I've been wondering aloud on this blog since, oh, well since Hector was a pup, what would be a good working definition of cultures. The reason for this is that I have a sense when discussing cultures throughout history that I'm not talking about anything I can really relate to. There's not really an American culture or a Western culture anymore, at least not in the sense that we talk about the 'Roman culture' or 'Greek culture' or 'the culture of Medieval Christiandom'. So what is a culture?
Let's see if this works as a definition:
A culture is a symbol system [i.e.- stories, art, literature, language, dance, music, etc.] that explains to a group of people how they relate to the world [i.e.- explains life, death, love, God, the afterlife, where each individual belongs, and how they should structure their life- in other words, it mediates their existence in the world] in order to protect them [psychologically].