Soc Ch 1 - CHAPTER 2: Culture What is Culture? Culture: the...

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CHAPTER 2: Culture What is Culture? - Culture: the ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the material objects that together form a people’s way of life - Nonmaterial culture consists of ideas created by members of a society (art to Zen) while material culture refers to physical things (armchairs to zippers) - Society: people who interact in a defined territory and share a culture. - Culture shapes what we do, what we think, and how we feel; wrongly called “human nature” (some cultures thing that violence is natural while others thing living peacefully is natural) - Culture shock: personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life - Only humans rely on culture rather than instinct to ensure their survival - 250,000 years ago, Homo sapiens had emerged. - 12,000 years ago, the founding of permanent settlements and the creation of specialized occupations in the Middle East marked that instincts had almost disappeared. In its place was a more efficient survival scheme: fashioning the natural environment to our purposes. - More than 200 languages are spoken in the US, most of which were brought by immigrants. - Globally, there are almost 7,000 languages documented. Roughly half of these are spoken by less than 10,000 people each. - The decline in the number of languages spoken is a result of high-technology communication, increasing international migration, and the expanding global economy. The Elements of Culture - There are four common elements between cultures: 1. Symbols: things that carry a particular meaning that is recognized by people who share a culture a. Ex. Flashing red light, wolf-whistle, raised fist.
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b. Culture shock is really the inability to “read” meaning in unfamiliar surroundings; not understanding symbols leaves a person feeling lost, isolated, and unsure of how to act. c. A traveler can experience culture shock and can inflict culture shock on others by acting in ways that offend them. d. Symbolic meanings can vary within a single society 2. Language: a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another a. Different alphabets, different writing directions b. The three most widely spoken languages are English, Chinese, and Spanish. c.
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This note was uploaded on 12/19/2009 for the course SOC 101 taught by Professor Miller during the Fall '07 term at Ohio State.

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Soc Ch 1 - CHAPTER 2: Culture What is Culture? Culture: the...

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