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[SOCA01H3] - Midterm Exam Guide - Ultimate 13 pages long Study Guide!


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Sheldon Ungar
Study Guide
Midterm

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UTSC
SOCA01H3
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Chapter 3 Culture (continued)
A Conflict Analysis of Culture: The Rights Revolution
The central argument of conflict theory: Social life is an ongoing struggle between more and less
advantaged groups
Privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs
Right Revolution: is the process by which socially excluded groups struggled to win equal rights
under the law and in practice beginning in the second half of the 20th century
By no means finished
Many categories of people are still discriminated against socially, politically, and economically
From Diversity to Globalization
Rites of passage: are cultural ceremonies that mark the transition from one stage of life to another (eg
baptisms, confirmations, weddings) or from life to death (funerals)
Involve elaborate procedures
Often conducted in public, and no variation from prescribed practice is allowed
In simple societies, culture is homogeneous
Globalization: is the process by which formerly separate economies, states, and cultures are tied
together and people become aware of their growing interdependence
The international influences characterizing globalization take many forms and are evident in politics,
religion, the mass media and styles of clothing and music
One of the most important roots of globalization is the expansion of international trade and investment
It destroys political, economic, and cultural isolation, bringing people tighter in what is called “global
village”
Because of Globalization, people are less obliged to accept the culture into which they are born and
freer to combine elements of culture from a wide variety of historical periods and geographical settings
The Globalization of English
A good indicator of the influence and extent of globalization is the spread of English
English (with the exception of the many varieties of Chinese) is the most widespread language on Earth
English is dominant because, for more than 200 years, Britain and the US were the world’s most powerful
and influential countries economically, militarily and culturally
Aspects of Postmodernism
Postmodernism: is characterized by an eclectic mix of cultural elements, the erosion of authority, and
the decline of consensus around core values
An Eclectic Mix of Elements from Different Times and Places
In the postmodern era, it is easier to create personalized belief systems and practices by blending facets of
different cultures and historical periods
The mix-and-match approach we see when it comes to religion is evident in virtually all spheres of culture
Although purists may scoff at such blending, it has important social consequences
People who engage in cultural blending are likely to be more tolerant and appreciative of ethnic, racial,
and religious groups other than their own.
The Erosion of Authority
Half a century ago, Canadians were more likely that they are today to defer to authority in the family,
schools, politics, medical …
As the social bases of authority and truth have multiplied, however, we are more likely to challenge
authority
Authorities have helped in lower regard by many people
The rise in fools and the decline of confidence in government both reflect the erosion of traditional authority
The Decline of Consensus around Core Values
Half a century ago, people’s values remained relatively stable over the course of their adult lives, and many
values were widely accepted
Today, value shifts are more rapid, and consensus has broken down on many issues
The postmodern condition empowers ordinary people and make them more responsible for their own fate
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It frees people to adopt religious, ethnic, and other identities they are comfortable with, rather than
accepting identities imposed on them by others
It makes people more tolerant of difference- which is no small matter in a world torn by group conflict
The postmodern attitude also encourages healthy skepticism about rosy and naïve scientific and political
promises
Canada: The First Postmodern Culture?
Canadian culture is distinctive, and its chief distinction may be that it qualifies us as the first thoroughly
postmodern society
This distinctiveness is recognized around the globe as Canada continues to rank as the nation with the
best reputation in the world
Culture as Constraint
Culture has two faces
Freedom
Diversity, globalization, the rights revolution, and postmodernism are aspects of the new freedoms
that culture encourages today
Constraint
Rationalization, consumerism, and cultural capital act as constraining forces on our lives
Culture also operates as a force for social control and the replication of privilege
Rationalization and Time Use
Rationalization: is the application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and the
unintended, negative consequences of doing so
Coined by Max Weber
He believed rationalization is one of the most constraining aspects of contemporary culture
The constraining effects of rationalization are evident in the way we measure and use time
Allowing clocks to precisely regulate our activities seems the most natural thing in the world
The regulation of time ensures efficiency
It maximizes how much work you accomplish in a day
Consumerism
Second constraining aspect of culture is consumerism
Consumerism: is the tendency to define ourselves in terms of the goods we purchase
Recent innovations in advertising take full advantage of our tendency to define ourselves in terms of the
goods we purchase
Product-placement advertising helps consumers associate the product with characters they identify with
The product becomes part of who we are or who we want to be, and , as a result, sales often soar
The effectiveness of advertising encourages businesses to produce even more advertising
As advertising becomes more pervasive, it becomes accepted as a normal part of daily life
They proudly display consumer labels as marks of their status and identity
The rationalization process, when applied to the production of goods and services, enables us to produce
more efficiently, to have more of just about everything than previous generation did.
However, it is consumerism that ensures we will buy most of the goods that are produced
Subculture: is a set of distinctive values, norms, and practices within a larger culture
From Counterculture to Subculture
Countercultures: Are subversive subcultures
They oppose dominant values and seek to replace them
Rarely pose a serious threat to social stability
Most often, the system of social control, of rewards and punishments, keeps countercultures at bay
In our society, consumerism acts as a social control mechanism that normally prevents countercultures
from disrupting the social order
Ex: hip hop
Cultural Capital
Cultural Capital: refers to the beliefs, tastes, norms, and values that people draw upon in everyday
life
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