Cultural Worker or Cultural Activist.


Someone who represents the dominance of dominant culture is a LIABILITY.


Community Member:


The term “Community Member” may refer to any citizen, resident, worker, or independent business owner in a local municipality, neighborhood, faith-based organization, labor union and/or non-profit organization.




The term “Teacher” may refer to any educator, youth mentor, teaching artist, chapter-head, non-profit and/or community organizer currently employed to deliver and/or facilitate educational programming in the form of workshops, panels, teach-ins, performance events, and classes.

Cultural Policy:


From Cultural Policy-”Who Makes it, Why Does It Matter?”

Cultural policy is connected to all the major issues of our society: economic stratification, race relations, international relations, technology, education, and community development. It happens at places ranging from a family’s dinner table to the boardrooms of national foundations, corporations, and public agencies. The choice of a family to educate their child in the language, traditions, and history of a particular ethnic group is cultural policy. A grant-maker’s criterion for quality and excellence is cultural policy. A community development corporation’s decision to focus on cultural tourism or historic preservation is cultural policy. The convergence of television, Internet, and other digital media is cultural policy. People often say we don’t have a cultural policy, when in fact we have many — we just don’t talk about them. The challenge is to articulate a clear, pluralistic vision for cultural policy-making that recognizes the integral connection between culture, art, and the rest of our lives. This is the challenge the Blueprint is taking up for New York City.

Cultural policy is both a product and a process, a framework for making rules and decisions that is informed by social relationships and values. It is not easily defined in the United States. In fact, for much of our history our government has had an official policy of not having a cultural policy, and has opted out of the international cultural policy dialogue led by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). But not calling something a policy does not mean there isn’t any. Cultural policies — public and private, implicit and explicit — are made all the time. In the United States, policy and policymaking are more often implicit than explicit, and thus they are frequently invisible. This can be viewed as a manifestation of how culture is embedded in other aspects of life, and it may even at times protect culture that is vulnerable or at risk. But it prevents us, as a country, from being able to have a conversation about the value of art and culture within our society. And de facto or invisible policies can become undemocratic and unaccountable.

Cultural policy/cultural policies-From “The Position of Cultural Workers In Creative Industries”

Cultural policy/cultural policies are here defined as recommendations for actions and decision-making undertaken by a certain entity (i.e. state, city or regional government, or even by civil society actions or business operations) towards the development of cultural activities and cultural life. They are determined by certain values and principles of this entity. Cultural policy/policies can be determined directly, in an explicit way, by decisions and regulations of government or governing bodies, but also indirectly, through decision and regulations of bodies that do not have the field of culture in their jurisdiction, but are influencing it. In this respect the most important concept is that of policy transfer, which explains these processes. Usually a cultural policy is a public policy towards art and culture, that is brought about by authorized government departments (or agencies) on the national level, or (city) departments on local level. In some countries it is not determined on a government level (for example in the United States the National Endowment for the Arts is always taken as the main body for decisions about arts at a national level). Other institutions, foundations, NGOs and private bodies also influence cultural policies.

Cultural Worker


Cultural workers are people involved in creative industries field on some of the following levels: primary cultural production, distribution and interpretation of cultural and creative works, and cultural management.


This definition is based on joining of the creative and non-creative jobs (Throsby 2003). Some authors, such as Yúdice, differentiate between artists and cultural workers, due to the specific nature of artistic jobs (Yúdice 2003)


