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Culture slide notes.docx

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

Culture and Society Slide2Postmodernism has many parents teachers politicians religious leaders and not a few university professors worriedGiven the eclectic mixing of cultural elements from different times and places the erosion of authority and the decline of consensus around core values how can we make binding decisions How can we govern How can we teach children and adolescents the difference between right and wrong How can we transmit accepted literary tastes and artistic standards from one generation to the nextThese are the kinds of issues that plague people in positions of authority todaySlide 5All animals take from nature to subsist and apes may sometimes use rocks to break other objects or walking sticks to steady themselves as they cross fastflowing streamsBut only humans are intelligent and agile enough to manufacture tools and use them to produce everything from food to satellites in this sense production is a uniquely human activitySlide 7This line of thought gave rise to the field of cultural studies which overlaps the sociology of culture Griswold 1992 Long 1997 Spillman 2002Slide 12Image Many Westerners find the Indian practice of cow worship bizarre however cow worship performs a number of useful economic functions and is in that sense entirely rationalBy viewing cow worship exclusively as an outsider or for that matter exclusively as an insider we fail to see its rational coreSlide 14By analyzing how people cooperate and produce norms and values we can learn much about what distinguishes one culture from anotherSlide 15Folkways are norms that specify social preferences whereas mores are norms that specify social requirements Incest is one of the most widespread taboos
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