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Lecture 4

Sociology Lecture 4 notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ivanka Knezevic

Sociology Lecture 4 Culture ** 110 multiple choice questions, midterm. Culture › Culture is the sum of ideas, practices, and material objects that people crate to an effort to survive in a complex and changing environment. › Includes material and non-material culture. › The definition is very broad – it can include the whole of society. › The definition of social structure can also be expanded to include the whole of society. › Need to distinguish culture from social structure. Culture & social structure › Philip Smith defines culture as the “ideal, the spiritual, and the non-material”. › Baumann: culture consists of elements of social life that have meaning that members of society communicate and understand. › This distinguishes culture from the concrete elements of social life (Baumann “lived experience”), which are embodied and enacted by actual objects and people. › These concrete elements from social structure. › Gender role attitudes are elements of culture. Occupational segregation by gender is an element of social structure. › Religion is an element of culture. Religious institutions and religious discrimination are element of social structure. Human capacities for creation of culture › Abstraction is the capacity to generalize; it leads to creation of ideas, including symbols. › Symbol is an element of communication that represents something else. › The relationship between the symbol and the phenomenon it represents is arbitrary, not necessary (unlike sign). Therefore, is must be learned. › Co-operation is the capacity to create a complex social life by establishing norms. › Production involves devising and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to use nature for survival. Such tools and techniques from material culture. Marxist explanation of culture and structure › Orthodox Marxism: both social structure (socio-economic formation) and culture are based on the mode of production: the way goods necessary for survival are produced. › Economic determinism. › Neo-Marxism: social structure and culture have their own logic of development and they, in turn, influence mode of production. › Marx: “dominant ideo
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