The universe defines the life of an individual according to the cultural background. The presence of various cultures across the world defines and gives meaning to the social well-being of people. However, lifestyle approaches can result in either positive or negative behavior of individuals in a community. The approach of the cultural issue is viewed differently by different communities because of varying beliefs and customs. There is a need to associate with a particular culture for the production of a well-rounded individual. The paper reviews and compares how different authors in five separate books approached the theme of culture and group behavior. Additionally, it outlines the knowledge gained on social life.


The City by Park, Burgess, and McKenzie

The book discusses the characteristics that make human beings different from other non-living creatures. The authors emphasize that people will belong to a particular group behavior according to their way of thinking and imagination. They go on to reflect on vegetation that lacks locomotion, therefore, lacking the thinking capacity. The authors are referring to cultures that share common values because people cannot become independent. The importance of individuality in a society is well put in the article as people become free to do according to their locomotion and thinking. There is a need to claim the shaping power of society over-urbanization and the formation and transformation of cities over time.

Another point emphasized by the source is the role of traditional values in shaping the city. People tend to behave and live according to the manner they grew up from a young age. A responsible person is a product of cultural upbringing and makes a person whole-rounded. Individuals in this setting, take charge their schools, hospitals, and planning of the City, among other roles. The authors assert that the culture shapes a person resulting in a dependable urban town. A civilized society reduces cases of criminal activities gradually for a safe environment. It is the same behavior that will reduce negative behaviors since most of the populations live in the city. As stated in the article, independent thinking in a particular culture is necessary for the small communities to emulate. From the book, I realized that the society plays a role in determining the behavior and future of an individual. We tend to live and present our thoughts according to the communal upbringing.

The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays by Geertz

The book is an important piece in the field of anthropology as it discusses the significance of symbols in providing meaningful information. Contrary to Robert’s belief of culture, Geertz explains that cultural concept is important in promoting inherited conceptions which can be expressed using symbols. As a result, he mentions that individuals can communicate and develop skills and knowledge towards life. The book recommended to anthropologists whose primary role was to interpret the symbols possessed by each culture.

Compared to The City, the book fits the concept of culture and group behaviors. The notable difference is that the city emphasizes the importance of individuality as it allows personal thinking, while the book majorly discusses the behavior of individuals as one. The approach has enhanced my understanding of social life by taking into consideration the effectiveness of symbols in various cultures. By taking note on the use of symbols by anthropologists, the author has managed not only to give meaning to life but also to ensure that cultures are continued rather than undermined. The author achieved to communicate and discuss the value of symbols in determining group behavior by writing various essays. An example is a community that consists of many warriors signals the presence of war among the members.

The essays in the book written by the author all argue explicitly in various analyses they create resulting in a more powerful concept of culture. The approach of outlining symbols in the essays creates an impact on the definition of a social life. Symbols provide a comprehensive understand better on the value of society and culture in the life of an individual. As he asserts, it builds a person spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Again, it is necessary to note that the author failed to include the various symbols used by different cultures in his book. The inclusion would have played a significant role in creating awareness and sensitization of the variety of symbols and their interpretation. Anthropologists are relevant persons in identifying the origin of individuals. The book, however, does not explain the ways that anthologists define different cultures.

Patterns of Culture by Benedict

This book is unique because it is the only one among the sources I have analyzed that discusses how cultures impact children at the process of adolescence. It is a great realization of the role the adolescent period creates in the life of a child. During this period, children are transforming to adulthood which entails many diverse challenges of life. It is at this stage where the culture of individuals chips in to create and shape a desirable person who is worth emulating in the society. The author provides a description of the growth process in Australia. Boys undergo circumcision to become men while the girls are left unnoticed. By mentioning the separation aspect, the author helps us understand the group behaviors and needs of children. For example, there should be an equal treatment of both boys and girls in the community to enhance equality.

The author also discusses the negative contributions of war to the social life of individuals. He stresses that warfare is an isolated case that happens in many parts of the world hindering peace and harmony. Some of the communities will be accustomed to war such that they may not understand how it is to live in a peaceful environment. War, as explained in the book, determines the behavior of a person and finally the social patterns of life. For example, the social organization has a specialized meaning due to the situation of individuals in stressing relationships where marriage is forbidden. In communities experiencing high cases of war, there exist conflicting objectives and may be a way of getting captives for religious sacrifices.

