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Chapter 3 Culture.

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1 Chapter 3 Culture

2 The study of culture is basic to sociology. In this
chapter we will examine the meaning of culture and society as well as the development of culture from its roots in the prehistoric human experience to the technologic advances of today.

3 Culture and Society Culture is the totality of learned, socially transmitted behavior. It includes the ideas, values, customs, and artifacts (for example, CDs, comic books, and birth control devices) of groups of people. A tribe that cultivates soil by hand has just as much of a culture as a people that relies on computer-operated machinery.

4 Cont. A fairly large number of people are said to constitute a society when they live in the same territory, are relatively independent of people outside their area, and participate in a common culture. Members of a society generally share a common language, which facilitates day-to-day exchanges with others.

5 Development of Culture around the World
Despite their differences, all societies have developed certain common practices and beliefs known as cultural universals (文化普同性). Anthropologist George Murdock compiled a list of cultural universals, including athletic sports, marriage, cooking, funeral ceremonies, medicine, and sexual restrictions. The cultural practices listed by Murdock may be universal, but the manner in which they are expressed varies from culture to culture.

6 Sumo Wrestling, Japan Camel Racing, Saudi Arabia

7 The process of introducing an idea or object that
Cont. Innovation The process of introducing an idea or object that is new to culture is known as innovation. There are two forms of innovation: discovery and invention. A discovery involves making known or sharing the existence of an aspect of reality. By contrast, an invention results when existing cultural items are combined into a form that did not exist before.

8 Diffusion and Technology Diffusion refers to the process by which a
Cont. Diffusion and Technology Diffusion refers to the process by which a cultural item is spread from group to group or society to society. It can occur through a variety of means, among them exploration, military conquest, missionary work, the influence of the mass media, tourism, and the Internet.

9 Examples of cultural diffusion
Forbidden City Shanghai Examples of cultural diffusion Seattle

10 Cont. Sociologists William F. Ogburn made a useful distinction between the elements of material and nonmaterial culture. Material culture refers to the physical or technological aspects of our daily lives, including food items, houses, factories, and raw materials. Nonmaterial culture refers to ways of using material objects and to customs, beliefs, philosophies, governments, and patterns of communication. Generally, the nonmaterial culture is more resistant to change than the material culture is.

11 Elements of Culture Language is an abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture. It includes speech, written characters, numerals, symbols, and gestures and expressions of nonverbal communication. Unlike some other elements of culture, language permeates all parts of society. While language is a cultural universal, striking differences in the use of language are evident around the world.

12 Cont. Norms (規範) are established standards of behavior maintained by a society. Formal norms have generally been written down and specify strict rules for punishment of violators. By contrast, informal norms are generally understood but are not precisely recorded. Mores (民德)are norms deemed highly necessary to the welfare of a society, often because they embody the most cherished principles of a people. Folkways (民俗)are norms governing everyday behavior. Society is less likely to formalize folkways than mores, and their violation raises comparatively little concern.

13 Cont. Sanctions (制裁)are penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm. Conformity to a norm can lead to positive sanctions such as a pay raise, a medal, a word of gratitude, or a pat on the back. Negative sanctions include fines, threats, imprisonment, and stares of contempt.

14 Norms and Sanctions Norms Sanctions Formal Informal Positive Negative
Salary bonus Demotion Testimonial Firing from a job Medal Jail sentence Diploma Expulsion Smile Frown Compliment Humiliation Cheers Belittling

15 Cont. Values are collective conceptions of what is considered good, desirable, and proper —or bad, undesirable, and improper—in a culture. Values influence people’s behavior and serve as criteria for evaluating the actions of others. There is often a direct relationship among the values, norms, and sanctions of a culture.

