CHAPTER 3: CULTURE
A system of behavior, beliefs, knowledge, practices, values, and material such
as buildings, tools and sacred items
o No agreement on what constitutes a culture
o Culture is contested – those who are members of a society that has a
particular culture disagree about what it does or should include.
Authenticity – Culture involves traditions but is not confined
by them: it is dynamic, changing over time.
Theoretical Perspective on Culture
Functionalism – integrates people into groups.
Conflict theory – serves interests of powerful groups.
Symbolic Interaction – creates group identity from diverse cultural meanings.
The culture that through its political and economic power is able to impose its
values, language, and ways of behaving and interpreting behavior on a given
Group of people who share a distinctive set of cultural beliefs and behaviors
that differ in some significant way, but are not opposed to, that of the
Groups that reject selected elements of dominant cultures (Eg. Clothing styles,
order, sexual norms).
High Culture vs. Popular & Mass Culture
o The culture of the elite.
o High culture requires a set of skills and knowledge, cultural capital and
need to acquire sophisticated tastes.
o Created by the people who will consume it.
The ‘culture of the majority’
Assumed agency to interpret and use
o Created by those in power, for the mass
Assumed lack of agency
o Simulacra (Baudrillard) – cultural images or stereotypes produced and
reproduced as a commodity. How is Social Control Enforced?
Norms are rules or standards of behavior that are expected of a group, society,
o “What Ought (Should) Be”
Sanctions are rewards and punishment in response to a particular behavior.
o Positive & Negative Sanctions
Types of Norms
William Graham Sumner (18401910)
o Three kinds of Norms:
Folkways – are informal norms that govern everyday s