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.
-People tend to use culture when they need it.
EG: the original steam engine was invented in 100 CE and was called Aeolopile.
It was then forgotten and in the 1800’s, it became it was a wide spread culture because
people needed it in the form of a steam engine.
EG: 1939 the electronic computer was developed in the mid west USA. They stopped
worked on it and no one found it interesting. But in WW2 a couple of govts recognized
it’s potential. It was instrumental in the allies winning WW2. The computer was only part
of culture when society needed it.
Ethnocentrism involves judging other cultures exclusively by the standards of your
It impairs your judgement of understanding other cultures. It leads to your belief that
other cultures are inferior.
Culture Relativism is the belief that all elements of all cultures should be respected as
Pink Floyd’s song: It portrays culture as a mechanism that frees us as well as constrains
us. The song critises thought control and promotes the rejection of constraint.
Culture as constraint
Rationalization is the application of the most effective means to achieve given goals and
The problem with the setting up of a bureaucracy
This is evident in the way we buy cars or clothes. thats why the question about the car
was brought up. We automatically asked what kind of person he is and how would that
translate into the car he owns. To some degree it is true. The way we dress advertise
our sexual availability or what class you belong to and what groups you don’t belong to.
Question is why does advertising work? : 1. It encourages us to buy certain products
over others. We define our lives by the things we buy. Most of us want to be part of a
group or several groups and not be an outcast.
Everyone want to be part of things and to conform even if it’s silly or goes against your
It also allows us to buy certain socially desirable characteristics. EG: Gap Ad. It is more
subtle than saying buy our jeans. It is not the steak that we sell its the sizzle. The sizzle in this ad is the sex, confidence, youth, health, being cool. If you want good health and
looks you must buy our jeans.
Advertising also has a negative consequences. The degree to which they make you
“shop till you drop” and consumer debt is so high. This increases stress levels as you
have to work harder to pay off debt
Also, high levels of consumerism encourages environmental problems
FInally, consumerism brings at