Culture and CivilisationAs a general meaning, culture manifests itself as cohesion, a complex pattern of ideas, values, beliefs, norms and ways of acting shared by the members of organisational systems and communities.
Therefore culture relates to all that is singular, original, local and expresses the sense and the rationale (ethos) of a community, an ethnic group, a nation, etc. (cultural identity).
In this sense, culture includes the distinctive characteristics of a particular society or sub-group within that society. This means that culture is relative (being strongly determined by and in societal contexts and societies) and, even though different cultures may be described and compared, it is worthless to rank them. Culture is the basic ingredient of social interaction as a process, which includes the relationships between actors, actions, generations, time, space and place.
To civilisation is attributed a meaning which is more universal than that of culture. For instance values coming from a community or country can become universal. The values of ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’ originated as cultural expression of a specific society during a specific historical period, but they have acquired universal meaning as civilisation.
Nowadays a new process of civilisation seems to have appeared based on a multidimensional integration between cultures (both current, from the past and for the future) and also upon the universal meaning of the reconciliation between humanity and nature.