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Chapter 3: Culture and Society: Hardware and Software of Our Social World Soc 100Dr. Santos.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3: Culture and Society: Hardware and Software of Our Social World Soc 100Dr. Santos."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3: Culture and Society: Hardware and Software of Our Social World Soc 100Dr. Santos

2 Culture and Society ► Society as “hardware” ► Culture as “software”

3 The Importance of Software ► Culture makes societies unique. Culture is the way of life shared by a group of people.  Knowledge  Beliefs  Values  Rules or laws  Language  Customs  Symbols  Material products ► Culture provides a guideline for carrying out tasks and giving meaning to human activities

4 Society: The Hardware ► Societies are composed of structures  Positions we hold  Groups we belong to  Institutions

5 Society: The Hardware ► Society develops in stages depending on many things  Availability of resources  Technological/scientific knowledge  Contact with other societies  Cultural beliefs  Political events and changes

6 Evolution of Societies ► Mechanic societies  Small, simple, pre- modern societies  Held together by common beliefs, values, and emotional ties  Labor is divided by male/female distinctions and age groupings, with little or no status inequality ► Organic societies  Large, complex societies  Held together by the specialization of tasks  Division of labor that carry significant status inequalities  Efficiency is a key value  Institutions and rule- driven bureaucratic organizations begin to exist.

7 Types of Societies ► Hunting and Gathering (Band) Societies  99% of human history  Rely on wild vegetation and animals to live (none domesticated); this includes fishing & scavenging  Organized around kinship --> spousal exchanges  Nomadic, usually in circular seasonal patterns  Small (between 20-50 members)  Gendered division of labor with little status difference  Resources shared fairly: sharing is highest value  No rulers or chiefs - stateless  Actions and behaviors dictated through tradition or survival in specific ecological niches  Lack material possessions and the desire for them

8 Types of Societies ► Herding and Horticultural Societies  Herding (pastoral) societies ► produce small herds of domesticated animals for food and survival  Horticultural societies ► maintain small garden plots of domesticated plants for food and survival: nomadic, semi-nomadic, settled village modes ► Combined with gathering, hunting & fishing activities to various degrees ► Chiefdoms emerged, from temporary to hereditary; from one village to many

9 Types of Societies ► Herding and Horticultural Societies  Semi-Nomadic  Relatively small (50 - 3,000 members) in Old World; became quite large in New World  Status differences become important and produce inequality  “Traditional” gender roles emerge: patriarchy & matriarchy  Some material possessions are unequally distributed, as casts/strata emerge

10 Types of Societies ► Agricultural Societies  Rely on raising domesticated crops for food  Use technological advances for increased efficiency and higher crop yields ► Plows ► Irrigation ► Use of animals ► Fertilization  Very labor intensive --> peasantization is accompanied with the rise of the central state & landlord classes, who exploit and oppress the peasants & dispossess them of surplus.

11 Types of Societies ► Agricultural Societies  Permanent settlements  Use of advanced technologies  Populations can be large (1,000,000 or more)  Stratification intensifies ► Peasant classes ► Ruling classes: kings & dynasties, landlord nobilities, priests  Institutions beyond the family are established ► Religious ► Political ► Military organizations

12 Types of Societies ► Industrial Societies  Rely on mechanized production  Pronounced division of labor  Rise in overall standard of living ► Wide gaps between owners and laborers appear and are the subject of bitter class struggle  State power and coercive apparatus become consolidated --> bigger wars & revolutions  Population concentrates in cities: urbanization and de-peasantization  Kinship patterns change: women lose status  Social change becomes ever more rapid

13 Types of Societies ► Postindustrial Societies  Technology, or scientific knowledge used for utilitarian or economic purposes, is very important  Majority of labor force in service positions  The division of labor more pronounced & globalized  Technical and professional education increasingly important ► Stratification based on technological knowledge and education now overlaps wealth & status stratification  Emphasis on science to solve social problems including: ► Creating alternate energy sources ► Finding automated ways of completing tasks ► Using computers and robots to complete tasks formerly done by individuals  Information Revolution: the internet, cable TV, etc.

14 Culture: The Software ► Culture is the way of shared life by a group of people—the knowledge, beliefs, values, rules or lays, language, customs, symbols, and material products within a society that help meet human needs & give meaning to human activities

15 Real Versus Ideal Culture ► We teach new members of our society the ideal culture, or the practices and beliefs that are most desirable & avowed ► However, the real culture of a society refers to the way things in society are actually done, including those practices and beliefs that are unavowed or deemed undesirable

16 Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativity ► Ethnocentrism is the tendency to view one’s own group and its cultural values & expectations as right, proper, and superior to others:  We’re Number One! ► Cultural relativism is setting aside one’s own personal beliefs and prejudices to understand and value a culture by its own standards, or as a member of that culture would


