Understanding Culture: Components and Features

Culture consists of the shared products of human groups. These products include both physical objects and beliefs, values, and behavior shared by a group. Material includes beliefs, family patterns, ideas, language, political and economic systems, rules, skills, and work practices.


Group of interdependent people who have organized in such a way as to share a common culture and feeling of unity.

The Components of Culture:

  1. Technology:

    A society’s culture consists of not only physical objects, but also the rules for using those objects. Sociologists sometimes refer to this combination of object and rules as technology.
  2. Symbol:

    The use of symbols is a very basis of human culture. It is through symbols that we create our culture and communicate it to group members.
  3. Language:

    One of the most obvious aspects of any culture is its language. Language is the organization of written and spoken symbols into a standardized system.
  4. Values:

    Language and other symbols are important because they allow us to communicate our values to one another and to future generations. Values are shared beliefs about what is good or bad, right or wrong, desirable and undesirable.
  5. Norms:

    All groups create norms to enforce their cultural values. Norms are shared rules of conduct that tell people how to act in specific situations. Norms also vary in the strictness in which they are enforced. Folkways are norms that describe socially acceptable behaviors, but do not have great moral significance attached to them. Mores have great moral significance attached to them. This relation exists because the violation of such rules endangers society’s well-being and stability. Examples: dishonesty, fraud, and murder are great threats to society. Society has established punishments for violation of mores in order to protect the social well-being. These are socialized as laws, written rules of conduct enforced by the government.

Exchanging Culture

Features of Culture are Divided:

  1. Culture Traits:
    Simplest level of culture. A CT is an individual act or belief that is related to a particular situation or need.
  2. Culture Complex:
    Cluster of interrelated traits, specific beliefs related to the variety of traits.
  3. Culture Patterns:
    The combination of a number of complexes into an interrelated whole.