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SOCI 219 (2)

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McGill University
Sociology (Arts)
SOCI 219
Amm Quamruzzaman

Culture and Society Interrelations Quiz: Only humans have culture - true or false? – If culture is defined as everything that humans create Culture – Latin word to create/nurture – only humans are creative (it’s what distinguishes humans from animals) – monkeys are intelligent but not creative, act from instinct, no progress of tool use over time Khaldun – 1 sociological study of culture - evolution of human culture, came from monkeys – 5C before Darwin Comte - coined sociology, created religion of humanity as solution – no God, focus on humans– society passes through 3 stages (can exist at same time) - Theological- everything is determined by some natural force ex. God - Metaphysical- god is still there but he is more abstract - Positive - with every effect there is a cause, only accept things that we can explain Society - group of people sharing community (spatial) and culture- society related with people who lead, and culture is meanings created (attitudes, thinking, ideas included) Other approaches to culture - Archeology and cultural anthropology cultural artefacts and practices, way of life - Cultural studies - signifying systems and practices - Semiology/semiotics - study of signs and meanings - Cultural geography - geographical distribution of other cultures - Cultural history - history of art, life style, music, artefacts… Sociology of culture - interaction between society and culture, sociological approach to study of culture Cultural sociology - interaction between sociology and culture, cultural approach to the study of society Culture designates expressive aspect of human existence; society designates relational (practical) aspect - Social world, otherwise random and chaotic, is meaningful because of cultural lens through which people view it - understand each other because understand culture Society has a structure Culture has structure Individuals, groups, organizations, institutions Cultural objects, meaning, symbols, structure of language Society is a complex whole of social relationships - kin, Culture is a complex whole of what humans being are and do - neighbors, coworkers, people's entire way of life Culture - historically transmitted pattern of meanings, seen in symbols (knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs), by which we communicate, perpetuate, and develop knowledge about/attitudes toward life - used to transmit tradition, belief, knowledge - culture is a medium where our traditions continue - Material - art, literature, cars, building - cultural lag theory - material culture develops quicker than nonmaterial, lag between two creates generation gap (cultural gap between generations) - Nonmaterial - language, values, norms, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge Cultural Universals - cultures can be differentiated but share traits globally common to all ex. cooking, eating, child rearing, games, music, funerals, courtship, humor - but so many differentiations ex. clothing Folkways - norms for everyday behavior that people follow for the sake of convenience or tradition Mores - strict norms that control moral and ethical behavior and define right and wrong Norms - standards of behaving in a given context Values - culturally defined standards held by individuals/groups about what is desirable, proper, beautiful, valuable Ethnocentrism - use of one's own culture as a yardstick for judging the ways of other individuals or societies Culture shock – strong ethnocentrism - when confronted with differences of new culture, one experiences disorientation and frustration, may appear because people not expecting cultural differences Cultural relativism - practice of assessing a culture by its standards rather than seeing it through lens of your culture High culture - associated with intellectualism, political power, wealth and prestige - events are expensive/formal ex. attending a ballet, seeing a play or listening to a live symphony performance Low/popular/mass culture – experiences/attitudes existing in mainstream society/mass population, accessible to most ex. parade, baseball game, rock and pop music. Shakespearean plays considered pop culture when they were written, are now among our society's high culture Subculture - smaller cultural group whose values and related behaviors distinguish its members from the larger culture. Countercultures - subcultures whose values (ex. outlaw motorcyclists) or activities and gaols (ex. terrorist) are opposed to the main stream culture - resist social hierarchy and conventional rules, instead looked for independence Marx’s Theory of Culture Karl Marx - conflict perspective - privileged class try to maintain advantages while subordinate groups struggle to change social condition -3 oldest branches of philosophy shaped his ideas - Ontology - study of being or reality - what is reality? - Epistemology - study of knowledge - how do we know? - Philosophy of consciousness - study of how humans are aware of them/surroundings - what is it to be human? Two important ways of understanding reality: - Idealism - reality only exists in our idea of it and Materialism Species-being - fundamental point of Marxist thinking - unique about humans is we create our world as species-being - Survival mechanism is ability to change environment creatively in order to produce necessitates of life - Intimate connection between producer and product: existence of produce defines nature of producer - World exists in our idea - true human nature is that we are creative producers, altruistic, and social beings False consciousness - two important implications - True ideas are not abstract concepts with no basis in material reality, if they spring from creative production - Religion and ideology = two main source of false consciousness - distorted image of our creation - Economic structure, determined by means/relations of production, moves