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Chapter III What is culture? “The way we live”

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1 Chapter III What is culture? “The way we live”
Culture is the values, beliefs, behavior, and material objects that form a people’s way of life.

2 Two Types of Culture Nonmaterial: ideas created by members of a society. Material: tangible things created by members of a society. “Only humans rely on culture rather than instinct to ensure survival.” (Macionis, 2006).

3 Material Culture Material Culture: consist of tangible things created by members of a society, or artifacts. Material culture also reflects a society’s technology that people use to make a way of life. “Every culture includes a wide range of tangible human creations, and a society’s artifacts reflect underlying culture” (Macionis, 2006).

4 Car Ownership In Global Perspective

5 The Five Components of Culture
1. Symbols 2. Language 3. Values 4. Beliefs 5. Norms

6 Components of Culture (Symbol)
Symbol: anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share culture. “Not understanding the symbols of culture leaves a person feeling lost and isolated, and symbolic meaning may also vary within a single society.” (Macionis, 2006).

7 Components of Culture (Language)
Language: a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another. Language allows culture to continue through a process called cultural transmission. Cultural transmission: the process by which one generation passes culture to the next. “Every society transmits culture through speech” (Macionis, 2006).

8 The Sapir-Whorf Thesis
The Sapir-Whorf Thesis: people perceive the world through the cultural lens of language. “Languages are not just different sets of labels for the same reality. All languages fuse symbols with distinctive emotions” (Macionis, 2006).

9 Components of Culture (Values)
Values: culturally defined standards by which people access desirability, goodness, and beauty and that serve as broad guidelines for social living. Key Values of United States Culture Equal Opportunity Achievement and Success Material Comfort Activity and Work Practicality and Efficiency Progress Science and Secular Rationality Democracy and Free Enterprise Freedom Racism and Related Group Superiority Moral Orientation Humanitarianism Nationalism and Patriotism Individual Personality External Conformity

10 Components of Culture (Beliefs)
Beliefs: specific statements that people hold to be true. “Beliefs are particular matters that individuals hold to be true or false” (Macionis, 2006).

11 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” (Macionis, 2006).

12 Two Types of Norms Mores: norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance. Folkways: norms for routine, casual interaction.

13 Cultural Diversity Cultural diversity can involve social class.
Many cultural patterns are readily accessible to only some members of a society.

14 Five Types of Cultural Diversity
1. High Culture 2. Popular Culture 3. Subcultures 4. Multiculturalism 5. Counterculture

15 High Culture and Popular Culture
High Culture: cultural patterns that distinguish a society’s elite. Popular culture: cultural patterns that are widespread.

16 Subcultures Subcultures: cultural patters that set apart some segment of society’s population. Example: what we view as the dominant culture: a set of patterns favored by powerful segments of the population. “Almost everyone participates in many subcultures without having much commitment to any of them” (Macionis, 2006).

17 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.

18 Countercultural Counterculture: cultural patterns that strongly oppose those widely accepted within a society. “In many cultures, counterculture is linked with youth, and outright rejection of conventional ideas” (Macionis, 2006).

19 Cultural Change Change in one dimension of culture usually causes change in another. Cultural integration: the close relationships among various elements of a cultural system. Some elements of culture change faster than others resulting in cultural lag. Cultural lag: the fact that some cultural elements change more quickly than others. “Cultural change may be caused by invention, discovery, or diffusion” (Macionis, 2006)

20 Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism
Ethnocentrism: the practice of judging another culture by the standards of one’s own culture. Cultural Relativism: the practice of evaluating a culture by its own standards. “A particular culture is the basis for everyone’s reality, but understanding other cultures requires understanding unfamiliar values and norms” (Macionis, 2006).

21 Theoretical Analysis of Culture
The structural-functional paradigm: depicts culture as a complex strategy for meeting human needs. The social-conflict paradigm: suggest 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.

22 Culture and Human freedom
Humans can not live without culture to adapt to the challenges of their environment. “Each society has it’s own blueprint for living” (Tischler, 2001). Learning about cultural diversity prepares us to use the freedom it offers. Our society’s emphasis on competitive achievement isolates us from one another.

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