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Chapter 3

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SOC 1100
Linda Gerber

SOC 1100* 4/3/2013 5:03:00 PM  Chapter Three  Culture  What is Culture  Culture: the ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the material objects that together shape a people’s way of life o Our thoughts, our actions and our possessions o Linked to our past and guide us into the future  Nonmaterial culture: the ideas created my members of a society  Material culture: the physical things created by members of a society  Culture shock: personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life o Immigration o Visit a new country o Move between social environments  no way of life is “natural” to humanity, but most people around the world view their own behaviour in that way  humans are not the only creatures who have culture, but we are the ones who depend on culture to survive CULTURE AND HUMAN INTELLIGENCE  40 000 years ago people who looked more or less like is roamed the earth  “civilization” emerged 12 000 years ago: changing the natural environment to benefit themselves CULTURE, NATION, STATE, AND SOCIETY  culture: ideas, values and artifacts that make up a shared way of life  Nation: political entity (state or country) refers to a people who share a culture, ancestry and history  State: political entity in a territory with borders  Society: people who interact in a defined territory and share culture (interact with a nation, state, or boundary who share a culture)  Experts document 7000 languages  The Elements of Culture  Symbols, language, values, and norms are all common elements within a culture SYMBOLS  Symbols: anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share culture  Cultural symbols change over time  Society creates new symbols all the time  Reality for humans is found in the meaning things carry with them  People must be mindful that meanings vary from culture to culture and even vary within the same group of people LANGUAGE  Language: a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another  Language not only allows communication but also is the key to cultural transmission: the process by which one generation passes culture to the next  Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: people perceive the world through cultural lens of language VALUES AND BELIEFS  Values: culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable, good and beautiful and that serve as broad guidelines for social living’ values support beliefs o Make choices about how to live o Abstract standards of goodness  Beliefs: specific statement that people hold on to be true o Particular matters that individuals consider to be true  Both form our core to personalities (from school, family, friends, religion, thinking, acting) o Values: inconsistency and conflict  Sometimes one key cultural value contradicts others:  Individualistic interests vs. contribution to larger community  Belief in equality vs. racism  Cooperativeness vs. competitiveness  Value conflict causes strain  Values change over time o Values: A global perspective  Culture have their own values  Lower-income nations have cultures that value survival (what to eat, where to sleep)  Higher-income nations have cultures that value individualism and self-expression (take survival for granted) (lifestyle and personal happiness) NORMS  Norms: rules and expectations by which a society guides the behaviour of its members o 2 types  1) proscriptive: should-nots, prohibited  2) prescriptive: should, prescribed like medicine o mores and folkways  mores: norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance (taboos)  eg. No sexual relations with children  difference between right and wrong  folkways: norms for routine or casual interaction  eg. Appropriate greetings and proper dress  draw the line between right and rude o Social Control  Mores and folkways are the basic rules of everyday life  Social control: attempts by others to regulate peoples thoughts and behaviour  Shame: the painful sense that others disapprove of our actions  Guilt: a negative judgment we make about ourselves IDEAL AND REAL CULTURE  Values and norms and guidelines, how we should behave  Ideal culture: social patterns mandated by cultural values and norms
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