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Cultural Values - charity freedom equality and justice...

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Cultural Values A culture's  values  are its ideas about what is good, right, fair, and just. Sociologists  disagree, however, on how to conceptualize values. Conflict theory focuses on how  values differ between groups within a culture, while functionalism focuses on the shared  values within a culture. For example, American sociologist  Robert K. Merton  suggested  that the most important values in American society are wealth, success, power, and  prestige, but that everyone does not have an equal opportunity to attain these values.  Functional sociologist  Talcott Parsons  noted that Americans share the common value  of the “American work ethic,” which encourages hard work. Other sociologists have  proposed a common core of American values, including accomplishment, material  success, problem-solving, reliance on science and technology, democracy, patriotism, 
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Unformatted text preview: charity, freedom, equality and justice, individualism, responsibility, and accountability. A culture, though, may harbor conflicting values. For instance, the value of material success may conflict with the value of charity. Or the value of equality may conflict with the value of individualism. Such contradictions may exist due to an inconsistency between people's actions and their professed values, which explains why sociologists must carefully distinguish between what people do and what they say. Real culture refers to the values and norms that a society actually follows, while ideal culture refers to the values and norms that a society professes to believe....
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