SOC101 Chapter Notes -Relativism, Linguistic Determinism, Symbolic Interactionism

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30 Jan 2013
Soc 101 Week Three Readings-Chapter 5
Chapter Five: Culture
-Culture: a complex collection of values, beliefs behaviours and material objects shared by a
group and passed on from one generation to the next
Origins of Culture
Why cannot determine the ‘start’ of culture?
1. Little material evidence
2. Much of culture is non-material
3. Development interconnected with culture
-Social Life: hominid ancestors far back as 4.4 million years ago
-Parental Care: Larger brains, evolution of earlier birth (before more time in womb)
-Pair Bonding: Male/Female 2.4 to 1.9 million years ago
-Subsistence: hunting tools 2.6 million years ago
-Environment Adaptation: caves, fire and sewing
-Thought language, art and religion
Defining Features of Culture
Culture is learned: language, attitudes, values, world viewslearned
Culture is shared: as people interact they share
Culture is transmitted: passed from generation to generation
Culture is cumulative: as members refine beliefs the build on cultural foundations
Culture is human: animals are social but not cultural
-Material Culture: tangible artifacts and physical objects found in a given culture
-Non-Material Culture: intangible abstract components of a society including values and norms
-Values: beliefs about ideal goals and behaviours that serve as standards for social life
-Norms: culturally defined rules that outline appropriate behaviours
-Folkways: Informal norms that suggest customary ways of behaving
-Mores: norms that carry a strong sense of social importance and necessity
-Law: type of norm that is formally defined and enacted in legislation
-Sanction: a penalty for norm violation or a reward for norm adherence
Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism
-Ethnocentrism: tendency to view one’s own culture as superior to all others
-Cultural Relativism: Appreciation that all cultures have intrinsic worth and should be evaluated
and understood on their own terms
-Culture Shock: the feeling of disorientation, alienation, depression and loneliness experienced
when entering a new culture
Honeymoon: admiration and awe
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