Cultural Workers Organize-About Us Statement



Cultural Workers Organize is a research project that explores the hypothesis that flexworkers in the arts, communication, and cultural industries are protagonists of a recomposition of labour politics today. At the core of the study are emerging efforts of contract workers, interns, self-employed, freelancers, part-timers and other flexible labour forces—in some of contemporary capitalism’s most prized sectors—to confront precarity, or the financial and social insecurity exacerbated by unstable employment. Informed by interviews with cultural workers, labour organizers, and policy specialists, the project is a survey of four broad areas of labour activity: 1) unions and professional associations representing workers on the higher end of the value chain and status hierarchy; 2) informal, grassroots workers’ associations focused on low-wage margins; 3) policy proposals that seek to improve flexworkers’ welfare; and 4) institutional innovations in the way that work and workplaces are organized. A sample of the sort of organizations that inspire this research project are listed here. In labour markets that compel and celebrate individual coping strategies, this research spotlights some of the various ways cultural workers are collectively responding to precarity. In the process, Cultural Workers Organize aims to not only critically assess celebratory takes on the promise of a “creative economy,” but also contribute to a labour movement that has had difficulty adapting to the growth of flexible employment and knowledge-intensive, communicative, and cultural work. To that end, we offer this website to share some of our work in progress.


Cultural Organizing:



Cultural organizing exists at the intersection of arts, culture and activism. It is a fluid and dynamic practice that is understood and expressed in a variety of ways, reflecting the unique cultural, artistic, organizational and community context of its practitioners.  Cultural organizing is about integrating arts and culture into organizing strategies. It is also about organizing from a particular tradition, cultural identity, and community of place or worldview to advance social and economic justice.


From Grantmaking in the Arts:

“Cultural organizing” means placing culture at the center of an organizing strategy. It can be done to unite people through the humanity of culture and the democracy of participation. It can also be used to divide people through fear and polarization. Karl Rove, in his appeal to the Christian Right, is a master of cultural organizing. So are thousands of progressive grassroots leaders working for social and economic justice. What is different are the values, principles, and vision for the future (and definition of whose future) that lie at the heart of the organizing.


We know that cultural organizing takes time and that its process is as creative as its product. Taking time and allowing for a creative process are just as important for funders coming to an understanding of the complexity and potential of this work. If we want to make change we can’t just replicate the systems that we want to change. If we want to stimulate imagination, we need to start with our own work.


Cultural Organizer:

Creative Industries:


The creative industries refers to a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information. They may variously also be referred to as the cultural industries (especially in Europe (Hesmondhalgh 2002, p. 14)) or the creative economy (Howkins 2001), and most recently they have been denominated as the Orange Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean (Buitrago & Duque 2013).


Howkins’ creative economy comprises advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, R&D, software, toys and games, TV and radio, and video games (Howkins 2001, pp. 88–117). Some scholars consider that education industry, including public and private services, is forming a part of creative industry.[1] There remain, therefore, different definitions of the sector (Hesmondhalgh 2002, p. 12)(DCMS 2006).Yet so far Howkins has not been internationally recognized.


The creative industries have been seen to become increasingly important to economic well-being, proponents suggesting that “human creativity is the ultimate economic resource,” (Florida 2002, p. xiii) and that “the industries of the twenty-first century will depend increasingly on the generation of knowledge through creativity and innovation,” (Landry & Bianchini 1995, p. 4).

Definitions of the creative industries


Various commentators have provided varying suggestions on what activities to include in the concept of “creative industries” (DCMS 2001, p. 04)(Hesmondhalgh 2002, p. 12)(Howkins 2001, pp. 88–117)(UNCTAD 2008, pp. 11–12), and the name itself has become a contested issue – with significant differences and overlap between the terms “creative industries”, “cultural industries” and “creative economy” (Hesmondhalgh 2002, pp. 11–14)(UNCTAD 2008, p. 12).


Lash and Urry suggest that each of the creative industries has an “irreducible core” concerned with “the exchange of finance for rights in intellectual property”, (Lash & Urry 1994, p. 117). This echoes the UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) definition which describes the creative industries as:


“those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property” (DCMS 2001, p. 04)As of 2006 the DCMS definition recognises twelve creative sectors (down from fourteen in their 2001 document), namely:



(“Film and video” became “film, video and photography”; “music” and “performing arts” merged to form “music and the visual and performing arts”; “interactive leisure software” combined with “computer services” to form “software, computer games and electronic publishing”.)

