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Critically discuss why culture and communication cannot be separated from each other. Essay Example

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Culture is the total way of life of the people it encompasses the society’s knowledge, language, attitudes, values, beliefs and lifestyles of the people. Customs, social economic activities as well habits also includes the culture of the society at a particular time and geographical area. It defines the people of a particular society since it varies between different groups of people. The culture of a particular unit of human beings acts as a mark of identity and molds the individual’s life as well as shaping his or her personality according to (Hall, 1990). Culture is meant to be transmitted from one generation to another through sub units called social institution example schools, church, and government. Also culture can be transmitted through songs, writings, cultural activities for example bull fighting in Africa, cerebrations on special dates and events.

For culture to be transmitted from one individual to another or from one society to another then communication is very paramount. Communication in itself refers to flow or dissemination of information through a channel from one individual to another, one social institution to another or from one generation to another or even from one organization to another. Communication primarily is meant to initiate relationship whether positive or negative depending on how it is channeled and the content of the coded message. Effective communication is very pivotal in the growth of relationship and the businesses organization in general as explained by (Pinker, 1997).

Communication can be categorized into different categories depending on its nature.

  1. Verbal and non-verbal

In this case verbal communication is one given in the form of sound development while non verbal communication is one that is disseminated through body actions and movement. According to (Mehrabian, 1972), for the latter to be well encoded, body signs and movements be effectively done and the recipient must encode the communicated message with ease.

  1. Formal and non-formal

Formal communication is mostly found in formal organizations and structures where formal relationships existing between the sender of the message and the recipient as coined by (Shannon, 1949). On the other hand, non formal communication is used to reinforce non-formal relationship either negatively or positively for instance the communication found between peers is in a high percentage non-formal.

Relationship between culture and communication

Culture and communication are always interdependent of each other and exist in a very intimate relationship as noted by (Hoult, 1969). First communication gives birth to culture of a particular social unit and through it culture is constantly refined. Interactions of members of the society leads to creation of cultural characteristics for example roles of different subunits like the old, young people and many others as well as sharing those roles to other members who adopt them through transmission and learning. Again members of different cultures may meet together and create contact for a long time. This member brings with them different behavioral patterns, beliefs and even values. They influence each other through communication where either formal or non formal relationships are formed. They also bring on board diverse opinions and ideas which are shared among the individual members. For example in a school set up learners, teachers, subordinate staffs come together to form a social unit which every member want to be identified with.

Through their social interaction, they develop a culture which is substantially distinct from another. They develop communication patterns, behavioral patterns customs and beliefs which nature the growth and development of every individual member. Through dissemination of knowledge from the outer environment the culture will be updated by adoption of new information by the members as coined by
Marshall McLuhan (1964). Replacement of the old cultural characteristics that demean the member of that particular school takes place. For example maladjusted behaviors such as bullying are it emotional or physical may be replaced by caring attitudes where members become their brother’s keeper. After some times the formed culture develops outstanding history, customs etc through the same social interaction; for example teaching, social activities and in the case of school co-curricular activities like games. In the same way that culture is developed and sustained by communication, culture of a particular social unit developed communication patterns and practices.


Culture is the way of life of a people and it defines and identifies the individual members of any social unit. Made up of characteristics which shapes and molds the lives of human beings who form the social unit? It’s characterized by roles customs beliefs lifestyles social economic activities ways of leadership social institutions and again is very dynamic. Communication on the other hand, is the flow of information from the sender to the recipient through a channel. Sender encodes messages and channels it through a mechanism like social media where it is easily accessible to the recipient who decodes the coded messages. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal and also can be formal or non-formal. Whichever the categorization, it depends on the nature of communication patterns. Communication and culture are inseparable and they lead to the development of the other in a reciprocal manner. As communication is the mother of culture, so is culture the mother of communication.


Marshall McLuhan, Lewis H. Lapham,(1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: Routledge publishers.

Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal communication. Transaction Publishers

Pinker, Steven (1997). How the Mind Works. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Hoult, T. F., ed. (1969). Dictionary of Modern Sociology. Totowa, New Jersey, United States: Littlefield, Adams & Co.

Shannon, et-al, (1949) The MathematicalTheory of Communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press

Edward T. Hall, Mildred Reed Hall, ( 1990). Understanding Cultural Differences. London:
Nicholas Brealey Publishing.