Theories of culture: a fundamental question - Compositional approach: culture as a collection of things shared by a group of people - What counts as things and how they are related to each other

5 important questions on Theories of culture: a fundamental question - Compositional approach: culture as a collection of things shared by a group of people - What counts as things and how they are related to each other

What is the consensus with regard to culture?

Culture manifests itself in every aspect of life and is not confined to art, music, literature, food, fashion, festivals and folklore. The invisible ones such as values, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, etc., are at the core and thus more fundamental than those visible, tangible or audible ones, such as behaviours, appearances or ways of doing things.
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Which two well-known metaphors are there with regard to culture?

  1. culture as an onion
  2. culture as an iceberg
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What is culture as an onion?

Each culture component is enveloped by another layer of culture components
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What is culture as an iceberg?

Culture components are compared to an iceberg, with values, beliefs, etc., hidden beneath the surface
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What are categorisations of national cultures in terms of values and belief systems?

  • cultural dimensions: individualism vs. collectivism, high vs. low power distance, masculinity vs. femininity, high vs. low uncertainty avoidance, and long- vs. short-term orientation
  • basic human values: self-direction, stimulation, hedonism, achievement, power, security, conformity, tradition, benevolence and universalism
  • cultural theories: high vs. low context, polychronic vs. monochronic time, and proxemics
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