18 Culture and Our Social World (at the National Level) Geoculture of the world-system

19 Micro-level Analysis: Microstructures ► Microcultures – organizations that influence only a small segment of an individual’s lives or only affects an individual’s life for a small period of time

20 Meso-level Analysis: Subcultures and Countercultures ► A subculture is a social unit smaller than & embedded in a national state but large enough to sustain people throughout the life span  Elements that make them unique  Share conventions and expectations of national dominant culture  Influence people’s lives in pervasive ways ► Not so “Sub:” May actually exist “repeatedly” in various contiguous or dispersed national states: oppressed nationalities (Kurds), diasporas (African, Chinese, Jewish) and culture regions (Western Hemisphere Indigenous Peoples)

21 Meso-level Analysis: Subcultures and Countercultures ► A counterculture is a group or movements with expectations and values that challenge or contrast sharply with the dominant values of a particular society  Values or practices that go against laws and regulations of the dominant culture ► May wish to replace values of the larger culture  Most often short-lived, but may have lasting impact  Some aspects accepted by the dominant culture  Countercultures can challenge unfair treatment of powerless groups in society or various shortcomings in its dominant culture (consumerism, eco-toxic, violent prone or militaristic, shallow & unenchanted, etc.)

22 Macro-level Analysis: National and Global Culture ► Natural Culture and Society  Every culture intricately related to a society ► Global Society and Culture  Globalization is the process where the entire globe is becoming a “single socio-cultural place” - each world era has its “geoculture” ► Globalization or Westernization?  Global culture is the behavioral standards, symbols, values, and material objects that have become common across the globe

23 Material Culture: The Artifacts of Life ► Material culture includes all the objects we can see or touch, all the artifacts of a group of people

24 Nonmaterial Culture: Beliefs, Values, Rules, and Language ► Nonmaterial culture is the invisible and intangible parts of culture  Beliefs  Values  Norms/Rules  Language

25 Nonmaterial Culture: Beliefs ► Beliefs are ideas we hold about life, about the way the society works, and about where we fit into it  Based in tradition  Influence choices we make

26 Nonmaterial Culture: Values ► Values are nonmaterial shared judgments about what is desirable or undesirable, right or wrong, good or bad  So much a part of the way of life that they can be hard to identify  Groups in society can have different values ► can lead to group conflict

27 Nonmaterial Culture: Rules ► Norms are rules of behavior shared by members of a society and rooted in the value system  Folkways  Mores  Taboos  Laws

28 Non-material Culture: Sanctions ► Sanctions are behaviors that reinforce norms through rewards and penalties  Formal sanctions ► Positive formal sanctions ► Negative formal sanctions  Informal sanctions ► Positive informal sanctions ► Negative informal sanctions

29 Nonmaterial Culture: Language ► Language is the spoken, written, or nonverbal use of symbols to convey meaning, objects, or ideas  Takes three forms: ► Spoken ► Written ► Nonverbal  The foundation of every culture  Makes culture possible

30 Nonmaterial Culture: Language ► Spoken language  Uses a set of sounds to symbolize objects or ideas  Sounds generally hold common meaning to all members of a culture ► Written language  Uses a set of images to symbolize objects or ideas  Societies tend to store information through written language  Makes communication over distances possible ► Nonverbal language  Uses gestures, facial expression, and body posture to symbolize an object or idea

31 Nonmaterial Culture: Language ► The linguistic relativity theory posits that people who speak a specific language make interpretations of their reality based on their knowledge of that language

32 Understanding Culture: Symbolic Interaction Theory ► How we learn to share meanings of symbols ► Symbols are the basic element of all cultures ► “Humanness” comes from the impact we have upon each other through shared understandings of symbols ► We learn meanings of symbols through interaction with others ► We define how we should act through our definition of situations and symbols

33 Understanding Culture: Symbolic Interaction Theory ► Three steps through symbols gain meaning and importance  The symbol is created  The symbol is objectified, assuming a reality independent of the creator  The group internalizes the symbol

34 Understanding Culture: Structural Functionalism ► Looks for the functions or purposes behind the actions and practices of a culture ► Shared norms, values, and beliefs serve the function of holding a society or a subculture together ► However sometimes shared norms, values, and beliefs are dysfunctional for individuals or groups of individuals within a society

35 Understanding Culture: Conflict Theory ► Societies are composed of groups; each of which protects its own self-interests and struggles to make its own cultural ways dominant in the society ► Dominant groups may impose their cultural beliefs on minorities and other subcultural groups  This practice can create conflict ► People with privilege and power in society manipulate agents of socialization so people learn the values, beliefs, and norms of the privileged group(s) ► However, conflict theory does not explain stable societies

36 Policy and Cultural Change  Technology is bringing change to societies around the world  Cultural lag occurs when shifts in society occur unequally between material culture and nonmaterial culture  New technologies must be used cautiously ► Some can save lives ► Others can disrupt and destroy cultures

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