Difference Between Material and Nonmaterial Culture

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 598 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 598|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Material Culture
  2. Nonmaterial Culture
  3. Relationship Between Material And Nonmaterial Culture
  4. Implications for Society

One of the key components of culture is the distinction between material and nonmaterial culture. In this essay, we will explore the differences between these two aspects of culture, and the role they play in shaping human societies.

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Material Culture

Material culture refers to the physical objects, artifacts, and tangible aspects of human society. These include items such as buildings, tools, clothing, and technology. Material culture is often visible and tangible, and it reflects the values, beliefs, and practices of a particular society. For example, the architecture of a building can reflect the cultural values and aesthetic preferences of a society, while the tools and technology used by a community can reflect their level of technological advancement and innovation.

Material culture is often studied by anthropologists and archaeologists, who analyze artifacts and objects to gain insights into the practices and beliefs of past societies. By studying material culture, researchers can better understand the ways in which people lived, worked, and interacted with one another in different historical and cultural contexts.

Nonmaterial Culture

Nonmaterial culture, on the other hand, refers to the intangible aspects of human society, such as beliefs, values, norms, and rituals. These elements of culture are not physical or tangible, but they play a crucial role in shaping the behaviors and attitudes of individuals within a society. Nonmaterial culture encompasses a wide range of phenomena, including language, religion, customs, and social institutions.

Nonmaterial culture is often transmitted through socialization and education, as individuals learn the values, beliefs, and norms of their society through interaction with family, peers, and other social institutions. For example, language is a key component of nonmaterial culture, and it plays a central role in shaping the way individuals communicate, express their thoughts and emotions, and understand the world around them.

Relationship Between Material And Nonmaterial Culture

While material and nonmaterial culture are distinct concepts, they are closely intertwined and influence one another in significant ways. Material culture often reflects the values, beliefs, and practices of a society, while nonmaterial culture provides the meaning and significance of these material artifacts and objects. For example, religious symbols and rituals are nonmaterial aspects of culture that give meaning and significance to material objects such as religious artifacts and architecture.

Furthermore, changes in material culture, such as technological advancements or shifts in economic production, can have profound effects on nonmaterial culture. For example, the advent of the internet and digital technology has transformed the way people communicate, interact, and access information, which has in turn influenced the norms, values, and social practices of contemporary societies.

Implications for Society

The distinction between material and nonmaterial culture has important implications for human societies. Understanding the ways in which these two aspects of culture interact and influence one another can help us gain insights into the dynamics of social change, cultural diversity, and human behavior. Moreover, recognizing the significance of both material and nonmaterial culture can help us appreciate the complexity and richness of human societies and the diverse ways in which people make sense of the world around them.

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In conclusion, material and nonmaterial culture are two distinct but interconnected aspects of human society. Material culture encompasses the physical objects and artifacts of a society, while nonmaterial culture includes the intangible beliefs, values, and practices that shape human behavior and interaction. By understanding the relationship between these two aspects of culture, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity and diversity of human societies, and the ways in which culture shapes our lives and experiences.

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Difference Between Material and Nonmaterial Culture. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“Difference Between Material and Nonmaterial Culture.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Difference Between Material and Nonmaterial Culture. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Difference Between Material and Nonmaterial Culture [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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