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SOC 101 (300)
Lecture 4

Sociology Lecture 4.docx

4 Pages

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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

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Sociology Lecture 4 Language and Culture - A symbol is something that stands for or represents something else - A language is a shared symbol system of rules and meaning - Shared cultural symbols allow us to interact, language is a key identifier of cultural boundaries - 3500 languages in danger of extinction (Harrison, 2007) when a language dies so do its related cultural myths, folk songs, legends, etc, resulting in cultural amnesia Does Language Define Thought? - Linguistic Determinism o Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis o Language does in fact determine thought o Perceptions of the world are influenced by the limitations of our thought o Contemporary research shows little support o Most people don’t think this hypothesis hold up - Non-verbal communication includes a whole spectrum of body language o Body language, proximity, haptics, oculesics, chronemics, olfactics, vocalics, sound symbols, adornment, locomotion Cultural Diversity - Subculture o A group within a population whose values, norms, folkways, or mores set them apart from the mainstream culture o Often based on race, ethnicity and religion o E.g. Mennonite and Amish communities - A Counterculture o A type of subculture that strongly opposes the widely held cultural patterns of larger populations o E.g. Hells Angels Canadian Culture - Is there a unique Canadian Culture? - Canadian Values o Belief in equality and fairness in a democratic society o Belief in consultation and dialogue o Importance of accommodation and tolerance o Support for diversity o Compassion and generosity o Attachment to Canada’s natural beauty o Commitment to freedom, peace and non-violent change Sociology Lecture 4 Cultural Changes - Cultures are constantly changing to adapt to new social and technological changes - Three sources inspire cultural change: o Discovery  Something previously unrecognized or understood is found to have social or cultural applications o Invention/Innovation  Existing cultural items are manipulated or modified to produce something new and socially valuable o Diffusion  Cultural items or practices are transmitted from one group to another Sociological Approaches to Culture - Functionalism o Culture plays a part in helping people to meet needs o Cultural universals o Environmental pressures are addressed through changes in practices, traditions, and behaviours as a way of maintaining stability and equilibrium - Conflict Theory o Views society based on tension and conflict over scarce resources o Those who hold power define and perpetuate a culture’s ideology o E.g. Residential school system for Aboriginal children - Symbolic Interactionism o How culture is created and recreated through social interaction o Culture is modified according to the negotiation of reality o Minority status is a social category created by interacting individuals o “We do it together” o Culture is the set of symbols to which we collectively assign values Socialization and the Social Interaction Nature Versus Nurture 1. The Biological Approach (Nature) - Our actions stem from our biological roots 2. Environment Appr
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