According to Franz Boas, culture is "the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought."

For Levi-Strauss, "Any culture may be looked upon as an ensemble of symbolic systems, in the front rank of which are to be found language, marriage laws, economic relations, art, science, and religion." (Introduction to Marcel Mauss). For anthropologists, culture is "the order of life in which human beings construct meaning through practices of symbolic representation."

Thus, representation is a distinctive manner of imagining the real, and is a fundamental phenomenon upon which all culture rests. (Clifford Geertz)

In anthropology, the historical tendency has been to connect this realm of culture, very closely to the particularities of place. The inclination in anthropology has been to assume an isomorphism between place and culture. The "idea of culture" has historically carried with it an "expectation of roots, of a stable, territorialized existence." (James Clifford, the Predicament of Culture, p. 338)

A civilization is the broadest cultural entity, with the longest story as well.

In "The Location of Cultural Experience," Winnicott describes culture as an extension of the area of play. "No human being is free from the strain of relating inner and outer reality." "This intermediate area of experience, unchallenged in respect of its belonging to inner or external (shared) reality, constitutes the greater part of the infant's experience and throughout life is retained in the intense experiencing that belongs to the arts and to religion and to imaginative living, and to creative scientific work."