Culture may be defined as that complex whole which consists of customs, attitudes beliefs and values of a society. It is the total way of life of people. According to Geert Hofstede, “Culture is the software of the mind-the social programming that runs the way we think, act and perceive ourselves and others. In other words, your brain the way we think, act and perceive ourselves and others. In other words, your brain is simply the hardware that runs the cultural programming.”
The main characteristics of culture are given below :
(i) Culture is a wholistic concept, an aggregate of customs, attitudes, beliefs, values, etc.
(ii) Culture is not innate. Rather it is learned behavior and can, therefore, be changed. It is learned by a person in the course of his/her development in the society.
(iii) Culture is the outcome of social interaction among people over a period of time.
(iv) Culture is cumulative as it is passed on from generation to generation in a given society.
(v) Culture is a basic determinant of human personality. It is meaningful to people due to its symbolic quality.
(vi) Culture provides socially acceptable patterns for meeting biological and social needs.
(vii) Culture is independent of may individual or group. Its existence depends upon the continued functioning of the society.
Culture is of two types-material and non-material. Material culture comprise man-made things like telephone. Television, automobile, internet, etc. Non-material culture includes language, beliefs, ideals, attitudes, values and other similar factors.