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Lecture 8

Lecture 8.docx

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

Lecture 8: Culture, Social Power & Hierarchy Defining Culture  What is culture? o An ever-changing, constructive stimulus which shapes the way individuals perceive and contribute to the world  Ever-changing: dynamic; your culture is not the same as your parents’ culture— culture changes all the time  Constructive: influenced by members of the culture; protests, artists—people can change culture  Shapes: influences members of the culture; how culture changes people o Nationality: the country you were born in o Ethnicity: your cultural heritage o Identification: shared identity of group members; how much you associate your heritage with yourself (your self-concept); some people are very strongly associated with their heritage, others are non-identified o Meaning system  Symbols, language, experiences—all shared among the members of the same culture  Metaphysics: beliefs about the world, universe, & existence—why we are here Describing cultures  Individualist cultures: emphasize personal achievement, even at the expense of others o Greater emphasis on competition (ex: Canada, Western Europe)  Collectivist cultures: emphasize social roles and collective responsibilities, even at the expense of the individual—you sacrifice yourself for the group o Greater emphasis on cooperation (ex: China, Korea, Latin America) o Opposite of individualism, but some cultures have both (Japan)  Political Climate o Political structure greatly constrains behaviour and cultural expression o Sometimes government change can extinguish culture  Religious Beliefs o Dominant religious beliefs characterize a culture’s moral reasoning and motivations  Religion also affects social roles and norms  Ecological Differences o Environmental context shapes the development and focus of a culture (ex: Inuit must survive in arctic, so they will make their norms, goals more different than someone living in the tropics) How Does Culture Affect Us?  Cognition/Perception o Cognitive mechanisms—how do we think?  The western assumption that talking is connected to thinking is not shared in the east (SEE STUDY) o Cognitive framing: the perceptual framework through which you view the world  Affects the attributions made for events  Another way that culture affects our cognition  Like a schema  A set of expectations about the world that you’re going to fit behaviour in more or less  Affects how you perceive the world (SEE STUDY) o Dialectical Thinking: a cognitive reasoning structure through which an individual interprets the environment  Linear thinkers: want there to be a set of criteria—evidence for something vs. another  Dialectical thinkers: analogical thinkers—use examples as proof  3 principles:  Change: everything is in flux/constantly changing  Contradiction: opposing propositions may both be true  Wholism: everything is interrelated/interdependent (why would 2 contradictory things be true?—probably b/c there’s some greater whole that explains both of them) (SEE STUDY)  Affect o Emotional complexity: the experience of many emotions at the same time, especially if those emotions are a mixture of positive and negative feelings o (SEE SLIDE)  Behaviour o Social norms & Social roles  Social norms are completely relative to cultural context  Punishment for violation of social norms varies by culture too  Importance of social roles varies by culture  East Asians list significantly more social roles in Twenty Statements Test Moving Between Cultures  Acculturation: successful integration of the heritage of two cultures o Adoption of new culture through incorporating value systems of both new and original cultures o Haven’t totally abandoned their previous culture but they’ve found a way that everything works together—most adaptive way to immigrate to a new country  Assimilation: complete adoption of a new culture o Adoption of a new culture and simultaneous rejection of original culture—more negative outcome  Bicultural Identity Integration (BII): Degree to which two cultural identities are integrated in to a super-ordinate bicultural identity (STUDY) o 2 key components b/w the two cultural identities:  Perceived Harmony vs. Conflict  Perceived Similarity vs. Distance Social Power & Hierarchy  Definitions o Social hierarchy: an implicit or explicit (very clear) rank order of individuals or groups with respect to a valued social dimension  How we rank people depends on what the group needs o Social power (Objective): an asymmetric control over valued resources in social relations  Based on resources, which belong to an actor/social object  Person’s ability to allocate resources to group gives them more power (money, food, shelter) o Power hierarchy: rank-ordering of individuals with respect to the amount of resources each controls  One type of social hierarchy o Social status (subjective): the extent to which an individual or group is respected or admired by others  Exists entirely in the eyes of others and is conferred by themstatus changes o Status hierarchy: a rank-ordering of individuals or groups according to the amount of respect accorded by others  Changes only as the amount of respect for a target individual or group changes  Another type of social hierarchy Types of social hierarchies  Formal Hierarchies: explicitly-set social roles that vary by rank order, with higher-ranking roles holding greater value o People move b/w roles, but the hierarchy exists apart from the individuals who fill a given role at a given time (ex: worker becomes a manager) o Signs of a formal hierarchy:  Job titles  Reporting structures: when having to report to someone means you are in a lower status hierarchy  Organizational charts o Sources of value in higher-ranked positions:  Control over resources (Power): when you move your way up in status, you have more control over resources  Deference from subordinates (Status): you wouldn’t tell off your boss, but you might tell off an employee in same status as you (deference) o Typically an assumption of legitimacy to the hierarchy exists: usually people believe that the person at high status deserved to get there  Informal Hierarchies: rank-ordering of individuals or groups that develops organically on at least one valued social dimension o No clearly-delineated social roles o Sources of value in higher-ranked positions:  Influence over group decisions (Power): everyone just goes along with what the higher-ranked pos
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