What is culture and how is it defined?

What is culture?

Culture is everywhere. It is the characteristics of a particular group of people. Culture forms beliefs, perceptions, values, norms and knowledge, as well as attitude, behavior and language. It also determines what is right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable in each society.  People from different cultures have different ways to follow the rules and the patterns of behavior that their ancestors have passed down to their society. To put it another way, culture determines who the person is.

Culture is like an iceberg!


When we see an iceberg, the visible portion that we can see above the waterline, is very small compared to the whole. Like an iceberg, the majority of culture lies beneath the surface. People often think that they can examine other cultures from observable characteristics such as languages, arts, foods, music and appearances. However, in reality, there are many cultural components that are invisible and lie below surface.

What is cultural conflict?

Cultural conflict occurs when values, norms, expectations and belief of one culture clash with one another. It also refers to disagreements between people in different cultures caused by misinterpretation of other’s behavior.


3 thoughts on “What is culture and how is it defined?

  1. The visual model of culture is spot on with the visible vs invisible iceberg analogy. As a person who grew up in a very diverse family- Japanese aunt, a Scottish Great Grandmother, and Parents from the Caribbean and the South it is always refreshing to meet and get to know and truly have an open mind in respecting all cultures.

  2. Hello! This image of an iceberg is a great representation of culture. Would I be able to use this image for a school assignment? It will only be submitted to the teacher of my course. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s