Cultural practice

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Cultural practice generally refers to the manifestation of a culture or sub-culture, especially in regard to the traditional and customary practices of a particular ethnic or other cultural group. In the broadest sense, this term can apply to any person manifesting any aspect of any culture at any time. However, in practical usage it often refers to the traditional practices developed within specific ethnic cultures, especially those aspects of culture that have been practiced since ancient times.

The term is gaining in importance due to the increased controversy over “rights of cultural practice”, which are protected in many jurisdictions for indigenous peoples and sometimes ethnic minorities. It is also a major component of the field of cultural studies, and is a primary focus of international works such as the United Nations declaration of the rights of indigenous Peoples.

Cultural practice is also a subject of discussion in questions of cultural survival. If an ethnic group retains its formal ethnic identity but loses its core cultural practices or the knowledge, resources, or ability to continue them, questions arise as to whether the culture is able to actually survive at all. International bodies such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues continually work on these issues, which are increasingly at the forefront of globalization questions.