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2. Cultures Building Blocks.docx

Course Code
SOC 1101
Liam Kilmurray

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Cultures Building Blocks
What is Culture?
Culture: Totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, objects and
Culture includes: ideas, values, customs, even the artifacts and use of material
The way of life of people, for group membership
Anything we create and pass along to the next generation as part of who we are is
Society cannot exist without culture or a way a life, and a culture cant exist unless
people interact
Two Ways of Theorizing Culture
Structural Functionalism
- Culture can be analyzed as an independent phenomenon
- Culture stands above society, informing its members how to act
- What is the effect of music on a society?
- Looking at the influence and the impact that cultural impact has to
make people behave in a certain way
Conflict (Marxist) Perspective
- Culture is a reflection of society
- What does culture show us about tensions in society?
- The dominant culture is the culture of the dominant group
- Who sang the song and why was it meaningful to that society? For
whom is it popular? Who decides what music will be promoted?
Four Characteristics of Culture
Culture is learned (by watching others and following their example: a child
learning to eat, North America: Forks Asia: Chopsticks)
Culture is shared (not something an individual posses, must be agreed upon by
what is and isn’t acceptable: Women having to cover their bodies when in public)
Culture is adaptive (technological changes: horse and buggy, cars, trains,
Culture is cumulative (always building on ways of a heritage that is never
Components of Culture
Material Culture: the tangible physical or technical aspects of our daily lives
Non Material Culture: ways of using material objects, as well as customs,
beliefs, and patterns of communication
Types of Cultures
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