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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

[CULTURE] January 23, 2013 1. What is Culture?  Culture is a complex collection of values, beliefs, behaviours, and material objects shared by a group passed on from one generation to the next  Five defining features: o Culture is learned o Shared o Transmitted  Generation to generation o Cumulative  Builds on itself, grows and changes o Human  Not from an anthropological standpoint  Material Culture: the tangible artifacts and physical objects found in a given culture  Non-Material Culture: the intangible and abstract components of a society, including values and norms  Values: beliefs about ideal goals and behaviours  Norms: rules that outline appropriate behaviour  Folkways: informal norms that suggest customary ways of behaving o The way we expect people to move out of the way walking on the sidewalk  Mores: norms that carry a strong sense of social importance  Laws: norms that are formally defined and enacted in legislation  Sanction: a penalty for norm violation o Both positive and negative o Neg: ticket for speeding o Pos. moral high ground of not speeding 2. Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism  Ethnocentrism o The tendency to view one’s own culture as superior to others o Restrictive in the sense that it does not allow one to appreciate diversity  Cultural relativism o Appreciating all that all cultures have intrinsic worth and need to be evaluated and understood on their own terms o Avoid judging others cultures customs and traditions before trying to understand them  Being aware of ethnocentrism and cultural re… helps you become a more informed and critical thinker 3. 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
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