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01:920:101 (90)

Lecture 3

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Professor Wilhelms

Culture C hapter 3 Culture Transcript for Author-Created Video Introduction to Chapter 3: Culture Chapter Outline I. Why Focus on North and South Korea? A. U.S. military involvement on the Korean Peninsula dates back to the end of World War II. B. North Korea possesses a communist-style government and has one of the most isolated and centrally planned economies in the world. C. South Korea is a republic, and its economy ranks among the top 15 in the world. D. The Korean War and the subsequent division of the Korean Peninsula into North and South have had a profound effect on Korean culture and on the meaning of being Korean. II. The Challenge of Defining Culture A. Core Concept 1: In the most general sense, culture is the way of life of a people. 1. Culture- the way of life of a people, including the human-created strategies for are part of those surroundings. and to those creatures (including humans) that a. Culture cannot exist without a society, a group of interacting people who share, perpetuate, and create culture. b. Sociologists face seveconceptual challenges in thinking about culture: i. How do you describea culture? ii. How do we know who belongs to a culture? iii. What athe distinguishing characteristics that set one culture apart from others? 2. Culture consists of material and nonmaterial components. a. Material culture - all natural and human-created objects to which people have attached meaning. Sociologists consider both an object’s most obvious and practical uses, and the meanings assigned to it by the people who use it. b. Nonmaterial culture - the nonphysical creations that people cannot hold or see, which shape the objects of the material culture. Examples include beliefs, values, norms, symbols, and language. c. Beliefs - conceptions that people accept as true that concern how the world operates and where the individual fits in relationship to others 38 Culture d. Values - general, shared conceptions of what is good, right, appropriate, worthwhile, and important with regard to conduct, appearance, and states of being e. Norms - written and unwritten rules that specify behaviors appropriate and inappropriate to a particular social situation i. Folkways - norms that apply to the mundane aspects or details of daily life ii. Mores - norms that people define as essential to the well being of a group f. Symbols - any kind of physical or conceptual phenomenon to which people assign a name and a meaning; not evident from the physical phenomenon or idea alone. g. Language - a symbol system involving the use of sounds, gestures (signing), and/or characters (such as letters or pictures) to convey meaning. III. The Role of Geographic and Historical Forces A. Core Concept 2: Geographic and historical forces shape culture. 1. Sociologists operate under the assumption that culture acts as a mediator between people and their surroundings 2. Material and nonmaterial aspects of culture represent responses to historical and geographic challenges and circumstances. 3. Example: the division of the Korean Peninsula into North and South Korea was a key geographic and historical event affecting the personal lives and culture of Koreans on both sides of the DMZ. a. A geographic event in that the division confined some Koreans to the north of the line and others to the south. b. A historic event in that it has affected all Koreans on the peninsula long after the fact. 4. Conservation- and consumption-oriented values and behaviors are rooted in circumstances of shortage and abundance. IV. The Transmission of Culture A. Core Concept 3: Culture is learned. 1. People do not question the origin of the objects around them, the beliefs they hold, the values they follow, the norms to which they conform, the symbols they use, or the words they use to communicate and think about the world. 2. People are usually unaware of other ways of thinking and behaving, because much of their culture was in place before they were born. 3. We cannot assume that someone is part of a particular culture simply because he or she looks like someone we expect to come from that culture. A. The Role of Language 1. A tool that enables people to think about the world, interpret experiences, establish and maintain relationships, and convey information 2. People see the world through the language(s) they have learned. 3. The linguistic systems in our minds give order to the world. 4. Words organize the world, allow us to notice some things and not others, and function to ascribe significance. 39 Chapter 3 5. The linguistic relativity hypothesis - Unless people’s linguistic backgrounds are similar, the same physical evidence does not lead to the same picture of the universe; advanced by linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf. B. The Importance of Individual Experiences 1. Culture functions as a “toolkit” that allows people to select from and add to a menu of cultural options. 2. People may accept, reject, or modify various aspects of culture. II. Culture as a Tool for the Problems of Living A. C ore Concept 4: Culture provides a variety of formulas that enable individuals to adjust to the challenges of being human. 1. Cultural Formulas for Relieving Hunger a. One indicator of a culture’s influence is how people define only a portion of the potential food available to them as edible. b. Rice is a staple of the Korean diet. c. Corn is a staple of the American diet. 2. Cultural Formulas for Social Emotions a. Social emotions: internal bodily sensations that we experience in relationships with other people. b. Feeling rules: norms that specify appropriate ways to express the internal sensations I. Cultural Diffusion A. Core Concept 5: People borrow material and nonmaterial culture from other societies. 1. Diffusion - process by which an idea, an invention, or some other cultural item is borrowed from a foreign source. a. Opportunity to borrow occurs whenever people from different cultures make contact. b. Borrowing is usually selective. c. People borrow the most concrete and most tangible elements and then develop new associations and shape the item to serve new ends II. The Home Culture as the Standard A. Core Concept 6: The home culture is usually the standard that people use to make judgments about another culture. 1. Culture shock - the strain that people from one culture experience when they must reorient themselves to the ways of a new culture a. Intensity of culture shock depends on several factors i. The extent to which the home and foreign cultures differ ii. The level of preparation for or knowledge about the new culture iii. The circumstances (such as vacation, job transfer, or war) surrounding the encounter b. Some cases of culture shock are so intense and unsettling that people become ill. 2. Reentry shock - culture shock in reverse, which occurs upon returning home after living in another culture 3. Ethnocentrism - using one culture as the standard for judging the worth of foreign ways a. Several levels of ethnocentrism exist. 40 Culture i. The most harmless type of ethnocentrism is simply defining foreign ways as peculiar. ii. Cultural genocide - An extreme form of ethnocentrism in which the people of one society define the culture of another society not as merely offensive, but as so intolerable that they attempt to destroy it. 4. Reverse ethnocentrism -A type of ethnocentrism in which the home culture is regarded as inferior to a foreign culture. 5. Cultural Relativism a. A perspective that aims to understand foreign behavior and thinking i. A foreign culture should not be judged by the standards of a home
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