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Sociology Exam ch7.docx

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Pennsylvania State University
SOC 001
John Fulton

Sociology Exam #2 CHAPTER 7 Culture  Culture is big  It is everywhere  Makes a difference in how people live their lives  Influences what one eats, how they speak, what they believe, how they behave, and what they value  Clearly an understanding of culture is essential for anyone who wants to understand people’s behaviors and interactions with others.  Culture has both material and nonmaterial attributes Material Culture  Includes all those things that humans make or adapt from the raw stuff of nature: computers, houses, forks, bulldozers, jewelry, telephones, socks, bologna sandwiches, oil paintings, and so on.  Includes some very sophisticated and complex objects.  To create a piece of material culture, one does not have to bring a thing very far form its natural state.  Material culture is made up of artifacts Nonmaterial Culture  Different first of all because it is made up of intangible things – and these intangible things also vary from simple to complex.  We can divide up nonmaterial culture into five basic categories: symbols, language, norms, values, and beliefs Symbols  A symbol is anything that represents something else to more than one person.  Some objects are symbols in that they mean something other than themselves  By definition, symbols are social things – if an object has meaning only to one individual, it is not a symbol.  Symbols are worthy of study by sociologists because in the interaction between human beings, symbols are powerful things.  They are powerful because we react to them as if they were the real thing. Language  Language is an organized set of symbols, but language is such an essential part of nonmaterial culture that it deserves its own section  Many sociologists argue that without language there can be no culture at all.  To have symbols, we need some means of learning what these objects stand for – and the best way of conveying such meanings between people is through the use of language.  It would be difficult to sustain nonmaterial culture without language any activity that requires cooperation between individuals is facilitated by language.  Language is made up of certain kinds of symbols (spoken or written words and gestures) and rules (such as grammar and syntax) for using these. Norms  In sociology rules about behavior are called norms  Norms are also part of nonmaterial culture  The way to judge the importance of a norm (and even whether it exists) is to observe how people respond to behavior. Types of norms  Folkways – represent casual norms; violations are not taken very seriously. At worst, the punishment for violating a folkway might be a dirty look, rolled eyes, or disapproving comment  Mores – Anything but casual. Reflect important rules, such as the norms against unjustified assaults on other persons.  Tabo
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