Posted by: sarahmeyers | August 27, 2007

What’s Culture?

Culture is a relative term that is used to describe the things we do because of learned behavior. Culture is what groups of people in different locations develop to survive. What is culture for one person may not be culture for another person. “Culture is everything. Culture is the way we dress, the way we carry our heads, the way we walk, the way we tie our ties — it is not only the fact of writing books or building houses.” Aime Cesair, Martiniquen writer, speaking to the World Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris [source: Petras and Petras]
Let‘s talk about what I know as culture.

I come from a technology driven culture. Born in San Francisco, I have lived there for half of my life, where the geeks walk the streets with laptops smaller than a keyboard, they multitask while they commute with their Bluetooth headsets in ear, their mobile devices clipped to their belts, their Internet connection is always on, they have live web cams, and finally their tech driven conversations are easily overheard at any coffee shop. Where I am from, the average person lives Internet culture.



  1. Culture can be everything, but is not at the same time. If it was everything, it would be very particular. Everybody would be very “culure-genic” and it would not be rather possible to perceive culture as a “thing in common”. So you could not say SF lives the internet culture. But it does, indeed. It means peoples’ behavioral habits (as far as the definition you gave goes) are a much alike . But does having “something” in common mean having “everything” in common? I don’t dare to answer, but at least can point out that cuture is very “natural” and dynamic. And expandable. Having said that, thanks to you Sarah, we can live SF culture right in front of our screen.

  2. Thanks, but what about the Super Bowl, is American Football culture? I’m trying to find more examples…

  3. There is no definition of culture that is actually set in stone. The definition I choose to abide by is “shared, learned behavior”. The beauty of culture is that it can be as specific or broad as you want it to be. An example of culture would be those who accept technology and those who reject it. Some people still don’t know what a blog is. Those people are a subculture of a broader culture. Each member of the culture and subculture is part of at least one other culture that would separate that person from the aforementioned culture. It’s a giant web of shared, learned behavior.

  4. i agree with brando407 that there is no strict definition of culture. But I am not convinced to choose the “shared, learned behaviour” one. Because it leads to atomization, or a web, you name it. I reckon that if you take a certain phenomenon, a shared behaviour, let’s say a group of people reading Sarah’s blog every now and then – to call it culture, from my perspective, it would mean that reading Sarah’s blog represents certain values, recognised by others who may not necessarily share our pleasure of reading Sarah’s blog. But they see it as culture – a blogging culture or an internet culture. From brando’s point of view it creates simply a net of “cultures”. That means that reading Sarah’s blog is a certain “culture”. it is a shared behaviour, no doubt about that. But I would not call it culture in the first instance. I would rather say it is a part of the blogging, or even more general, the internet culture. And that would reppresent the particular way of communication, equirying information using the global computer network.

    I tend to think towards more general about culture.

    Is American Football culture? Certainly yes, but if you think globally again, it is a local culture.

  5. I think that there are sub cultures to the cultures, but I don’t think my blog has culture. It reports on culture trends and discusses the topic, but the community has little culture at this point in time. I am, however, happy to be part of the Internet culture and the culture emerging from live video streams.

  6. […] culture is described as an emerging underground culture not defined as a subculture. In a recent discussion between a few of my regular readers, Brando writes, “There is no definition of culture that is actually set in stone. The […]

  7. what’s culture ?

  8. Hi Sarah,
    This is Navin Sharma, from india
    well we have started a discussion about the same thing “CULTURE” in my blog so i was wondering why dont you join us in the discussion. It will be a plessure to have you as we will get to know more about differnet culture and different views on it.

    my blog is


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