Lecture 2. The role of culture
Lecture 2. The role of culture
Culture has various functions and manifestations in society. Here are some of them.

Culture preserves and transmits knowledge 

Knowledge about the society of southern England in the first half of the nineteenth century  from what dances where popular to the established daily schedule–can be acquired as much from history books as from the novels of Jane Austen. As for the details of daily life in London at the turn of the century, it is worth looking for them in the Sherlock Holmes book series.

Culture creates values and symbols

Even a beard can become a value and a symbol, or a lack of thereof. For instance, in 1705 Peter the Great, who had set himself the goal of modernizing Russia in step with Europe, introduced a tax on men who wore beards and moustaches. In contrast, in 1999, some three hundred years later, the first Movember charity event was held. It involved men growing moustaches and beards throughout the month of November to raise awareness about prostate cancer and raise funds for the charity foundation. In both cases, symbols influenced the ensuing development of culture.

Culture cultivates

Participation in culture and the potential for creation are important for the “Universal Man” of the Renaissance. One of the most prominent examples is Leonardo da Vinci who combined scientific and writing activities with artistic output.

Culture strengthens social relations

The “Kraina Mriy” festival gathers around 40 thousand visitors every year. By familiarising people with the traditional forms of Ukrainian culture, from music to pottery, the festival promotes the formation of a common national identity.

Culture creates new needs

The culture of saving energy and the intelligent use of natural resources creates needs such as the creation of infrastructures for sorting and recycling different types of waste, the installation of solar panels in homes and access to affordable electric cars. For example, in 2017 the company Tesla Motors will offer buyers an electric car at $35,000 while it used to cost as much as $100,000.

Culture contributes to economy

The turnover of cultural and creative industries is $1.3 trillion, and its rate of growth outpaces the production and services sectors. Cultural tourism accounts for roughly 40 per cent of the world tourism sector revenue and, in the last decade, has demonstrated its ability to maintain steady growth. Worldwide culture is becoming an ever more important source of employment and revenue. More facts at:

Culture helps cities 

In 1997, the Guggenheim museum was opened in Bilbao, Spain. The originality of the design has turned the place into a standout landmark that has breathed new life into this provincial city. In the first three years of the museum's activity, tourists visiting Bilbao spent more than €100 million ($110 million) in regional tax. Such influence of architecture on a city's economy is now dubbed the “Bilbao Effect”.

Share with friends