Sociology 1020: Culture 4/13/2012 11:23:00 AM
the word culture as we use it here is a system of behaviors, beliefs,
knowledge, practices and values.
Objects of culture may be contested when they become instruments of
oppression or discrimination.
Culture involves traditions but is not confined by them because it changes
Authenticity is a problem when colonial society studies a colonized culture
and claims having studied the cultures traditions, to hold the keys of its
All culture ultimately, is contested.
Dominant Culture versus Subculture and Counterculture:
- dominants are people most closely linked to the dominant culture
- power and wealth tend to be concentrated in large cities, and central
Canada has become the home to the countries two most metropolitan areas,
Toronto and Montreal.
- feminists (both male and female) argue that Canada‟s dominant culture is
- proven that the closer you are too power the fewer females there are.
- age plays a factor in Canada‟s dominant culture as well.
- also factors such as sexual orientation, levels of education, and disability
could set you outside of the dominant culture.
- Canada‟s dominant culture is: English speaking, hetero-sexual , male ,
university graduate of European background between the ages of 25-55, in
good health, who owns a home in a middle class neighborhood of a city in
Ontario or Quebec.
- Subculture: minor cultural differences possessed by groups organized
around occupations or hobbies, engages in no significant opposition or
challenge to the dominant group.
groups that reject elements of dominant culture.
Ex. Hippies, bikers, Goths ect. Their opposition to dominant culture is expressed most commonly in their
clothing and overall appearance, but what must be kept in mind is that it
goes well beyond this visual aspect.
High Culture versus Popular Culture:
high culture is the culture of the elite, a distinct minority.
Associated with theater, opera, music , ballet and serious works of literature
your would have to have studied in post secondary to understand.
Also sometimes referred to as elite culture.
Culture capital defines the knowledge and skills needed to acquire the
sophisticated tastes that mark someone as a person of high culture.
the more cultural capital one has, the higher class they are in.
popular culture, it the culture of the majority
these are people who do not have power
ex. Working class, less educated, women, and racial minorities.
Mass culture and Popular culture:
pop culture and mass culture differ in terms of agency.
Simulacra are cultural images often associated with stereo types that are
produced and reproduced like material goods by the media and sometimes
Ex. Intuits rubbing their noses together “eskimo kiss”
These images tend to distort contemporary reality.
Victimology has two meanings in sociology:
1. The study within criminology of people who are victims of crime
2. The second is an outlook that diminishes the victims of crime portraying
them as people who cannot help themselves or exercise their own agency.
norms are rules or standards of behavior in which are expected of groups,
society or culture.
Norms are expressed in culture through various means, from ceremonies
that reflect cultural mores to symbolic articles of dress.
Positive Sanction: reaction that supports a behavior Ex. A reward for doing something right, a smile, a high five, a supportive
Negative Sanction: reaction designed to tell offenders they have violated a
Ex. A “dirty look”, rolling of the eyes, mild sarcastic joke”.
- one of the three kinds of norms
- a folkway is a norm which governs day to day matters
- these norms are norms wich in the course of things you “should not”
- these are the least respected and most weakly sanctioned
- etiquette is commonly closely connected to folkways.
-ex. Double dipping chips.
- norms that are taken much more seriously then folkways
- rules you “ must not” violate.
- some mores: against rape, killing, vandalism, stealing
-norm so deeply ingrained in our social consciousness that the thought or
mention of it is enough to arouse disgust or revulsions.
- ex. cannibalism, incest and child pornography
- symbols are cultural items, either tangible or intangible that take on
tremendous meaning in a culture or subculture.
- they can be non- material objects such as songs of the memory of an
Symbols of ethnic identity:
- flag is a symbol of ethnic identity.
Values: - standards used by a culture to describe abstract qualities such as goodness
beauty , justice and to asses te behavior of others ,
- values have been a topic of discussion for sociologists for a long time.
- what makes this confusing is that the values people have are not ones they
always tend to act upon.
- this issue revolves around ideal culture and real culture.
- this occurs when someone holds up one culture by the standard at which
all other cultures must be judged.
-ethnocentrism is often the product of ignorance.
- played a huge role in colonizing efforts of powerful nations that have tried
to impose their political, economic and religious views on indigenous
populations of land they discover.
The potlatch act of 1884:
-the potlatch is a traditional ceremony of the northwest coast native people
-revolves around the acquisition or affirmation of hereditary names
-important aspect of the event is the telling, singing and acting out of
-another important aspect is the giving away of gifts
-involves addressing other from a broadly defined European position and
assuming that the audience is or would like to be part of that „we‟.
- ignores the fact that people other then Europeans did things beneficial for
- the intensification and expansion of cultural flows across the globe
-involves assuming blindly that a particular culture that is not ones own is
better than ones own in some way. -Noble savage refers to any idealized representation of primitive culture that
symbolizes the innate goodness of humanity when free of the corrupting
influences of civilization.