16 Culture and the Dominant Ideology
Dominant ideology describes the set of cultural beliefs and practices that help to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interests. [e.g., dominant ideology and poverty individualistic and structural explanations, income lines among racial and ethnic minorities]

17 Cont. Functionalists maintain that stability requires a consensus and the support of society’s members; consequently, there are strong central values and common norms. Conflict theorists agree that a common culture may exist, but they argue that it serves to maintain the privileges of some groups rather than others. From a conflict perspective, the dominant ideology has major social significance. Not only do a society’s most powerful groups and institutions control wealth and property; even more important, they control the means of producing beliefs about reality through religion, education, and the media.

18 Cultural Variation Aspects of cultural variation
A subculture (次文化)is a segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differ from the patterns of the larger society. The existence of many subcultures is characteristic of complex societies such as the United States. Members of a subculture participate in the dominant culture, while at the same time engaging in their unique and distinctive forms of behavior. Frequently, a subculture will develop an argot (隱語), or specialized language, which distinguishes it from the wider society.

19 Cont. Subcultures may be based on common age (teenagers or old people), region (Appalachians), ethnic heritage (Cuban Americans), occupation (fire-fighters), beliefs (deaf activists working to preserve deaf culture), or shared interest or hobby (computer hackers).

20 Cont. When a subculture conspicuously and deliberately opposes certain aspects of the larger culture, it is known as a Countercultures (反抗文化)typically thrive among the young, who have the least investment in the existing culture. In most cases, a 20-year-old can adjust to new cultural standards more easily than someone who has spent 60 years following the patterns of the dominant culture.

21 Cont. Anyone who feels disoriented, out of place, even fearful, when immersed in an unfamiliar culture may be experiencing culture shock (文化震撼). All of us, to some extent, take for granted the cultural practices of our society. As a result, it can be surprising and even disturbing to realize that other cultures do not follow our ‘way of life.’ [e.g., US people see dog meat eaters in China; a strict Islamic woman is shocked by provocative dress on a US teen.]

22 Proactive Dress of Western Women
Islamic Women Dress VS.

23 Long-neck tribe of Thailand

24 Cont. Sociologists William Graham Sumner coined the term ethnocentrism (民族優越感) to refer to the tendency to assume that one’s own culture and way of life constitute the norm or are superior to all others. The ethnocentric person sees his or her own group as the center or defining point of culture and views all other cultures as deviations from what is “normal.” Conflict theorists point out that ethnocentric value judgments serve to devalue groups and to deny equal opportunities. Functionalists note that ethnocentrism serves to maintain a sense of solidarity by promoting group pride.

25 While ethnocentrism evaluates foreign cultures using the familiar culture of the observer as a standard of correct behavior, cultural relativism (文化相對性) views people’s behavior from the perspective of their own culture. It places a priority on understanding other cultures, rather than dismissing them as ‘strange’ or ‘exotic.’ Unlike ethnocentrism, cultural relativism employs the kind of value neutrality in scientific study that Max Weber saw as so important. [e.g., a story of Chinese immigrants in the NYC]

26 Cont. Xenocentrism (反向的種族中心主義)is the belief that the products, styles, or ideas of one’s society are inferior to those that originate elsewhere. In a sense, it is a reverse ethnocentrism. [Häagen Dazs ice cream, made in New Jersey, USA, is an example to make it sounded European]

27 Cont. Bilingualism refers to the use of two or more languages in a particular setting, such as the workplace or educational facilities, treating each language as equally legitimate. Thus, a program of bilingual education may instruct children in their native language while gradually introducing them to the language of the host society. For a long time people in the United States demanded conformity to a single language. In a sense, this demand coincides with the functionalist view that language serves to unify members of a society. Beginning in the 1960s, active movements for Black pride and ethnic pride insisted that people regard the traditions of all racial and ethnic subcultures as legitimate and important. Conflict theorists explain this development as a case of subordinated language minorities seeking opportunities of self-expression. The perspective of conflict theory also helps us understand some of the attacks on bilingual programs. Many of them stem from an ethnocentric point of view, which holds that any deviation from the majority is bad.

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