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What is Culture? §Culture - the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects that are passed from one generation to the next. §Material.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Culture? §Culture - the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects that are passed from one generation to the next. §Material."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Culture? §Culture - the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects that are passed from one generation to the next. §Material culture - the material objects that distinguish a group of people. §Non-material culture - a group’s way of thinking and doing.

2 DO NOT CONFUSE CULTURE WITH SOCIETY. SOCIETY REFERS TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE, INTERACTING WITHIN A GIVEN TERRITORY, WHO ARE GUIDED IN THEIR DAILY LIVES BY THEIR CULTURES.

3 MOST CULTURES SHARE COMMON COMPONENTS. WE WILL NOW EXAMINE EACH IN TURN. CULTURE SURE HAS A WAY OF CHANGING WHAT IS MEANT BY “GOING TO THE BEACH!”

4 ANYTHING THAT CARRIES A PARTICULAR MEANING RECOGNIZED BY PEOPLE WHO SHARE CULTURE §REALITY FOR HUMANS IS FOUND IN THE MEANING THINGS CARRY WITH THEM l THE BASIS OF CULTURE; MAKES LIFE POSSIBLE §PEOPLE MUST BE MINDFUL THAT MEANINGS VARY FROM CULTURE TO CULTURE §MEANINGS CAN EVEN VARY GREATLY WITHIN THE SAME GROUPS OF PEOPLE l FUR COATS, CONFEDERATE FLAGS, ETC.

5 A SYSTEM OF SYMBOLS THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER §CULTURAL TRANSMISSION l PASSING ON CULTURE §SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS l WE KNOW THE WORLD ONLY IN TERMS OF OUR LANGUAGE §NON-VERBAL LANGUAGE l BEWARE OF USING GESTURES

6 Components of Symbolic Culture §Symbolic culture - nonmaterial culture whose central components are symbols. l A symbol - something to which people attach meaning and which they use to communicate. §Gestures - involve using one’s body to communicate. §Language - a system of symbols that can be strung together in an infinite number of ways for the purpose of communicating.

7 What Language Does §All human groups have a language. §Language allows for experiences to be passed from one generation to the next. §Language allows culture to develop by freeing people to move beyond their immediate experiences. §Language provides us a past and a future, as well as shared understandings.

8 How Culture Affects Our Lives §The effects of our own culture generally remain imperceptible to us. §These learned and shared ways penetrate our being. §Culture becomes the lens through which we perceive and evaluate what is going on around us.

9 Cultural Orientations §Culture Shock - the disorientation that people experience when they come into contact with a different culture. §Ethnocentrism - the tendency to use one’s own culture as a yardstick for judging the ways of other societies. §It can create in group loyalties or lead to harmful discrimination.

10 Practicing Cultural Relativism §To counter our tendency to use our own culture as a tool for judgment, we can practice cultural relativism. §Practicing cultural relativism allows us to understand another culture on its own terms. (remember Weber’s verstehen page 37) §We can analyze how the elements of culture fit together without judgment.

11 Words don’t mean; people mean!

12 Values, Norms, & Sanctions §Values - ideas of what is desirable in life. §Values are the standards by which people define good and bad. §Norms - describe rules of behavior that develop out of a group’s values. §Sanctions - positive or negative reactions to the ways in which people follow norms, including laws and punishments.

13 . CULTURALLY DEFINED STANDARDS OF DESIRABILITY, GOODNESS, AND BEAUTY, WHICH SERVE AS BROAD GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL LIVING §VALUES SUPPORT BELIEFS l SPECIFIC STATEMENTS THAT PEOPLE HOLD TO BE TRUE CAPITALISM AND ACHIEVEMENT= SUCCESS §CORE AMERICAN VALUES l VALUE INCONSISTENCY AND SOCIAL CHANGE Page 66 EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND COMPETITION HUMANITARIANISM AND “ME FIRST”

14 Values in U.S. Society ( not necessarily ranked) §(1) Achievement and Success §(2) Individualism §(3) Activity and Work §(4) Efficiency and Practicality §(5) Science and Technology §(6) Progress §(7) Material Comfort §(8) Humanitarianism §(9) Freedom §(10) Democracy §(11) Equality §(12) Racism and Group Superiority §(13) Education §(14) Religiosity §(15) Romantic Love

