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People learn culture That we suggest is cultures essential feature Many qualities of human life are transmitted genetically -- an infants desire for food for example is triggered by physiological characteristics determined within the human genetic code An adults specific desire for milk and cereal in the morning on the other hand cannot be explained genetically rather it is a learned cultural response to morning hunger Culture as a body of learned behaviors common to a given human society acts rather like a template ie it has predictable form and content shaping behavior and consciousness within a human society from generation to generation So culture resides in all learned behavior and in some shaping template or consciousness prior to behavior as well that is a cultural template can be in place prior to the birth of an individual person This primary concept of a shaping template and body of learned behaviors might be further broken down into the following categories each of which is an important element of cultural systems systems of meaning of which language is primary ways of organizing society from kinship groups to states and multi-national corporations the distinctive techniques of a group and their characteristic products Several important principles follow from this definition of culture If the process of learning is an essential characteristic of culture then teaching also is a crucial characteristic The way culture is taught and reproduced see reproduction in the glossary is itself an important component of culture Because the relationship between what is taught and what is learned is not absolute some of what is taught is lost while new discoveries are constantly being made culture exists in a constant state of change Meaning systems consist of negotiated agreements -- members of a human society must agree to relationships between a word behavior or other symbol and its corresponding significance or meaning To the extent that culture consists of systems of meaning it also consists
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