What Are the Different Kinds of Culture?

Thomas Quine/CC-BY 2.0

There are many different kinds of culture, but culture is generally divided into two different types: material culture and non-material culture. Material culture is similar to class status. An example of material culture is buying expensive cars, jewelry and clothing to reflect an elite status within a community. Non-material culture is derived from intangible things such as beliefs, traditions and values.

In addition to material and non-material culture, there are less dominant kinds of culture called subculture and counterculture. Subculture refers to a group of people who hold opposing beliefs or behave differently than the majority of people in their community. Members of a subculture also often create a language that is distinct from the majority. Consequently, this smaller community establishes a culture that may ostracize them from the rest of society.

Counterculture is a movement to actively defy one or more aspects of dominant culture. Examples of counterculture groups include the Ku Klux Klan, members of the hippie movement and militant groups that protest government control.

Ultimately, culture is defined as the way of life for a community of people. In this sense, any one person has several different kinds of culture that apply to him or her. For example, a person’s religious beliefs, race, behavior, occupation and interaction within the community are all forms of culture.