National culture

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National culture
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National culture - a layer of culture that is a certain collective programming of the mind of society, which is created as a result of upbringing and growing up in a specific country. It is an undeniable element of national consciousness. National culture together with collective memory is the carrier of national cultural traditions. The most important parts of national culture are: language, religion, food and customs.

Factors that strongly affect the programming of the mind common to all citizens are, among others state language, political system, state system of education, mass media, etc. An essential element of national culture is its relative stability. Nevertheless, this culture is also subject to gradual changes most often associated with the impact of other cultures. At present, it may seem that the culture of the West and the United States dominates on a global scale.

Elements of national culture

National culture is made up of the following elements:

  • Language: The language spoken in a particular country is an important aspect of its national culture. It is the primary way in which people communicate with each other, and it can also serve as an identifier of national identity.
  • Art: Art is an expression of a nation’s culture, and it can take many forms. From painting and sculpture to dance and theatre, art is used to express the thoughts and feelings of a nation’s people.
  • Music: Music is another way in which people express themselves, and it can be a reflection of the beliefs, values, and attitudes of a nation. Music can also be used to celebrate important national holidays and events.
  • Literature: Literature is a way for people to explore their culture and values through stories, poems, and plays. It can be a way for people to explore their past and imagine their future.
  • Religion: Religion is another important aspect of a nation’s culture, and it can be an expression of shared beliefs and values. Religion can also be a source of spiritual guidance and comfort.

Each national culture also has a fixed set of other specific elements. Most often they include:

  • a set of beliefs, religions - an extremely important element especially from the perspective of a religiously homogeneous country,
  • places and events important from the point of view of the history of the nation
  • artistic works - art and literature - created in different eras with characteristic features for a given nationality
  • set of customs, values - traditions
  • national heroes - both historic and fictional

It is worth mentioning that the progress of national culture is an important element of state policy. It directly affects the attitudes of citizens, which in any way can shape the future of the nation.

Example of National culture

An example of National culture is the culture of the United States of America. Language in the US is primarily English, with Spanish being the second most common language, and other languages like Chinese, French, and German being spoken in some parts of the country. Art in the US is varied, with painting, sculpture, dance, theatre, music, and literature all being popular. Music in the US is a way for people to express themselves and celebrate important events, and literature is a source of exploration and imagination. Religion in the US is a source of spiritual guidance, and Christianity is the most commonly practiced faith. This example demonstrates the way in which language, art, music, literature, and religion can all be part of a nation’s culture.

National culture is an important concept to understand when looking at the way in which a nation functions. It can provide insight into the way in which people interact with each other and their expectations of each other in social situations. It can also be used to understand the beliefs and values of a nation and how they have shaped the way in which people live and interact with each other. National culture is also an important tool for understanding the history and identity of a nation, and for exploring the potential for the future.

Nation and state

The nation should not be equated with the state. The concept of culture is more connected with the nation than with the state, because over the years it was the nations that were shaped as forms of social organization. The states as political units shaped their world structure only in the mid-twentieth century. A large part of the world's state system is a remnant of the colonial system, which is why the borders of many countries do not reflect the real cultural differences that often divide the local population. It is impossible for everyone who has the citizenship of a given state to have the typical features of a given nationality, that is, the national culture that characterizes this country.

Of course, the vast majority of countries create a coherent whole of their communities, which combines primarily historical achievements. However, we can call this nation a cultural community. The members of the nation are characterized not only by their own language and historical past, but they are also distinguished by a number of personality traits that make up the so-called national character and solidarity.

Types of National culture

National culture can be divided into two main categories: high culture and popular culture.

  • High culture: High culture is the culture of the elite, and it is usually associated with the upper and middle classes. It is often seen in art galleries, museums, and theatres, and it can include performing arts, visual arts, and literature.
  • Popular culture: Popular culture is the culture of the general population. It is usually seen in the media, including television, films, and music. Popular culture is often seen as less traditional and more casual than high culture.

The dimension of national cultures

The dimension of national culture is an aspect of culture that can be measured and allows to determine the position of a given culture in relation to other cultures.

