how culture influences human development

Essay by mikeashley01 April 2014

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This essay is an attempt to show how culture influences human development and interpretation of the world. Therefore, to start with this essay will define culture by different scholars. It will then show the types of culture and give a brief account on what culture constitutes (characteristics of culture). Furthermore, the concept of human development will be discussed briefly to give the reader a more clear understanding of the topic at hand. With clear examples, the essay will then show how culture influences human development and their interpretation of the world. Finally, a conclusion summarizing what the essay will discuss will be drawn.

The attempt to define culture is elusive as many may suggest. Nevertheless, there are certain paradigms that constitute the sum total of culture and underlie cultural images and identity construction. It is the close affinity between cultural image and human identity that makes the definition of culture complex.

The most complex and yet comprehensive definition of culture is that arrived during the 'Mondiacult' in Mexico city which has continued to be the most operationalised definition of culture: 'Culture is the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material and intellectual features that charactorise a society or social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of human beings, value systems, traditions and beliefs.'

Young Kate (1993) in a report said, culture is seen in the African social context as transcending the arts or artifacts, folklores, literatures, music, dance and other artistic paraphelia.

According to Taylor (1996) culture refers to the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture distinguishes one human group from others. It also distinguishes humans from other animals. A people's culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language,