To this list John Howkins would add toys and games, also including the much broader area of research and development in science and technology (Howkins 2001, pp. 88–117). It has also been argued[by whom?] that gastronomy belongs in such a list.[2]

The various fields of engineering do not appear on this list, that emerged from the DCMS reports. This was due, probably, to the fact that engineers occupy relevant positions in “non-cultural” corporations, performing activities of project, management, operation, maintenance, risk analysis and supervision, among others. However, historically and presently, several tasks of engineers can be regarded as highly creative, inventive and innovative. The contribution of engineering is represented by new products, processes and services.


Cultural Industry:

According to international organizations such as UNESCO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), cultural industries (sometimes also known as “creative industries“) combine the creation, production, and distribution of goods and services that are cultural in nature and usually protected by intellectual property rights.[1]

Hesmondhalgh reduces the list to what he terms “the core cultural industries” of advertising and marketing, broadcasting, film, internet and music industries, print and electronic publishing, and video and computer games. His definition only includes those industries that create “texts”‘ or “cultural artefacts” and which engage in some form of industrial reproduction (Hesmondhalgh 2002, pp. 12–14).

The DCMS list has proven influential, and many other nations[which?] have formally adopted it. It has also been criticised. It has been argued[by whom?] that the division into sectors obscures a divide between lifestyle business, non-profits, and larger businesses, and between those who receive state subsidies (e.g., film) and those who do not (e.g., computer games). The inclusion of the antiques trade often comes into question, since it does not generally involve production (except of reproductions and fakes). The inclusion of all computer services has also been questioned (Hesmondhalgh 2002, p. 13).

Some areas, such as Hong Kong, have preferred to shape their policy around a tighter focus on copyright ownership in the value chain. They adopt the WIPO’s classifications, which divide up the creative industries according to who owns the copyrights at various stages during the production and distribution of creative content.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has denominated them for Latin America and the Caribbean as the Orange Economy which is defined as the “group of linked activities through which ideas are transformed into cultural goods and services whose value is determined by intellectual property.”

Others[who?] have suggested a distinction between those industries that are open to mass production and distribution (film and video; videogames; broadcasting; publishing), and those that are primarily craft-based and are meant to be consumed in a particular place and moment (visual arts; performing arts; cultural heritage).

Hip Hop (HipHop)




Slam Poetry

Open Mic

Cultural appropriation


21st century hip hop








Cultural Competence:


Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, particularly in the context of human resources, non-profit organizations, and government agencies whose employees work with persons from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds.


Cultural competence comprises four components: (a) Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (b) Attitude towards cultural differences, (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) Cross-cultural skills. Developing cultural competence results in an ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures.


Developing cultural competence requires examining biases and prejudices, developing cross-cultural skills, searching for role models, and spending as much time as possible with other people who share a passion for cultural competence. The term multicultural competence surfaced in a mental health publication by psychologist Paul Pedersen (1988) at least a decade before the term cultural competence became popular. Most of the definitions of cultural competence shared among diversity professionals come from the healthcare industry. Their perspective is useful in the broader context of diversity work.

Consider the following definitions:


  • A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together as a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
  • Cultural competence requires that organizations have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies, and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally.
  • Cultural competence is defined simply as the level of knowledge-based skills required to provide effective clinical care to patients from a particular ethnic or racial group.
  • Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period. Both individuals and organizations are at various levels of awareness, knowledge and skills along the cultural competence continuum.