history and influences inner person o Means of production - anything needed to produce - we need tools ex. land, capital, tools (machinery) o Relations of production - can't produce alone - we produce with the help of others Marx's Theory - mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life - not consciousness of men determining their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness - Base and super structure Different economic systems - Pre-class societies - hunter-gatherer, minimal/natural division of labour, communal ownership of property (no private property) - primitive communism - Asiatic societies - problems to overcome due large populations - oriental despotism formed to solve problems - Ancient societies - developed around urban centres (ex. Rome), private property, slave labour class inequality - Feudal societies - primary economic form was serf labour tied to the land of the aristocracy - feudal lord - Capitalist societies - one group works for the other, working class, everything is determined by capital or money Argued society will go through transition of socialism (between capitalism and communism) - Communism is closest economic system to human nature as species-being, altruistic, social o Thought humans were altruistic- because if we didn't help each other, society would not exist - Capitalism (against) – makes us self-centered, selfish, self-serving- by commodification (everything has $$ value) o Capitalism is a system of commodity production - ultimate motive is profit maximization o Commodification leads to alienation (estrangement) - separates us from human nature (as species-being), work process (activity of production) , product of our labour, other human beings Culture, Ideology and Hegemony Ideology - idea (image) + logos (knowledge, a system of thought which is more abstract and systematic than normal consciousness) - a distorted image of knowledge that gives us false consciousness, when idea distorts reality its ideology Marx argued there were 2 different types of labour with ruling class o Mental Labour – thinkers of the class, valued more than physical labour (creates inequality -> ex. women can’t do physical labour puts them at disadvantage to men – this is just an ideology though) o Material labor - active members of the class - Marx argued you can't change society till it is totally irrelevant to our existence o Criticized for "economic determinism" - economy determines whether or not a society will continue Gramsci - thought we needed a cultural point of view too – added to Marx's ideology - cultural hegemony theory - Hegemony - spontaneous consent given by masses to direction imposed on social life by dominant group o American Dream phenomenon - anyone can achieve wealth or money or success because it is on equal opportunities, you just have to work hard – problem; people try to invent their own ways to achieve wealth (ex. drug dealer, terrorist) because to achieve wealth is main goal for society o State is political hegemony – protected by coercion, physical force (if ‘spontaneous’ consent isn’t peaceful)- state maintains balance between political and civil society o Civil Society – today is sector of voluntary organizations and NGOs  Hegel - form of market society (as opposed to state), separate realm, system of need which intervenes between the family and the state  Marx – added to Hegel’s and included it as base (where political society is in the superstructure)  Gramsci – located it in superstructure – vehicle for cultural hegemony of dominant group Spontaneous philosophy contained in; language, common sense (conventional wisdom, empirical knowledge), popular religion (opinions, superstition, folklore), discourages clarification of social alternatives, hard to locate source of unease Historical Bloc – social structure composed of the economic structure (base) and ideological super structure (divided into political society and civil society) – to achieve cultural hegemony, leaders of historical bloc must develop a world view that appeals to a wide range of groups within a society - Difficult to challenge hegemonic culture (counter hegemony) – outlook of subordinate groups is divided and ambiguous o If going to achieve hegemony - must build alliances with others subordinated ex. minorities, immigrants o Must take into account interests of other groups/social forces and combining them with own interests - Criticisms o Workers chose to accept dehumanization in workplace in exchange for autonomy in private sphere o Embrace dominant social order, so they can preserve cherished values in family, community, religion Weber on Culture Weber (1864-1920) – disgusted with material construction of history - Didn’t think culture was part of superstructure – saw culture as creating difficulties for scientific sociology – how to study culture? No objective analysis because knowledge comes from a point of view - 2 difficulties arise: o All the questions we ask are strongly informed by our culture - value-laden o Weber's own studies reflect his particular point of view Subjective meanings - meaning that people give to their action - how they interpret their situation in life Weber proposed 3 methods for social scientific study of culture - Historical Comparison - Verstehen (understanding/having insight into someone's institution) - to understand social relationships we need to understand the feelings and motivations of humans to know why and how they act - Ideal types - analytical construct, serve as measuring rods to see similarities and deviations in concrete cases o Historical ideal types - phenomena’s that appear only in specific periods in particular cultural contexts  Spirit of Capitalism – material/ideal interests govern men's conduct, often images created by ideas, like switchmen, determined the track along which action is pushed by dynamic of interest • 1st Maxim - people need to believe that we need to accumulate money - life is to be lived with a specific goal in mind - getting money - more and more • 2 Maxim - work as moral