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Introduction to Society and Culture Discusses culture, ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, discusses 'freedom', post - modernism, reationalization, consumerism, and marketing to children

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Robert Brym

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Introduction to Sociology and Culture
Sept 22/10
Many people have different kinds of rituals because they believe that by doing certain
different things these actions can assist them in what they are doing
- Culture emerged from these ideas of ritualized behaviour
- These rituals or cultural actions are all created to solve some human problems about life
- Culture must be widely shared in order to be considered as real culture
Culture is the sum of socially transmitted ideas, practices, and material objects that people
create to overcome real life problems
- Culture gives us guidelines for how to act
- Society exists when people interact and share culture, generally in a geographically
delimited areas
- Culture becomes culture when it becomes a human need
- People tend to take their own culture for granted
Different cultures practices and rituals are odd to us or inferior
- When we judge another culture, this is called ethnocentrism, it involves judging another
culture exclusively by the standard of one’s own culture
Cultural Relativism: is the belief that all elements of all cultures should be respected as
equally valid
- 84% of class (469) believe we should respect other cultures
Cliterectomy removal of outside clitoris outside of the vagina
- Known as genital mutilation
- Some people believe removes some sexual arousal in women
- However, it results in pain, humiliation, infection, and loss of sexual pleasure
- It is associated with infection and sexual transmitted diseases
- This practise is actually a manifestation of sexually oppression
- 79% of class (461) believes we should not respect the practice of Cliterectomy
We should always respect other cultures; however, we should have a set of universal values
where we draw lines where practices violate dignity...
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Some aspects in culture can make us free, but they can also constrain us
- Culture provides us with an opportunity to do as we wish
- Culture enhances our freedom
- Culture like any construction, needs some form of raw materials, such as ideas and
practices created before we were born
- Existing culture, puts certain limits on what we can do
- This is the paradox, because it has some limits
- Since the 1930’s, an intense globalization has occurred in the world
- Specifically, the amount of travel between countries, has increased exponentially
- International travel is much less money than it used to be
- International trade has also increased enormously
- There was no internet or long distance calling in previous times, and now all of these
forms of international communication has become incredibly inexpensive
- There are now many transnational organizations that span many countries
- International social organizations such as green peace
As a result of this globalization we have a lot of freedom in choices of clothing, food,
practices from other cultures...
We are inclined to shape our choices; types of food, political beliefs, religious beliefs, types
of music, clothing, we take a little bit of everything and combine it to something that we like
This globalization of culture has given us the opportunity or freedom to choose the elements
of culture that satisfies us
There is more cultural diversity then there used to be
Values that no one used to question, core values, are now being questioned
- 47% Believe scientific advances will harm
- 34% Believe scientific advances will not harm
- 18% Do not know
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