Outline of culture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to culture:

Culture – a set of patterns of human activity within a community or social group and the symbolic structures that give significance to such activity. Customs, laws, dress, architectural style, social standards, and traditions are all examples of cultural elements. Since 2010, Culture is considered the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development by UNESCO.[1] More: Agenda 21 for Culture or in short Culture 21.

Cultural groups[edit]

  • Community – a social unit of any size that shares common values. Communities range in size and scope from neighbourhoods to national communities to international communities. They can be physical (face-to-face) or virtual (online).
    • People – a plurality of persons considered as a whole, as is the case with an ethnic group or nation. Collectively, for example, the contemporary Frisians and Danes are two related Germanic peoples, while various Middle Eastern ethnic groups are often linguistically categorized as Semitic people. See the list of contemporary ethnic groups for more examples.
    • Ethnic group – A socially defined category of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language and/or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, physical appearance, etc.
  • Society – a group of people involved in persistent interpersonal relationships, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the total of such relationships among its constituent members.
    • Civilization – any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication forms (typically, writing systems), and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment.

Elements of culture[edit]

  • The arts – vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. The arts encompasses visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts.
    • ClothingFashion, Jewelry
    • Gastronomy – the art and science of good eating,[2] including the study of food and culture.
      • Food preparation – act of preparing foods for eating. It encompasses a vast range of methods, tools, and combinations of ingredients to improve the flavour and digestibility of food.
      • Food and drink
        • Cuisines – a cuisine is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a specific culture.
        • Chocolate – raw or processed food produced from the seed of the Mars Theobroma cacao tree.
        • Wine – alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes.[3]
    • Literature – the art of written works.
      • Children's literature – stories, books, and poems for children.
      • Fiction – any form of narrative which deals, in part or whole, with events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary and invented by its author(s). See below.
      • Non-fiction – a form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be factual.
      • Poetry – literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or instead of, its apparent meaning.
      • Critical theory – examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities.
    • Performing arts – those forms of art that use the artist's own body, face, and presence as a medium.
      • Circus – performance of a company of clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze artists, musicians, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other object-manipulating and stunt-oriented artists, and a ringmaster.
      • Comedy – any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or to amuse by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film and stand-up comedy.
        • Stand-up comedy – performance by a comedian in front of a live audience, usually speaking directly to them.
      • Dance – art form of movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music,[4] used as a form of expression, social interaction, or presented in a spiritual or performance setting.
      • Film – moving pictures, the art form that records performances visually.
      • Theatre – a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place.
      • Music – an art form the medium of which is sound and silence.
        • Music genres
          • Jazz – a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States, mixing African and European music traditions.
          • Opera – an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (called a libretto) and musical score.[5]
        • Musical instruments – devices created or adapted to make musical sounds.
          • Guitars – the guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with either nylon or steel strings.
      • Stagecraft – technical aspects of theatrical, film, and video production. It includes, but is not limited to, constructing and rigging scenery, hanging and focusing of lighting, design and procurement of costumes, makeup, procurement of props, stage management, and recording and mixing of sound.
    • Visual arts – art forms that create primarily visual works.
      • Architecture – The art and science of designing and erecting buildings and other physical structures.
        • Classical architecture – the architecture of classical antiquity and later architectural styles influenced by it.
      • Crafts – recreational activities and hobbies that involve making things with one's hands and skill.
      • Design – the process for planning the overall look of an object
      • Drawing – visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium.
      • Film – moving pictures.
      • Painting – the practice of applying paint, pigment, colour or another medium to a surface with a brush or other object.
      • Photography – art, science, and practice of creating pictures by recording radiation on a radiation-sensitive medium, such as a photographic film, or electronic image sensors.
      • Sculpture – three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials - typically stone such as marble - or metal, glass, or wood.
  • Entertainment – any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie.
    • Fiction – any form of narrative which deals, in part or whole, with events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary and invented by its author(s).
      • James Bond – fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming. Since then, the character has grown to icon status, featured in many novels, movies, video games and other media.
      • Fantasy – genre of fiction using magic and the supernatural as primary elements of plot, theme or setting, often in imaginary worlds, generally avoiding the technical/scientific content typical of Science fiction, but overlapping with it
        • Middle-earth – fantasy setting by writer J.R.R. Tolkien, home to hobbits, orcs, and many other mystical races and creatures.
      • Science fiction – a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least nonsupernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities. Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas."[6]
    • Games – structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment, involving goals, rules, challenge, and interaction.
      • Board games
        • Chess – two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces: One king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.
      • Card games
        • Poker – family of card games that share betting rules and usually (but not always) hand rankings.
      • Video games – electronic games that involve interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device.
    • Performing arts – those forms of art that use the artist's own body, face, and presence as a medium. See above.
    • Sports – organized, competitive, entertaining, and skilful activity requiring commitment, strategy, and fair play, in which a winner can be defined by objective means. Generally speaking, a sport is a game based in physical athleticism.
      • Ball games
        • Baseball – bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond.
        • Basketball – team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules.
        • Tennis – sport usually played between two players (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles), using specialized racquets to strike a felt-covered hollow rubber ball over a net into the opponent's court.
      • Canoeing and kayaking – two closely related forms of watercraft paddling, involving manually propelling and navigating specialized boats called canoes and kayaks using a blade that is joined to a shaft, known as a paddle, in the water.
      • Combat sports
        • Fencing – family of combat sports using bladed weapons.
        • Martial arts – extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practised for a variety of reasons, including self-defence, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development.
      • Cycling sport – bicycle racing and track cycling.
      • Motorcycling – riding a motorcycle. A variety of subcultures and lifestyles have been built up around motorcycling and motorcycle racing.
      • Running – moving rapidly on foot, during which both feet are off the ground at regular intervals.
  • Humanities – academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences.
    • Area studies – comprehensive interdisciplinary research and the academic study of the people and communities of particular regions. Disciplines applied to include history, political science, sociology, cultural studies, languages, geography, literature, and related disciplines.
      • Sinology – study of China and things related to China, such as its classical language and literature.
    • Classical studies – a branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and all other cultural elements of the ancient Mediterranean world (Bronze Age ca. BC 3000 – Late Antiquity ca. AD 300–600); especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.
  • Mass media – diversified media technologies and their content that are intended to reach a large audience by mass communication. Includes radio and television programming; mass publishing of books, magazines, and newspapers; web content; and films and audio recordings.
  • Tradition – belief or behaviour passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes (like lawyer wigs or military officer spurs), but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings.
    • Celebration
      • Festivals – entertainment events centring on and celebrating a unique aspect of a community, usually staged by that community.
  • Tourism – travel for recreational, leisure, or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes." Tourism is important, and in some cases, vital for many countries. It was recognized in the Manila Declaration on World Tourism of 1980 as "an activity essential to the life of nations because of its direct effects on the social, cultural, educational, and economic sectors of national societies and their international relations."[7][8]
    • Tourist attraction – place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure, adventure and amusement.

