Definition of Culture: Characteristics, Functions, Elements, and Examples

Definition of Culture – The term culture is inherent and even often present in everyday life. As an Indonesian citizen, you certainly know that Indonesia has a variety of cultures spread across various regions. However, do you know the meaning of culture, characteristics, functions, elements, and examples?

As a society living with cultural diversity, you should understand the meaning of culture. In order for you to love the culture we have today. You can understand culture through several definitions according to experts.

The word culture itself is a language that comes from two languages ​​namely Sanskrit and English. According to Sanskrit, the word culture means buddhayah, which means the plural form of the word buddhi, which means mind or reason. Meanwhile, according to English, culture is known as the word culture, which comes from the Latin word Colere, which means processing or working.

The term culture is also used in Indonesian with an absorption word, namely culture. Culture is related to the mind and human reason. Culture is a pattern or way of life that is developed by a group of people, then passed on to the next generation.

Definition of Culture

Culture is a way of life that develops and belongs to a group of people. Then passed on to the next generation. Culture is formed from several complex elements. Among them are customs, language, works of art, religious and political systems. Language is the same as culture, which is an inseparable part of humans.

Therefore, many of a group of people tend to think of it as something that is inherited genetically. One can communicate with people belonging to different cultures and adjust for the differences between them, proving that culture can be learned.

In addition, culture is a lifestyle as a whole. Culture is abstract, complex and broad in nature. Meanwhile, according to KBBI (Big Indonesian Dictionary), culture is a thought, reason or custom.

Grammatically, the meaning of culture is derived from the word culture which tends to lead to the human way of thinking. There are several cultural aspects that determine communicative behavior. The socio-cultural elements are spread and include many human social activities.

Some of the reasons why people experience difficulties when communicating with people from other cultures can be seen in the definition of culture which suggests that culture is a complex set of values ​​polarized by an image that contains a view of privilege.

This coercive cultural image provides its members with guidelines regarding proper behavior and establishes logical meanings and values. Thus, it is culture that provides a related framework for organizing one’s activities and the behavior of others.

Definition of Culture According to Experts

There are several definitions of culture according to experts, including the following:

1. Linton

According to Linton, culture is the whole attitude and pattern of behavior. As well as knowledge, describing a habit that is inherited and owned by a member of society or a certain group of members.

2. Effat Al-Syarqawi

Effat Al-Syarqawi defines culture from an Islamic religious perspective, Culture is a historical treasury of a group of people which is reflected in testimonies and various values ​​that outline that a life must have spiritual meaning and purpose.

3. Koentjaraningrat

Culture is defined by Koentjaraningrat as all human power and activity to process and change the universe.

4. Parsudi Suparlan

According to Parsudi Suparlan, culture is all human knowledge that is used to know and understand experiences and the environment they experience.

5. Andreas Epipink

According to Andreas Eppink, culture includes the whole understanding of social norms, social values, and knowledge. As well as the whole social structures, religious, and so forth.

6. William H. Haviland

According to William H. Haviland, culture is a set of rules and norms that are shared by a group of members and members of society. If done by these people, it will give birth to a behavior that is deemed appropriate or appropriate to be accepted by all people.

7. Edward Burnett Tylor

According to Edward Burnett Tylor, culture is that complex whole, which includes beliefs, knowledge, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities acquired by a person as a member of society.

8. Melville J. Herskovits and Bronislaw Malinowski

According to Melville J. Herskovits and Bronislaw Malinowski, culture is everything that exists in society and is determined by the culture that belongs to a group of members of the community itself. The term for this opinion is called Cultural-Determinism.

9. Kroeber and Kluckhohn

According to Kroeber and Kluckhohn, Culture consists of explicit, implicit and pattern. As for the behavior he gets, it is transmitted by a symbol which is a distinctive achievement from a group of members.

10. Herskovits

According to Herskovits, culture is something that is passed down from one generation to another or what is commonly referred to as superorganic.


Cultural Characteristics

There are several cultural characteristics, including the following:

1. Can Be Owned Together

Culture is formed and developed by a certain group of people together. It means that not only individually, but a certain group of people.

Therefore, a group of people who have lived long enough in a certain area will have a distinctive cultural expression. That is what makes one culture different from another and has its own characteristics.

Shared ownership of culture by a number of certain groups also has a different range of space and time. There are several values ​​that need to be followed, ranging from local to universal culture.

Each of these areas also has cultural values ​​that are expressed differently. Even these cultural values ​​vary from state law, religion and so on.

2. Symbol Based Culture

The next cultural characteristics are symbol-based culture. You need to know that culture can also be known from the representation of certain symbols. It is a form of meaning contained in these cultural expressions.

An important part of the symbol is the meaning that exists in that culture. Meaning that not from the symbol itself. So that the symbol becomes a crucial aspect when interacting with society. As well as the possibility of an action occurring in a typical way.

The responses given with symbols by humans consist of the social and natural environment and are not passive responses. Humans not only respond to imitating certain inherited symbols, but can also optimize and re-create these symbols when interacting socially.

3. Culture is Adaptive

Culture does not only continue what has become the habit of a particular community, but also the need to have an ability to adapt to various situations. Each of these groups has cultural characteristics with different levels of ability from one another.

There are groups of people who have very high cultural adaptation, because cultural values ​​are quite open. You can find this in people who live in urban areas.
Conversely, there are certain groups whose cultural values ​​tend to be closed so that their adaptive capacity is quite low.

