Value is defined as the worth or importance of something compared to other things. Value is assigned to concepts, ideas, people, and objects and helps guide a person to make choices in life. Value motivates people to make choices that act in the best interest that reflect what is important to them.
Values guide how a person interacts with the world around them by aiding the person in choosing actions that reflect their perceptions. What is valuable to one person may not be valuable to another. Value is, in part, based on a person’s past experiences and cultural background.
A person’s values are reflected in their ethics and overall behavior. Cultural values reflect what a society believes is right or wrong. If society deems a concept as righteous or valuable, it will be widespread and passed on from generation to generation.
What are cultural values? The definition of cultural values is the core principles or ideals that an entire community or society is based around. The community revolves around these concepts and forms a harmonious, interconnected relationship around these shared values. The concepts embodied in a culture’s values include a society’s traditions, rituals, and beliefs.
Traditions are the customs and beliefs that are passed down from generation to generation. They preserve the ideals and concepts of a society. A belief is when an individual from a particular culture shares an idea with the other people in their community. A ritual is a sequence of activities that are performed due to a belief. This is common in religious beliefs for a culture. A custom is a tradition that is widely accepted in a particular culture.
Cultural values can include a particular way of dressing within a society. Traditional garb can be linked to a particular ceremony, holiday, or time of the year. This can be considered a part of a person’s cultural behavior. The way people behave and speak is another form of cultural value that has been tied to a particular group of people. The music and religion of a region is part of their cultural value.
Some cultural values may be shared by more than one cultural group. Many geographical areas may borrow similar cultural values based on their similar experiences. In the same way that cultural values can be similar amongst different cultures, cultural values can also contradict each other. This will be covered more thoroughly in the next section with the use of a specific example.