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Culture and Cultural Differences

This part explains the concept of culture and identifies major cultural
differences in core value patterns among international societies. This part
also discusses the influence of national culture on communication, social
interaction, rules of social behavior, and service. The discussion is placed in
the context of ethics.

The aim of this article is to provide a detailed explanation of the
concept, elements, and characteristics of culture.

After completing this article the reader should be able to:
- Understand the concept, elements, and characteristics of culture
- Identify different types and levels of culture
- Explain the concept of subculture
- Distinguish between national culture, nationality, country of residence, and country
of birth
- Learn about the importance of cultural identity in this world
- Understand the concept and measurement of cultural distance

In an increasingly multicultural tourism context, the question of the similarities and
differences in tourist behavior across cultural borders is gaining in importance. More
and more people are traveling around the world, and their countries are being integrated
into global markets. Therefore, tourism marketers and managers operating in
this environment need to understand the concept of culture and the role of national
culture in influencing tourist behavior.

Many people generally believe that culture manifests itself in music, literature, painting,
sculpture, theatre, and film (Williams, 1976). Others describe it in terms of
consumption and consumer goods (Berger - Smith, 1971). However, the concept of
culture is very difficult, perhaps even impossible, to define because it is a theory and/or
abstract name for a very large, complex, multidimensional phenomenon. Hundreds of
definitions of culture have been developed under different conditions under which
different scholars have worked. These scholars have all had different views about what
constitutes the concept and meaning of culture.
Originally, the term culture derived from Latin cultura, which means to cultivate.
The term refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such
activities significance and importance. Anthropologists, in particular, point to the
human origin of culture. Functionalists refer to culture as a set of rules that gives
direction to people, informs them how they should behave and what means they
should use to meet their needs. Cognitive anthropologists view culture as cognitive



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