Various terminologies are used for analyzing and evaluating cultures.

Such terminologies are essential to our understanding of culture.

We'll look at these terminologies in detail in this post.

We start with ethnocentrism.


Often, we tend to judge other individuals' cultures by comparing them with our own. 

This comparison is made by comparing our cultural values to the cultural values of other groups.

This is referred to as ethnocentrism.

Ethnocentrism, as a concept, refers to the belief that one's own culture is superior to all other cultures.

An ethnocentric person considers their own culture as the proper way of life while viewing other cultures as strange, odd, unusual, and inferior to their own.

For example, in Asian culture, every meal is served with a chopstick; these people may find it unusual to observe people in western countries, such as British society, utilize forks, spoons, knives, and other cutting implements. This is a case of ethnocentrism in action.

Showing reticence to trying other cultures' cuisine is somewhat of ethnocentric behaviour. 

When confronted with all of the contrasts of a new culture, ethnocentrism can cause personal disorientation, or what sociologists refer to as "culture shock."

Cultural shock 

Cultural shock is defined as the physical and emotional discomfort or disorientation people experience when they come into contact with a fundamentally different culture.

It is the personal mal-adjustment that a person suffers in another country or places distinct from his or her place of origin. 

It usually occurs when an individual experiences new things or ideas that are different from their own.

Cultural shock appears because people are not always expecting cultural differences. 

It may be caused by the inability to speak a new language, not knowing how to use simple everyday commodities (such as getting a cell phone, using telephones, using input devices, or taking a bus), and so on.

There is no valid way to prevent cultural shock, as individuals' capacity to overcome culture shock varies.

However, as sociologists have observed, ethnocentric people are more vulnerable to cultural shock than cultural relativists.

Cultural relativism

Every society has its unique pattern of behaviour, which may seem strange to people from other cultures.

Therefore, every culture must be examined in terms of its meaning and values.

Cultural relativism, in general, is the belief that individual behaviour and activities should be understood by others in terms of their own culture. 
It is the practice of assessing a culture by its standards rather than judging it. A cultural relativist is usually open-minded and willing to adapt to new cultures.

Sociologists seeking to be cultural relativists may have to adjust some parts of their culture to the new culture they are studying.

He may also have to overcome ethnocentrism and develop cultural relativism.

Cultural universal

Though different societies have their own unique cultures, there are still some cultural practices and elements that can be found in all societies.

Sociologists refer to this component and practice culture as universal.

Culture universal is defined as features, traits, elements, and institutions that are common to all human cultures around the world. 

Family, marriage rites, religious rituals, marriage ceremonies, funeral rites, and the taboo against incest are all examples of cultural universals

The majority of cultural universals, such as family and marriage, are agents of socialization.


This refers to the preference for other people's products, culture, and food over one's own.

It's the desire to engage in the aspects of another culture instead of one's own.

It's the notion that other people's values and norms are superior to your own.

Most Nigerians, for example, believe that imported goods are of superior quality to those made locally

Hence, they prefer commodities (like shoes and bags) made in foreign countries rather than those made in Nigeria. This is a case of xenocentrism in action.

Cultural lag

This refers to the notion that culture takes time to catch up with technological advancementsthereby resulting in social problems.

It usually arises because technological innovation or changes in society occur faster than the changes in the rules and cultural norms that accompany these advancements or changes. 

Cultural lag is mostly used by sociologists to observe, describe, and predict social problems. 

The term "cultural lag" was first introduced by William F. Ogburn in his 1922 book, "Social Change with Respect to Culture and Original Nature."

The time of transition when automobiles became more efficient is a good illustration of cultural lag.

It took a while for society to build the infrastructure that could support these new automobiles. 

Cultural lag occurs because society is not always comfortable with change, so it takes a little time to adjust or adapt to these changes.

Cultural integration

 is a form of cultural exchange in which one social group assumes the culture of another without necessarily forfeiting its unique cultural traits. 
Cultural integration occurs when individuals adopt the practices of another culture without sacrificing the characteristics of their own culture.
Cultural integration usually results in the exchange of cultural practices, beliefs, and rituals. 

Globally, cultural integration is increasing as a result of the unprecedented growth of several multinational corporations.

Cultural integration has been adopted as a means of preventing the dominant culture in the workplace.

It is important to note that cultural integration does not completely take away any of the cultures involved.

Rather, it allows people to blend their beliefs and ideas. Cultural integration occurs daily.

It occurs when an individual moves to a new community with a different culture or when an intra-ethnic marriage takes place.

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Cultural diffusion

This is the spread of elements of culture (like religion, ideas, beliefs, and values) from one group of people to another.

It is the transmission of cultural beliefs and social practices from one person to another (whether within a single culture or from one culture to another).

Ideas, values, knowledge, behaviours, materials, and symbols are some of the things that are spread through cultural diffusion.

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