Types of Culture




Types of Culture:

Culture is divided into two types- material and non-material culture.

1. Material culture:

  • Material culture consists of objects which are made by human beings.

  • They are concrete and tangible in nature. It consists of manufactured objects like clothing, roads, jewellery, computers, airplanes, television, missiles, etc.

  • Material culture is crucial to enhance the quality of life.


A. Earlier In many cultures, only a red dress was allowed for the bride on her wedding day. But as the years passed, culture broadened and now we can see brides wearing different colours of ethnic wear for their wedding. This shows that material culture is more prone to change, evolution, and modernity.

B. In India people wear White clothes for funerals, this is the material culture of Indians.

2. Non-material culture:

  • Non-material culture refers to the ideas created by human beings. The nature of non-material culture is abstract and intangible.
  • For e.g. norms, regulations, values, signs and symbols, knowledge, beliefs, etc.

  • Non- material culture is further divided into cognitive and normative aspects of culture

  • The cognitive aspects refer to understanding as well as, how we make sense of all the information around us. e.g. ideas, knowledge, beliefs.

  • The normative aspects consist of folkways, mores, customs, conventions, and laws. These are mainly values or rules that guide social behaviour.


A. The marriage culture of any society takes centuries to be changed or modified since it’s a normative aspect and matter of belief, unlike material culture. This is the cognitive aspect of non- material culture.

B. Many cultures have to eat with hands during any religious occasion as a compulsion. This is included in social ‘Mores’ as not following this would have consequences or you might offend people badly. This is the normative aspect of non- material culture.

About both cultures:

  • The material aspect of culture changes very fast. In the process of becoming modern, adopting new ways of life is comparatively easy for members of the society. It is convenient to adapt to new fashion, eating habits, new technology.

  • On the other hand, a non-material culture that is abstract is very difficult to change and accept. Knowledge, ideas, and beliefs are rooted in society for many decades and centuries. Change in these aspects is not readily accepted by society or certain sections of society. There is a lot of resistance to change in non-material cultural aspects.

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