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Social Studies

Culture and social value

Meaning of Culture

This is the totality of the way of life of the people. It includes the people’s beliefs, their way of worship, their arts and crafts, language, religion, dressing, way of thinking, dancing, greeting and eating habits.

The culture of Nigeria is shaped by Nigeria’s multiple ethnic groups. The country has 527 languages, seven of them are extinct. Nigeria also has over 1150 dialects and ethnic groups. The six largest ethnic groups are the Hausa and Fulani in the north, the Igbo in the southeast, and the Yoruba predominate in the southwest, Efik – Ibibio, and Ijaw of the southsouth.

The Edo people are most frequent in the region between Yorubaland and Igboland. Many of the Edo tend to be Christian. This group is followed by the Ibibio/Annang/Efik people of the coastal south southern Nigeria and the Ijaw of the Niger Delta.

Nigeria’s other ethnic group, sometimes called ‘minorities’, are found throughout the country but especially in the north and the middle belt. The traditionally nomadic Fulani can be found all over West and Central Africa. The Fulani and the Hausa are predominantly Muslim while the Igbo are predominantly Christian and so are the Efik, Ibibio, and Annang people. The Yoruba are equally likely to be either Christian or Muslim. Indigenous religious practices remain important to all of Nigeria’s ethnic groups, and frequently these beliefs are blended with Christian beliefs, a practice known as syncretism

Importance of culture

The way of life of any society involves a number of areas (labour, politics, economics, ethics, aesthetics, law, family, religion, etc). The importance of culture in Nigeria cannot be overestimated.

Nigeria culture plays an important role in lives of separate individuals and the society as the whole. Culture helps to accumulates, control and organise the human experience. It is basically what makes a person human. When a person becomes a member of the society, he accumulates knowledge about language, symbols, values, norms, customs and traditions of that environment. In this country, individuals usually become a part of one or more ethnic groups in Nigeria. An person’s immersion in a culture is determined by his/her socialization, familiarity with cultural heritage, as well as the development of his individual abilities.All these are usually achieved in the process of upbringing and education. Culture unites people, integrates them, and ensures their strength as a community. Unfortunately, in our country, some subcultures oppose each other which lead to the spread of cultural differences in Nigeria. Cultural conflicts can arise within large communities as a result. To prevent this, it is important to control the formation of cultural values in a society. This is one of the tools used by the government to create a more conducive and secured environment.

Features/characteristics of culture

Culture is dynamic and flexible

Culture is learnt over a period of time

Culture is continuous and does not die with people

Culture differs from place to place

Culture is universal to mankind and not particular to a peculiar group of people.

Exercise

What is culture?

Briefly explain the two components of culture.

Mention the general characteristics of culture and explain whether and how they are obtainable in your specific cultural background.

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