SOCI 461 Lecture Notes - George Ritzer, Ozzy Osbourne, Symbolic Interactionism

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Culture as Freedom
-culture has 2 faces
1. Provides us w/ an opportunity to exercise our freedom
2. It constrains usexisting cultures put limits on what we can think and do
Cultural production and symbolic interactionism:
-culture used to be regarded as a “reflection” of societya dependent variable
-recently, symbolic interactionists regard culture as an independent variable
-people do not accept culture passively
-we actively produce and interpret culture in accordance w/ our diverse needs
-implies that to a degree, we are at liberty to choose how culture influences us
Cultural diversity:
-part of the reason we are increasingly able to choose how culture influences us is that there is more to choose
-ex. Canada is undergoing rapid cultural diversification b/c of increased immigration
-marriage b/w different ethnic groups and interracial marriage is increasing
-critics of multiculturalism say that multiculturalism has 3 negative consequences:
1. multicultural education hurts students who are members of minority groups by forcing them to spend
too much time on noncore subjects
2. multicultural education causes political disunity and results in more interethnic and interracial conflict
3. multiculturalism encourages the growth of cultural relativismthe belief that all cultures and all
cultural practices have equal value
The Rights Revolution: A Conflict Analysis of Culture:
-The rights revolution is the process by which socially excluded groups struggle to win equal rights under the law
and in the practice beginning in the 2nd half of the century
-the rights revolution fragments Canadian culture by:
-legitimizing the grievances of groups that were formally excluded from full participation
-renewing their pride in their identity and heritage
From diversity to globalization:
-in preliterate or tribal societies, cultural beliefs and practices are virtually the same for all group members
-many organize rites of passage
-their culture is homogenous
-preindustrial Western Europe and N.A. were rocked by the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, the Scientific
Revolution, the French and American Revolutions
-there was cultural fragmentation
-picked up steam during industrialization
-its pace is quickening again today due to globalization
-one of important roots of globalization is the expansion of international trade and investment
-globalization destroys political, economic, and cultural isolation, bringing people together in what Marshall
McLuhan called a “global village”
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