duty, vocational calling - competence and proficiency is alpha and omega of spirit of capitalism - in bible alpha and omega means God/Jesus • 3 Maxim: Life/actions are legitimized on the basis of strictly quantitative calculations Protestant Ethic - Luther taught that individual can have personal relationship with  God; didn’t have to go to priest. Stand before God on Judgment Day, say what you did in life = calling – expanded by Calvin to include predestination - people born in sin, can’t save themselves; only God has always known who would be saved by his grace. • Restless work in vocational calling was best means to acquire self-confidence needed to be elect - diligent labour was way of life (Calvinist), then God bless them economically, blessings reinvested in work -protestant asceticism –never ending process of hard work  Rational Capitalism - money generation system that values work, rational management of life and the delay of immediate gratification for future monetary gains o Classificatory ideal types - logical speculation about abstract elements of social reality ex. authority  Ideal Types of Social Action • Value- rational - action based upon one's values or morals • Affective based upon one's emotions in a given situation • Traditional determined or motivated by habit • Instrumental rational - means and ends of action are rationally related to each other Rationalization - means-ends calculation - action based on the most efficient means to achieve a given end - Bureaucracy - ore rational form of organization rather than the traditional/emotive kinship system - Disenchantment of the world from mystery and magic o Relate to our world through economic calculation, impersonal relations and expert knowledge - try to calculate everything ex. relationship then magic is gone - we need superman to rescue us from iron cage - Marx - domination comes from class position, Weber - domination comes from authority/legitimized power Weber - class based on ability to buy/sell goods/services, bring inner stratification/increases life chances - Marx - capitalism has cultural component - ideology - holds it together, Weber - legitimation holds society together and perpetuates its system of stratification - Society works because people have belief in authority (culture) and cooperate with system, authority is based on socialization, internalization of cultural norms and values - Weber identifies 3 ideal types of authority o Charismatic – supernatural/intrinsic gifts of ind. (Jesus, Hitler, Mandela) – social change o Traditional - belief in time and custom ex. parents, grandparents, Pope- social stability o Rational-legal - belief in procedure, rules, laws (professor, police, PM) – social stability Functionalist and Symbolic Interactionist Perspective on Culture Durkheim (functionalism) th-ory of collective representation - Humans possesses individual biological and shared social components, all our categories of thinking, totality of beliefs, sentiments, norms and values shared in society are collective representations and part of our social self - Cultural objects – painting, social movement, idea – are not simply created by an individual, people represent their experiences of work, joy, pain, and love to demonstrate collective solidarity that holds society together - Religion is a collective representation – divide world into sacred and profane, totem and taboo o Religion - unified system of beliefs/practices relative to sacred things which unite into a church o Sacred things - set apart and forbidden o Totem - (perceived) sacred animal/object that spiritually represents a group of related people ex. Clan o Taboos – ritual prohibitions surround totems ex. Not to kill or eat a totem animal o Ritual – ex. Dancing, chanting – individual identities dissolve into collective passions transfer to objects, sacred or profane, binds individuals to community and makes world symbolically meaningful to them - Nationalism = modern-day religion; rituals performed to bind citizens; national flag sacred (totem), burn = taboo Social solidarity holds people together, before, less differentiated social sate (mechanical solidarity – people joined together because of similar life styles) - simpler societies, no division of labor, each person did same work, followed same religion, raised/educated children same way – modern times, specialized division of labor and people depend on each other for specialized services = organized solidarity – complex web of cooperative associates – in modern industrial societies there is a lack of integration of individual in social group and lack of moral regulation Result of weakening of bond between individual and social group is egoistic suicide - higher rates of suicide for single, divorced and widowed persons than married persons, and more for Protestants than Catholics and Jews, lack of moral regulation results in anomic suicide, extreme regulation results in altruistic suicide – gives his/her life for social group Symbolic interactionism explains how people interact with others and actively construct and learn their norms and roles - Cooley’s ‘looking-glass self’ – interaction comprises 3 phases o Self's imagines another's response to his or her behavior or appearance o Self imagines the other person's judgment o Self has an emotional reaction to that judgment - Mead – child first learns to take the role of another person – significant other o Lay stage – child plays with an imaginary friend o Game stage – child learns to take on and take into account a variety of roles  Child learns to take into account response of generalized other, wider society  Child is socialized into understanding what it expects Symbolic Interactionism suggests human interactions create culture, once created; cultural objects are perpetuated and transmitted through repeated expression and socialization of new group members - identity key concept for symbolic interactionist approach -one's identity/sense of self develops through interaction with others, need others' confirmation Goffman – dramaturgical