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Lecture 6

SOCI 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Xenocentrism, Female Genital Mutilation, Cultural Relativism

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Sara Cumming

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-The languages, beliefs, values, norms, behaviours and material objects that are passed down
from one generation to the next (Henslin et al., 2014)
Group Work
-Arrange yourselves in groups of 4-5 people outside of your normal “friend” circle
-Share some of your culture in the small groups
-Compare and contrast some of the similarities between each group member’s cultural
practices (based on the definition of what constitutes culture)
-did you learn something new about any specific culture you didn’t know before
-We judge others cultures based on our own view of our own culture (cultural ideas)
Cultural Relativism
-Trying to understand cultures on their own terms rather than through our cultural lens
-food for thought?
-What do you think of the practice of raising bulls for the sole purpose of stabbing them to
death in front of shouting crowds?
-Dog-fighting? Female circumcision?
-believing that another culture does something better than ones own. idealizing certain
aspects of another culture.
-A basic element of society
-the expressive aspect of social life
-symbol systems: represent and guide thinking, feeling, behaviour
Elements of Culture
-Material culture
-Jewellery, art, buildings, weapons, machines, hairstyles, and clothing, comic strips
-Nonmaterial culture
-Ways of thinking (beliefs, values, and other assumptions about the world) and doing
(common patterns of behaviour, including language, gestures (hugging) and other forms of
interaction). The way in which we think, and how we pass on our ideas
-An abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture. Includes
speech, written characters, numerals, symbols, and gestures and expressions of non-
verbal communication
-Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis - language shapes your reality,
-Nonverbal communication
-Use of gestures, facial expressions and other visual images to communicate
-Established standards of behaviour maintained by a society
-Formal, informal, mores, folkways
-we learn norms through formal and informal controls, formal include policing and jail time.
informal are “you look so nice today” a reward. informal would be saying please and thank-
you, eating with your mouth shut. Mores = biggest rules in society that we don’t break,
murder, pedophilia. Folkways are like informal norms, polite for a man to open the door for
a woman.
-Penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm
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