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Lecture 3

SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Trans-Cultural Diffusion, Making Money, Interracial Marriage


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Sheldon Ungar
Lecture
3

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Sept 25th Lecture 3 Culture
Canada is unique among developed countries in three dimensions of multiculturalism:
language diversity, the presence of indigenous peoples across the country, and large
immigrant populations.
Approximately 55 percent of respondents in a 2010 opinion poll indicated that
multiculturalism is good for Canada, while 30 percent regarded it as bad.
Basic principle of multiculturalism as indicated by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau when he
first introduced the policy in 1971 is that social integration and multiculturalism do not stand
in opposition to one another.
Operationalization in Action Human Development Index
HDI is an index used to rank countries by level of “human development
Operationalized as
1. Life expectancy at birth, as an index of population health and longevity
2. Education index, mean years of schooling
3. Standard of living, as measured by gross national income per capita (GNIpc)
2011 Canada was 6th
2012 Canada is 4th
Culture
Culture refers to the knowledge, language, values, customs, and material objects that are
passed from person to person and from one generation to the next in a human group or
society
While a society is made up of people, a culture is made up of people, a culture is made up of
ideas, behaviors, and material possessions
Culture includes: How we think, How we act, What we own
In effect, everything we create with our hands and our minds
Material culture refers to the physical creations that members of a society make, use, and
share. Everything from zippers to our homes and satellites in space
Nonmaterial culture consists of the abstract human creations of society that influence
people’s behavior. Language, beliefs, values, rules of behaviors, family patterns, and
political systems
We must learn about culture through interaction, observation, and imitation in order to
participate as members of the group
Culture shapes not only what we do but also what we think and how we feel elements of
what we commonly, but wrongly, describe as “human nature”
1. Culture is shared
2. Culture is learned
3. Culture is taken for granted
4. Culture is symbolic
5. Culture varies across time and place
Given the extent of cultural differences in the world and people’s tendency to view their own
way of life as “natural” to humanity, even though most people around the world view their
own behavior that way
Language
Language provides the categories through which social reality is understood
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Does not simply describe reality, but also influences our perception of reality.
Lawyers, politicians, marketers = all involve in shaping reality to fit their needs
Video to watch:
Wade Davis Canadian born Anthropologist on Endangered Cultures
Ted.com Ideas worth spreading
This video is on Ethnosphere A strong argument for cultural diversity
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/wade_davis_on_endangered_cultur
es.html
Components of Culture
Symbols is something that meaningfully represent something else
Language is a system of symbols that expresses ideas and enables people to think and
communicate with one another
Values are collective ideas about what is right and wrong, good or bad, and desirable or
undesirable in particular culture
Norm are established rules of behavior or standards of conduct
Culture and Judgment
Ethnocentrism: Tendency for person to judge other cultures exclusively by standards of their
own culture
Danger: hierarchy of cultures, prejudice & discrimination
Cultural Relativism: Judging cultural practices and beliefs exclusively in the cultural context
in which they appear
Danger: mostly incompatible with idea universal human rights
Ethnocentrism
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