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Chapter 3

SOC 1100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Incest, Subculture, Ethnocentrism

Course Code
SOC 1100
Patrick Parnaby

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Chapter 3: Culture
High Culture: Culture consumed mainly by upper classes (opera, ballet, etc.).
Popular Culture: Mass culture consumed by all classes.
Culture: Consists of shared symbols and their definitions that people create to solve real-life problems.
Symbols: Concrete things or abstract terms that represent something else.
Jan 20:
Symbolism is either:
Explicit/Intentional: Cross, Peace sign.
Implicit/Unintentional: Food fads, such as whether someone drinks Starbucks or Tim Hortons.
Tools involve knowledge which is an element of culture.
Religion was developed to solve practical problems.
Cultural factors affect who is seen as funny, and who laughs at whose jokes.
Origins of Culture:
Abstraction: Ability to create general concepts that meaningfully organize concrete, sensory
Cooperation: Capacity to create a complex social life by establishing generally accepted ways
of doing things and ideas about what is right and wrong.
Norms: Generally accepted ways of doing things.
Values: Ideas that identify desirable states (good, beautiful and true).
Production: Human capacity to make and use tools. It improves our ability to take what we
want from nature.
Material Culture: Comprises the tools and techniques that enable people to get tasks
Non-Material Culture: Composed of symbols, norms, and other intangible elements.
Types of Norms:
Folkways: The least important norms and they evoke the least severe punishment.
Mores: Core norms that most people believe are essential for the survival of their group or their
Taboos: The strongest norms. When someone violates a taboo, it causes revulsion in the
community and punishment is severe. (Incest)
Culture and Biology:
Sapir-Whorf Thesis: Holds that we experience certain things in our environment and form
concepts about those things. We then develop language to express our concepts. Finally,
language itself influences how we see the world.
Culture as Freedom:
Ethnocentrism: Tendency for a person to judge other cultures exclusively by the statements of
his or her own.
Multiculturalism’s Three Negatives:
Focuses too much time on non-core subjects.
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