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Presentation on theme: "Culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 Culture

2 What is Culture? Culture- a society’s beliefs, history, knowledge, language, customs, moral principles and skills It also consists of the objects people make and use that reflects their ways of life

3 Culture and Society Society is a large number of people who
live in the same area see themselves as separate and different from people outside their territory participate in a common culture

4 Society consists of social interactions among people who think of themselves as similar, but there can still be differences within the society

5 Societies can also have similarities to other societies.
EXAMPLE: Someone from Chicago may see themselves as different from those in New York City. But they are both part of a city in the US. And, if they traveled to the other city, they would be able to get around because of the similarities.

6 Cultural Traits A cultural trait is a singe object, action or belief
EXAMPLE: a wedding ring, a handshake, the belief that washing your hands helps prevent the spread of germs

7 Cultural traits combine to form culture complexes.
Cultural complex is a set of interrelated traits EXAMPLE: In the US, the cultural complex for eating include, knives, forks, spoons, plates and all the customs that surround their use

8 Traits and complexes vary form culture to culture
EXAMPLE: people in many cultures prefer to eat a large meal at noon, in the US the large meal is usually in the evening French prefer strong coffee, Americans weaker coffee Soup is a staple breakfast food in many cultures

9 Material and Nonmaterial Culture
Material culture refers to the set of concrete objects created or used by people of a culture Nonmaterial culture is composed of abstract human creations Ideas Rules Skills Beliefs Language Social patterns Work practices Political systems Economic systems Computers Cars Cell phones Clothes Buildings

10 Real vs. Ideal Culture  You may have seen someone run a red light or speed through a school zone. People who break the rules usually know what the rules are. People may agree about what should and shouldn’t be done, but they don’t always do as their culture directs Ideal Culture is a collection of cultural beliefs that define what people in a culture should do and what they say they do. Real Culture is reflected by people’s actual behavior as it appears to the observer

11 Heredity and Culture Culture is the set of things that society, not biology, passes on to the individual The hunger drive is biological; it makes us want to eat. How, when, where and what we eat is determined by our culture How much of human behavior is inherited and how much is learned is debated among sociologists. Just because a behavior varies between cultures doesn’t mean it is inherited. EXAMPLE: nearly all cultures use fire, but no one would say that the knowledge of fire is inherited

All cultures consist of the same key elements: 1. Values Cultural values-a collection of what is considered good, desirable and proper in a culture The types of values held by a society help determine almost everything else about the culture

13 2. Norms- the guidelines people follow in their relations with one another Norms range from small things to major things and are divided into two categories based on the strictness by which they are enforced A. Folkways-everyday habits and conventions that people obey without giving them much thought Example: saying “excuse me” when you bump into a stranger. People who violate folkways may be considered eccentric or rude, but are usually tolerated

14 B. Mores-norms that have powerful moral significance attached to them and promote intense reactions if they are broken   Example: incest, murder, stealing Taboos are prohibitions against society’s most important mores. Violators are considered unfit to socialize with others and they may be exiled or executed

15 Society enforces norms with laws and sanctions
Laws are written rules of conduct that are enacted and enforced by governments Sanctions are rewards or punishments Positive sanctions = rewards Negative sanctions = punishments Informal sanctions are given by individual or groups Example: employee of the week Formal sanctions are given by organizations or regulatory agencies Example: fines for traffic violations, suspensions from school (negative) Trophies, medals for athletic performances (positive)

16 3. Symbols-commonly understood gestures, words, objects, sound, colors, or designs that have come to stand for something else A. language-organization of written or spoken symbols into standardized system with rules for putting the symbols together B. signs- nonverbal communication

17 Example: evolution, creationism
4. Knowledge and Beliefs Knowledge – an element of culture that attempts to defines what exists, or the reality of the world Example: a culture’s history and science Beliefs-the theories and ideas about the nature of the physical and social world Example: evolution, creationism

18 Key American Values

19 Equal opportunity Individual Achievement and Success Material Comfort Activity and Work Practicality and efficiency Progress Science Democracy and free enterprise Freedom Racism and group Superiority

20 Emerging American Values
Self-Fulfillment Narcissism- extreme self-centeredness Hedonism-pursuit of pleasure above all other values

21 Cultural Variety

22 Cultural Variety  Each culture is different partly because it has adapted to meet the special circumstances for the people in that particular place Example: tropical islanders eat fruit; they don’t learn to hunt seals and polar bears  When we study variations among cultures we look at three things: cultural universals, cultural diversity, and change inside cultures

23 1. Cultural Universals- features that are common to all cultures
 Since we all have the same basic human needs-to eat, find shelter, take care of children and deal with ill and aging parents- every human community begins with these same circumstances Other similarities include group organization -almost all have some form of leadership (Example: chiefs, priests, mayors, prime ministers) and way of teaching the organizations to children and newcomers (Example: family, school, libraries, etc)

24 2. Cultural Diversity Subcultures and Countercultures
 Subcultures- form when people share some broad cultural traditions but also follow values and norms that are unique to their group Example: racial or ethnic groups, regions of the country, age groups –teenagers, senior citizens, etc  Usually seen as strengthening a society and making in more interesting

25 Countercultures- a subculture that rejects the values and norms of the larger culture and replaces them with a new set Example: gangs, hippies, skinheads, militia groups, Amish Ethnocentrism-the tendency to assume that one’s own culture and way of life are “normal” and superior to others Cultural relativism-belief that the behavior of one culture should not be judged by the standards of another; judge a culture based on itself and not compared to another culture


27 3. Change  Cultures need stability in order to survive. This is achieved through internalization of norms-the subconscious process in which a culture’s norms become part of individual’s own set of attitudes and beliefs Example: eating with a knife and fork, driving on the right side of the road

28 Change occurs over time and can be both to material and nonmaterial culture
A change in area of life usually means that other areas will be altered as well

29 A. Changes in Values and Norms
Examples: women’s right to vote, rising divorce rates  B. Changes in Technology-knowledge and tools people use to shape their environment for practical purposes i. Discovery-recognizing new phenomena in the universe and/or developing a new understanding of elements that are already known Example: new vaccines, more powerful telescopes ii. Invention- when existing cultural items are combined into a form that did not exist before Example: atomic weapons,

30 Ways of Changing Diffusion-spreading of cultural items from group to group  It leads to acculturation- the modification of the culture of groups as a result of contact with a different culture

31 Cultural Lag- time between material culture changing and nonmaterial culture adjusting to it
Culture Shock- sense of confusion and anxiety people may feel when exposed to a foreign culture not adequately prepared for.

32 Global Culture

33 Societies around the world have more contact with each other than ever before
1. Global economy: The flow of goods 2. Global communication: The flow of information 3. Global migration: The flow of people

34 BUT. . . There are limits to a “global culture” occurring
1. flow of information, goods and people is uneven 2. not everyone can afford the new goods and services 3. people do not attach the same meanings to the cultural elements around the world Harry Potter books-Kids in England don’t draw the same lessons from them as kids in Indonesia People everywhere look at the world through their own cultural lenses

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