What does culture mean to you?

Exploratory study among Spanish citizens by Jinju Kim and Jordi López

Jinju Kim and Jordi López from the Spanish INVENT team conducted an exploratory study about the meaning of culture in Spain between 27th May 2020 and 4th July 2020 in Catalan and Spanish languages. It asked Spaniards “What comes to mind first when you think of the word culture? Please elaborate.” The number of respondents was 40, including 20 men and 18 women. Almost half of the respondents were aged 50 and older, the others were in their 20s, 30s, or 40s.

Wordcloud shows the frequency of words with the size of words and the centrality in the plot. The above word cloud shows the main keywords that informants use when they talk about culture. The most frequent words (in black) are ‘Knowlege (conocimiento)’, ‘Art (arte)’ together with words ‘Life (vida)’, ‘Person (persona)’ (in yellow). This means that informants relate culture with Art and/or accumulated knowledge of life. Other highly used words are ‘society (sociedad)’, ‘theater (teatro)’, ‘integration (conjunto)’, and ‘costume (costumbre)(conocimiento)’, ‘Art (arte)’ together with words ‘Life (vida)’, ‘Person (persona)’ (in yellow). This means that informants relate culture with Art and/or accumulated knowledge of life. Other highly used words are ‘society (sociedad)’, ‘theater (teatro)’, ‘integration (conjunto)’, and ‘costume (costumbre)’.

By conducting semantic network analysis we can articulate how words in which respondent use to describe culture are related to each other. In a semantic network, there is a node, a unique keyword appears in the network, and degree, the frequency of two nodes used together. We select the 40 nodes with the top 40 highest degrees in the semantic network. It reveals that ‘Art (arte)’ and ‘Knowledge (conocimiento)’ are indeed the central words as the words cloud. ‘Art’ is mainly linked to various activities of culture likes ‘music (música)’, ‘literature (literature)’ and ‘theater (teatro)’ while ‘knowledge (conocimento)’ is closely linked to a way of life as culture like ‘life (vida)’, ‘person (persona)’, and ‘integration (conjunto)’. These two concepts, art and accumulated knowledge of life are arguably the most relevant expressions of culture in Spain.

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