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Sociology – Chapter 2 CULTURE.

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1 Sociology – Chapter 2 CULTURE

2 What is Culture? Culture – the values, beliefs, behavior, and material objects that form people’s way of life. Nonmaterial culture – ideas created by members of a society. Material culture – tangible things created by members of a society. Only humans rely on culture rather than instinct to ensure survival.

3 Society and Culture Society refers to people who interact in a defined territory and share culture. Culture shock refers to a personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life. The Census Bureau lists more than 200 languages in the U.S. Globally, experts document almost 7,000 languages, suggesting the existence of as many cultures.

4 The Components of Culture
Although cultures vary, they all have five common components: Symbols Language Values Beliefs Norms

5 Components of Culture - Symbols
SYMBOLS – anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share culture. Not understanding the symbols of a culture leaves a person feeling lost and isolated. Symbolic meaning may also vary within a single society.

6 Components of Culture - Language
LANGUAGE – a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another. Language allows for the continuity of culture. CULTURAL TRANSMISSION – the process by which one generation passes culture to the next. Every society transmits culture through speech.

7 The Sapir-Whorf Thesis
Languages are not just different sets of labels for the same reality. All languages fuse symbols with distinctive emotions. THE SAPIR-WHORF THESIS – people perceive the world through the cultural lens of language.

8 Components of Culture - Values and Beliefs
VALUES – culturally defined standards by which people assess desirability, goodness, and beauty and that serve as broad guidelines for social living. BELIEFS – specific statements that people hold to be true. Values are abstract standards of goodness. Beliefs are particular matters that individuals consider true or false.

9 Key Values of United States Culture
Equal Opportunity + Progress Achievement & Success # Science Material Comfort + Democracy and Activity and Work Free Enterprise Practicality & Efficiency # Freedom Racism and Group Superiority

10 Components of Culture – Norms
NORMS – rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members Most important norms in a culture apply everywhere and at all times. MORES – norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance. FOLKWAYS – norms for routine, casual interaction.

11 Material Culture MATERIAL CULTURE – artifacts
Every culture includes a wide range of tangible human creations. A society’s artifacts reflect underlying culture. Material culture also reflects a society’s TECHNOLOGY – knowledge that people use to make a way of life in their surroundings.

12 Cultural Diversity Cultural diversity can involve social class.
Many cultural patterns are readily accessible to only some members of a society. HIGH CULTURE – cultural patterns that distinguish a society’s elite. POPULAR CULTURE – cultural patterns that are widespread.

13 Subcultures SUBCULTURE – cultural patterns that set apart some segment of society’s population. Almost everyone participates in many subcultures without having much commitment to any of them. What we view as the DOMINANT CULTURE – a set of patterns favored by powerful segments of the population.

14 Multiculturalism MULTICULTURALISM – an educational program recognizing the cultural diversity of the United States and promoting the equality of all cultural traditions. EUROCENTRISM – the dominance of European cultural patterns. AFROCENTRISM – the dominance of African cultural patterns

15 Counterculture COUNTERCULTURE – cultural patterns that strongly oppose those widely accepted within a society. In many cultures, counterculture is linked with youth. This is the outright rejection of conventional ideas.

16 Cultural Change Change in one dimension of culture usually sparks change in another. CULTURAL INTEGRATION – the close relationships among various elements of a cultural system. Some elements of cultural change faster than others – CULTURAL LAG Cultural change may be spurred by invention, discovery, or diffusion.

17 Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism
ETHNOCENTRISM – the practice of judging another culture by the standards of one’s own culture. A particular culture is the basis for everyone’s reality. CULTURAL RELATIVISM – the practice of evaluating a culture by its own standards. It requires understanding unfamiliar values and norms.

18 A Global Culture? Global economy – the flow of goods
Global communication – the flow of information Global migration – the flow of people Limitations to Global culture thesis: Global culture is much more advanced in some parts of the world than others Many can not afford to participate in the material aspects Different people attribute different meaning to various aspects of global culture.

19 Theoretical Analysis of Culture
The STRUCTURAL-FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM predicts culture as a complex strategy for meeting human needs. The SOCIAL-CONFLICT PARADIGM suggests that many cultural traits function to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others. SOCIOBIOLOGY explores ways in which human biology affects how we create culture.

20 Culture and Human Freedom
Humans cannot live without culture. Culture is largely a matter of habit, and limits our choices. Our society’s emphasis on competitive achievement isolates us from one another. Learning about cultural diversity prepares us to use the freedom it offers.

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