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Foundations of Society

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Suzanne Casimiro

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September 20th
Foundations of Society – Culture
The ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the way material objects that together shape a
people’s way of life
-nonmaterial culture: the ideas created by member of a society
-material culture: the physical things created by members of a society
Culture Shock
Personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life because of:
-visit a new country
-move between social environments
-no way of life is natural to humanity, but most people around the world view their own
behaviour in that way
Culture and Human Intelligence
-nation: political entity and people
-state: political entity in a territory with borders
-society: people who interact in a defined territory and share culture
-experts document 7000 languages
The Elements of Culture
-values and beliefs
1. Symbols
-anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture
-societies create new symbols all the time
-reality for humans is found in the meaning things carry with them
-people must be mindful that meanings vary from culture to culture and even vary within
the same groups of people
2. Language
-a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another
-ex. new symbols in SMS
-cultural transmission: the process by which one generation passes culture to the next
-Sapir-Whorf thesis: people perceive the world through the cultural lens of language
3. Values and Beliefs
-values: culturally defined standards of desirability, goodness, and beauty, which serve
as broad guidelines for social living; values support social beliefs
-beliefs: specific statements that people hold to be true
Values: A Global Perspective
-cultures have their own values
-lower-income nations have cultures that value survival
-higher-income nations have cultures that value individualism and self-expression
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