Lecture 4 - Lecture 4 Culture and Acculturation 1 choice is...

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Lecture 4 Culture and Acculturation 1
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The controlling effects of culture In this lecture we see that culture controls our ! Perceptions and opinions ! Beliefs and values ! Goals and ambitions ! Even when we have ± free choice, ² our choice is socially and culturally structured 4
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Culture is a choice-guidance system Culture defines ! Good versus bad ! Right versus wrong ! True versus false ! Beautiful versus ugly ! Worthy versus worthless ! Normal versus abnormal 4
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Culture even has political effects ! Culture, when influenced by the state and modes of production, gives rise to the dominant ideology ! By influencing morality, it influences our behaviour Culture Mode of Production The State Domination 5
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Cultures vary in what they teach us ! Cultures teach different views about right and wrong choices ! That sometimes leads to cultural confusion or conflict ! It is often hard to hold culturally relative values " We tend to be ethnocentric 7
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Moral evolution versus cultural relativism ! Between 1870-1920 Sociology moved away from assuming a moral evolution in human history ! Today it views cultural beliefs as non-rational and largely incomparable ! Must be understood and judged on their own terms ! Problem: does moral relativism = moral indifference? 7
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e.g., the subordination of women 8
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Cultural change can be painful ! People who, in the process of acculturation, relinquish the home culture and reject the host culture are known as marginal ! E.g., hard to accept new views about women, gays, youth 10
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An identity crisis may result ! In the transition associated with acculturation, an identity crisis is most likely to occur after migration and cultural isolation ! This identity crisis may be brief or prolonged, but painful 10
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Traditionally, ± culture ² was equated with ± civility ² Culture : from the Latin verb colere – to till the soil (i.e., to work the land, or improve and refine the land in order to grow crops) Tilling the soil is hard work: the word ± cultivation ² reflects belief that hard work is the source of all human improvement 11
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Today, we hold a broader definition of culture: Culture is the sum total of all products of the human mind. ! Cultural products can be… ! concrete or abstract ! individual or collective ! material or non-material (e.g., ideas) 13
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Culture never stands still ! Culture is always changing " e.g. fashions in clothing, speech, names of children ! Ideas of beauty change over time too 13
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New cultural practices and ideas diffuse through the population !
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