NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 36 Culture: Concept And Characteristics

NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 36 Culture: Concept And Characteristics, Solutions to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse through different chapters NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 36 Culture: Concept And Characteristics and select need one. NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 36 Culture: Concept And Characteristics Question Answers Download PDF. NIOS Study Material of Class 12 Sociology Notes Paper 331.

NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 36 Culture: Concept And Characteristics

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Also, you can read the NIOS book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of NIOS All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 36 Culture: Concept And Characteristics, NIOS Senior Secondary Course Political Science Solutions for All Chapters, You can practice these here.

Culture: Concept And Characteristics

Chapter: 36




Q.1. Match Column ‘A’ and ‘B’:

1. Culture refers to1. Both material and non-material aspects.
2. House, a plough, a cycle, etc., are examples of2. a way of life.
3. Knowledge, beliefs, arts, moral law and custom, etc., are examples of 3. material culture.
4. Every culture has4. non-material of culture.


1. Culture refers to1. Both material and non-material aspects.
2. House, a plough, a cycle, etc., are examples of3. material culture.
3. Knowledge, beliefs, arts, moral law and custom, etc., are examples of 4. non-material of culture.
4. Every culture has2. a way of life.


Put a tick (√) for the right one and (×) for the wrong one: 

1. Culture is not universal.

Ans. (×).

2. Culture is space bound.

Ans. (×).

3. Each culture is similar to others.

Ans. (×).

4. Universality of culture is an integral part of human existence.

Ans. (√).


Choose the right word and fill in the blanks with appropriate words:

(a) Culture is ……………….. .

Ans. The total way of life shared by a group of people.

(b) Culture is space and ……………….. .

Ans. Universal.

(c) Changes in culture come ………………. .

Ans. With time and space dimensions.

(d) Culture is ever ……………….. .

Ans. Changing.


Write ‘T’ for true and correct the false one:

(i) Culture is genetically inherited.

Ans. ‘T’ (True and correct).

(ii) Culture is a learned behaviour.

Ans. ‘T’ (True and correct).

(iii) Learning of one’s culture to become a member of the society is called enculturation.

Ans. ‘T’ (True and correct).

(iv) Culture is unique to all human species. 

Ans. ‘T’ (True and correct).


Q.1. What do you mean by: 

(a) Enculturation.

Ans: Enculturation: It is a process of learning one’s own culture, to be a member of the society.

(b) Culture.

Ans. Culture: It is a way of life common to a group of people. It includes both material (such as a house, a plough, a cycle etc.) and non-material (such as knowledge, beliefs, acts, moral law and custom, etc.) aspects.

Q.2. Define culture and discuss two important characteristics of culture. (M. Imp.)

Ans. I. Definition of Culture: Culture is an integral part of our existence. Yet, it is different from people to people. We can understand culture better with the following example: whenever we meet a relation of ours or a friend, we greet him with folded hands (namaskar). We offer respect to our elders by touching their feet. This is typical of Indian culture. Shaking hands, hugging and kissing are different ways of greeting friends and relatives in the western world.

Now let us define culture. A widely accepted and easily understood definition is: “Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”.

II. Characteristics of Culture: The most common and important characteristics of culture. They are:

1. Culture is universal.

2. Culture is stable, yet it is also dynamic.

3. Culture is a learned behaviour.

1. Culture is universal: An Oriya family was residing in Bangalore. Once, when they were having their dinner consisting of chapati and dalma, their neighbour, a Telegu speaking woman entered. She was rather surprised to see the Oriyas eating chapati and not rice, which in fact was essential to her own dinner. Thinking that perhaps the Oriyas had run out of rice, she offered to provide them the required amount. To her request, the Oriyas said that it was not the case of running out of rice, but they were accustomed to eating chapati at night. This example shows that while food is universal, what people eat, how they prepare and serve it, varies from one community to another. Culture is both universal and particular.

2. Culture is stable yet it is also dynamic: 

(a) A culture is also time bound. It changes over time. In other words, it is in a continuous state of flux. Culture can be compared to a flowing river. As the river flows down, the water at a given spot along the river gets replaced by the second incoming flow. However, the river remains as ever so. So is culture. The contents change, are modified, get replaced, but the river of culture flows. It is process of continuous change and continuity makes culture dynamic. Change in the culture comes so steadily and stealthily that we never suspect it until we project the present on the past.

