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Chapter 3 Culture and Society Anthony Giddens Mitchell Duneier Richard P. Appelbaum.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3 Culture and Society Anthony Giddens Mitchell Duneier Richard P. Appelbaum."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3 Culture and Society Anthony Giddens Mitchell Duneier Richard P. Appelbaum

2 The Sociological Study of Culture What Is Culture? –Values –Language –Norms –Symbols –Material goods

3 The Sociological Study of Culture What Is Culture? –Values Abstract ideals shared by group  Can change over time  May differ within culture –Norms Principles or rules of social life  Can change over time  May differ within culture –Material Goods Physical objects a society creates that influence the ways people live  Material culture is rapidly becoming globalized

4 The Sociological Study of Culture Culture and Society –Society is a system of interrelationships that connects individuals Culture could not exist without society and vice versa –Culture serves as an important source of conformity within society Members learn norms in childhood Social control is used when a person fails to conform

5 The Sociological Study of Culture Culture and Change: A “Cultural Turn” in Sociology? –Cultural turn: Sociology’s recent emphasis on understanding role of culture in daily life  Cultural tool kit: variety of scripts to draw on depending on situation  No single “reality” is applied to social situations

6 The Development of Human Culture Early Human Culture –Culture enabled early humans to compensate for physical limitations Made tools Hunted animals Used fire Made clothing Established cooperative way of life

7 The Development of Human Culture Nature or Nurture? –Are we shaped by biology or products of learning? –Biologists, psychologists Emphasize biology –Sociologists Stress role of learning and culture Humans make conscious choices, therefore neither biology nor culture wholly determines behavior

8 The Development of Human Culture Nature or Nurture? (cont) –Sociobiology Began in 1975 with Edward O. Wilson Genes influence physical traits and behavior Social scientists criticize sociobiology for claiming that likelihood of displaying certain behaviors (such as violence) is genetic

9 The Development of Human Culture How Nature and Nurture Interact –Sociologists acknowledge biology helps shape behavior but their main concern is how behavior is learned through interactions with society If biology were all-important, cultures would be similar or identical but this is not true All cultures have common characteristics (language, sexual behavior, etc.) but large variety exists in how they are played out

10 The Development of Human Culture Cultural Diversity –Industrialized societies have subcultures Diverse cultures within a society Different languages or cultural patterns –Culture helps perpetuate norms, but subcultures offer opportunities for creativity and change such as the following: Can reject prevailing values and norms Can promote alternatives to dominant culture Can act as force of change

11 The Development of Human Culture Assimilation vs. Multiculturalism –Assimilation is the process by which different cultures are absorbed into mainstream culture (melting pot) –Multiculturalism calls for respecting cultural diversity and promoting equality of different cultures (salad bowl)

12 The Development of Human Culture What Is Ethnocentrism? –Ethnocentrism is judging other cultures in terms of one’s own standards Sociologists try to avoid this –Cultural relativism is judging a society by its own standards Sociologists believe a culture must be studied in terms of its own meanings and values

13 The Development of Human Culture Cultural Universals –Common features of human behavior found in all societies are called cultural universals, such as: Language Marriage Prohibition against incest Art Dance Joking Hygiene

14 The Development of Human Culture Language –Language is involved in virtually all our activities –Means by which we organize what we do –Involved in ceremony, religion, poetry, etc. –Allows us to extend scope of thought and experience

15 The Development of Human Culture Language –Linguistic relativity hypothesis Language influences our perceptions of the world –Language gives permanence to a culture Outlives people Develops a sense of history and cultural continuity Helps shape identity

16 The Development of Human Culture Speech and Writing –All societies use speech as vehicle of language –Invention of writing marked major transition in history –Speech is limited to the context in which words were spoken, but text can endure for thousands of years

17 Table 3.1

18 Global Map 3.2

19 Premodern Societies The Earliest Societies –Hunters and Gatherers For most of human existence we lived in small hunting and gathering societies Gained livelihood from hunting, fishing, gathering edible plants Focused on religious values and ritual activities, not material wealth Little inequality existed

20 Global Map 3.1 top

21 Global Map 3.1 middle

22 Global Map 3.1 bottom

23 Premodern Societies Pastoral and Agrarian Societies –Pastoral societies relied mainly on domesticated livestock Some still exist in modern world; found in regions not amenable to agriculture –Agrarian societies grew crops This more reliable food supply supported larger communities Because people did not move around as much, they developed larger stocks of material possessions

