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Sociology 2011-09-21

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Robert Brym

Sociology 2011-09-21 Culture Superstition- Beginning of human culture - All human culture begins with little rituals (Set of practices, symbols, tool that fulfills us and lower our anxieties) - Unique to one that creates them. (differ from religion and technology which are widely shared. ) Culture - transmitted from generation to generation- collective - Cultures can only be shared if people interact in a society - Culture can only be transmitted through interaction, communication and learning - 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. - Culture exists only when it fulfills human needs - Expression of joy, sadness and fear - Hard to realize it when we are immersed in one Cultural Survival Kit - Abstraction: ability to create ideas or ways of thinking. (Symbols that carry important meanings such as languages, signs and mathematical notations) - Cooperation: Capacity to establish a complex social life by creating norms. - Production: Using tools to acquire what we need from nature. (such tools and techniques- known as „material culture‟). Uniquely human activity Sanctions or System of Social control - We are usually rewarded for following social norms and are punished when we deviate. - Needs to be in place for stable patterns of social interaction Invention - example: Aelopile‟s first steam engine in 1 century; became an insignificant toy. When Steam engine was reinvented in 19 th century London, it started the industrial revolution. - When an invention is combined with need, it becomes a part of our culture Sociological Understanding of culture – Understanding one‟s own culture: challenging since we are immersed in it. – Understanding other cultures: challenging since there are twin dangers that exist. – Twin dangers: 1. Ethnocentrism( judging other cultures based on one‟s own) 2. Cultural Relativism (Opposite to Ethnocentrism; belief that all cultures and their practices should be respected.) – While some aspects of culture make us free, others constrain us and sometimes even endanger us. [ex. Technological development gives us a certain freedom( long distance communication), but it also constrain us (surveillance cameras cause us to modify our behavior and act in more conformist ways) Cultural Freedom - Freedom: Self expression. After 1980, there has been an explosion of opportunities of travelling, international trade, migration, interracial marriage, the mass media, transnational organizations (NAFTA, Green Peace, etc.) and international communications. - All these factors cause globalization and post industrialism- - Prior to 1950s, the Canadian culture is monolific.- protestant, European. Almost everyone accepted the religion, ethnicity, racial and sexual identity they were born into - Nowadays, we are free to choose our own culture; society accommodates variety
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