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What Are Cultural Differences?

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Joe Gilbert Profile
Joe Gilbert answered
Cultural differences are the variations in the way of life, beliefs, traditions and laws between different countries, religions, societies and people. Many people see culture as an all encompassing overview of large groups of people. However, the word culture can be used to describe the way of life of much smaller groups.

The most common meaning of culture, as suggested, is that of large groups of people and how their lifestyles and beliefs differ; this is where cultural differences come in. Where we live and what we believe has a great impact on all aspects of our life whether we realise it or not. Some of the differences between cultures are enforced by internal rules (such as legal age of marriage) whereas others just happen through many years of development towards a certain way over another (e.g. Eating with knives and forks).

Some examples of cultural differences include;

- Clothing - Many cultures can be identified by their clothing. For example, Sikh men who wear turbans.
- Food - Some cultures are not allowed to eat pork. Most cultures have traditional dishes. For example, in the UK they eat a Sunday roast and Full English Breakfast.
- Language - Different countries tend to have their own language and methods of communication. However, there are also sub cultural differences, such as regional accents or sign language.
- Rules/ Laws - Cultures can often be recognised by the regulations they have to live by. However, lesser known rules can prove problematic. For example, tourists unaware of local custom may be arrested for inappropriate behavior.

Cultural differences are important to identity and to provide us with a sense of belonging. A person's culture is often very important to them and will have usually been a part of them since birth.

Like the classic Russian doll, larger groups such as continents, countries, cities, towns, villages and varying demographics of the inhabitants therein may each house their own culture, and so with so many differing cultures and sub-cultures through-out the world there are bound to be misunderstandings when it comes to interpretation of cultural differences. It is by knowing the meaning of cultural differences that such situations can be avoided.

  • What is culture?
Culture in this particular context is an intrinsic way of life that has commonly, though not necessarily consciously evolved and been agreed upon by the people within a particular group. This may have been cultivated over many thousands of years such as in the example of Australian aboriginal culture or over just a few years as can be evidenced in the different cultures between generation gaps.

  • Why should I care about cultural differences?
There are loads of reasons why people should be concerned with learning about cultural differences.

  • Like what?
Firstly, it can be a fascinating subject to study; there are so many cultures throughout the world, with their own unique idiosyncrasies that some are simply breathtaking and in some cases so far removed from our own culture that we can't help but look on in awe, disgust or confusion.

  • I'm simply not that interested in other people's cultures, I'm fine as I am thanks.
It can also be a great benefit, when meeting people from other cultures as it will give an insight into their customs and as previously hit upon, avoid unnecessary conflict and misunderstandings.

  • I don't go abroad so what do I need to know about different cultures for?
Cultures aren't simply the differences between nations, there can be differences within communities within your own back yard. Youth culture for instance has given birth to a vast array of vernacular and new definitions to common words, which if unknown might cause offense where none is intended.
Arun Raj Profile
Arun Raj answered
Cultural differences distinguish societies from one another. In today's world of globalisation, the world is certainly becoming smaller and people of various cultures are able to communicate freely. Nowadays there are different ways to express thoughts, ideas which can span across cultures through different forms of media like the television, the newspapers and the Internet. There are many who would love to disregard the existence of cultural differences due to the advancement in science and technology.

All cultures are known to have a set of beliefs that defines the code of conduct and values for that particular culture. People living together in a society share the same culture.

Another important contributor to the cultural difference is the history of a particular region or country. The events of the past certainly shape the moods and opinions of people living in that specific country. When a large group of people observe a set of traditions, social norms and values, it gives rise to culture. One should also spare a thought to the immense important mythology has, in shaping a set of myths which gave rise to cultural differences.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Cultural differences are different beliefs and values of a particular group. They are different from one another.
Tauseef Sheikh Profile
Tauseef Sheikh answered
When different people of different cultures get together on one platform like in a university, or in some multinational company, then many problems arise, this is called cultural differences. One thing that is considered good in one culture might be felt as abused in the other culture. Like I have heard in one country green hats are worn by those people whose wifes are not happy with them and in other cultures wearing cap of any color is not considered awkward. Similarly many other problems arise as well.
Suhail Ajmal Profile
Suhail Ajmal answered
Culture is what we get by many years of continuous history. For good and complete information about cultural differences, visit the following links.
www.rit.edu

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