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CHAPTER TWO Culture Robert J. Brym
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-3 INTRODUCTION Will examine: Origins of culture Culture and social control Culture as freedom Culture as constraint*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-4 CULTURE AND SOCIETY Culture: Sum of socially transmitted practices, languages, symbols, beliefs, values, ideologies and material objects that people create to deal with real-life problems Enables people to adapt to, and thrive in, their environments Society: People interacting socially and sharing culture, usually in a defined geographical area*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-5 ORIGINS OF CULTURE Three tools in human cultural survival kit: 1.Abstraction: Capacity to create ideas or ways of thinking that allow us to classify experience and generalize from it Ideas or ways of thinking find expression in symbols: Anything that carries a particular meaning, including the components of language, mathematical notions, and signs…*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-6 ORIGINS OF CULTURE (Three tools in human cultural survival kit) 2.Co-operation: Human capacity to create complex social life by establishing norms, which are standards of behaviour or generally accepted ways of doing things 3.Production: Human capacity to make and use tools, and thereby improve our ability to take what we want from nature Tools and techniques known as material culture*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-7 THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF CULTURE
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-8 CULTURE AND SOCIAL CONTROL To ensure conformity to cultural guidelines, society develops sanctions Are two types of sanctions: Positive sanctions: Rewards for following cultural guidelines (e.g., praise, money) Negative sanctions: Punishments for violating cultural guidelines (e.g., avoidance, arrest)*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-9 UNDERSTANDING CULTURE Sociological understanding of culture can be impaired by: Invisibility of own culture: Taking own culture for granted Ethnocentrism: Judging other cultures exclusively by standards of own culture*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-10 TWO FACES OF CULTURE Are two faces of culture: 1.Culture as freedom 2.Culture as constraining and/or endangering…*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-11 1. CULTURE AS FREEDOM Culture as freedom implicated in the following: i.Cultural diversification and globalization ii.Postmodernism…*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-12 1. CULTURE AS FREEDOM i.Cultural diversification and globalization: As societies become more complex, cultures become more heterogeneous (e.g., through immigration) Is characterized by increase in freedom to choose elements of cultural consumption and identification*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-13 IMMIGRANTS BY SOURCE AREA, CANADA, PRE-1961 AND 2005 (IN PERCENTAGE)
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-14 1. CULTURE AS FREEDOM The Rights Revolution: Process by which socially excluded groups (e.g., women, aboriginal peoples, homosexuals) have struggled to win equal rights in law and practice Issues raised by the rights revolution: Obligation to compensate for past injustices How to maintain acceptable balance between right to be equal and right to be different*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-15 1. CULTURE AS FREEDOM Globalization: Characterized by Expansion of international trade and investment International travel and communication Prevalence of mass media Routine contact between people of diverse cultures Migration by members of different racial and ethnic groups*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-16 GLOBALIZATION: EFFECTS Contributes to cultural fragmentation Destroys political, economic and cultural isolation; i.e., McLuhan’s notion of “global village” Individuals less obliged to accept native culture and freer to combine elements from wide variety of historical periods and geographical settings*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-17 1. CULTURE AS FREEDOM ii.Postmodernism: Three main features a.Eclectic mixing of elements from different times and places b.Erosion of authority c.Decline of consensus around core values Reflected in fate of “Big Historical Projects”: For past 200 years, was global consensus about inevitability of progress arising from human ingenuity, but negative side of progress recognized in postmodern era*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-18 CONFIDENCE IN POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: CANADA AND USA
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-19 PERCENTAGE OF ADULTS VOTING IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS AND PARTICIPATING IN NONCONVENTIONAL POLITICAL ACTION, SELECTED YEARS
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-20 CONFIDENCE IN SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-21 POSTMODERNISM: CHALLENGES How to make binding decisions How to govern How to teach children and adolescents difference between right and wrong How to transmit literary tastes and artistic standards from one generation to the next*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-22 POSTMODERNISM: BENEFITS Empowers ordinary people and makes them more responsible for own fate Renders individuals more tolerant and appreciative of ethnic, racial, religious, and sexual groups Frees individuals to choose rather than have imposed on them religious, ethnic, and other identities Encourages healthy skepticism about political and scientific claims for creating a better world*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-23 2. CULTURE AS CONSTRAINT Are two constraining aspects of culture: i.Rationalization: ii.Consumerism…*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-24 2. CULTURE AS CONSTRAINT i.Rationalization: Weber’s term for systematic application of standardized means to predetermined ends Has given rise to widespread acceptance of regimentation associated with the Werkglocken (work clock) Has also led to “McDonaldization” of the world: Organizational principles of fast-food restaurant have come to dominate life and have resulted in Weber’s concept of the “iron cage”*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-25 2. CULTURE AS CONSTRAINT ii.Consumerism: Tendency to define ourselves in terms of goods we purchase (e.g., we are what we wear, drive, etc.) Consumers motivated to make purchases because of bombardment of adverstising in form of: North America’s “shop-till-you-drop” lifestyle Pressure on parents by child-directed advertising*
Copyright © 2011 by Nelson Education Ltd 2-26 2. CULTURE AS CONSTRAINT Consumerism also consumes dissent Countercultures: Subversive subcultures that oppose dominant values and seek to replace them (e.g., hippies of 1960s and environmentalists today) Yet rarely pose serious threat to society because are tamed by consumerism Rebels now enticed to engage in commercialization (e.g., highly profitable heavy metal and hip-hop music industries)**
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