Cultural Theory

Definition: Cultural Theory was apply to understand the dynamics of culture in different environments. This is a stage that everyone will have to face since culture is part of society, since there are many components to culture. This include the interplay between cultural tradition and cultural difference and diversity. Moreover, culture is seen as the primary adaptive mechanism of humans to adapt themselves in different environments. Culture is also divided into high culture, low culture.
Apply: Being able to apply a cultural theory lens allows to see what the needs common to all people are. It allows to pay attention to the whole and parts of an issue, evaluate the value systems of certain groups of people. It is also helpful to understand key variables of countries, blocs of countries and human beings and the natural environment.
Adapt: Cultural theory can be adoptive for example by many immigrant families that come to live in the US and leave everything behind. In order to adopt to the new environment they bring mechanisms to view the world as a holistic place. For example many communities will start to build community centers and shops that meet their needs, such as Mexican Town in Detroit. We also have the example of many immigrants that send remittances back to their country not only for economic needs but to continue on their culture and feel the belong in a holistic world.


  1. Apply: Social workers can apply cultural theory in working with refugee families in evaluating how children adapt to a new culture vs. their parents and what interventions may be necessary as both go through acculturation processes.

    Adapt: Sociologists can use cultural theory to look at Urban centers such as Los Angeles and see how different cultural groups have adapted to each other to form distinct yet, geographic identities.

  2. Apply: Cultural Theory would be applied in every profession, however, this will take time. Not only is there an importance to apply cultural theory there is a need for cultural humility. Without cultural humility than cultural theory will be difficult to adopt by the majority. Cultural theory is a good framework to work with when working with first generation students and families.

    Adapt: Cultural theory is useful to help students have a smooth transitions into the Western cultures. By building programs and curriculum that integrates cultures will likely facilitate a more comfortable environment which can help engage students in learning. Students will feel more comfortable being around other students who are being educated about their culture and will feel less of an outsider and other students will be less likely to bully students from other cultures.

  3. Apply: This brings me to the point of how as social workers we need to become cultural competent. It is one thing to read about a culture. It is another thing to actually spend some time with a specific culture and completely immerse self within it. This will allow the individual to not only understand but be in the culture and with the people who identify with this specific culture. I agree cultural theory can be helpful in every profession. One profession in particular is teaching. When students are learning about a certain culture it could be beneficial for them to spend time with the culture. Events like cultural festivals, Pow wows, and a day for the students to bring in food that respresent the culture they would like to learn more about. If students and all individuals are not exposed to different cultures, different ethnic food. How will they learn how to accept each other and understand diversity?

    There are organizations and volunteering opportunties like the Peace Corps which offer individuals from the USA to live in a culture for two years. In those two years the individual literally becomes a part of the culture. If individuals who decide to go the Peace Corps are not accepting in diversity it will not benefit the individual or culture.