It is not surprising that the healthcare profession was the first to promote cultural competence. A poor diagnosis due to lack of cultural understanding, for example, can have fatal consequences, especially in medical service delivery. Cultural competence health care programs are aimed at preventing medical errors and increasing access to care for vulnerable populations such as immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers.[5][6][7]

Music Industry Economic Cluster

Teaching Artist:

Media Literacy-

Media literacy is a repertoire of competencies that enable people to analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres, and formats. Media literacy education has been an interest in the United States since the early 20th century, when high school English teachers first started using film to develop students’ critical thinking and communication skills. However, media literacy education is distinct from simply using media and technology in the classroom, a distinction that is exemplified by the difference between “teaching with media” and “teaching about media.”[15] In the 1950s and 60s, the ‘film grammar’ approach to media literacy education developed in the United States, where educators began to show commercial films to children, having them learn a new terminology consisting of words such as fade, dissolve, truck, pan, zoom, and cut. Films were connected to literature and history. To understand the constructed nature of film, students explored plot development, character, mood and tone. Then, during the 1970s and 1980s, attitudes about mass media and mass culture began to shift. Around the English-speaking world, educators began to realize the need to “guard against our prejudice of thinking of print as the only real medium that the English teacher has a stake in.”[16] A whole generation of educators began to not only acknowledge film and television as new, legitimate forms of expression and communication, but also explored practical ways to promote serious inquiry and analysis—- in higher education, in the family, in schools and in society.[17] Typically, U.S. media literacy education includes a focus on news, advertising, issues of representation, and media ownership. Media literacy competencies can also be cultivated in the home, through activities including co-viewing and discussion.[18]

Media literacy education began to appear in state English education curriculum frameworks by the early 1990s as a result of increased awareness in the central role of visual, electronic and digital media in the context of contemporary culture. Nearly all 50 states have language that supports media literacy in state curriculum frameworks.[19] In 2004, Montana developed educational standards around media literacy that students are required to be competent in by grades 4, 8, and 12. Additionally, an increasing number of school districts have begun to develop school-wide programs, elective courses, and other after-school opportunities for media analysis and production.

There is no national data on the reach of media literacy programs in the United States.[20] The evolution of information and communication technologies has expanded the subject of media literacy to incorporate information literacy, collaboration and problem-solving skills, and emphasis on the social responsibilities of communication. Various stakeholders struggle over nuances of meaning associated with the conceptualization of the practice on media literacy education. Educational scholars may use the term critical media literacy to emphasize the exploration of power and ideology in media analysis. Other scholars may use terms like new media literacy to emphasize the application of media literacy to user-generated content or 21st century literacy to emphasize the use of technology tools.[21] As far back as 2001, the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) split from the main media literacy organization as the result of debate about whether or not the media industry should support the growth of media literacy education in the United States. Renee Hobbs of Temple University in Philadelphia wrote about this general question as one of the “Seven Great Debates” in media literacy education in an influential 1998 Journal of Communication article.[22]

The media industry has supported media literacy education in the United States. Make Media Matter is one of the many blogs (an “interactive forum”) the Independent Film Channel features as a way for individuals to assess the role media plays in society and the world. The television program, The Media Project, offers a critical look at the state of news media in contemporary society. During the 1990s, the Discovery Channel supported the implementation of Assignment: Media Literacy, a statewide educational initiative for K-12 students developed in collaboration with the Maryland State Board of Education.

Because of the decentralized nature of the education system in a country with 70 million children now in public or private schools, media literacy education develops as the result of groups of advocates in school districts, states or regions who lobby for its inclusion in the curriculum. There is no central authority making nationwide curriculum recommendations and each of the fifty states has numerous school districts, each of which operates with a great degree of independence from one another. However, most U.S. states include media literacy in health education, with an emphasis on understanding environmental influences on health decision-making. Tobacco and alcohol advertising are frequently targeted as objects for “deconstruction, ” which is one of the instructional methods of media literacy education. This resulted from an emphasis on media literacy generated by the Clinton White House. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) held a series of conferences in 1996 and 1997 which brought greater awareness of media literacy education as a promising practice in health and substance abuse prevention education. The medical and public health community now recognizes the media as a cultural environmental influence on health and sees media literacy education as a strategy to support the development of healthy behavior.

