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Canada (161,844)
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SOC101Y1 (470)
Chapter 2

New Society Chapter 2 notes.docx

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Robert Brym

New Society Chapter 2-The Origins of Culture  The sophisticated brains of humans 100 000 years ago allowed them to prosper and dominate o Enabled them to make cultural survival kits o Contained 3 main tools  Abstraction, cooperation, production o Gave rise to a different element of culture  1. Abstraction o Capacity to create ideas/ways of thinking  2. Cooperation o Capacity to create a complex social life by establishing norms  3. Production o Devising and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to take what we want from nature  Material culture  Symbols: things that carry particular meaning o Languages, mathematical notations, signs allow us to classify experience and generalize from it  People usually rewarded when they follow cultural guidelines and punished when they don‟t o Sanctions or social control Culture from the Margins  Despite its importance in human life, it is often invisible to people who are immersed in it o Take own culture for granted  People often startled when confronted by different cultures o Seem odd, irrational, inferior o Judging a culture by the standards of our own is ethnocentrism Two Faces of Culture  Some aspects of culture make us freer, while others endanger us  By developing new ideas, practices and artifacts, we give ourselves more choices and often come closer to realizing our full human potential  Freer than ever to draw on all cultures o Allows us to fashion our identity to suit our taste 1 o Less because of traditional authority imposes a set of cultural definitions on us  Cultural freedom develops within definite limits o Outside of limits=more and more difficult to move  Governed by twin forces of rationalization and consumption  Rationalization: application of most efficient means to achieve given goals and unintended negative consequences of doing so o Modern bureaucracies  Composed of unelected officials  Concentrate power and threaten democracy  Discourage office holders from considering what goals their organization ought to be  Bureaucrats determine best way of achieving goals defined by superiors  Office holders lose spontaneity and inventiveness  Therefore growth of bureaucracy constrains our freedom  Consumerism: lifestyle that involves defining ourselves in terms of the goods we purchase o Impoverishes the self and society by drawing resources and attention away from pressing social issues and encouraging environmentally dangerous levels of consumption Cultural Diversification and Globalization  In general, cultures tend to become more diverse or heterogeneous as societies become more complex  Cultural fragmentation picked up steam during industrialization as the variety of occupational roles grew and new political and intellectual move
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