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SOC101Y Introduction to Sociology Professor Robert Brym Lecture #2 Culture 19 Sep 12 Course Website

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1 SOC101Y Introduction to Sociology Professor Robert Brym Lecture #2 Culture 19 Sep 12 Course Website

2 Another Brick in the Wall Pink Floyd (1979) LYRICS: We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone. Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone! All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

3  Culture is the sum of socially transmitted ideas, practices, and material objects that people create to overcome real-life problems. Culture gives us guidelines for how to act.

4 Hero’s Aeolopile, ~100 c.e.

5 The Atanasoff-Berry Digital Computer, circa 1939

6  Ethnocentrism involves judging another culture exclusively by the standards of one’s own.  Cultural relativism is the belief that all elements of all cultures should be respected as equally valid.

7 Prevalence of Cliterectomy in Africa Prevalence over 90% in:  Egypt  Guinea  Eritrea  Djibouti  Mali  Somalia  Sierra Leone

8  Rationalization is the application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and the often unintended, negative consequences of doing so.  A bureaucracy is a large, impersonal organization composed of many clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy. It has a permanent, salaried staff of qualified experts and written goals, rules and procedures. Staff members strive to achieve goals more efficiently.

9 Approximate Income, Cost and Profit per SOC101 Student, U of T, 1993 and 2010 Year Classes41 Students1,0001,400 TAs127 A. Tuition income per student$415$1,250 B. Personnel cost per student*$265$165 Net income per student (A-B)$150$1,085 Net income per student, 2010 $$200$1,085 * Excludes overhead

10  Consumerism is a lifestyle that involves defining one’s self in terms of the goods one purchases.

11 Negative Consequences of Consumerism  By encouraging people to shop till they drop, it increases consumer debt, which is at record levels, and it forces people to work more than they need to, adding to stress and depression.  It encourages environmentally dangerous levels of consumption.  It stifles dissent and draws attention from pressing social issues.

12 GLAM NEO-GRUNGE

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14 Colors selected by “The Color Mafia” in 1998 for wide appeal in 2001  Van Gold: a burnished, opulent, malleable metallic  Wasabi: a nonacidic, minimalistic, muted green, similar to an Asian green  Aquarelle: a clear, refreshing water-influenced green/blue  Royal Plum: an icon of royalty and wealth; spirituality and ceremonial ritual inspire this hue

15 TraditionFocusMain QuestionFashion Interpretation FunctionalistValues How do the institutions of society contribute to social stability? Fashion cycles help to preserve the class system by allowing people of different rank to evaluate and distinguish themselves. ConflictInequality How do privileged groups maintain advantages and subordinate groups seek to increase theirs, often causing social change in the process? Fashion cycles exist so the fashion industry can earn profits; fashion distracts consumers from social problems but the resulting equilibrium is precarious. Symbolic interactionist Meaning How do individuals communicate to make their social settings meaningful? Because fashions are meaningful, fashion cycles allow people to communicate their identity, which is always in flux. FeministPatriarchyWhich social structures and interaction processes maintain male dominance and female subordination? Fashion cycles often “imprison” women and diminish them by turning them into sexual objects; but they can also empower them. Theoretical Traditions in Sociology

16 Hampton marriage rate: 6/2,000 = m/100,000 6 x 100,000 = 2,000 x m 600,000 = 2,000m m=300 Sussex marriage rate: 12/3,000 = m/100, x 100,000 = 3,000 x m 1,200,000 = 3,000m m=400 We want to compare marriage in the two towns but the frequency of marriages is influenced by the size of the town. We must therefore “standardize” or “control for” size. We do this by calculating rates – the number of marriages for every 100,000 residents. When we solve for m, we arrive at the marriage rate, that is, the the number of marriages per 100,000 residents. This allows us to compare marriage in the two towns as if they were the same size. Here we see that the marriage rate in Sussex is 400/100,000 while the marriage rate in Hampton is 300/100,000. In Hampton, a village of 2,000, 6 marriages took place last year. In Sussex, a village of 3,000, 12 marriages took place last year. In which village is the marriage rate higher?

17 After completing today’s readings and lecture you should be able to:  Define culture sociologically  Understand the twin dangers of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism in understanding culture sociologically.  Appreciate the ways in which culture constrains people and frees them.  Analyze cultural phenomena from functionalist, conflict, symbolic interactionist and feminist perspectives.


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