2 Chapter Overview What is Culture? Components of Symbolic Culture Many Cultural Worlds: Subcultures and CounterculturesValues in U.S. SocietyTechnology in the Global VillageCultural Lag, Diffusion, and Labeling
3 What is Culture? Culture is: How is this accomplished? Two components The language, beliefs, values, norms, and behaviors passed on from one generation to the nextHow is this accomplished?Two componentsNonmaterial cultureMaterial culture
4 What is Culture? Material Nonmaterial Belief system, values, behavior, social interactions, language, gestures, and assumptions about the worldCultural artifacts and objects people create and assign meanings to.
5 Culture Within UsOur speech, gestures, beliefs, customs are usually taken for grantedWe assume that they are normal and naturalCultural lensPerception of realityGuides our behavior and helps us make decisions
6 Cultural Consequences Sometimes our assumptions are challengedCulture ShockEthnocentrismPracticing Cultural Relativism
7 Ethnocentrism and Culture Shock What is Normal, Natural, or Usual?We believe our ways are “Normal”Culture Shock- coming into contact with a culture that is different from what we knowCultures are in conflictEthnocentrism-the belief that our culture is the “best” or superior to all othersTendency to evaluate other groups according to one’s own standardsNegative consequencesPositive consequences
8 Cultural RelativismAttempt to understand another culture’s perspective and not based on one’s own perspectiveRefocus our lens so we can appreciate other ways of life instead of asserting “our way is right and the only way”ExamplesHindu diet and US dietBull fightingValues
9 When Cultural Relativism Does Not Apply Cultural values result in exploitationInvoluntaryInhumaneOppressiveExamplesHonor KillingFemale Circumcision
10 Components of Symbolic Culture SymbolsSomething people attach meaning and then use to communicate with others.Nonmaterial cultureMaterial culture
11 Components of Symbolic Culture GesturesUsing the body to communicate with others to send messages without using wordsUniversal, but meaning changes completely from one culture to anotherCan lead to misunderstandings, embarrassment, or conflictSome universal gestures
12 Components of Symbolic Culture LanguageSystem of symbols that can be put together in infinite number of ways to communicate abstract thought.Five Purposes of LanguagesAllows Human Experience to Be CumulativeProvides a Social or Shared PastProvides a Social or Shared FutureAllows Shared PerspectivesAllows Complex, Shared, Goal-Directed Behavior
13 Components of Symbolic Culture Language & PerceptionsLanguage has embedded within it ways of looking at the worldPart of language is not only to learn it, but also ways of thinking and perceiving.Sapir-Whorf hypothesisThe language of each culture does not merely influence how people understand the world it shapes ways of thinking and perceivingMeaning beyond wordsEXAMPLESWelfareStupidLabeling or StereotypingRacial profilingResumes
14 Components of Symbolic Culture ValuesStandards by which people define what is desirable or undesirable, good or bad, beautiful or ugly.Guide our choices or preferences in lifeIn modern pluralistic societies, such as the U.S., value orientations are complex.
15 Values in U.S. Society Romantic Love Democracy Science and Technology ReligiosityFreedomEfficiency and PracticalityEducationHumanitarianismActivity and WorkRacism and Group SuperiorityMaterial ComfortIndividualismEqualityProgressAchievement and Success
16 Values in U.S. Society Value Cluster Ideal Culture Real Culture Values together form a larger wholeValues do not exist aloneExamplesValue ClashWhen core values change causing conflict between social groupsChange is viewed as a threat to their life, an undermining of both their present and their future.Ideal CultureValues that society views as important and worth aspiring up toWhat people "should do“Real CultureThe values and norms and people actually followWhat people "actually do"
17 Values in U.S. Society Emerging Values A value cluster of 4 interrelated core valuesLeisureself fulfillmentPhysical fitnessYouthfulnessEnvironmental consciousness
18 Components of Symbolic Culture NormsNorms - Expectations or rules for behaviorInformal and Formal NormsNorms will change as cultures changeSanctions - Reaction to following or breaking normsPositive SanctionsNegative SanctionsMoral holidays
19 Components of Symbolic Culture Types of NormsFolkways - Norms that are not strictly enforcedWeak social normsNot a threat to societyExamplesMores - Norms, when broken, go against a society’s basic core valuesStrictly enforced normsNorms are viewed as essential and everyone must followTaboos - Norms, when broken, are considered repulsivePeople who violate these norms are viewed as unfit for society
20 Many Cultural Worlds Subculture: Countercultures: A world within the dominant cultureGroups that share many elements of mainstream culture but maintain their own distinctive customs, values, norms, and lifestyles.The norms and values do not clash with those of the dominant cultureCountercultures:Groups whose values, lifestyles, norms, attitudes, and other behaviors are in opposition to the broader societyThe norms and values clash with those of the dominant culture
21 Cultural Diffusion and Cultural Leveling Cultural Diffusion: The spreading of cultural characteristics from one culture to anotherWhy is this happening so rapidly?Cultural Leveling: When cultures start to become similar to each other
22 Perspectives on Culture Functionalist PerspectiveAll cultures are in part practical responses to environmental conditionsCultural ecological approachExamines the relationship between a culture and its total environmentExample: Hindu culturePrevents ethnocentrismCultural integration approachShow how the cultural practices of groups tend to “fit together”Changes in one element may have broad repercussions for the culture of any group.Example: Technological changes
23 Perspectives on Culture Conflict PerspectiveThe values, beliefs, and traditions of a nation or society are not necessarily a product of consensus and “social need”Culture is highly complex with many strains and contradictions between conflicting group interests and needs.Groups with power and wealth have the resources to control and influence national cultureExamples: slave era, corporate capitalismCultural hegemonyThe domination of cultural industries by elite groups
24 Perspectives on Culture Symbolic Interaction PerspectiveFocuses on how individuals and groups use symbols to define and interpret reality.People everywhere live in “symbolic worlds” that are created and reproduced by diverse social groupsOur daily lives are structured by the symbols and meanings of many groupsIf groups define something as real, whether or not they truly exist, “they are real in their consequences”