Types of cultures[edit]

  • Organizational culture – behaviour of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to those behaviours. An organization's culture includes its vision, values, norms, systems, countries, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.

Cultures by aspect[edit]

  • Consumer culture – a society based on consumerism
  • High context culture – a culture with the tendency use high context messages, resulting in catering towards in-groups
  • Low context culture – culture with a tendency not to cater towards in-groups
  • Non-institutional culture - culture that is emerging bottom-up from self-organizing grassroot initiatives, rather than top-down from the state
  • Participatory culture – a culture in which private persons (the public) do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers (prosumers)
  • Permission culture – a society in which copyright restrictions are pervasive and enforced to the extent that any uses of copyrighted works need to be explicitly leased
  • Remix culture – a society which allows and encourages derivative works
  • Traditional culture – a community that chooses to remain focused on subsistence as a major cornerstone of their economic behaviour, as well as, adheres to their ancestral belief-systems and mannerism.[9]

Cultural cross-sections[edit]



Types of cultures[edit]

Specific subcultures[edit]

Academic disciplines that study culture[edit]

Cultures of the world[edit]

Area studies[edit]

Area studies

Cultures of continents and major geopolitical regions[edit]

(non-continents are italicized)

Cultures by political divisions of the World[edit]

(arranged by continent or major geopolitical region)

Cultures of Africa[edit]

Culture of Africa

Culture of Antarctica[edit]

  • No political divisions and no permanent population

Cultures of Asia[edit]

Culture of Asia

Cultures of the Caucasus[edit]

(a region considered to be in both Asia and Europe or between them)

Cultures of Europe[edit]

Culture of Europe

Cultures of North America[edit]

Culture of North America

Cultures of Oceania[edit]

Culture of Oceania

Cultures of South America[edit]

Culture of South America

Cultures of the South America[edit]

History of culture[edit]

Cultural histories[edit]

By period[edit]

By region[edit]

By subject[edit]

Historical cultures[edit]

Politics of culture[edit]

Sociology of culture[edit]

Research fields[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2017-12-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster "Gastronomy - Definition" Archived 2012-01-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "wine". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
  4. ^ "Dance - performing arts". britannica.com. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  5. ^ Some definitions of opera: "dramatic performance or composition of which music is an essential part, a branch of art concerned with this" (Concise Oxford English Dictionary); "any dramatic work that can be sung (or at times declaimed or spoken) in a place for performance, set to original music for singers (usually in costume) and instrumentalists" (Amanda Holden, Viking Opera Guide); "musical work for the stage with singing characters, originated in early years of 17th century" (Pears Cyclopaedia, 1983 ed.).
  6. ^ Marg Gilks; Paula Fleming & Moira Allen (2003). "Science Fiction: The Literature of Ideas". WritingWorld.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-26.
  7. ^ "UNWTO technical manual: Collection of Tourism Expenditure Statistics" (PDF). World Tourism Organization. 1995. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2009.
  8. ^ Manila Declaration on World Tourism (PDF). World Tourism Conference. Manila, Philippines. 10 October 1980. pp. 1–4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Primitive culture | Britannica".
  10. ^ Staggenborg, Suzanne; Eder, Donna; Sudderth, Lori (1993). "Women's Culture and Social Change: Evidence from the National Women's Music Festival". Berkeley Journal of Sociology. 38: 31–56. ISSN 0067-5830. JSTOR 41035465.
  11. ^ "Youth Culture | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2022-04-15.
  12. ^ Pinch, T. and Bijsterveld, K, 2004, Sound Studies: New Technologies and Music, in "Social Studies of Science", 34\5, pp. 635-648