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Lecture

Chapter 2-Culture as a Problem Solver Sep 17 2008


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Sheldon Ungar

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READING NOTES
09-17-08
CULTURE
NEW SOCIETY: CH. 2
Culture As a Problem Solver
y Culture: all socially transmitted ideas, practices, and material objects that people create to
deal with real-life problems
y Society: involves people interacting and sharing culture, usually in a defined geographical
area
The Origins of Cultural
y Cultural Survival Kit
y (I) Abstraction: the capacity to create ideas or ways of thinking
y Symbols: things that carry particular meanings
y (II) Cooperation: capacity to create a complex social life by establishing norms
y Norms: standards of behaviour or generally accepted ways of doing things
y (II) Production: devising and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to take what
we want from nature
Building Blocks of Culture: Table 2.1 (pg. 33: New Society)
HUMAN CAPACITIES
ABSTRACTION
COOPERATION
PRODUCTION
ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
IDEAS
NORMS
MATERIAL CULTURE
CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
MEDICINE
THEORIES
EXPERIMENTS
TREATMENTS
LAW
VALUES
LAWS
COURTS, JAILS
RELIGION
RELIGIOUS
FOLKLORE
RELIGIOUS
CUSTOMS
CHURCH ART,
ARCHIT.
y Material Culture: such tools and techniques are known as material culture
y Folklore: traditional ideas about how the universe was created, the meaning of life and so on
y Folkways: norms regarding how to worship and how to treat fellow human beings
y Folklore and folkways give rise to material culture which includes, churches, their associated
art and architecture etc.
y People are usually rewarded when they follow cultural guidelines and punished when they do
not
y Together punishments and rewards, aimed at ensuring conformity are known as sanctions or
the system of social control
y Positive Sanctions: (rewards) praise, encouragement, money, power
y Negative Sanctions: (punishments) avoidance, contempt to physical violence and arrest
y Social culture is needed to ensure stable patterns of interaction, and resistance to social
control is needed to ensure cultural innovation and social renewal (find balance between
both= stable vibrant societies)
Culture From The Margins
y Ethnocentrism: judging another culture exclusively by the standards of our own
y Ex: cattle in India vs. Westerners view point
y India- cow is a religious symbol of life that is worshiped undoubting
y Westerners- irrational when judged by the standards of western agribusiness
The Two Faces of Culture
y Rationalization: the application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and the
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