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The Culture of Society - The Culture of Society 1 From the...

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The Culture of Society. 1. From the above we can see that sociologists focus on the ideas of culture and learned behaviour. However, even though we reject the idea of instinct as the basis for human social organisation, this still leaves us to find explanations for two ideas: a. How cultures develop and b. Why cultures develop in particular ways. 2. The American sociologist Talcott Parsons (1902 - 1979) has suggested a solution to the problem of understanding how and why human behaviour is socially organised (that is, why clear patterns of behaviour develop amongst human beings). * He argued that all societies are faced with solving four great problems if they are to both exist and survive over time. These problems can be outlined in the following way: a. Problem 1: The economic problem of how to produce the things that are needed for human survival. * Solution to the economic problem: Society has to organise people into economic (work) relationships in order to produce things like food, shelter and so forth. b. Problem 2: The political problem of how to ensure that society is orderly and stable. The problem here, therefore, is own of government and control over people’s behaviour. In short, the need is the need to enforce rules of acceptable behaviour. * Solution to the political problem: Society has to develop ways of governing people and controlling people . In our society this involves government, the police, the courts and so forth. c. Problem 3: The family problem of how to ensure that children are born and looked after in a way that allows them to grow into functioning adult members of society.
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