Based on the conclusions of A. Inkels and D. Levinson from the review of English-language literature on national cultures and on the basis of research conducted in the 1970s among IBM employees in over 50 countries, G. Hofstede distinguished four dimensions of national culture. These dimensions cover the scope of basic universal problems for all countries. These are:

  • The distance of power (from small to large) - the extent to which less influential members of society, institutions and organizations recognize the unequal distribution of power.
  • Collectivism and individualism - differences in the degree of consolidation of mutual dependencies between people. In the case of individualism, the ties between people are loose, everyone cares about the own good and the immediate family. Collectivism expresses a society in which people belong to strong internal groups from birth. In exchange for loyalty, these groups provide care and security.
  • Avoidance of uncertainty - the degree to which people feel threatened by unspecified, unpredictable situations, lack of rules and institutions that would defend against uncertainty.
  • Femininity and masculinity - Male culture is characterized above all by such values ​​as success, money, objects. On the other hand, female culture is distinguished by such social values ​​as concern for others and the quality of life.
  • Long- and short-term orientation - Societies with a long-term orientation of achieving goals strive for such traits as perseverance and saving. On the other hand, societies aiming at achieving goals in the short term value mainly values such as respect for tradition or fulfilling social obligations.

These terms are also called the five-dimensional model of cultural differences.

Steps of dealing with National culture

National culture is composed of several components that shape the way a nation functions. These components are:

  • Identification: Identification is the first step in creating a national culture. This involves defining the characteristics that make a nation unique, such as its language, art, music, literature, and religion.
  • Preservation: Preservation is the second step in creating a national culture. This involves protecting and preserving the nation’s cultural heritage by promoting and celebrating its art, music, language, literature, and religion.
  • Promotion: Promotion is the third step in creating a national culture. This involves actively promoting the nation’s culture to the world, such as through international exchange programs, festivals, and conferences.
  • Education: Education is the fourth step in creating a national culture. This involves educating the nation’s people about their own culture, as well as about other cultures.

Advantages of National culture

National culture can be a source of pride and identity for a nation’s people, and it can also bring them together in times of crisis or celebration. It can give people a sense of belonging and shared values, and it can help to create a sense of unity and common purpose. Additionally, national culture can be a source of strength and resilience, as it provides people with a set of shared values and beliefs that can help them to persevere through difficult times.

National culture can also have economic benefits. It can help to attract tourists and foreign investors to a nation, as people are often attracted to a nation’s unique culture and traditions. Furthermore, national culture can help to promote innovation, as people are more likely to find creative solutions to problems when they are surrounded by a vibrant and diverse culture.

Limitations of National culture

National culture can also have limitations and drawbacks. These can include:

  • Stereotypes and Prejudice: National culture can lead to stereotypes and prejudice against certain groups of people. This can lead to discrimination, hostility, and even violence.
  • Lack of Diversity: National culture can also lead to a lack of diversity, as certain beliefs or practices are seen as being the “right” or “correct” way to live. This can lead to a homogenization of culture and a lack of creativity and innovation.
  • Inequality: National culture can also lead to inequality and unfair treatment of certain groups of people. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from unequal access to resources to unequal opportunities in education and employment.

National culture can be an important part of a nation’s identity, but it can also have limitations and drawbacks. It can lead to stereotypes and prejudice, a lack of diversity, and inequality. It is important for nations to be aware of these limitations and strive to create a culture that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

Other approaches related to National culture

National culture can also be studied from other perspectives. These include:

  • Social Structure: The social structure of a nation can be used to analyze how people interact with each other, and how different social groups are formed.
  • Political System: The political system of a nation can be used to analyze the power dynamics between different social groups and how the government interacts with its citizens.
  • Economics: Economics is an important aspect of national culture, as it determines the resources available to a nation and how they are used.
  • Education: Education is another important aspect of national culture, as it shapes the way people think and interact with each other.

National culture is a complex concept that can be studied from a variety of different perspectives, including social structure, political system, economics, and education. Examining national culture from these perspectives can provide insights into the attitudes, beliefs, and values of a nation’s people.