One example that you can find out is from several indigenous groups in Indonesia. The community still maintains its authenticity in the midst of significant social changes.

The capacity to adapt is also different for various cultural elements. This is because certain cultural elements have sacred values ​​and tend to have lower adaptability than other elements.

Religious belief becomes something that is considered sacred and does not have much change. Unlike the case with the way of dress and lifestyle that is very flexible.

4. Culture is Learned and Passed On

Culture is a process of social interaction that can be learned and inherited. It is through this process that it is possible to convey the cultural characteristics of society to various individuals.

For example, socialization can be done from the family environment through parents. Thus, the process of cultural inheritance is able to achieve cultural preservation at a certain level of stability.

Culture is something that cannot be abandoned, because its characteristics are inherited and preserved. In addition, in a cultural group can adapt according to the capabilities of the community itself.
To preserve certain cultures, cultures use several symbols in order to achieve certain stability in a community.

Cultural Functions

1. As Identity

The first function of culture is to function as identity. Culture is an identity that shows the civilization of a society or a country. This identity can be used as a differentiator between nations or community groups from one another.

2. As Limits

The second function of culture is as a boundary. That means that culture can be a determinant of boundaries that create differences between one community group or nation and another group or nation. The existence of culture that makes a country unique or distinctive.

3. Forming Behavior and Attitudes

The third function of culture is to shape behavior and attitudes. From the notion of culture, it is argued that culture is a form of social structure originating from human ideas and thoughts.

Then do it repeatedly until it forms a habit. Culture in this case acts as a mechanism that controls, gives meaning, and guides as well as shapes the behavior and attitudes of a group of people.

3. As a Commitment

The existence of culture in a group of people functions as a commitment. This means that there is a culture that will facilitate a commitment to something within a community group that is of greater value than the interests of each individual. Because of that, culture is needed in the civilization of a group of people.

4. As a Communication Media

As explained above, in culture there is an element of language, both in the form of spoken and written language, which is a means of communication for humans. That is the function of culture, namely as a medium of communication.

Culture which consists of various forms can also be a communication medium used to convey certain messages or meanings through a cultural product, such as through the culture of dance, music and so on.



Cultural Elements

Culture has its own elements, consisting of elements of language, religion, knowledge systems, society, tools of life and technology, livelihoods, and the arts. Here’s an explanation:

1. Religious System

The religious system or what is also known as belief is something that is related to or related to belief.

The element of the religious system is one of the most important cultural elements in life.

This system functions as a regulator of life between humans and also the creator.

2. Language

Language is a beautiful pronunciation of a cultural or cultural element that is capable of being the main intermediary tool for humans to continue or adapt culture. There are two forms of language, namely spoken language and written language.

3. Knowledge System

The knowledge system discusses the science of natural conditions around humans and the properties of the equipment they use.

The knowledge system includes knowledge space about the natural surroundings, flora and fauna, the human body, time, the nature and behavior of fellow human beings, space and numbers, and so on.

4. Living Equipment and Technology

The total number of techniques possessed by a society. Includes how to act and do as a whole.

This relates to the collection and processing of raw materials to make work tools, clothing, transportation, and other needs in the form of material objects.

5. Social System

The social system is a group of people whose members feel one with each other.

This is one of the elements of cultural inheritance which is also very, very important in a social structure. It is this element that will calculate a lineage from marriage relations and blood relations.

6. Livelihood System

The livelihood system is all human efforts to obtain the goods and services needed. Livelihood systems or economic systems include, hunting and gathering food, farming, animal husbandry, fishing, or trading.

7. Art

Art can be interpreted as all human desires for beauty. Various forms of beauty arise from creative imagination that can give inner satisfaction to humans. Broadly speaking, art forms are divided into three broad lines, namely visual art, music art, and dance art.

Cultural Example

Here are some examples of culture in Indonesia:

1. Batik

Batik is a craft that has high artistic value and has become part of Indonesian (especially Javanese) culture. Batik is also a legacy of the ancestors of the Indonesian nation from time immemorial.

2. West Sumatra Tabuik Ceremony

Tabuik or tabut is a community tradition on the West Coast, West Sumatra, which is held from generation to generation. The ceremony is held on Asura day, which falls on the 10th of Muharram in the Islamic calendar.

3. Makepung, Balinese Buffalo Race

Makepung is a tradition similar to Kerapan Sapi, but not the same. Makepung is a tradition in the form of a buffalo race that has long been attached to the people of Bali, especially in Jembrana Regency. This tradition was originally a farmer’s game that was carried out on the sidelines of plowing the fields in the harvest season.

4. Banten Debus Attractions

Debus martial art is a dangerous tradition. The core of this show is very thick silat or self-defense movements and the use of weapons. This Banten Debus art uses a lot and focuses on the player’s immunity against sharp object attacks.

5. Cow Karapan Madura Society, East Java

Karapan sapi is a cow racing competition originating from Madura, East Java. In the cow race event, the audience is not only treated to cow racing and the agility of the jockeys. However, before starting, the owners usually perform a cow procession ritual around the races accompanied by the saronen musical instrument (a typical Madurese musical instrument) to make this event even more lively.

6. Bromo Kasada Ceremony

The Kasada Bromo ceremony is performed by the Tengger people who live on Mount Bromo, East Java. They perform this ritual to appoint a healer or shaman in each village. Before they can be appointed by the traditional elders, healers or shamans must be able to practice and memorize spells.

Those are some explanations about the notion of culture and examples. By preserving culture, it means that we contribute to maintaining the characteristics of our own nation.