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What is culture.docx

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University of Waterloo
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Culture Chapter 5 What is culture?  Complex collection of values, beliefs, behaviours, and material objects shared by a group and passed on from one generation to the next o Combination of spices that makes it unique Origins of Culture and its Defining Features  Hominid ancestors: human ancestors  Homo sapiens sapiens: modern human beings  5 defining features: o culture is learned  no one is born with culture o culture is shared  develops as people interact and share experiences and meanings with each other o culture is transmitted  passed form generation to generation to survive o culture is cumulative  redefined, modified and built upon each other o culture is human  social communication  material culture: tangible artifacts, physical objects and items found in society o encompasses physical output of human labour and expression o helps adapt proper, diverse and challenge physical environments  non-material culture: society’s intangible and abstract components like values and norms Values, Norms, folkways, Mores, Laws and Sanctions  Values: standards by which people define what is desirable or undesirable, god or bad, beautiful or ugly o Attitudes about way the world ought to be o Defines right and wrong / specify cultural preferences  Norms: culturally defined rules that outline appropriate behaviour for society’s members o Act in given social situations  Folkways: informal norms that don’t inspire severe moral condemnation when violated  Mores: inspire strong moral condemnation o Extramarital affairs  Laws: formally defined and enacted in legislation  Sanction: penalty for norm violation or reward for norm adherence Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism  Ethnocentrism: tendency to view one’s own culture as superior  Cultural relativism: appreciating that all cultures have intrinsic worth ad should be evaluated and understood on their own terms  Culture shock: feeling of disorientation, alienation, depression, loneliness that only subsides once person becomes acclimated to new culture o Honeymoon – admiration and awe regarding new host culture and cordial interactions o Crisis – differences in values, signs and symbols inspire feelings of confusion, disorientation that lead to feelings of inadequacy, frustration, anger and despair o Recovery – crisis gradually resolved with growing understanding of host culture and recognition that its values are consistent with its view of the world o Adjustment – increasing ability to function effectively and enjoy host culture despite occasional feelings of anxiety or stress Language and Culture  Symbol: something that stands for or represents something else  Language: shared symbol system of rules and meanings that governs the production and interpretation of speech o Symbolic form of communication Culture Chapter 5 Language Extinction  Dies when dominant language groups are adopted by young people  Each time we lose language, we lose knowledge o Each language serves as cast source of information about the past ad environments  When language dies, cultural myths, folk songs, legends, poetry and belief systems do too o Cultural amnesia  Hinders our exploration of mysteries of human mind Does Language Define Thought?  Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: assertion that language determines thought o Linguistic determinism o What we are able to think, experience, and imagine is influenced by our language including vocabs and grammar Non verbal Communication  Body language  Proximity  Haptics: personal touching  Oculesics : eye contact  Chronemics: uses time to convey meaning  Olfactics: smell  Vocalics: uses voice ones to convey  Sound symbols: audible cues  Adornment: accessories  Locomotion: movement Cultu
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