SOCI 1002 E
Foundations of Sociology
Week 4: Culture
• Operationalization is like writing a dictionary definition of whatever it is you want to study.
• Anything that fits that definition becomes the subject of your research and anything that
doesn’t is excluded.
• HDI is an index used to rank countries by level of “human development”.
• HDI is operationalized as:
o Life expectancy at birth, (population health and longevity).
o Knowledge and education, (adult literacy rate & school enrollment ratios).
o Standard of living, (GDP per capita).
Research in Action: Users & Non-users of Facebook (Steven Richardson)
• Purpose: tries to understand people’s use and non-use of technology (Facebook).
• Research methods: conducting surveys (research methods aren’t mutually exclusive).
• Follow-up interviews follow the surveys (more research).
• Culture: shared values, beliefs, behaviour and material objects that together form a
• way of life. Includes: how we think, act and what we own.
• Culture is everything we create with our hands and minds; it is a link to the past and a
• the future.
• To understand culture, we must consider both thoughts and things.
• Nonmaterial culture: ideas created by members of a society (intangible). • Material culture: refers to physical things created by members (tangible).
• Culture shapes what we think and how we feel. “Human nature”.
• Culture is shared, learned, taken for granted, symbolic and varies across time and place.
• People believe their culture is “natural” but travelers usually experience culture shock
• (unfamiliar culture).
• Ethnocentrism: tendency for people to judge other cultures exclusively by standards of
• own culture. (Danger: discrimination, prejudice, hierarchy of cultures, etc).
• Cultural Relativism: belief that all cultures have equal value. (Danger: disappearance of
Culture and Language
• Language: provides the categories through which social reality is understood.
• Video: Wade Davis (Canadian born Anthropologist on Endangered Cultures).