perspective - identity formation process through metaphors of theatrical performances - when it interacts, the self is an actor performing a role before an audience o if performance succeeds, self confirms a certain identity both to its partners in interaction and to itself o Danger of ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, an expectation that helps bring about what it predicts Structuralists Perspective on Culture Structure (norms/values) vs. Agency (ability to act/freedom of choice) Structural-Functionalism: Parsons • Society has both structure and function - interrelated parts that contribute to functioning of whole system • Social structure - durable patterns of power/institutions (e.g. economy) that order social life - constrain, control Structuralism: Saussure • Culture is product of human interaction and producer of certain forms of human interaction • Language system is supra-individual unlike the individual speech (speech is not language) • Role of totem is to bind some people together in separation from others, for Saussure, meaning of sign is arbitrarily linked to sign itself; no reason to use particular configuration of sounds ex. totem to mean what it does • Important feature of a word is it differs from/contrasts with other words e.g. saying it’s red, is to say it isn’t blue Structuralism: Freud - claimed human mind has two parts: o Conscious - those working of the mind which we are aware of and which we can control o Unconscious - direct expression of our biological, animal natures, basic, instinctual drives that demand immediate satisfaction, such as our drive for food, sex etc. • Human have instinctual needs, but no instinctual way of satisfying them - leads us to develop our personality • Civilization/culture demands we restrict our pleasure principle and abide by reality principle (rules, laws, norms) • Discipline of impulses and their subordination to conscious control is essential for health development of individual into someone capable of achieving satisfactions in a civilized way, but too much disciplining creates discontents and neurosis among people - created psychoanalysis to recover from neurosis o Oedipus Complex - Sense of guilt drives civilization • Human existence is a struggle between Eros, or the sex drive and an instinct toward death Structuralism: Lacan – self delusion • Mirror stage (starting from 6-18 months) describes formation of Ego via the process of objectification • Ego is result of conflict between one's perceived visual appearance/emotional experience – alienation • Child sees itself as a single, unified looking entity, from this reflection draws false conclusion that it already is • Ego's self-delusion: it imagines a greater wholeness and integrity than it actually possess • Freud's conception of human psyche: the iceberg metaphor – ego, superego, id – conscious mind (present awareness above water) then so much more below preconscious mind (outside awareness but accessible) and unconscious mind (not accessible – where id is) - ID = I want it now, EGO = I need to do a bit of planning to get it, SUPEREGO = You can’t have it, its not right Linguistic Structuralism • In classic Suassurean conception, sign is made up of two inseparable components; • Signifier is the acoustic or graphical vehicle, primarily the spoken or written word • Signified is the idea or concept which is associated with that vehicle • Lacan argues a signifier (sound/graphic vehicle) can be associated with any signified (idea/concept), not just the conventionally associated one - connects through two crucial psychological mechanisms (Freud) o Condensation - way unconscious seeks to express itself by attaching meaning to something, such as an image in a dream, other than those conventionally attached to it (metaphor) o Displacement - using one thing to stand for another very different thing (metonymy) ex. she is hot Implications of Lacan's Structuralism • Lacan argues acquisition of language forms common, conventional structure and creates division within individual • Individual is alienated in language, made into something separate from its true self, that exists for public consumption external to its true nature - objectification • Ego psychology seeks to assist the individuals in adjusting to the demands that reality or society makes upon them • Lacan assumes mental illness involves maladjustment of a person's relationship to reality which needs correction Critical Theory - Adorno, Horkheimer, Maruse established critical theory – Frankfurt (1923)- Frankfurt School theorists - Said Marx underestimated extent that false consciousness could be exploited to keep social, political and economic systems running smoothly, capitalism makes us believe existing social system is inevitable and rational Marcuse- in advanced technological society’s domination has diverted people's realization of change - Surplus repression imposes discipline from inside, inducing people to work hard, achieve wealth/money, and engage in busy consumerism - necessary to generate more profit, but not more freedom - People taught to fulfill needs through repressive desublimation, exchanging substantive sociopolitical and economic liberties for the freedoms of consumerism - Technocrats set the rules of game - technological rationality - and use technology to dominate us Horkheimer and Adorno - Enlightenment (replaced tradition with reason)liberates us from authority; ex. authority of the priest - Positivism - dominant form of ideology in late capitalism - people taught to accept world as it is Post structuralism – Derrida - Concealments/contextualization of meanings occur in how we title our paper, describe problems etc. - we can never establish stable meanings by attempting correspondence between language and world addressed by it - Every definition and clarification needs to be defined an clarified in turn - meanings lie elusively in the future Post structuralism – Kristeva - In language we’re separated from our true self, happens as result of significant process beginning