- an approach to studying the context of an aspect of another culture.
- exists in two levels:
1. level of understanding
- individuals should not be judged by the practices of their culture as they
have no control over these, afterall they did not create them.
- study of language as a part of culture
-language exists as the center of communication between two individuals
and between groups.
- source of understanding and miss understanding
- main way to transmit culture
Dialect as a sociological term:
-a dialect is a variety of language or a version that perhaps is different in
terms of pronunciation, vocab, and grammar.
-dialect is a product of social factors
Linguistic Determinism and relativity:
-relationship between language and culture is usually discussed in the tense
that linguistic determinism is present.
-the way each of us views and understands the world is shaped by the
language we speak.
- Queer Customs:
- body rituals of the Nacirema
- code of the streets Sociology 1020: Socialization 4/13/2012 11:23:00 AM
Primary Socialization: socialization which occurs early in life.
Secondary socialization: socialization which occurs later in life.
- the degree to which an individuals behaviors, attitudes and other personal
characteristics are determines or caused by a specific factor.
- exercising free will
- choice above and beyond the call of nature or nurture.
- what we are is determined by our genes.
- talks about the yyz male and the killer gene. Men are usually yz and
women xx. They call this the criminal gene.
Social or cultural determinism: behaviorism
- - behaviorism is a school of thought in psychology that takes a strong
cultural determinist position
- it talks about the strong causative power of learning in the development of
- social environment is everything in the creation of a persona personality
-Example, Pavlov and his dog, salivation or skinner and his rats
- these animals learned from the environment
- using behaviors or actions to teach a child, for example, picking a baby up
when he or she cries teaches him communication. Thus the baby now knows
that when something is wrong he or she should cry to get the parents
- believed the mind had 3 parts
- the id, ego and superego
Agents of Socialization: - group that had a significant impact on ones socialization
- examples of these can be family members, friends, peer groups,
neighborhood, community, media ect.
- key individuals
- primarily parents, or older siblings
- you imitate or model these individuals
- you take into account their attitudes, viewpoints and general expectations
of the society he or she has been socialized into.
Meads developmental sequence for socialization:
1. Preparatory stage:
- pure imitation
2. Play Stage:
- pretending is involved
- child engages in role- taking
3. Game stage:
- child assumes simultaneously the perspective of different roles
- considering what other people are thinking
- obedience and conformity to the standards and expectations of the
-deviation from the rules is punished physically and socially
- result from this socialization is greater obedience
- narrow range of expression
- individuality and independence is promoted
- less restrictiveness
- allows for more expression - leads to higher levels of risk behavior
- happens whenever a person moves into a new social environment
- an individual must unlearn all previous attitudes, behaviors, rules and
values and learn those of the new situation
- example is switching religions, a rite of passage like a conformation. Sociology 1020: Health and Medicine 4/13/2012 11:23:00 AM
- based on the belief that medical practices and beliefs are intensely social.
- sociological factors will affect the treatment you receive from your doctor
- a doctor who is in the country for a year will not be able to diagnose you
with an illness native to your country. She will prescribe you to a bunch of
specialist which depends on her sociological circle.
- being sick comes with certain expectations
- there are four of them
- two relate to the sick person and their actions
- two relate to how society should treat the sick person
1. sick person should expect to be granted exemption from normal duties
2. should expect to be taken care of rather then having to take care of
3. the person who is sick is obligated to try and get better
4. obligated to seek help from a health professional
- sicknesses thought to have effected only people within the same ethnic
- certain behaviors and conditions being recognized as medical problems.
- example, ADD has gone thought medicalization since the 50‟s where it ws
just recognized as hyperactivity
- being gay has gone thought de- medicalization
The racialization of diseases:
- SARS is a good example, because it came from Asia people did their best
to stay away from Asians though this was not the case nor did it protect you
in any way.
Inverse Care Law: - the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely in the sense
that those who need it the most are less likely to have access it then those
who need it the most.
- example, homeless and upper class Sociology 1020: Research Methods 4/13/2012 11:23:00 AM
- the system in which researchers use to gather data on a particular
Auguste Comte: coined the term sociology
Insider versus outsider perspective:
- way to contrast the different methods of sociology is to look at how the
researches treat the inside and outside perspectives.
- the outsider was the expert and occupied a privileged position.
Qualitative versus quantitative research:
- Quantitative focuses on social elements that can be counted or measured
and which therefore be used to generate statistics.
- used to find patterns governing whole structures, systems and
- Qualitative involves the close examination of characteristics that cannot be
counted or measured.
- used to evaluate those individual cases that don‟t fit into the larger model
- qualitative research
- a direct observation and extended field research to produce a thick
naturalistic description of people and their culture.
- Ethnography seeks to uncover symbols and categories cultures use to
interpret the world.
