Test your Level B2 reading skills with this text. Read the article then answer the 6 questions that follow.
What is culture?
Culture is defined as the ‘socially transmitted behaviour patterns, arts, beliefs, and institutions that are the expression of a particular class, community or period’. To most people, this is seen in terms of books, paintings, rituals and ceremonies, but recently there has been a new entrant in the field of what is considered to be ‘culture’ – the Internet.
On the Internet, science & art, media and mind combine to create a modern culture which is far more widespread than any of its predecessors. Not referring to the casual user who has no particular interest in the Internet, active supporters of the Internet as a culture have given themselves nomenclature to reflect their cultural aspirations – they are the new cyberpoets. A cyberpoet can be defined as ‘one who makes frequent trips to the edge of technology, society and traditional culture and strives to be artful in their use of virtual space’.
Supporter or opponent of this new culture, there is little doubt that the Internet offers a lot to our traditional view of culture. In just a few minutes in front of a keyboard, we can read almost anything that has ever been written, yet no paper had to be made, no library had to stay open and thus the cost remains minimal. All of this encourages even the casual surfer to explore further than he or she otherwise would have. The same effect can be observed with works of art. Previously available to be viewed only in museums if they were not in the hands of private collectors, all but a few famous works are now replicated on the Internet.
Yet the Internet is not merely a mirror of traditional culture – it is also a new culture in its own right. The medium of the Net allows for wider distribution and new platforms for most forms of art. ‘Kinetic art’ and other such computerised art forms occur with increasing regularity, both motivated by and generating an upsurge in popular and computer-mediated art.
In addition, if culture is said to be ‘socially transmitted’, then the Internet is remarkable in its ability to share, on an almost global scale, all the factors that constitute culture. We have only to hear the influence of jargon as we visit dub-dub-dub dot sites and surf the web to see how international the Internet has become to the majority.
Very few people would disagree that the cyberpoets are increasingly asserting themselves into popular culture. What is not so certain is how far this will go, as the Internet continues to assimilate more and more forms of culture, reaching global audiences. It is not inconceivable that our entire perception of culture will soon become cyber-focused.
Now answer the questions below. When you have finished, click ‘Finish quiz’. To see which of your answers were correct and the explanations why, click ‘View questions’.
Are the statements TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN according to the text?
1. The majority of people consider ‘culture’ to be represented by traditional forms of art and literature.
2. The internet as a culture is not extensive.
3. Through the Internet, every written word can be accessed.
4. The Internet provides a stage for all forms of art.
5. An insignificant number remain unaffected by the international nature of the Internet.
6. Only a few people believe that ‘cyberpoets’ are becoming part of our popular culture.