When Sociologists use the term ‘culture’ they are referring to a ‘whole way of life’ within a particular society i.e. Different societies have different cultures. Some societies however may share similar things within their cultures, for example, British society shares the same language (English) with American society. There are a number of different sociological interpretations of culture. Ralph Linton states that ‘The culture of a society is the way of life of its members; the collection of ideas and habitats which they learn, share and transmit from generation to generation’.
Culture is learned through the process of ‘socialization’, it is also shared and provides a ‘design for living’. There would be a broken and disrupted communication if culture was not shared, cooperation would decay altogether and this would ultimately lead to disorder and the collapse of human society, therefore culture is crucial in civilised human life.
Culture is expressed through routine behaviour and symbolic culture of their society by following guidelines and rules, these are known as ‘norms’ and ‘values’ and are important in maintaining order in society. Norms are specific rules members of a society must abide by. They guide people in particular situations with appropriate and sensible behaviour. Norms are enforced by positive and negative sanctions which can be addressed formally and informally. Values work more as general principles for human behaviour and maintain morals. In order for a stable society that operates most effectively, norms and values must be shared and preserved.Order now
British society has a culture just like every other civilisation. People who live in Britain are part of its culture and society and must obey its norms and values. There are various customs and conventions associated with British culture. Britain’s culture can be defined through a number of things. This includes language which is essential as it allows communication and cooperation, the necessary ingredients in an active and shared culture.
Britain’s predominant language is English, this is mainly because it is taught in schools and is used broadly in public. Foreigners are urged to learn English and fit into British society. David Blunkett proposed that all those who live in Britain must learn and speak English at all times, including at home. He also suggested that those who want admission into Britain must pass a test on British history. Many would agree with Mr. Blunkett that this is a progressive step for British culture as it gives foreigners a better opportunity to adapt into the British society.
Dress also plays an important part in British culture. For example someone wearing ‘salwaar kameez’ may be stared at in central London, as it is not a ‘normal’ way to dress however British people are beginning to accept and recognise ‘different’ dress senses. In British culture, as in others, there are norms that govern dress. People who promote nudity are not tolerated in British society, as a result they are enforced with a negative, formal sanction by the state. Food also plays an important role in different cultures. The British culture is particularly recognised for its traditional ‘fish and chips’ and breakfast meals. One of the popular conventions of British society would include socialising at a pub, after work or in the evening.
This social institution is known for its sale of alcoholic beverages which are also related to British culture. Arguably the most important value within British culture would be the importance of education. In British culture education is regarded as ‘the key to success’, this concept has been hugely debated as many believe education has little relevance in succeeding in life and that ‘success’ in itself may be defined in many ways to different people. British society is heavily dependant on the education system, one of its most important socializing institutions. British culture is a supporter of equality, another feature subject to criticism. British society grants the people of its culture many freedoms, these include freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and freedom of association.
Britain is also the promoter of traditional events that include ‘Halloween’ and ‘bonfire night’ these are part of its culture, as they are celebrated annually by the majority of the population. The majority of Britain is of the Christianity faith and so Christmas is the major religious event, it is publicised by the mass media the most. Media is a hugely significant constituent in British culture. It promotes celebrity trends through TV and Tabloid newspapers, this prompts individuals to change their cultural possessions and more importantly their cultural identities.
The question of ‘does Britain have a culture?’ can arise as Britain is regarded as a multi-cultural and multi-faith society having said that, there is strong evidence that suggests that it is dominated by white, upper class males.