(b) Let us take the example of our own photograph. A present photograph of this year and another photograph taken few years back will definitely give an idea of change in culture either in hair style or in dress pattern. We can mark here how styles of clothing and hair have changed over years. In our daily life we can see many such changes. Years back, in our society, girls’ education was not encouraged while early marriage was mostly encouraged. Girls were staying at home, learning household activities till they were engaged and got married. Over years, we see girls have come out of the four walls of the house not only for formal education, but also for higher education. 

3. Culture is a learned behaviour:

(a) When you greet others you fold your hands. But, have you seen a new born baby folding its hands to greet others? In other words, we can say that we have learnt to greet with namaskar because we have seen others doing in the same manner or we have been told by our elders to do so. But does any body tell a crow to build its own nest? Even tailorbirds weave their own nests. These birds have not learnt the technique of nest-building from other birds. They have inherited the quality from their parents.

(b) Human beings do not inherit any socio-cultural parental quality. They have to learn it from their family members, members of the group and the society they live in. Thus culture is a learned behaviour and not genetically inherited nor is it an instinctive behaviour. It is acquired by human beings from the society in which they are brought up. Consequently, culture is unique to the human species. Learning of one generation is passed down to the succeeding generation through a process called “enculturation”. 

Q.3. Write a brief note on the concept of culture.

Ans. Concept of Culture:

Culture: As said earlier, culture is the way of life that is common to a group of people. Now let us look at culture in its time-spece jacket. 

Time bound: Wearing of warm clothes in winter and carrying an umbrella in rainy season are examples of behavioural change over a short period of time i.e. approximately a year. Over long periods of time, patterns of behaviour change due to factors entering as contents of culture. For examples, about 200 years back, there were no railway facilities a hundred years ago there were no aeroplane. Twenty-five years back people were not exposed to computers as they are today. All these innovations have influenced the way of life to such as extent that life without them is almost unthinkable. That is how time is a determining factor in the cultural makeup of a people.

Space bound: We all greet our friends when we meet them after a lapse of time. However, the way in which we greet varies from culture to culture and place to place. The Indians greet with folded hands, the Englishmen greet by shaking hands, and the inhabitants of Tikopia, a small Polynesian island, greet by approaching each other with raised fists, which to an outsider appears as a prelude to fight. This is how the human behaviour varies from place to place.

Culture has two broad components: One is material and the other is non-material. The material part includes everything that is made, fashioned or transformed by human beings in society i.e. it is tangible, like ploughs, sickles, digging sticks

Food, dress, ornaments, Symbols, attitudes, houses and automobiles, etc.ideas, beliefs, song, dance and music etc. musical instruments, etc. If we look closely, we find that even people who have agriculture as their main occupation do not use similar agricultural implements. In hilly areas, hoes are used instead of ploughs. Here we see that the environment plays a vital role in conditioning the culture of a society. Thus, it may be said that the material expression of man’s interaction with environment is culture. Environment is not the same every where. It varies from place to place. Hence, culture from place to place can also change along with the change of environment.

Let us now more to the non-material aspects of culture. Non-material culture includes symbols, ideas that shape the lives of human beings in relation to one another. The most important of these are attitudes, beliefs, values and norms. For example, the beliefs affect the rituals. Muslims observe fasting for one month (known as Ramzan month). During this period, they take food once a day, that is only after seeing moon in the evening. On the last day of Ramzan, fasting breaks with a particular type of sweet dish along with other sweets which are also distributed among near and dear ones. Similarly, food-related beliefs and taboos (restrictions) govern our food habits and food consumption at different phases and occasions of life. For example, among the Oriyas, there is restriction on taking non-vegetarian food during the month of ‘Kartik’. It is believed that avoiding non-vegetarian food during this month prevents different diseases and helps leading a normal healthy life. A restriction on food during navratri among north Indians is another example of nonmaterial culture.

Not entering the kitchen with slippers on observing forty days rest after childbirth, are other examples of non-material aspects of culture. Some of these practices have been found to have scientific basis also. For example, use of turmeric in almost every ritual and food preparation is said to be associated with its antiseptic quality. This is common nearly among all communities in India.

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