- new method of research
- based on the theories of Dorothy Smith
- does not reflect the veiw of a neutral stance like traditional sociological
- recognizes that any institution or organization can be seen as having two
- one side is the ruling interests; the organizations administration, or the
interests of those who are dominant in society. - data associated with the ruling interests is text based, comprised of written
rules and practices
- ruling relations is when the people working in these mentioned institutions
or organizations follow these rules and work in a way to help the
- the other side of the organization is that of the informant; someone who
works for the institution outside of the management or administration.
- data associated with this side is experiential or based on the experience of
- disjuncture is the separation between the knowledge produced by the
perspectives of the two sides.
- institutional ethnography in seeing the disjuncture works to produce
information which they hope will eliminate it and produce institutional
- gather additional sources/ narratives and tie them together
- involves the use of at least three sources
- study of signs and significant practices
- a sign is made up of two parts; the signifier and the signified
- signifier= carries meaning, example a dog
- signified= the meaning that is carried out, example the furry thing with
- two types
- the first analyses the traditional meaning of discourse, which is a
conversation, speech or written text
- the second is genealogy
- study of heredity for the purpose of genetic or social history.
- the the context of discourse genealogy is a method of examining history of
the second type of discourse Sociology 1020: Deviance 4/13/2012 11:23:00 AM
-straying from the norm. this does not mean the deviant is wrong or bad in
any way. Deviance comes down to how the norm is defined. Deviance
changes just as norms change.
- combines class and gender.
-for example non white middles class males find it had to succeed in white
middle class institutions like school so they become a part of an oppositional
subculture which the value of school are then inverted for them.
-actions or qualities taken as explicitly violating the cultural norm
-unstated qualities that might make a particular group a target for sanctions
-the difference between overt and covert is the same as latent and manifest
functions, one is obvious and one is covered up.
- covert characteristics are things like age, ethnic background, and sex
- culture most represented in the media, the one with most power
- failing to succeed in middle class institutions, especially school, and then
becoming socialized into an oppositional subculture in which the values of
what u failed are inverted.
- a disagreement among groups over weather or not something is deviant.
- example, groups which believe marijuana should be legalized
Social Constructionism: - the idea that certain elements of social life, including deviance but also
gender, race and other elements are not natural but artificial and are
created by society or culture.
- argues there is something natural, true or universal and therefore
objectively determines about all the social aspects of life.
- we see hat when we look at social aspects each of these two viewpoints
Example, alcoholism… it‟s a physical condition so it has an essence of
essential nature, but who we label in society as an alcoholic is a social
- to hate women Sociology 1020: Gender 4/13/2012 11:23:00 AM
Gender and sexuality:
- Greatest work on gender has been carried out by feminists.
- Gender and sex are different
- sex refers to the biological division between males and females, and
gender refers to the socially unequal division into femininity and masculinity.
Gender is a social term that refers to the roles and characteristics society
assigns to men and women.
Gender role: set of expectations concerning behavior and attitudes that
relate to being male or female.
- gender roles differ across cultures
- mother of sociology
- wrote many articles on women‟s social condition
- she was a feminist
- compared women to slaves in a chapter of the book a political non
existence of women
Annie Marion Maclean:
- first Canadian women to obtain a PhD in Sociology.
- pioneer sociological study of women
- studied the unfair rand unsafe conditions women were forced to work
- first women hired as a sociologist at a university in Canada.
- taught at U of T
- she was a founding member of the Canadian human rights foundation
- helped organize a homeless women‟s shelter once she retired in her
Helen C. Abell:
- founder of rural sociology in Canada
- she was the first Canadian to receive a degree in rural sociology
- he research placed an important role in identifying systematically the roles
women played on the farm. Feminist theories are divided into four groups:
- identifies women as a class entitled to rights as women
- values the contributions of women in the public realm of the workplace and
evaluates weather women receive fair pay or not.
- feminist liberalism is credited with securing benefits for women on
maternity leave, the right to claim employment insurance, and the ability to
return to the same leveled job after a leave of one year or less.
- criticism of this feminist movement is that it fails to recognize that the
social location of this category of women enables them to receive benefits
not available to other women
-white middle class women of Europe and North America are the main
beneficiaries of the gains of this movement.
- concentrates specifically on making women equal to men when it comes to
job opportunity and salary
- looks at the difference between the way women and men think
- argues for equality of female superiority
- this movement is useful because it generates profound questions
- some short comings of this theory are it universalizes women assuming
everyone experiences gender alike.
- while feminist essentialism speaks constructively about the potential for
women‟s differences from men to be positively values, it can fall into
generalizing from the western model
- they want sexuality and gender relations included in the analysis of
- they believe there is insight to be gained from looking at the intersections
of oppression between class and gender.
- downfall is that race gets overlooked
- black women in north American still are treated as less regardless of the
class they are from. Feminist Postmodernism:
- this position almost directly opposes feminist essentialism.
- refers to women as subjects rather then objects of sociological study.