SOC1101 B – Lecture 9
In a sense, these normative ideas end up in our social institutions. The values find
their way into institutions and our personalities. Through interaction with other
people, most of us come to internalize that value structure.
Remember that functionalists deemphasize conflict in society, arguing that the basis
in society is consensus. You expect others to do exactly what they expect themselves
to do. (For Example: Teacher expecting students to perform to the best of their
ability and vice versa).
Imagine if someone came from a culture very different from us that held an
imposing set of values. They would not get along very well with us. To the extent
that we share the same kind of values, we share the same personalities, so we get
along. When we go into our institutions, we are able to play certain roles because it’s
the “norm.” You already think that you should act and behave a certain way.
He was the director of comedian studies at Harvard. In the early 1960s, he came up
with a theory of what made Canadians different from Americans. He was a
functionalist. In this case, what are the values of Canadians and Americans? He
argues that there are no two societies as similar as CA and USA, but we are not the
same. On one value, we diverge. He says that the Americans as opposed to
Canadians put a higher value on individualism. They are more towards an extreme
What he means by individualism, he means freedom. He also means equality; we are
all individuals, making us equal to one another. He also means self-reliance. If you
don’t belong to anyone, then you need to provide to someone else. He is saying that
they put a higher valuation on quality, freedom and self-reliance than we do as
On the other hand, Canadians are more collectively oriented than Am