Culture: What is it and What Does it Mean? – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Culture: What is it and What Does it Mean?

In its broadest definition culture is the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively-Miriam Webster.

What I translate this to mean is that culture can be anything. Whether it is a tangible object like food all the way to something less transparent like an idea or a value. Because the definition of culture is so broad it is also nuanced, powerful and dynamic. What makes something cultural to me is the meaning behind it. It is this meaning behind the culture that is what makes culture powerful and dynamic. If the meaning is shared then it can be unifying by creating groups of people based on commonality. But if the meaning is different or unknown then it can also be a source of division based on difference.

Keeping those thoughts about culture in mind the main ways that I have experienced culture at my placement is generationally through age. Currently there are 6 of us with the organization that are student volunteers and outside of us there are no full time staff members that are under 30 that work in our department. An example of the differing culture between these two groups of people would be technology. It wasn’t until working here that I realized that technology is a big part of what I use to define my culture. Those of us that are student volunteers grew up with technology while those that did not are playing catch up with technology is a learning curve and an adjustment that I was not necessarily anticipating.

1 thought on “Culture: What is it and What Does it Mean?”

  1. My placement is similar to yours. There are only two full time staff members here, the rest are either volunteers or part-timers. Its very interesting how these organization can run so smoothly despite having multiple different people entering and exiting their community each year.

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