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

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

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

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 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 (pastoral) 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

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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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