Deviance and Literature (April 17, 2017) Sociology of Culture What is culture? While theres no agreed upon definition of exactly what culture is, some working definitions include: o The norms, values, ideas, and ways of doing things in a particular society. (This is a broad definition) o All of the means of communication, art, material things, and objects that a society has in common. The cultivation of the mind, the civilization and learning of a society. (This is the narrower definition) o The ways of life shared by a particular group (e.g. workingclass culture) o The practices that produce meaning in a society (signifying practices) Which one of these definitions do you think makes the most sense? While we dont have an agreed upon definition of culture per say, sociologists have used the concept of culture as a way to understand social classes. o According to Pierre Bourdieu, culture isnt simply a hobby or minor influence in our life. In Bourdieus view, culture is hugely important in the affirmation of differences between groups and social classes and in the reproduction of those differences. Bourdieus coined the term cultural capital to embody the often subtle forms of domination through culture that legitimize social inequality. o Cultural capital is acquired through education and essentially describes non economic resources such as knowledge, skills, and other things that permit and aid social mobility. Just like any other resource, it can be converted into economic forms such as educational qualifications. o Possession of cultural capital makes the success of middleclass and upperclass children seem like a product of their individual intelligence and ability, when in reality these students may be gaining an advantage from the acquirement of the cultural capital of the dominant class at birth. Bourdieus concept of cultural capital includes three different connected types of cultural capital: o Embodied Cultural Capital Which refers to how cultural capital can be acquired. This type of cultural capital occurs mostly through the transmission of norms and values from our parents and the social group we belong to, but it can also be cultivated in other ways. o Objectified Cultural Capital Physical forms of culture, such as writings and paintings, which can be used to demarcate a higher social status. o Institutionalized Cultural Capital Official documentation and accreditation that allows an individual to use cultural capital in a way to their economic and social advantage Understanding the Connection Between Sociology and Literature Literature is a type of Objectified Cultural Capital given that it is a physical form of culture Thinking about Literature What are some classic works of literature of the 20 century that you can think of?