15 Values in More Traditional Societies ( not necessarily ranked) §(1) Embrace fate as a key value §(2) Spiritual Comfort §(3) Greater reflectiveness §(4) Not overly optimistic §(5) Religion more important than science §(6) Group-oriented §(7) Collective sentiment promotes compliance to authority §(8) Formal education is often suspect §(9) Tolerance for inequality

16 RULES BY WHICH SOCIETY GUIDES THE BEHAVIOR OF ITS MEMBERS §TYPES l PROSCRIPTIVE- acts of commission l PRESCRIPTIVE- acts of omission §FURTHER BREAKDOWN l FOLKWAYS LESS SERIOUS OFFENSES l MORES MORALLY SIGNIFICANT l TABOOS EXTREMELY SIGNIFICANT

17 Folkways, Mores, and Taboos §Folkways - norms that are not strictly enforced. §If someone does not follow a folkway, we may stare or shrug our shoulders. §Mores - norms that are considered essential to our core values. §Taboos - norms so strongly ingrained that even the thought of its violation is greeted with revulsion.

18 §SOCIAL CONTROL l MEANS BY WHICH MEMBERS OF SOCIETY OFTEN ENCOURAGE CONFORMITY DIRECT AND INDIRECT PRESSURES §POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE SANCTIONS l CONFORMITY OFTEN BRINGS REWARDS AND PRAISE l NONCONFORMITY CAN BRING ABOUT PAIN GUILT: JUDGING OURSELVES SHAME: PUBLIC DISAPPROVAL

19 Subcultures and Countercultures §Subculture - a world within the larger world of the dominant culture. §A subculture has a distinctive way of looking at life. §The values and norms tend to be compatible with the larger society. §Counterculture - a subculture whose values place its members in opposition to the values of the broader culture. §An assault on core values is always met with resistance.

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21 Value Clusters and Contradictions §Value clusters - a series of interrelated values that together form a larger whole. §Values are not independent units. §Value contradiction values that contradict one another §To follow one means you will come into conflict with another. §It is at the point of value contradictions that one can see a force for social change.

22 Ideal versus Real Culture §Ideal culture - the values, norms, and goals that a group considers ideal, worth aspiring to. §Success. §Real culture - the norms and values that people actually follow. §What people do usually falls short of the cultural ideal.

23 Cultural Universals §Cultural universals - values, norms, or other cultural traits that are found everywhere. §Although there are universal human activities, there is no universally accepted way of doing any of them. §Humans have no biological imperative that results in one particular form of behavior throughout the world.

24 TRAITS COMMON TO EVERY KNOWN CULTURE §THE FAMILY l ASSIGNMENT OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR YOUNG AND THE CONTROL OF SEXUAL REPRODUCTION §FUNERAL RITES l COMMUNITY BONDING WITH CLOSURE, COMFORT, AND CONTINUITY FOR THE LIVING §SMILING AND HUMOR l OUTWARD SIGNS OF FRIENDSHIP AND SAFETY VALVE FOR SOCIAL TENSIONS §DEVIANCE l A CONSTANT REMINDER OF THE BEHAVIORAL LIMITS FOUND IN A GIVEN SOCIETY WITH RESPECT TO INDIVIDUALITY AND NONCOMFORMITY

25 Technology §Technology - skills or procedures necessary to make or use tools. §New technologies - emerging technologies that have a significant impact on social life. §Technology sets a framework for a group’s nonmaterial culture.

26 Cultural Lag, Diffusion, and Leveling §Cultural lag - not all parts of a culture change at the same pace. §Material culture usually changes before nonmaterial culture. §Cultural diffusion – the spread of cultural characteristics from one group to another. §Travel and communication unite us. l Cultural leveling - a process in which cultures become similar to one another.

27 CULTURE CHANGES IN ONE OF THREE WAYS: §DISCOVERY - UNDERSTANDING HAS INCREASED §INVENTION - CREATING NEW CULTURE §DIFFUSION - ELEMENTS CROSSING BORDERS

28 Copyright (c) 2003 by Allyn & Bacon28 Applying Theory: Culture

29 Copyright (c) 2003 by Allyn & Bacon29 (continued on next slide)

30 Copyright (c) 2003 by Allyn & Bacon30


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