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What is a cultural essay and how to write it?

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Illustration for a paper on Culture

Academic essay on culture is a work, which develops a student’s creative skills and their capacity to solve non-standard problems. The extent of student’s freedom in writing about culture is quite high in comparison to other types of papers.

For example, a student can choose a topic, style, literature, and other elements on his or her own. In addition to citing key sources, writing culture papers presupposes using journal publications, fiction literature, and everyday facts of contemporary culture.

Before proceeding with writing an essay on cultural peculiarities (of whatever you choose), examine various sources in detail since cultural studies are closely related to such sciences as sociology, art history, philosophy, linguistics, religion, ethnography, and psychology.

Writing about culture is rather a complicated process that includes several steps:

  • individual study of great amount of information;
  • searching for good books, articles, reports, and other useful information;
  • forming a database of examples;
  • writing down your own thoughts on a particular topic;
  • creating a detailed culture essay outline;
  • making up arguments and conclusions.

Ideas for cultural essay topics

Cultural studies is a science that investigates laws of cultural processes, phenomena of the material and spiritual heritage, cultural interests and needs of people, as well as preservation, enhancement, and transmission of cultural values. Cultural studies as an academic discipline appeared in the intersection of philosophy, archeology, history, psychology, ethnography, religious studies, sociology, and art. Therefore, it can legitimately be titled as an integrative sphere of knowledge.

Here are some ideas of general topics for a research paper or an essay in cultural studies:

  • Analysis of a system of cultural phenomena in a certain period
  • Spiritual heritage of a certain nation and its influence on everyday lives of people
  • Types of relationships between cultures of neighboring peoples
  • Culture typologies and cultural units
  • Problems of social and cultural dynamics
  • Cultural codes and communication.

You may also write a culture essay about basic cultural theories with the historical or sociological approach or focus on exploring only specific areas of the science.

How to write a cultural analysis essay?

An analytical paper of any kind always requires a lot of preliminary work. So, how do you start a culture essay, or even, how do you start the preparation stage of the culture essay writing? There is a commonly accepted and effective plan for this process:

  • Choose the topic of your interest;
  • Select suitable literature;
  • Study the sources;
  • Collect, generalize, and systematize crucial information;
  • Compose a plan;
  • Write the essay according to the plan;
  • Format and edit it.

How to write introduction of a culture essay?

Introduction of an essay should be catching and attract attention. It should provide a clear idea of what will be discussed next, and the professor should see that you are answering a specific set of questions. So, in a good introduction you should:

  • demonstrate your intention to answer the question or solve the problem posed;
  • show that you understand the topic;
  • outline the structure of your response and the main aspects that you will consider;
  • confirm that you have done some research and cite one of your sources;
  • be laconic (the introductory part should take up about 8-9% of the total volume of the text).

What is a thesis statement in a cultural studies essay?

A thesis statement is a short and succinct expression containing the main idea. The thesis of an essay about cultures must be formulated clearly and must have an evidence base. In a thesis statement, you should never indicate controversial points that can prompt the reader to discussion. This part expresses the main idea that will further be argued in the paper.

What to include in the body paragraphs?

In the main body you should explain each of the arguments presented in the thesis using examples and illustrations. Information should be clearly and logically structured and the text should be divided into paragraphs – one paragraph per argument. You need to think through the structure of your essay and make sure that the body leads to a conclusion logically.

How to compose a conclusion?

A good conclusion is much more than a simple restatement of ideas expressed in the main part of the work. Different types of essays require different conclusions. If you don’t know how to finish your paper properly, here is a plan of what a conclusion should include:

  • A short discussion of the main ideas. It is worth referring to the introduction and drawing parallels using the same keywords, but a different wording. Don’t repeat your arguments word for word;
  • Potential application. After restating the main arguments of your paper, propose the ways of applying your research results to a real-life situation;
  • A discussion starter. You may use a thought-provoking question, a quote, summary of the results of your research, a possible solution of a problem, or a call to action.

We hope these tips prove effective for writing about culture and will help you compose a good cultural analysis!

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