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Lecture 2

SOC101 Lecture 2 - Culture.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Brym

Lecture 2 – September 19, 2012 1. Culture - Sum of socially transmitted practices and material objects that people create to overcome real-life problems. Culture gives us guidelines for how to act. a. Culture is shared i. Becomes shared only when we need it 1. Ex. Steam engine only became part of culture when there was a widespread need of it 2. First computer was just something cool until WWII when governments recognized the need and developed it b. Culture is created to solve real-life problems 2. Hard for people to be critical of their own culture because they’re immersed in it a. Ethnocentrism – involves judging another culture exclusively by the standards of one’s own/ i. Line has to be drawn 1. Freedom, equality, justice, human dignity b. Cultural Relativism – is the belief that all elements of all cultures should be respected as equally valid 3. Culture Freedom a. Education gives us knowledge to make bigger, more informed discussions b. See NS Chapter 2 notes 4. Culture Constraints i. Education as thought control b. Rationalization – application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and the often unintended, negative consequences of doing so i. Bureaucracy – large, impersonal organization composed of many clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy. It has a permanent, salaried staff of qualified experts and written goals, rules and procedures. Staff members strive to achieve goals more efficiently. c. Consumerism – lifestyle that involves defining one’s self in terms of the goods one purchases i. What kind of person you observe depends on the visual you get 1. Clothing, cars, hair, ii. People are inclined to respond to advertisement if we see it enough and it’s cool enough iii. Advertising classifies people and helps you think you fit in by buying certain things 1. You can buy socially acceptable characteristics iv. Consumer debt has never been high than it is today 1. Causes us to work harder to pay it off a. Increases stress and depression v. High levels of consumption encourages environmentally dangerous habit of consuming resources vi. Consumerism forces people to conform 1. Stifles descent, rebellion, counter cultures 2. Draws attention from pressing social issues 5. Chart Thingy a. Functiona
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