Presentation on theme: "Case Study: Body Ritual Among the Nacirema"— Presentation transcript:
1 Case Study: Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Ceremonies and rituals are an important part of any culture. In the 1950s, Horace Miner examined some of the rituals of the Nacirema culture. His description of the culture included a portrait of an average Nacirema and his or her daily body ritual. Although the language Miner used made the culture seem exotic and strange, the description was a truthful representation of the American (Nacirema spelled backwards) morning ritual.
2 What Is Culture?Culture consists of all the shared products of human groups, both physical and abstract.A society consists of the people who share a culture.Known as material cultureIncludes automobiles, books, building, clothing, computers, and cooking utensilsPhysical productsKnown as nonmaterial cultureBeliefs, family patterns, ideas, language, political and economic systems, rules, skills, and work practicesAbstract products–TechnologyRefers to objects and the rules for using themAny tool and its usageAny rule that makes a use of an object illegal
3 The Components of Culture SymbolsThe basis of human cultureAny words, gestures, or images that represent something else by association.Different cultures use different symbolsStatue of Liberty as a symbol for opportunity, freedom, etc.LanguageOrganization of written or spoken symbols into a standardized systemCan be used to express any ideaImportant to transmit culture
4 The Components of Culture ValuesValues are shared beliefsDistinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, desirable and undesirableGroup’s values help to determine character and cultureNormsShared rules of conduct in specific situationsFolkways do not carry heavy moral significanceMores carry heavy moral significanceLaws are written and enforced by government
5 Two Types of Norms Folkways Mores Describe socially accepted behavior but do not have great moral significanceCommon customs of everyday lifeFailure to follow will result in reprimand or minor punishmentEx. Shake hands when introduced to someoneGreat moral significanceViolation of them endangers society’s stabilityLaws are usually created to protect society. For example, severe punishment for those who commit murderEx. Do not kill another person
9 What Do We All Have in Common? Humans have ability to meet needs in a vast number of waysAbility only limited by biological makeup and physical environmentAbility leads to great diversity in many waysCultural UniversalsCultural universals are features developed by all societies to fulfill basic needsGeorge Murdock compiled list of over 65 cultural universalsSpecific nature of the universals may vary widely between cultures
11 The American Value System Over the years, sociologists have identified what they believe are the core values of American society.Among these values are work, individualism, morality and humanitarianism, personal achievement, and others.American values have not stayed the same over time, however. New values, such as respect for the environment, regularly develop and become part of American culture.
13 Other Core Values Nationalism Patriotism Science and rationality EducationReligionRomantic love
14 Our Changing ValuesWhile the United States has a set of core values, new values or changed values are sometimes noted.LeisurePhysical fitnessYouthfulnessSelf-fulfillmentEnvironmentalismProgressNew ValuesSome scholars see self-fulfillment as a healthy new value, while others view its extreme, narcissism, as detrimental to society as a whole.Self-fulfillment and Narcissism–
15 Cultural Variations Subculture Counterculture Groups that share traits with each other but not the larger societyExamples are groups organized by age, gender, politics, or geographyMost do not reject all of the values of the larger societyMost subcultures do not threaten the larger American cultureCountercultureCountercultures adopt values that are designed to challenge the values of the larger societyExamples are groups such as cyberpunks, anarchists, the Mafia, and hippies
16 Response to Variation Ethnocentrism Xenocentrism A tendency to view one’s own culture and group as superiorPeople from all cultures are somewhat ethnocentric at different timesCan lead to discriminationCan cause the home culture to stagnateEven professional scholars struggle with ethnocentrismXenocentrismA tendency to view one’s own culture and group as inferiorCan create distress in a society.Might be detrimental to a society’s growth.
17 Response to Variation Cultural Relativism Cultural relativism is the idea that a culture should be judged by its own standards, and not by the standards of another. Belief that all cultures are equal and should be appreciated for their differences.Beliefs, customs and ethics are relative to the individual in a particular context.Can help explain beliefs or behaviors that seem strange or different
20 Cultural Change Cultural diffusion Cultural diffusion is the spreading of culture traits from one society to anotherOccurs through different means: ex. Military conquest, tourism, mass media, missionary work, etc.Today it can happen almost instantlyInnovationInnovation is the process of introducing an idea or object new to a culture2 Forms of Innovation: discovery or invention
21 Cultural Change Cultural lag Cultural lag is the time it takes for nonmaterial culture to “catch up” to changes in material cultureNonmaterial changes slower than Material Culture.Ex. Napster. The invention of the Internet (material culture); cultural lag took place because the rules of using the internet were not in place for a site like Napster.Cultural levelingCultural leveling is a process by which cultures become more and more alikeSome suggest it is the first step toward a global cultureEx. GlobalizationMcDonald’s and Starbucks in different parts of the world.
22 Culture ShockA feeling of confusion, doubt, or nervousness caused by being in a place that is very different from what you are used to.