24 Table 3.2

25 Premodern Societies Traditional Societies or Civilizations –Based on the development of cities –Large –Pronounced inequalities existed between those with or without wealth and power –Ruled by kings or emperors –Developed writing, art, science –Many were empires

26 Societies in the Modern World Industrialization –Industrialization: The emergence of machine production based on the use of inanimate power resources (such as steam, or electricity)

27 Table 3.3 top

28 Table 3.3 bottom

29 Societies in the Modern World Industrialization –Industrialized (modern) societies differ in several key respects from previous social order Technological advances occur much faster Majority employed in factories, offices, shops Majority live in towns or cities Political systems are more developed  Nation-states: political communities with clear borders  Government has large impact on citizens’ lives Based on industrial production and generally free enterprise

30 Societies in the Modern World Global Development –Colonialism helped shape the social map of the globe as we know it today Societies that were not colonialized have become industrialized  First world (United States, Europe, Canada, Australasia, South Africa, Japan) Societies that were colonialized experienced much a lower level of industrial development and are referred to as the developing world  Third world (majority in Asia, Africa, and South America)

31 Societies in the Modern World The Developing World –Some countries never ruled by Europe are still strongly influenced by colonial relationships –Most nations in the developing world became independent states only since World War II only after bloody struggles –Most are nation-states

32 Societies in the Modern World The Developing World (cont) –Most people live in rural areas, but cities are developing rapidly –Poverty, low life expectancy, lack of education, malnutrition, and substandard housing exist –Gender inequalities exist

33 Global Map 3.3

34 Fig. 3.1

35 The Effect of Globalization Global Culture –Increased global communications and economic interdependence represent more than the growth of world unity –Forces that produce a global culture: Television Unified global economy Global citizens International organizations Electronic communications

36 Global Map 3.4

37 The Effect of Globalization Internet and Global Culture –Internet can promote a global culture or strengthen nationalism and traditional cultural values Time and distance reorganized, bringing us closer together But can also promote a rise of nationalism, bringing ethnic conflict and ethnic pride

38 Review Questions 1. From a sociological perspective, culture can be defined as ________. a)the material goods that a people creates to represent the ideologies and practices that they embrace and identify with b)a tool kit of practices that are learned in a given society c)a system of interrelationships that connects individuals d)the values, norms, and material goods held or created by a given group

39 Review Questions 2. Sociologically speaking, a society can be defined as ________. a)a network of subcultures that may cross regional or national borders b)a group of people who live within the same nation-state c)a group of people who share the same values, norms, and language d)a system of interrelationships that connects individuals

40 Review Questions 3. Which of the following statements best captures sociologist Ann Swidler’s notion of culture as a “tool kit”? a)Culture is a series of scripts on which people draw to construct their social interactions. b)Culture is flexible and people participate in many different cultures by selecting different understandings and behaviors from their cultural took kit. c)People use cultural tools—material goods, values, norms, language—to create a uniform reality in which they feel comfortable. d)Depending on where people are born and how they are raised, they are given certain tools that influence how they value and interpret the world.

41 Review Questions 4. The nature versus nurture debate examines the importance of _____ in shaping human behavior. a)biology and learning/culture b)the natural environment and the social environment c)physical and cognitive traits d)All of the above e)None of the above

42 Review Questions 5. According to the linguistic relativity hypothesis, how does language influence our perceptions of the world? a)Language allows us to extend the scope of our thoughts and experiences and construct complex ideas about the world. b)Language serves as a barrier between cultures; if we cannot communicate verbally with someone, we are more likely to view that person as unfriendly and view his way of doing things in a negative light. c)As the world around us changes, language evolves which helps people embrace these changes. d)We are more likely to be aware of things if we have words for them.

43 Review Questions 6. A nation-state can best be defined as ________. a)a society characterized by an extremely rapid pace of technological innovation that brings about frequent and significant social and political changes b)a political community with clearly marked borders in which a democratically elected government creates laws and allows for a pluralistic, open society c)a society based on the development of cities, marked by significant inequalities of wealth and power, and most often ruled by an elite oligarchy d)a political community with clearly marked borders in which a government creates laws that apply to all who live within the borders

44 Review Questions 7. How do developing countries today differ from traditional civilizations? a)There is great inequality in developing countries today, while traditional societies had low levels of inequality. b)Developing countries do not depend on agriculture as their main economic activity as traditional civilizations did. c)Most developing countries are involved in trade with countries around the world; at best traditional civilizations interacted with bordering societies or civilizations. d)Virtually all developing countries have free-market economies whereas traditional civilizations had centrally planned economies.


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