Sociology Chapter 2 Review. September 28, 2013
Chapter 2:Culture as Problem Solving
Culture can help us build community, and divisions between people.
LO2 The Origins and Components of Culture
● our human brains enabled us to create cultural survival kits
● each tool was a human talent and gave rise to a different element of culture
● allow us to classify experience and generalize from it
● anything that carries meaning
● for ex. we recognize that we can sit on many objects but only some objects have 4 legs.
Norms and Values(cooperation):
values: ideas, beliefs
● gives us guidelines for life, what’s important and what’s right and wrong
● ex. racial discrimination is wrong. You will find that widespread belief or value in Canada.
Norms: rules for behaviour.
● Might relate to values, but norms is generally way of doing things
● ex. our norm is that we might condemn someone who tells a racist joke, or we might not
tell a racist joke.
● for ex. family members cooperate together in order to raise their children the way they
want them to be, by applying their norms and values on them.
3 Types of Norms: Folkways, Mores, and Taboos:
The social reaction is the main dicstinction between these types of norms:
Folkwaysinformal norms, suggested ways of behaving, but if you violate a folkway, you won’t get
a strong reaction.
● ex. someone who stops in the middle of the sidewalk. She will get a reaction, but no one
will actually say anything
MoresTaken more seriously. Core norms believed to be essential for survival.
● ex. when a husband cheats on a wife. It’s not against the law, but it’s something that
people take seriously, since people value committment and family.
Taboosstrongest social reaction.
● ex. incest, suicide
these values and norms varies from culture to culture. Production, Material Culture, and NonMaterial Culture:
● an ape may sometimes use a rock to break another object, but only humans are smart
enough to make tools and use them to produce everything
● production is only a human activity.
Language and the SapirWhorf Thesis:
● language allows culture to develop. Its what distinguishes humans from animals.
● terms that refer to the same things or people may change to reflect a changing reality
● for ex. committe used to be headed by “chairman” but when women entered the labour
force some of them became committee heads which changed the term to chairperson or
chair. We see clearly how the environment or our experience influences language.
● controversial part is how does language influence how we experience the world?
● language can affect perception. The gender of the noun influences how people see the
Culture As a Freedom and Constraint:
A functionalist analysis of culture: Culture and Ethnocentrism:
● Ethnocentrism: judging others by the norms and values of our own culture.
often to have a feeling of superiority over others. Thinking of your own culture as more superior.
Thinking of other cultures as inferior, and judging their behaviour negatively.
● ex. European settlers coming to Canada, and their thoughts on Aboriginals. Europeans
thought the British language was the best language. They decided to correct this inferior
culture. They promoted assimilation to Aboriginal groups, by stripping away their culture,
and their identity, and shape it into a british identity. Achieved through violence, and not
allowed to speak their language, were taught Christianity, and told that they were animals.
Culture As FREEDOM~:
● Different cultures enriches Canada, and helps to foster a sense of community and
respect. Culture can be freeing if it’s inclusive.
● USAP and Europe supply 20% of immigrants while Asia and Africa supply 70%
● 4 top countries are China, India, Phillipines, and Pakistan
● interracial is widely accepeted and growing populary of Latino music and Asian designs
● in politics, diversity is an issue due to curricula in the education system
Multiculturalism: ● have argued that school curricula should present a more balanced picture of Canadian
history, society and culture, one that better reflects racial diversity
3 negative consequences:
1. Hurts minorities by forcing them to spend too much time on noncore subjects, and impedes
their success in work field. However multiculturists argue that minority students develop pride
and self esteem, which helps them get ahead in the world field.
2. Causes political disunity and results in more interethnic and interracial conflict. However
multiculturalists say that it’s necessary to achieve equality between majority and minority groups.
3. It encourages the grouwth of cultural relativism (all equal value). Problem is other cultures
promotes practice that Canadians consider inhumane. However multiculturalism say that it
shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and only moderate cultural relativism encourages tolerance
which should be promoted.
A Conflict Analysis of Culture: The Rights Revolution
Rights Revolution: the process by which socially excluded groups have struggled to win equal
riights under the law and in practice.
● the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and
eversince then, the rights revolution was in full swing by the 1960’s.
● some members that have been discriminated historically include Chinese Canadians,
Aboriginals, and others have demanded reparations in the form of money, land, and
● the rights revolution fragments Canadian culture by:
1. legitimizing the grievances of groups that were formerly excluded from full social participation
2. renewing their pride in their identity and heritage
From Diversity to Globalization
Rites of Passage: cultural ceremonies that mark the transition from one stage of life to another
(baptism, confirmations, weddings)
Globalization: the process by which formerly separate economics, nationstates, and cultures
are becoming tied together and people are becoming aware of their growing interdependence.
● one of the most important roots of globalization is the expansion of the international trade
and investment. (Macdonald’s reaps most of their profits outside the US)
● TV shows like Who wants to be a Millionaire, and MTV are popular shows all over the
world. They make contact among people from diverse cultures more routine.
● globalization brings people together in what is called a global village ● people are less obligated to accept the culture into which they are born and freer to
combine elements of culture from a wide variety of geographical settings and historical
Aspects of Postmodernism
Postmodernism: culture characterized by an eclectic mix of cultural elements from different
times and places, the erosion of authority, and the decline of consensus around core values.
● it is easier to create individualized belief systems and practices by blending facets of
different cultures and historical periods
● We have many more ways to worship than we used to