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Real Culture: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Primary Example of…
  • 0:38 Ideal Versus Real Culture
  • 2:03 Some Additional Examples
  • 2:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Case
In this lesson, we will discuss real culture. Learn more about real culture and how it differs from ideal culture through examples, then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Primary Example of Real Culture

Jane and Malcolm are high school sweethearts. Since Jane and Malcolm's families were fairly close, they spent a lot of time with each other. Both grew up in religious families and maintained the belief that marriage is a sacred, life-long bond and divorce should never be an option. Jane and Malcolm's parents always knew their kids would be husband and wife someday, so it was no surprise to them when Jane and Malcolm got married shortly after college graduation. However, their parents were surprised when Jane and Malcolm filed for divorce five years later. Still, both families were supportive of their children and they remain close to this day.

Ideal Versus Real Culture

Culture can be thought of as the values, norms, and beliefs of a society. Culture includes things we can touch, such as eating utensils, and things we can't touch, such as superstitions. Culture is often separated into two categories: real and ideal culture. Ideal culture consists of the values, norms, and beliefs that a society claims to follow. For example, in Jane and Malcolm's society, marriage is seen as a life-long bond. The ideal culture is that marriage should last for one's entire life and the married couple should never break the union. Jane and Malcolm grew up in families that encouraged this ideal view of marriage. Yet Jane and Malcolm get divorced despite their beliefs. Here is where the real culture comes into play.

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