Culture vs Lifestyle
Culture and lifestyle, though misunderstood to be the same, they are two different concepts between which we can identify a clear difference. Culture and lifestyle are two inter-related concepts that we come across in the study of human society. Anthropologists and sociologists have been fascinated by the human conduct within different societies and have studied the cultures and lifestyles of people. Culture can be defined as the totality of behavior, thoughts, and customs and practices of a group of people. On the other hand, lifestyle can be defined as the way of life of a group of people. Changing one’s culture is not as easy as changing the lifestyle. The link between these two concepts is that while culture encompasses lifestyles, traditions, values, and many other social aspects, a lifestyle is influenced by these very components. Through this article, let’s make clear of the two terms, culture and lifestyle, and the difference between those two concepts.
What is Culture?
According to Ralph Linton, culture can be defined as the collection of ideas and habits we learn, share, and transmit from generation to generation. This includes the customs, traditions, values, mores, folklores, arts, and all other aspects that lay the foundation for a society. Culture assists human interactions as it creates homogeneity among people in the society. In this sense, culture in shared. Culture includes not only a single lifestyle that belongs to a group of people, but includes all lifestyles that exist within the society.
Culture is learned by the people of that particular society. This takes place through the process of socialization. Socialization takes place in a number of settings. First, the infant learns the ways of the society through parents within the home environment. This is referred to as primary socialization. However, socialization takes on a broader view as the child gains knowledge through other agents within the society such as schools, peer groups, etc. This is referred to as secondary socialization.
A culture also presents solutions to the problems in the society. These can come in the form of values upheld by the society. For example, caring for the elderly is a value upheld by most societies. These are embedded into the culture so that it reduces social problems.
What is Lifestyle?
Lifestyle can be defined as the way of life of an individual or a group of people. People in different societies have a different lifestyle. Sometimes, even within a single society, people can have differences in their lifestyle based on their background. For example, the lifestyle of an individual who comes from one religious background can differ greatly from that of another. A lifestyle allows the person to be comfortable within his surrounding and cope up difficulties that come his way. It is a form of adjustment to the daily realities of life.
A lifestyle includes all areas of an individual such as his behavior, thoughts, work, leisure, clothing, food, interests, etc. This is greatly influenced by the culture of that particular society. Since culture captures a larger magnitude that involves not only the lifestyle of the people, but also their norms, values, traditions and every other aspect of society which contributes to its cohesion and social stability, the lifestyle is automatically influenced. For example, let us take the norms that exist on apparel in the society. It is based on these norms that our clothing in day to day life has been created. What we consider as appropriate for various situations are dictated by the cultural code. This then becomes a part of our lifestyle.
What is the difference between Culture and Lifestyle?
• Definitions of Culture and Lifestyle:
• Culture can be defined as the collection of ideas and habits we learn share and transmit from generation to generation.
• Lifestyle can be defined as the way of life of an individual or a group of people.
• Connection between Culture and Lifestyle:
• A lifestyle is a part of a culture.
• Within a single culture, there can be people who have different lifestyles.
• Influence of Culture:
• A lifestyle is influenced by cultural components such as customs, values, norms, etc.
• An individual can change his lifestyle, but it is difficult to do so in the case of an entire culture because it is a part of the individual.
- Budapest, XVIII. Danube carnival via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
- Clothes by Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)