Culture: Some Definitions


Culture is a set of human-made objective and subjective elements that in the past have increased the probability of survival and resulted in satisfactions for the participants in an ecological niche, and thus became shared among those who could communicate with each other because they had a common language and they lived in the same time and place. (Triandis, p.22)


Criteria Identified In The Triandis Definition

1. Human-made elements

2. Shared objective elements(things)

3. Shared subjective elements(these could be cognitive or affective

particulars including both intrapersonal and interpersonal intentions

and shared meanings of an explicit or implicit and conscious or

unconscious nature)

4. These elements should have historically increased the probability of

survival of the culture

5. these elements should have historically been positively reinforcing

among members of the culture

6. These elements are shared by persons in an ecological niche( a

place with commonly-understood boundaries).

7. These elements are shared by persons with a common language

8. These elements are shared by persons who live in the same time

(the same generation?)


"The most important point for you to learn is not that a particular culture has this or that characteristic. Rather, you should learn that there may be a culture that has this characteristic." (Triandis, p. 9)


Some other ways to think about cultures, according to Triandis:

1. Culture is the human-made part of the environment.

2. Culture is to society what memory is to the individual.

3. Culture is the software of the mind(CPP, but not CP).

4. All cultures have both emics and etics and are constantly