The approach of the author towards culture is significantly different from the sources discussed as he emphasizes on human imagination as the definition of certain behaviors. The book explains further that possessions of a person may define social hierarchy in some cultures. Either the material or the non-material ownerships may force society to behave differently towards these individuals. As a result, the social identity may be followed by a societal celebration that will monopolize energy in the community and lack of development of other traits.

The book shares close similarities with The City and The Interpretation of Cultures as they all explain how culture and tradition contribute in defining behavior. The author, however, points out the difference by presenting the cultural role in promoting inequality between boys and girls. The approaches of primitive civilizations have enhanced my understanding that social life is a slow and advancing part of an individual. The people who are still primitive will not have similar social lives as those living in cities.

"Keywords” by Williams

According to the book, socialization plays a significant role in an individual's behavior. The act of socializing renders people exchanging ideas, teaching children new traits and behaving in various ways a culture considers appropriate. The author discusses the aspect of child rearing and teaching new ideas as requirements to become part of a new society and belong to a group. Another approach to the community that is evident in the book is the value of internalization. The author agrees that taking social roles, value, behaviors, and norms into the mind of a person will result in internalization. In unison with the authors discussed above, the book states the society as a primary factor that is responsible for the behavior of human beings. While Patterns of Culture promotes separation of children, Williams in his book encourages unity by stating that socializing helps develop appropriate behavior.

The book builds a solid foundation for the young generation and the parents to enhance and strengthen the process of socialization within their children. Additionally, it helps an individual understand the various stages of socialization such as in the family, daycare, school, church among other places. The book is a necessity for people who live in fear because it will develop and enhance their interactivity skills in the society. As a result, the culture and behavior of a person will be shaped according to the surrounding people in the community. It allows me to understand that the various stages we go through in life such as attending school influence our behaviors and characters.

"The Metropolis and Mental Life" by Simmel

The article talks about effects of culture on the action. It explains how culture influences actions by not providing the values responsible for the shaping of an individual. Swidler asserts that people create strategies of action from the skills, habits, and styles of a particular group of the community. As the author suggests, culture influences the models of settled and unsettled cultural periods in the community. During peaceful moments, culture affects action by providing the resources necessary such as teaching aids. On the other hand, difficult times such as during war raise ideologies which trigger action. Swidler's article is different from Benedict’s Patterns of Culture because she emphasizes that the culture of a community determines the social well-being of the person and not material possessions. Compared to other books discussed, this source provides the negative attributes of culture such as existence of war among unsettled communities. It has helped me to understand that the origination of war began from some units within the society.

Simmel’s approach helps people learn that culture is directly related to the actions of our day to day life. People living in settled societies will gain motivation towards life. On the contrary, individuals in war environments and abusive cultures will develop negative actions in life. An example is a child who is brought up in a community prone to conflicts has a high chance of acting rebellious in future. It is essential to understand the difference in cultural approaches so as to facilitate proper growth and development of the young generation in the community.

The author discusses how various cultures perceive mental conditions. The mental health of an individual has an impact on the personal and group behavior. Some cultures disregard and consider people suffering from mental conditions such as psychosis outcasts in the community. That makes such people live in fear and denial throughout their lives. Socially, the article is of great value as it encourages equal treatment of community members despite the health condition. The society should understand that availing same services to all individuals will be a factor that promotes equality. Discriminating people because of their health and physical disabilities causes the entire community to possess undesirable behaviors. The article has immensely boosted my understanding concerning the root causes of discrimination and the various approaches used to reduce inequality.


It is a great insight to understand the numerous cultural and group behavioral patterns in the society. The five sources provide varying definitions and aspects on the topic of discussion. Primarily, they all share one similarity which is the fact that the cultural background of an individual determines the person’s behavior. However, the five sources also differ significantly, for instance, some cultures advocate for discrimination in gender considering the boy child as more superior while others advocate for equality when dealing with both children. The sources also differ regarding conflict resolution; some cultures resolve differences by engaging in war while others believe in dialogue.

Academic Writing Help

Jun 29, 2020 in Culture Essay Samples