SOC101Y1 Chapter Notes -The Postmodern Condition, Consumerism, Canadian Identity

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19 Apr 2012
School
Department
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SOC101READING – September 21, 2011 – Eve Smithwhite
New Society
Culture
Introduction
Culture as Problem Solving
Sociologists define culture broadly as all the socially transmitted ideas, practices
and material objects that people create to deal with real-life problems.
Culture sharing happens through human interaction, communication and
learning.
A society involves people interacting socially and sharing culture, usually in a
defined geographical area.
The Origins of Culture
Main tools in human cultural survival
Abstraction
The capacity to create ideas or ways of thinking
Symbols carry particular meanings and allow us to generalize.
A uniquely human capacity, enables humans to learn and transmit knowledge
Cooperation
The capacity to create a complex social life by establishing norms (Standards of behaviour)
Encourages humans to reproduce, advance the human race, specialize skills
Production
Devising and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to take what we want from nature
Only humans make tools and use them for production of goods
People are either rewarded for following cultural guidelines or punished for not
Culture from the Margins
People are often oblivious to the guidelines of their own culture until they are
challenged by another’s views
Ethnocentrism – Judging another culture exclusively by the standards of your own
The Two Faces of Culture
Rationalization
The application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and unintended, negative consequences of doing so.
Consumerism
A lifestyle that involves defining ourselves in terms of the goods we purchase.
Culture as Freedom
Culture Diversification and Globalization
Cultural uniformity has given way to cultural diversity
Significant increase in immigration from outside Europe and the US to Canada
Many believe multiculturalism encourages immigrants to cling to their past rather
than embrace a Canadian identity
International trade and investment allows more communication between cultures
Globalization destroys political, economic and cultural isolation
The Rights Revolution
The process by which socially excluded groups have struggled to win equal rights under the law and in practice.
Universal Declaration of Human rights in 1948, a platform for all human rights
Many wronged groups want financial compensation for the past
Postmodernism
A new name for the culture of our time
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