at mirror stage - Body is violently separated from another in birth, maternal body not only embodies a separation that is material but also harbors a regulation that is prior to the mirror stage: non-availability of the breast, among other things. Post modernism – critics of modernity – Lyotard, Foucault, Brathes, Baudrillard - Science = most celebrated agent of modernity - reject universal representation of science - knowledge is contextualized by its historical and cultural nature - Lyotard rejects totalizing perspectives on history/society - grand narratives - such as Marxism and functionalism o Cannot tell large stories about world with only small stories from heterogeneous subject positions of individuals and from multiple perspectives Post modernism: Foucault - Various sciences of sexuality including psychoanalysis, have an intimate link with the power structure of society - Individuals internalize norms laid down by sciences and monitor themselves in an effort to conform to norms - Controlled not only as objects of disciplines but also as self-securitizing and self-forming subjects - Argues that power is not determined by economic position alone but by discourses around a position Post modernism: Barthes - Words of language not only things that comprise systems of sign, it’s impossible to think of cultural systems (ex. dining, driving) independently of language i.e. fashion is signifying system and language talked/written about - Ex. Drinking wine = totem drink, provide basis for identity/morality, knowing how to drink wine is the mark of an admirable, controlled and sociable individual; it is integral to all the ceremonial activates of French life - Role of the myth (about wine) is to depoliticise, to present things in a way which can be taken for granted Post modernism: Baudrillard - Suggests that instead of consuming commodities for their values, people buy them for their sing values e.g. nike - Reality/hyperreality is increasingly simulated for people, constructed by powerful media/other cultural sources - People lose ability to distinguish between the simulations and reality, a precondition of all social criticism - Simulations are now a party of everyday life: a fire drill, the reality tv, military, simulated demolition, ads The Culture Industry and the Creative Economy Status quo – maintain means to keep things way they are presently, static - social norms, values don't change - Interest of dominant class to persist the patterns because their life is good – maintained through o Ideology of commodity fetishism/consumerism (Marx), reification (Lukacs), common norms and values, obedience to authority (Weber), civilization - rules, customs (Freud), language (Lacan), domination by reason/science (A&H, Derrida), repressive desublimation and technology (Marcuse), fashion and myth (Barthes), discourse (Foucault), simulacra and simulation (Plato - 520BC, Baudrillard) Baudrillard argues in postmodern culture, we lost ability to make distinction between nature and artifice - Ex. Totem itself not powerful but people think its powerful - because socialized to think it has meaning - There are three orders of simulacra (the process of making simulacra is simulation) o 1 order - pre-modern period, image is clear counterfeit; image is an illusion, a place marker for the real o 2 order - industrial revolution of 19th C - distinctions between image and representation beginning to break down because of mass production and the proliferation of copies o 3rd order - postmodern age, representation precedes and determines the real - No longer distinction between reality and representation; only simulacrum - only representation, original is gone o Ex. picture of Mona Lisa - the picture on display at museums are replicas Art in the age of mechanical reproduction - loss of "aura" - represents originality and authenticity of work that can’t be reproduced - painting has aura, photo doesn’t (it’s an image of an image), painting remains original - For photo, cameraman intervenes with what we see in a painting, can direct eye towards a specific story Culture Industry - claimed pop culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods used to manipulate mass society into passivity, associated with monopoly capitalism that integrates consumers from above, consumer choice and individuality becomes ideology or pleasure industry - leads to standardization of consciousness, conformity to name-brand products, and mass production of homogenized consumer identity – sign value (Baudrillard) Mass culture is a deception that impedes development of autonomous, independent individuals - music, film, fashion, etc. of culture industry continuously exhibit same formula toward commodification, standardization and reification – rather than challenging status quo, they reflect conformist tendencies shared by all forms of the culture industry - capitalist culture replaces authentic human needs (ex. love, liberty, equality) with false ones of consumption and status Rise of consumer capitalism started new stage; society of spectacle; manufacture of sings/images=goal of production - Consumer capitalism makes people spectators of their lives, assigned roles subjecting them to passive thought - More he contemplates, less he lives: more readily he recognizes his own needs in the images of need proposed by the dominant system, the less he understand his own existence and his own desires Creative Economy –combines culture and economy - world is increasingly dominated by images, sounds, symbols and ideas but they are also creating new jobs, wealth and new culture - creative, cultural products have their - Exchange value - which is how goods and services find their price level in the market - Use value - determined by their use in real life - Expressive value - cultural significance, may not be related to cost to make/how useful they are Creative industries - those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property ex. advertising, architecture, the art
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