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Chapter 3

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University of Guelph
SOC 1100

thChapter 3 Notes Sept 19 2012Culture includes our thoughts action and possessions becoming our link to the past and our guide to the futureIn order to understand culture you must consider both thoughts and thingsTwo types of culture include nonmaterial culture and material cultureCulture shock is experienced when one travels to a place of different culture and feels uneasy and out of placeNo way of life is natural to humanityAnimals around the world behave the same because their behaviour is guided by instinct or biological programmingOnly humans rely on culture rather than on instinct to create a way of life and to ensure survival Harris 1987Primates have the largest brains relative to body size of all living creaturesThe Stone Age achievements of primates mark the point at which our ancestors set off on a distinct evolutionary course making culture their primary strategy for survivalAbout 250 000 years ago homo sapiens what we are began to emerge modern homo sapiens developed cultures rapidly as suggested by the wide range of tools and cave artAbout 12 000 years ago the founding of permanent settlements and the creation of specialized occupations marked the birth of civilizationBy this point in time humans no longer lived by biological instincts but by a more efficient survival scheme Changing the natural environment to benefit themselvesCulture refers to the ideas values and artifacts that make up a shared way of lifeNation is commonly used to refer to a political entityA state is a political entity in a territory with designated bordersSociety refers to organized interaction of people within a nation state or other boundary who share a cultureThe decline of many languages can be do to electronic communication increasing international migration expanding global economyHumans transform elements of the world into symbols one of the elements of culture ex a wink this has many different meanings to different culturesSymbolic meanings can even vary within a single societyManipulating symbols correctly allows us to engage others within our own cultural systemLanguage another element of culture is the key to the world of cultureLanguage not only allows communication but also is the key to cultural transmissionThroughout human history people have transmitted culture through speech or the oral cultural traditionLanguage skills have the power to link us to the past as well as sparking the human imagination to connect symbols in new waysLanguage shapes reality since each language has its own distinct symbols serving as the building blocks of reality
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