Culture underscores beliefs, knowledge, customs, morals, and any other associated capabilities and behaviors attained by human beings in a given society. The distinguishing characteristic of culture is that it is affiliated with a particular social group in a certain period. The various components enshrined in culture include symbols and language, which are evident in cognitive values, norms, and sanctions that are dominant in the normative culture.
Other scholars define culture as the people’s way of life because it touches most aspects of a human being including education, survival, communication, economy, social structure, and technology among others (Bennett and Feldman 22). Traditions entail values and standards that bear their origin from happenings in the past but not from writers, philosophers, or any other associated sources. Often, traditional societies highly uphold aspects such as ancestral worship and animism. This paper argues that culture and traditional values are still relevant in the contemporary society.
Importance of culture and traditional values
Culture establishes principles and influences perceptions through socialization. Culture and tradition are imperative in the modern society due to their significance in shaping individual and collective behavior and actions among various societies over a given time. First, culture and traditional values help in forming societies through establishing essential principles. Since culture is likened to an integrated system controlling a given society, its critical role in the determination of individual principles and mode of thinking. When most individuals are growing up, traditions and culture enable them to develop more progressive and purposeful lives by incorporating positive attitudes and characters, which influence their perspectives that aid in the right judgment, attitude, and emotions (Bongco 121).
Most cultures around the globe shun vices such as corruption, laziness, and immoral living by emphasizing the importance of living productive lives. Through the positive attributes that culture injects into the socialization process of various individuals, most societies can produce members who are very fruitful, thus achieving development. Where proper morals are instilled in the minds of the young generation, chances of showing deviation in the future are minimal, and this aspect supports the wellbeing of society (Hewison 210).
Besides, the culture and traditional values of any given society helps in giving them an identity. Identity is important because it propagates as a sense of belonging among the members of a particular group alongside molding a specific character for the members. Due to the unity that traditional values and culture cultivate, members within a stipulated social group can gain a sense of security because an individual’s problem is subsequently the problem of the entire society. The feeling of oneness from culture binds people by creating a sense of solidarity. Identity also propagates communal support, which is a product or preservation of culture and traditional values (Bennett and Feldman 34).
Supporting each other among members is a result of sharing same heritage by the members of a community. Additionally, culture and traditional values assist individuals to think of themselves as segments of a whole, thus enabling the concepts of family, state, and other institutions to become relevant. Identity is also attained when the members of the community are involved in the practice of certain rituals and traditions. This assertion holds because the community acquires a unique character and personality. Same language, region, art, and other dominant symbols of culture aid in distinguishing them from other societies, thus creating a sense of identity (Sanneh 129).
Culture acts as a means of social control. Social control refers to the ways through which a given society enforces and instills conformity of its norms. The sole objective of social control is to devise a mechanism through which a given society will uphold a normative social system. Through the compliance of various cultural and traditional values, most communities have become successful in controlling behavior, actions, and opinions thus maintaining a stable social situation. Individuals who belong to a given society must follow the stipulated rules and regulations that define the culture of that society.
Any deviation from the expected norms amounts to a violation and it is punishable as defined by the set standards and modest expectation of that given society. Traditional values act as informal means of social control by enabling members of the society to internalize norms and values that are mostly geared to the process of socialization. To allow easy monitoring of behavior among the community members, traditional values and culture have certain sanctions that are incorporated to correct deviants to suit the expectation and desires of the society (Hewison 209). Therefore, culture and traditional values enhance the process of maintaining social order through the promotion of qualities that bring the development of appropriate social conditions in society. Furthermore, social control reduces the likelihood of conflicts within a given society thus cultivating a peaceful co-existence among the members.
Additionally, culture helps in defining behavior. The behavioral characteristics exhibited by different members of the community are rooted in their cultural background. Culture and traditional values dominate the mind of the majority, thus shaping their perspectives, views, and personal opinions concerning certain actions and situations. When the rationality of individuals is subject to cultural perceptions, people make decisions based on some stipulated cultural and traditional standards. When the decision-making process is manipulated, it results in variation in behavioral characteristics exhibited by different individuals. Ideas entrenched in the mind by various cultural and traditional influences consequently change an individual’s perspectives thus adopting new viewpoints concerning other people or even the environment (Csikszentmihalyi 42).
Faith and morals that are fundamental pillars in culture also play a critical role in the determination of individual behavior in any specified society. Both religion and morality define what is considered as either wrong or right, thus molding behavior characteristics. Most individuals strive to uphold what region considers as beneficial while drifting away from vices that amount to harming the society. Good deeds such as helping the less fortunate in the society or upholding peace are regarded as rewarding in most religions while other acts such as murder are deemed intolerable and punishable.
Due to the regrettable consequences associated with the violation of religious standards, the behavior of members is kept in check thus developing social order. Through culture and traditions, the actions of the society members are regulated through the satisfaction of their primary drives, which underscore hunger, shelter, clothing, and sex. The fulfillment of the principal needs means that the group life is maintained and conserved for the future generations.
Finally, culture binds people. The presence of a common factor pulls people together who possess similar qualities. Likewise, individuals who share a common cultural and traditional value system tend to attract each other by forming a strong bond. Since a particular social group defines culture, it implies that people belonging to a particular community must develop ties because they exhibit related characteristics in their mode of conduct and even their belief systems. Individuals belonging to a similar culture share common traditions and customs, celebrate a similar festival, consume same foods, and uphold and adhere to similar cultural values.
This commonality breeds powerful and long-term bonds among the society members, thus resulting in a sense of oneness among the members. The relationship between individuals gains mutual respect for each other because people learn how to appreciate the weakness of others. Additionally, the “we-feeling” helps community members to cooperate in various platforms, which results in mutual benefits and outstanding interpersonal relationships (Bongco 134).
Culture and traditional values are diverse aspects that cannot be understood in exclusion of human beings. This assertion holds because these elements revolve around all the dimensions in the human life including education, technology, economy, belief systems, and other diverse areas that encompass the human life. Culture and traditional values are valuable social assets in any given society because they are passed across from one generation to another.
Culture is equivalent to the constituents of human existence, and it extends from the boundaries of inner self to those of a group and finally to the entire community. Some of the advantages associated with culture entail binding people, cultivating a sense of identity, and acting as a mechanism for social control. Therefore, culture is part of people’s lives as it influences every bit of their lives. Culture and traditional values reign within and around the society, thus forming an integral portion of the community’s wellbeing.
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Bongco, Mila. Reading comics: Language, culture, and the concept of the superhero in comic books, London: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Society, culture, and person: A systems view of creativity, New York: Springer, 2014. Print.
Hewison, Robert. “The benefits of the valuing culture debate, 2003–2011.” Cultural Trends 21.3 (2012): 209-210. Print.
Sanneh, Lamin. Translating the message: The missionary impact on culture, New York: Orbis Books, 2015. Print.