NASP Cultural Competence - Defining Culture
An integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, languages, practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting and roles, relationships and expected behaviors of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group; and the ability to transmit the above to succeeding generations.
Source: National Center for Cultural Competence of Georgetown University
A specific set of social, educational, religious and professional behaviors, practices and values that individuals learn and adhere to while participating in or out of groups they usually interact with.
Source: Diversity Rx Website. Supported by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Resources for Cross Cultural Health Care (RCCHC), Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
An Anthropological Perspective of Culture
- Topical: Culture consists of everything on a list of topics, or categories, such as social organization, religion, or economy
- Historical: Culture is social heritage, or tradition, that is passed on to future generations
- Behavioral: Culture is shared, learned human behavior, a way of life
- Normative: Culture is ideals, values, or rules for living
- Functional: Culture is the way humans solve problems of adapting to the environment or living together
- Mental: Culture is a complex of ideas, or learned habits that inhibit impulses and distinguish people from animals
- Structural: Culture consists of patterned and interrelated ideas, symbols, or behaviors
- Symbolic: Culture is based on arbitrarily assigned meanings that are shared by a society
Source: John H. Bodley, From Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System, 1994