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
- 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
- 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
- Nowadays, we are free to choose our own culture; society accommodates variety