Interdisciplinary scholarship in media literacy education is emerging. In 2009, a scholarly journal was launched, the Journal of Media Literacy Education,[23] to support the work of scholars and practitioners in the field. Universities such as Appalachian State University, Columbia University, Ithaca College, New York University, the University of Texas-Austin, Temple University, and the University of Maryland offer courses and summer institutes in media literacy for pre-service teachers and graduate students. Brigham Young University offers a graduate program in media education specifically for inservice teachers. The Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change is another institution that educates students and professionals from around the world the importance of being literate about the media.

Impacts of Media Literacy Education on Civic Engagement

Media literacy education appears to have a positive impact on overall youth civic engagement.[24] Youth who attend schools that offer media literacy programs are more likely to politically engage online and are more likely to report encountering diverse viewpoints online.[25]

Youth Interest in Media Literacy

A nationally representative survey found that 84% of young people think they and their friends would benefit from training on verifying information found online.[20]

National Association for Media Literacy Education

More than 600 educators are members of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), a national membership group that hosts a bi-annual conference. In 2009, this group developed an influential policy document, the Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States.[26] It states, “The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators and active citizens in today’s world. Principles include: (1) Media Literacy Education requires active inquiry and critical thinking about the messages we receive and create; (2) Media Literacy Education expands the concept of literacy in all forms of media (i.e., reading and writing); (3) Media Literacy Education builds and reinforces skills for learners of all ages. Like print literacy, those skills necessitate integrated, interactive, and repeated practice; (4) Media Literacy Education develops informed, reflective and engaged participants essential for a democratic society; (5) Media Literacy Education recognizes that media are a part of culture and function as agents of socialization; and (6) Media Literacy Education affirms that people use their individual skills, beliefs and experiences to construct their own meanings from media messages.

Artistic Integrity:





[in-teg-ri-tee] Show IPA


1.adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2.the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

3.a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.


1400–50; late Middle English integrite  < Latin integritās.  See integer, -ity



  1. rectitude, probity, virtue. See honor.

From Urban Dictionary-

artistic integrity


Artistic integrity means to create art for the hell of it, not because you want profit.

artistic integrity


Note: In our survey, 86 percent of respondents consider artistic integrity a social justice issue. However, a google search on artistic integrity quickly reveals that a definition of artist integrity is difficult to find. What you can find, is that artistic integrity is a definition that is difficult to find.


  1. Anything cyclical. If your freestyling, you rap in a cypher (one after the other). Interrupting another man will break that cypher (unless he’s next in line and the dude behind him is falling off). The same concept applies to burning; there is a set order to who hits next (pass it to the left my friends).


Example: That was an ill cypher last night.


In hip-hop parlance, the term refers to something like a jam session in which everyone contributes to the creative experience. Be they DJs, dancers, rappers or graffiti writers, all the different artists that collectively make up the culture of hip-hop can have their own cypher. When dancers cypher, you’ll see each taking a turn in the center of a circle, contributing a unique style, then resting. The center of circle is never empty and the energy of the cypher grows as the dancers push themselves into increasing levels of athleticism. Rappers cypher together huddled in a corner, rhyming a capella to handclaps or any ambient beats in the surrounding environment. “I was walkin’ down the street about three o’clock, when I saw another MC at the end of the block, talkin’ to kids tellin’ em, how they had to get the dough, so I rolled right up in the cipher and said ‘Yo!'” — K-Os (Freeze [2003]) [1]


Call and response

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about call and response in communication. For other uses, see Call and response (disambiguation).


Call and response is a form of “spontaneous verbal and non-verbal interaction between speaker and listener in which all of the statements (‘calls’) are punctuated by expressions (‘responses’) from the listener.”[1]


In African cultures, call-and-response is a pervasive pattern of democratic participation—in public gatherings, in the discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression (see call and response in music). It is this tradition that African bondsmen and women have transmitted over the years in various forms of expression—in religious observance; public gatherings; even in children’s rhymes; and, most notably, in music in its multiple forms: gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, hip-hop and go-go.[citation needed] In contemporary African American worship services, where call and response is pervasive, a pastor will call out to his congregants to engage an enthusiastic response.


