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Sociology 1A06 - Culture Lecture

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McMaster University
Geraldine Voros

Culture 10/2/2013 8:29:00 AM Defined broadly;  all the socially transmitted ideas, practices, and material objects that people create to deal with real-life problems  objects and ideas  ex. Gretzky – superstitious Cultural Universals;  Bodily adornment, sports, gift giving, social institutions (family) Cultural Surprises;  Study culture from a vantage point that is not too immersed or too far removed  Ex. Taking young children for gelato late at night Norms – generally accepted ways of doing things Ethnocentrism – one‟s own practices/beliefs are superior Ex. Keeping your kids up that late and giving them sugar is bad Cultural Relativism – all cultural practices have equal value Ex. There‟s no bad way to raise your kids Ideal Culture – set of beliefs we say we adhere to Real Culture – actual practices Contemporary Culture Globalization  Political & economic interconnectedness  Travel and migration – more people are moving back and forth (transnationalism)  Diaspora – the migration of a group of people that maintain the identity of their previous nationality even though they live in a different culture now  Communication – characterized by the expansion  Work/occupation (Ritzer: the McDonaldization of society shows rationalization, argues that it applies to everything in society not just fast food)  Ritzers features: o Efficiency – getting food quickly o Calculability – quantity rather than quality o Predictable – food is consistent o Control – what they do, how they dress, what they say & customers too (cleaning up after themselves, self-checkout) Postmodernism  Reflects broad range of projects  No singular theory or “truth”  Knowledge and “truth” is fluid and shaped and reshaped through discourse – knowledge and how the knowledge is communicated (medical, political, academic discourse)  “truth” reflects power relations  Modern Architecture o minimalism o simplicity – focusing on the basics (lines) o diversity – willingness to be experimental and eclectic; those word
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