All cultures have a set of beliefs that constitute the code of values and moral laws for that particular culture. In Asia for example people were exposed to certain social phenomena and consequently adopted certain beliefs that now determine their behavior as a separate culture. In other countries people share different beliefs and values due to a variety of factors. Religion is one of the most important factors that shape the society in terms of its cultural beliefs and traditions. Another important component is history that can tell us about the events of the past that might have had some influence on the further development of people in that particular country.
Cultural differences present a very interesting social phenomenon to study and understand. There are cultures that share very similar values and traditions and there are cultures that have very different beliefs. In the confines of this paper, I will focus my attention on the differences between Chinese and American cultures that in my opinion present very good examples for this study. There are myriad differences in all aspects of social activity and there are probably more differences than similarities in these two cultures.
To study a particular culture is virtually to study the people and their behavior from a sociological perspective. It is very important to construct a working definition of a culture. Culture is a set of social norms, traditions, beliefs and values shared by a large group of people . Individuals who belong to that group can be considered a culture. By the same token, they can be called a society because at this point there is not much difference between the two notions. A society is literally a group of people that share that particular set of beliefs, values and so on, whereas the word culture has slightly different connotations. A particular culture may as well be share by more than one nation whereas the word society is usually applicable to the nation that inhabits a particular country. There are slight differences between these two terms but most sociologists and anthropologists use them interchangeably.
In other words, a culture is a set of beliefs or a particular ideology that a society shares. It is very interesting to understand how people develop a culture because it seems to be a purely social phenomenon developed by a group of people and then spread among other individuals who somehow relate to that particular group.
As an example, communist countries have very different cultures. They vividly illustrate how a group of people can influence a culture. China was not always a communist country. Long before communists came to power the population of the country shared a different ideology. The communist government directly influenced the country’s culture by the means of propaganda, the education system, television etc. Subsequently, the next generation is going to absorb the culture modified by communism whereas the previous generation is not so likely to accept it. However, even though communists altered people’s views and beliefs they could not completely eradicate most of the traditions shared by the society (Henry Rosemont, 1981).