For example:

Can I get an Amen?

Raise your hands and give Him praise! or Give Him Glory.


Call and response is inherently connected to the historical African religious roots, which served as the foundation for African American religious thought and behavior. It was even noticed by slave masters as early as the arrival of the first slave ships in Virginia in the 1600s.[citation needed]


While slave masters worked diligently to convert their slaves to Christianity, the African slaves still practiced their own form of religious celebration which was called Slave Christianity. Several analysts[who?] assessed the ecstatic spirituality of these slaves and noted two major actions during this celebration:

  • Ring shout: a metamorphosis of exuberant song and dance at the height of tribal or religious celebration, with movement in a counterclockwise circle (the direction the sun moves south of the equator)
  • Call and response


From Call and Response – The Sound of Collaboration-Samantha Meazell


In music, call and response is a technique where one musician offers a phrase and a second player answers with a direct commentary or response to the offered phrase. The musicians build on each other’s offering and work together to move the song along and create a sound that’s inventive and collective. Outside of instruments, speakers and listeners also tap into call and response when statements (calls) are accented by expressions (responses) from the listener.

Intellectual property rights (IPR)


There is a body of law about rights to `intellectual property’, such as patents, copyright, trademarks, and so on. This umbrella term covers a group of specific legal rights that entitles authors, inventors and IP holders to hold and to exercise this right over period of time. Most frequently IP rights protect different forms of content, and in some cases some of these exclusive rights can overlap in content. It usually refers to creations of mind such as inventions, artistic works names, symbols designs and such.

Cognitive-cultural economy or cognitive-cultural capitalism


Cognitive-cultural economy or cognitive-cultural capitalism is represented by sectors such as high-technology industry, business and financial services, personal services, the media, the cultural industries and so on. It is characterized by digital technologies combined with high levels of cognitive and cultural labor. The concept has been associated to ‘post-Fordism‘, the ‘knowledge economy‘, the ‘new economy‘ and the ‘digital labor‘.

As fordist mass production began to wane after the mid to late 1970s in advanced capitalist countries, a more flexible system of productive activity began to take its place. The notion of cognitive-cultural capitalism has been developed as a response to the insufficiency of the interpretations of this transition from a fordist to a post-Fordist model of flexible (sometimes referred to as Toyotist) accumulation.[1] Empirical studies of this new system were published in the 1980s on the basis of case-study materials focused mainly on high-technology industrial districts in the United States (Silicon Valley, Orange County, Boston’s Route 128, etc.—see Saxenian) and revived craft industries in the north-east and center of Italy (the so-called Third Italy [2]). Over the next two decades, considerable empirical and theoretical advances were made on these issues.[examples needed]


Levy and Murnane in The New Division of Labor [3] do not mention the cognitive-cultural economy. Instead, they highlight the replacement of standardized machinery in the American production system by digital technologies that not only act as a substitute for routine labor, but that also complement and enhance the intellectual and affective assets of the labor force. These technologies underpinned an enormous expansion of the technology-intensive, service, financial, craft, and cultural industries that became the heart of the cognitive-cultural economy.



Culture (Latin: cultura, lit. “cultivation”[1]) is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator Cicero: “cultura animi” (cultivation of the soul). This non-agricultural use of the term “culture” re-appeared in modern Europe in the 17th century referring to the betterment or refinement of individuals, especially through education. During the 18th and 19th century it came to refer more frequently to the common reference points of whole peoples, and discussion of the term was often connected to national aspirations or ideals. Some scientists such as Edward Tylor used the term “culture” to refer to a universal human capacity.


In the 20th century, “culture” emerged as a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of human phenomena that cannot be directly attributed to genetic inheritance. Specifically, the term “culture” in American anthropology had two meanings:

  1. the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and
  2. the distinct ways that people, who live differently, classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively.[2]

Hoebel describes culture as an integrated system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance.[3]


Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society, its so-called material culture, and everything else,[4] the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term “culture”.

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