Textbook Notes (363,569)
Canada (158,433)
Sociology (1,053)
SOCA01H3 (480)
Chapter 3

Sociology chapter 3.docx

4 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Scarborough
Neda Maghbouleh

Culture as Meaning Generator  The power of culture is that it makes our sensory experiences meaningful.  Once your cultural experience conditions you to interpret concrete experiences a certain way, this becomes your reality ( such as words/ language) Culture Defined  high culture- upper class (opera, ballet, etc.)  popular culture- all social classes (movies, pop music, etc.).  culture consists of the shared symbols and their definitions that people create to solve real- life problems.  Symbols are concrete things or abstract terms that represent something else. (The gold ring on my finger is an object that represents my marital status)  symbols are abstract and is what the culture refers to it as  A symbol's “definition” informs us what a symbol represents ( again the ring)  because of culture certain symbols are shared, Idiosyncratic symbols are not apart of culture example: A psychotic person who believes that rain clouds represent happiness is using a symbol that is not part of culture  Members of a community who acquire a set of shared, meaningful symbols participate in a common culture.  Culture intervenes between concrete experience and our responses by assigning significance. ( a reason) As a child, you looked at the night sky and only saw a pattern of twinkling lights. Over time, your culture provided you with concepts like “star” and “Big Dipper.” Now, when you look up at night you can distinguish stars, planets, comets, and constellations. The same holds for all your experiences. First you “look” (the concrete behaviour part), then you “name” (the cultural part), and then you “see” (the abstract understanding part). The Origins of Culture  Culture is the primary means by which humans adapt to their environments  we create culture to solve real life problems Tools in the culture survival kit 1. abstraction , the ability to create general concepts that organize sensory experience in meaningful ways  Concepts allow humans to organize, classify, interpret, and generalize their experiences ( example: a chair) 2. Cooperation, It is the capacity to create a complex social life by establishing norms , or generally accepted ways of doing things and values  values , are ideas that identify desirable states (conditions that are true, good, or beautiful). 3. Production, It involves making and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to take what we want from nature.  We call such tools and techniques material culture  symbols, norms, values, and other elements of non-material culture TABLE 3.1 The Building Blocks of Culture Adapted from Bierstedt (1963). Three Types of Norms: Folkways, Mores, and Taboos  folkway, least important and evoke the least sever of punishment  more (MOR- ay)Mores are norms that specify social requirements,punishment is minimal  taboos, causes revulsion in the community, and punishment is severe. Incest is one of the most widespread taboos. Summing Up  Culture consists of the shared symbols and their definitions that people create to solve real- life problems and that give human life meaning.  Culture supports human adaption to the environment by means of abstraction, coordination, and production. Culture and Biology “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.” — Rose Sayer The Evolution of Human Behaviour  Biology, sets broad human limits and potentials, including the potential to create culture. Male Promiscuity, Female Fidelity, and Other Myths Evolutionary psychologists employ a three-step argument for their biological explanation of human behaviour and social arrangements.  First, they identify a supposedly universal human behavioural trait.  Next, they offer an explanation for why this behaviour increases survival chances through reproduction.  Finally, they conclude that the behaviour in question cannot easily be changed. For example, they explain alleged male promiscuity and female fidelity as follows. 1. Universal claim: Men are more likely than women are to want many sexual partners. 2. Survival-value argument: Every time a man ejaculates, he produces hundreds of millions of sperm, while fertile women typically release only one egg per month. Based on these sex differences, men and women develop different strategies to increase the chances of reproducing their genes. 3. Conclusion: These biologically based reproductive strategies are encoded or “hardwired” in our genes. Therefore, male promiscuity and female fidelity are necessary.  certain social arrangements, such as the institution of marriage, account in substantial measure for va
More Less

Related notes for SOCA01H3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.