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chapter 3 outline

chapter 3 outline - Wendy Moritz Sociology Chapter 3...

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Wendy Moritz Sociology Chapter 3: Culture What is Culture? Culture: Nonmaterial Culture : ideas created by members of a society; ideas range from art to Zen Material Culture : physical things created by members of a society; armchairs to zippers People tend to view their own way of life as “natural” causing travelers to feel uneasy Culture Shock : Personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life Our ancestors set off on distinct evolutionary course making culture their primary strategy for survival 250,000 yrs ago homo sapien (Latin meaning thinking person) emerged 12,000 yrs ago founding of permanent settlements & creation of specialized occupations in middle east marked “birth of civilization” Biological forces we call instincts disappeared, replaced by more efficient survival scheme: fashioning the natural environment ourselves Culture refers to a shared way of life Nation is political entity, territory w/designated borders Society organized interaction of people who typically live in a nation or some other specific territory Many nations (US) multicultural: their people follow various ways of life that blend & sometimes clash How Many Cultures? One indicator of culture is language Censes bureau lists 200 lang.’s spoken in US most of which brought by immigrants 7,000 lang.’s suggest distinct of as many distinct cultures Decline of lang. is starting to drop n will continue Causes include high-technology communication, increasing international migration, & expanding global economy The Elements of Culture Cultures vary greatly but common elements include: o Symbols, o Language o Values o Norms Symbols Try to give the world meaning (humans) Transform elements of world into symbols Symbols : anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture Not understanding symbols of a culture leaves a person feeling lost & isolated, unsure of how to act, & sometimes frightened Culture shock 2 way process o Travelers experience culture shock when encountering people whose way of life is different o Traveler may inflict culture shock on local people by acting in ways that offend them Symbolic meanings vary within a single society
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Language Language : key to world of culture; system of symbols that allows people to communicate w/one another Language not only allows communication but key to cultural transmission Cultural Transmission: process by which one generation passes culture to next Every society has transmitted culture through speech, process sociologists call “oral cultural
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