Amel Belmahdi SOC103H1 Monday, July 15, 2013
Lecture 4 – Culture and Socialization
Culture and Acculturation:
− We learn to evaluate ourselves and other people according to the values of our culture.
− Acculturation → Putting your original values aside to learn the new values and culture (ex. seen
in immigrants in Canada).
E.g., The Learning of Self-Criticism:
− Consciencne allows us to behave in certain ways that ensures safety for ourselves and others.
− Smith believed it's natural to develop a conscience (with a few exceptions).
− Self-criticism → It was built into us from since we were born.
Learning a Conscience:
− Herbert disagreed and said we develop a conscience from other people's judgements (ex. if
somebody is doing something and people watching react with ridicule, then we know that if we
behave this way, people would react the same way; end result: it's not inborn and we learn from
The Virtues we Learn Make Social Life Possible:
− We would judge people according to these standards today.
− Prudence → Behaving in a way that is not extreme, but moderate.
− Beneficence →All of us are motivated to please other people (learn to be concerned about other
people's feelings – it makes us happy to see other people happy). Non-economic behaviour.
− Adam Smith said that all cultures have a concept of virtue and they all have these principles that
relate to this virtue, but these virtues differ from one culture to another and they're learned.
1. Differentiation (or Specialization):
− Social life differentiates (becomes more specialized) – ex. as society is modernized, there is a
seperation of social institution from one to another.
− When you have strong values and culture, everything relates to one another (institutions, the
economy, schools, etc – ex. Pakistan).
− But, when you modernize, institutions become different from one another and they each
develop their own traditions seperate from one another.
− Everything becomes commodified with modernization.
3. Rationalization: − Beaucracies work well because they're very predictable and they produce predictable results.
This is a huge change from societies that were dominated by tradition (King, Queen, etc).
− Disenchantment → As if people are coming out of a fog. They're understanding nature and
science and that you can organize a society based on rules, etc.
Or Has Modernization Gone Too Far?*:
− Wrote paper and did a study where they used a data set that comprised of 100 (or more)
different countries to find out the level of happiness of these countries.
The Variables of Interest:
− Measures of how the society functions.
− Dependent Variable: Measure of happiness.
Measuring the Key Dependent Variables:
− There is a linear relationship so that the more modern a society is on whatever measure you use,
the more happy people are on whatever measure you use.
− Mostly: Modernity = Happiness (many countries centred on slope of 1).
− Top: More happiness than modernity.
− Right side: More modernity than happiness.
Results Show People in Modern Countries areActually Much Happier:
− Modernity increases human happiness and does NOT undermine it.
The Socialization Process (may include learning to be happy):
− We are socialized into ways we view ourselves – we know ourselves not from the inside, but
from the outside.
− Values are key for functioning in society.
Primary and Secondary Socialization:
− Primary Socialization → Thing that happens in infancy and childhood and happens because of
the fundamental affects of people and the attachments we have over other people. Amessed up
childhood has severe consequences.
− Secondary Socialization → Finish education and go to law school, know how to function –
these are not fundamental.
Macro- and Micro- Approaches:
− Top-down approach vs. bottom-up approach.
− Top-down → Some people believe that society takes people and molds them (can take any kid
and make them anything depending on the socialization you put on them). People you have in
this society are the result of the culture of the society (ex. parents want child to go to Harvard – can the parent produce the outcome they want from the input? Yes you can according to this
− Symbolic interactionists view it as a process that happens from bottom-up.
− Bottom-up → People help, but you yourself learn things on your own and you don't always do
what your parents tell you to do and you don't always believe what they tell you to believe.
Culture: ASource of Stability:
− Functionalists see culture as having unifying people – how is it possible for people to live in a
society and work together? They all share the same culture, and through this, they are able to
cooperate and work together.
− Culture creates solidarity (pattern which we fit all of our behaviour and patterns).
− See culture as a thing that explains and justifies inequality (a defense for inequality).
− The cultural tools we use serve to protect society.
Culture as a Srouce of Ideology:
− Functionalist never use, conflict theorists use.
− Conflict theorists believe in dominant ideology which is a way of viewing the world that is
promoted by the most powerful and dominant groups in society (way of viewing the world that
suits the powerful and supports their interests).
− Ex. Winners deserve to win and losers deserve to lose is an ideologicial/political point of
view (not real) and it's a source of inequality.