Identify and define the seven basic elements of nonmaterial culture.

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Culture is defined as the entirety of the man-made environment that humans have created for themselves.  It is a term that covers a wide range of areas including both the material and non-material aspects of life. 

Material culture relates to actual physical objects that are a part of human culture including homes, transportation vehicles, and the devices like televisions and microwaves that are a part of daily life for most humans.

Non-material culture refers to ideas and ways of thinking that define a human culture.  The seven basic elements of non-material culture are outlined below.

1) Gestures are motions and signals that people use to communicate using their bodies.

2) Language is the development of a written and spoken set of characters that can be combined in different ways to communicate with each other.

3) Values are a set of defined moral standards designed to establish a general system of ethics for a society.

4) Norms are sets of standard behavior that are based on cultural values.

5) Sanctions are mechanisms for control over people's actions based on its norms and values.

6) Folkways are informal social norms designed to guide casual social interactions.

7) Mores are very important social norms that have great significance to a culture and are much more strictly enforced.