SOCA01H3 Study Guide - Consumerism, Subculture, Mcdonaldization

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4 Dec 2010
Biology, Freedom, Constraint Sociology
Chapter # 3- Culture
CULTURE Æ practices, languages, symbols, beliefs, values, ideologies & material objects that
people create to deal with real life problems. Cultures enable people to adapt to, and thrive
in, their environments.
HIGH CULTURE Æ upper class (opera, ballet)
* Culture= socially transmitted
Three tools, human survival:
1) Abstraction Æ ability to create general ideas or ways of thinking that are not linked to
particular instances.
* Symbols= ideas with particular meanings (incl. math, language) (chair)
2) Cooperation Æ create social life based on values & norms. (familyÆ children)
3) Production Æ Make & use tools to take what we need from nature (food-tech)
* Tools- material culture (tangible) & values, norms- non-material culture (intangible)
Three types of Norms:
1) Folkway Æ social preferences (least severe punishment)
2) Mores Æ social requirements (core norms)
3) Taboos Æ Causes revulsion in community if broken. Strongest norms (severe
Culture and Biology:
The evolution of Human Behaviour
longer ? offspring (desirable traits passed on)
Male Promiscuity, Female Fidelity, and o/ Myths:
x Males more likely to want many sexual partners than women (plentiful sperm
supply, egg once a month puberty-menopause)= (False!! )
* Survival of the fittest.
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Biology, Freedom, Constraint Sociology
x Many are critical of this reasoning (evolutionary psychologists)
x Some behaviours discussed by evolutionary psychologists are not universal or
common (not plausible)
x Variations among species Æ environment and genes in a constant interaction along
with growth and division of cells during development
x Genes never develop without environmental influences (pregnant mothers)
o Life not entirely hardwired by genes (depends on life style, enviro etc)
The Problem of Language:
x Language = communication of thought (cultural invention)
x Steven Pinker: Each species has their own language (instinct)
o Diverse children brought together, created own form of communication
o Language not so much learned as grown.
x Specific language impairment (SLI)
o Mutation of FOXP2 associated with SLI
x When gene is normal, children can acquire complex language skills
The Social Roots of Language
x Biological potential must be unlocked by the social environment to be fully realized.
o If children do not interact symbolically w/ others during critical periods,
their language skills remain permanently impaired.
The Sapir-Whorf Thesis and ITS critics:
Q: What exactly is the relationship among our use of language, the way we think, and our
social environment?
x Edward Sapir & Benjamin Lee Whorf Æ experience, thought, language interact in
the (Sapir-Whorf thesis)
x We experience certain things and form concepts about those things which we
express through language ( 1Æ2) (2Æ3) (3Æ1) triangle
x Importance of objects in environments= many different names
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