SOC103H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Antonio Gramsci, Theodor W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse

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STARTING POINTS- LORNE TEPPERMAN
CHAPTER 4: CULTURE
Culture: our uniquely human environment including all the objects, institutions, organizations, ideas and beliefs that
make up the social environment of human life
Organizational Culture: the way an organization has learned to deal with its environment; it includes norms and
values that are subculturally distinct to the organization
Values: socially shared conceptions of what a group or society considers good, right and desirable
Norms: the rules or expectations that serve as common guidelines for behaviour in daily life, telling us what kinds of
behaviour are appropriate or inappropriate in specific social situations
Folkways: norms based on popular habits and traditions and ordinary usages and conventions of everyday life
Mores: norms that carry moral significance. People believe that mores contribute to the general welfare and continuity
of the group
Taboos: powerful social beliefs that a particular act, food, place etc is totally repulsive and dangerous. Violation of
taboo is supposed to result in immediate punishment
Material culture: the physical and technological aspects of people's lives, including all the physical objects that
members of a culture create and use
Non-material culture: people's values, beliefs, philosophies, conventions, and ideologies; in short, all the aspects of a
culture that do not have a physical existence
Signs: gestures, artifacts, or words that express or meaningfully represent something other than themselves
Symbol: a sign whose relationship with something else also expresses a value or evokes an emotion
Ideal culture: that aspect of culture that lives only in people's minds. It is the set of values people claim to believe in,
profess openly, hold up for worship and adoration, and in day-to-day life pay 'lip service' to
Cultural integration: the process whereby parts of a culture (ex. Ideal culture and real culture) come to fit together
and complement one another
Ethnocentrism: the tendency to use one's own culture as a basis for evaluating other cultures
High culture: the set of preferences, tastes and norms that are characteristic of, or supported by, high-status groups,
including fine arts, classical music, ballet and other 'highbrow' concerns
Popular (or mass) culture: the culture of ordinary people. It includes those objects, preferences, and tastes that are
widespread in a society
Cultural capital: a body of knowledge and interpersonal skills that helps people to get ahead socially, which often
includes learning about and participating in high culture
Counterculture: a subculture that rejects conventional norms and values and adopts alternative ones
Subculture: a group that shares the cultural elements of the larger society but which also has its own distinctive values,
beliefs, norms, style of dress, and behaviour patterns
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Cultural literacy: a solid knowledge of the traditional culture, which contains the building blocks of all
communication and learning
Real culture: the ways people dress, talk, act, relate, and think in everyday life, as distinct from their idealized or
proclaimed culture
CHAPTER OUTLINE
culture is a shared and remembered symbolic environment and the people who share a culture are bound to
experience the world similarly in certain ways
our human abilities to think, plan, remember and communicate give us a decided edge in creating complex
social structures
Geroge Murdock-> cultural universals
- athletic sports, cooking, dancing, funeral ceremonies, gift giving, language etc
at macro level, values of culture: the socially shared conceptions of what a group or society considers good,
right and desirable are expressed in its social institutions
at micro level, culture works to shape personalities through socialization
FUNCTIONALISM
culture as having an integrative role in society
'civic culture'- a culture of participation in everyday social and political life by ordinary citizens
- functional to the survival of democracy
Emile Durkheim
functional perspective identifies ways in which culture creates social solidarity, provides stability and
assurance, and unites the members of a social group or society
functionalism see cultural elements like norms, values and beliefs as arising out of social structure and
influencing economic life
culture itself serves the essential purposes of ensuring that through shared values and beliefs, society remains
coherent, and that each constituent part of the society can carry out its respective functions
CRITICAL THEORY
focuses on group differences in power and belief
Karl Marx
- mode of production that characterizes a historical period and shapes the ideas that develop in a society of that
time
- it is not culture and idea that shape society and the beliefs and decisions of its members, but rather it is the
material relationships between members of society especially between classes that shape culture
- culture and its constituent elements are rooted in the economic relations of industrial, and increasingly global
capitalism
- capitalism gives rise to a dominant ideology, a system of thoughts and beliefs that justify capitalism and
perpetuate it by limiting criticism and encouraging support of a neo-liberal consumer culture
Antonio Gramsci: during the 1920s and 1930s, intellectuals provided knowledge and advice to the general
public, which worked to subdue revolutionary movements in an increasingly harsh economic environment
theorists like Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin-> focus on analyzing
capitalist ideology, mass consumerism
culture as part of the generally conflictual nature of society, and as helping powerful social groups to maintain
their dominance
SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
culture arises out of the individual face-to-face interactions of social actors and the symbols they communicate
through the exchange of meaning
culture shows itself in the creative use of values and norms in the course of everyday interaction
culture also shows itself in the decisions we make in choosing to communicate in the first place, or to avoid
doing so; in what we say and what we don't say, what we reveal and what we keep as secrets
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