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The Culture In France

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Par   •  2 Décembre 2012  •  563 Mots (3 Pages)  •  451 Vues

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The definition of culture and the role of culture in France

The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning, the fundamental element of culture is the culture trait. Traits assume many forms varying from material artifacts -- tools, house structures, family interrelationships, economic exchanges, and legal sanctions -to abstract concepts and beliefs. All of these diverse and complex manifestations share one feature in common, A symbol is simply understood as an expression that stands for or represents something else, usually a real world condition. The words provide the simplest example the use of words in a language provides the most obvious, all cultural elements including material artifacts exhibit a symbolic character. Art and ceremonial objects have obvious symbolic meanings and are intentionally created to represent them.

The conception of "French" culture however poses certain difficulties and presupposes a series of assumptions about what precisely the expression "French" means. Whereas American culture posits the notion of the "melting-pot" and cultural diversity, the expression "French culture" tends to refer implicitly to a specific geographical entity (as, say, "metropolitan France", generally excluding its overseas departments) or to a specific historic-sociological group defined by ethnicity, language, religion and geography. The realities of "Frenchness" however, are extremely complicated. Even before the late 18th-19th century, "metropolitan France" was largely a patchwork of local customs and regional differences that the unifying aims of the Ancient Régime and the French Revolution had only begun to work against, and today's France remains a nation of numerous indigenous and foreign languages, of multiple ethnicities and religions, and of regional diversity that includes French citizens in Corsica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and elsewhere around the globe.

The creation of some sort of typical or shared French culture or "cultural identity", despite this vast heterogeneity, is the result of powerful internal forces — such as the French educational system, mandatory military service, state linguistic and cultural policies — and by profound historic events — such as the Franco-Prussian war and the two World Wars — which have forged a sense of national identity over the last 200 years. However, despite these unifying forces, France today still remains marked by social class and by important regional differences in culture (cuisine, dialect, local traditions) that many fear will be unable to withstand contemporary social forces (depopulation of the countryside, immigration, centralization, market forces and the world economy).

In recent years, to fight the loss of regional diversity, many in France have promoted forms of multiculturalism and encouraged cultural enclaves (communautarisme), including reforms on the preservation of regional languages and the decentralization of certain government functions, but French multiculturalism has had a harder time of accepting, or of integrating into the collective identity, the large non-Christian and immigrant communities and groups that have


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