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Chapter 2 culture and social structure

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1 Chapter 2 culture and social structure
Culture refers to the social heritage of a people—those learned patterns for thinking, feeling, and acting that are transmitted from one generation to the next, including the embodiment of these patterns in material items. It includes both nonmaterial culture—abstract creations like values, beliefs, symbols, norms, customs, and institutional arrangements—and material culture—physical artifacts or objects like stone axes, computers, loincloths, tuxedos, automobiles, paintings, hammocks, and domed stadiums. Society refers to a group of people who live within the same territory and share a common culture. Very simply, culture has to do with the customs of a people, and society with the people who are practicing the customs. Culture provides the fabric that enables human beings to interpret their experiences and guide their actions, whereas society represents the networks of social relations that arise among a people.

2 Components of culture Norms
Norms are social rules that specify appropriate and inappropriate behavior in given situations. They tell us what “should”, “ought”, and “must” do, as well as what we “should not”, “ought not” and “must not” do. In all cultures, the great body of rules deal with such matters as sex, property, and safety. --Folkways: describe socially acceptable behavior without moral significance. Nonconformity does not threaten society. Ex. Handshake. --Mores: greater moral significance is attached, nonconformity does threaten society, violations are defined by LAW to assure social stability.

3 Components of Culture Values Technology
values are broad ideas regarding what is desirable, correct, and good that most members of a society share. Values are so general and abstract that they do not explicitly specify which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Instead, values provide us with criteria and conceptions by which we evaluate people, objects, and events as to their relative worth, merit, beauty, or morality. Shared beliefs on what is good and bad. Technology objects and the rules for using them, rules for acceptable use

4 Components of culture Symbols and language
Symbols are acts or objects that have come to be socially accepted as standing for something else. They come to represent other things through the shared understanding people have. Language is a socially structured system of sound patterns (words and sentences) with specific and arbitrary meanings. Language is the cornerstone of every culture. Its is the chief vehicle by which people communicate ideas, information, attitudes, and emotions to one another. And its is the principal means by which human beings create culture and transmit it from generation to generation.

5 Levels of Culture Cultural trait- an individual tool, act or belief
Combine Cultural complexes- cluster inter-related traits Culture Patterns- the entire Inter-related whole Football---all sports culture

6 Cultural Universals Differences, but all same basic human needs that society must meet George Murdock, 1940s study, 65 cultural universals found (music, body adornment, funeral ceremonies, myths and folklore, gifting, medicine) Ex family- introduce new members to society, care until self-sufficient, introduce to culture…look different-extended family, 1 husband several wives, single parent Margaret Mead, 2 societies differ, Arapesh v. Mundugmor, temperament result of culture not biology

7 Language Edward Sapir & Benjamin Whorf: linguistic relativity:
1. language shapes how people think 2. people who speak different languages perceive the world in different ways Language conditions you to notice some aspects and ignore others Inuit SNOW

8 Judgments? Ethnocentrism- tendency to view own culture as superior. Can build unity. Can stagnate society as shut off from ideas and others. Can lead to conflict. Cultural Relativism- Cultures should be judged only by their own standards not those of another culture. Understand don’t judge. Cows in India, Marvin Harris, Cannibals & Kings, key role in agriculture

9 Cultural discontinuity- subgroups who live within a predominant culture—what if at odds?
Subculture-don’t need to reject all the values of the predominant culture, ethnic, religion, age, occupational political, geographic, gender—no threat to society, can serve important functions Counterculture- REJECTS predominant values, norms of the larger society, replaces them with a new set of cultural values. Hippie movements of the 1960s.

10 What are American values?
Robin M. Williams, “American Society”, 15 values central to American life

11 Personal achievement Individualism Work Morality & Humanitarianism Efficiency & Practicality Progress & Material Comfort Equality & Democracy Freedom

12 Other core values: nationalism, patriotism, science & rationality
James Henslin- education, religious values not of a particular church, romantic love Physical fitness, fulfillment of potential Environmentalim in 60s

13 Values can conflict Culture of narcissism- potential disorder to selfishness Capitalism is a material gain culture good? Daniel Bell-NO focus bad, Daniel Yankelovich- YES good Advertising- see commercials a day. HW: magazines, pics

14 Internalization of norms- people follow because believe good, becomes part of a persons personality
What if reject?

15 SANCTIONS Motivate people to follow because of rewards or punishment
POSITIVE- use rewards, praise good behavior. Ex. Pay raises, cheering crowd, encourages conformity to norms NEGATIVE- to discourage unwanted behavior, punishment. Ex. Ridicule, frowns…fines, imprisonment

16 FORMAL- if praise/punishment is paid by a formal institution or regulatory agency: school, business, government—low grades, suspension, demotion at job vs. raises, awards, medals INFORMAL- most norms are enforced informally. Compliments, gifts v. gossip, ridicule, ostracism

17 = SOCIAL CONTROL Enforcing norms through internal or external means.
Societies self-regulate to maintain stability. How do societies change? Slow v. rapid change? Stability risked?

1. Values and Beliefs- change one part of the system all change Ideology-system of beliefs that justify the social, moral, religious, political or economic interests held by a group or society. Social Movements-long term conscious effort to promote or prevent social change. Large numbers of people. Ex. Civil Rights, Prohibition, Women’s Suffrage, Environmental. Can transform the entire political landscape.

19 2. Technology- use to manipulate your environment
2. Technology- use to manipulate your environment. Inventions material and nonmaterial. 3. Population- change in the size of the population or a new subgroup bringing a new influence. Ex: change in average age of population, migration, economic efffects.

20 4. Diffusion-process by which cultural traits are spread from one society to another. Increase contact increases sharing. Media now constant. REFORMULATION is when a culture adapts a trait to their own needs. 5. Physical environment- food= scarcity, natural disasters, change in natural resources- ex Oil crisis 70s.

21 6. Wars and Conquests- loss of lives, war zone cultures, change in the status of women on the homefront WW II.

22 Resistance to Change Ethnocentrism- if change comes from outside
Cultural Lag- timeframe for change, material culture changes faster than nonmaterial. Ex: summer vacations, James Henslin-needed for agricultural reasons but resistance to year round schooling; computers and Luddites. Vested Interests- if satisfied with the status quo, why risk the unknown? Workers against new technology. Oil companies resist alternative fuels.

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