What Is the Relationship Between Culture and Society?

Prachanart Viriyaraks/CC-BY 2.0

Cultural traditions, customs and rituals shape society. Culture is also how people within a society relate to each other. Societies are made unique by their culture.

The way in which people think and act is dictated by their cultural heritage. These ideas and actions are applied to society at large. For this reason, culture plays a key role in the formation of cultural norms. People who subscribe to the traditions, customs and rituals that are prevalent within a society are viewed as being within the circle of society. Those who shun or reject these cultural norms are considered deviant or outside the societal norm. However, culture within society evolves over time. As populations mature, new traditions, customs and rituals are adopted by society. It is possible that what was at one time considered deviant based on cultural unfamiliarity may eventually become a norm. The ability of societies to adapt is critical to long term survival. Progress is difficult for rigid societies. Often, they either break apart and are absorbed by other cultures and societies or they die out completely. The United States, for example, is renowned for being a cultural melting pot. The very culture of the United States is conglomeration of many different cultures.