Unit 1.3 Culture - Culture and Society in a Changing World...

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Culture and Society in a Changing WorldCultureThe knowledge, language, values, customs, and material objects that are passed from person to person and from one generation to the next in a human group or society.Essential for our individual survival and our communication with other peopleNot born with the information we need to surviveMust learn about culture through interaction, observation, and imitation in order to participateas members of the groupFundamental for the survival of societiesThe “tool kit” for survivalNature: our biological and genetic makeupNurture: our social environmentOur behavior is instinctiveInstinct: an unlearned, biologically determined behavior pattern common to all members of a species that occurs whenever certain environmental conditions existReflex: an unlearned, biologically determined involuntary response to some stimuliDrives: unlearned, biologically determined impulses common to all members of a species that satisfy needsReflexes and drives do NOT determine how people will behave -- everything is channeled by cultureTool Kit for Survival:Material cultureConsists of the physical or tangible creations that members of a society make, use, and shareOur buffer against the environmentNonmaterial cultureConsists of the abstract or intangible human creations of society that influence people’s behavior.Language, beliefs, values, rules of behavior, family patterns, political systems, etc.BeliefsThe mental acceptance or conviction that certain things are true or realCultural UniversalsCustoms and practices that occur across all societiesAppearance, activities, social institutions, and customary practicesGeneral customs are PRESENT in all cultures but the specific FORMS varyComponents of CultureSymbolsAnything that meaningfully represents something elseCulture could not exist without symbolsThere would be no shared meanings among peopleMay be specific to a culture and have special meaning to individuals who share that culture but not necessarily to other peopleLanguageA set of symbols that expresses ideas and enables people to think and communicate with one anotherVerbal and nonverbal language helps us describe reality Important means of cultural transmissionA source of power and social controlPerpetuates inequalities between people and between groups because words are used to “keep people in their place” (intentionally or not)SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS(1956, 1961)Language shapes the view of reality of its speakersIf people are able to think only through language, then language must precede thoughtValuesCollective ideas about what is right or wrong, good or bad, and desirable or undesirable in a particular cultureValue Contradictions
Values that conflict with one another or are mutually exclusive

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