SS2800 Ch 3 Summary.pdf - SS2800 Lecture Summary Chapter 3...

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Unformatted text preview: SS2800 Lecture Summary Chapter 3: Culture Slide 1 With this chapter, we are taking a look at culture, which serves as the founda7on for our understanding of the world around us. Slide 2 In short, culture is “society’s en7re way of life.” Culture is our language, the food we eat, our architecture, infrastructure, laws, norms, way of dress, music, arts, etc. Culture is everything. Culture shock may arise out of inability to make sense of other cultures. Culture may be material (things) or non-­‐material (ideas). By acknowledging cultural rela7vism, or the idea that the way in which we view the world is not necessarily right or wrong but is bound by our cultural iden77es, leads to a beEer understanding of the world around us. Slide 3 Let’s look at symbols, one of the primary elements of culture. Humans transform elements of their world into symbols, which are anything that carries a par7cular meaning and is commonly recognized and understood by people who share a culture. These meanings form the basis for our culture and may vary between culture. Symbols might include language, non-­‐verbal behaviors, or actual signs and symbols. Slide 4 Language is a “system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another.” Culture is transmiEed between individuals and genera7ons through language. The Sapir-­‐Whorf hypothesis states that people perceive the world through language. In other words, language is the lens through which we see and, ul7mately, understand our world. Slide 5 Values and beliefs are important products of culture. Values are “broad guidelines for social living” that form the basis for beliefs. Beliefs are “specific statements that people hold to be true.” Slide 6 Williams proposed 10 values that are central to life in the United States. Keep in mind that just because a society holds a par7cular value, it is arguable as to whether or not a society fully realizes that value. The degree to which U.S. society realizes Williams’ values may differ depending on which of the three sociological perspec7ves (func7onalist, conflict, or symbolic interac7onist) you are opera7ng from. The values are as follows: 1. Equal opportunity 2. Achievement and success 3. Material comfort 4. Activity and work 5. Practicality and efficiency 6. Progress 7. Science 8. Democracy and free enterprise 9. Freedom 10. Racism and group superiority Slide 7 Keep in mind, values sometimes conflict or change, causing strain and potentially contributing to social conflict. Each culture has its own values, which may be broader and national, or changing depending on cultural subgroups. Slide 8 Some of the other products of culture are norms, mores, and folkways. These guide societal interactions. Norms are informal “rules and expectations by which a society guides behavior of its members.” Formal norms are known as laws. Norms may involve something as simple as body language or as significant as crime and punishment. Mores are widely observed norms that have great moral significance. Folkways are norms for routine and casual interaction. Slide 9 Societies are controlled through two primary sanctions for violations of norms: guilt and shame. Guilt is a “negative judgment we make about ourselves,” while shame is the “sense that others disapprove of our actions.” Slide 10 Culture may be divided into ideal culture, or the way things should be based on values and norms, and real culture. Real culture is the way that things actually are. Slide 11 Material culture, or the “stuff” of a particular society partially reflects the society’s underlying value system, technology, and knowledge. Slide 12 Cultural diversity represents a number of things. First, it is important to remember that some aspects of culture are only available to those who meet particular class markers. High culture distinguishes cultural elites, while popular culture is widespread. Subcultures are smaller divisions within a cultural group, while counterculture involves patterns that oppose the dominant cultural paradigm. Slide 13 When we view society through the lens of multiculturalism, we gain a better understanding of the cultural diversity within our society and equally promote all cultural traditions. Eurocentrism is a way of viewing culture that favors the dominance of European cultural patterns. Afrocentrism is a way of viewing culture that favors the dominance of African cultural patterns. Slide 14 Cultural change happens for a number of reasons and in a variety of ways. First, cultural integration may lead to change, as various cultures blend together. Cultural lag may disrupt a cultural system, leading to change because some aspects of culture are behind others. Essentially, culture changes in three ways: invention (new cultural elements are created), discovery (better understanding), and diffusion (spreading cultural traits). Slide 15 Ethnocentrism is a broader term for Eurocentrism and Afrocentrism. Broadly, ethnocentrism is a way of judging all other cultures by the standards of one’s own culture. By contrast, cultural relativism involves judging a culture by its own standards. Slide 16 Sociologists may be challenged to answer the question: Is there a global culture? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. The basic argument for a global culture is that the flow of goods, information, and people between and among global partners is at an all-­‐time high. However, this flow has often been unlimited and the argument assumes that all material products of culture are affordable. Further, individuals do not necessarily attach the same meaning to material goods. Slide 17 The functionalist approach argues that culture is a “strategy for meeting human needs” with values at the core. However, this approach ignores cultural diversity and the importance of change. Slide 18 The conflict approach looks at culture as supporting inequalities because cultural traits benefit some at the expense of others. Critics argue that this approach understates the ways in which cultural patterns allow people from different cultures to become part of other societies. Slide 19 As we close the chapter on culture, it is important to understand sociobiology, which is a theoretical approach that looks at how human biology affects how we create and maintain culture. Based on the work of Darwin, this approach looks at how culture changes based on how people change over long periods of time based upon natural selection. Critics of this approach argue that it may be used to support racism or sexism and there is little evidence to support this theory. ...
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