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Transcript of Culture-Ch. 3
What is Culture?
Material vs. Non-material culture
the totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and behavior.
-physical creations that members of society make, use and share
-abstract or intangible human creations of society that influence people's behavior
gestures (hand symbols)
The word "culture" is used in many different ways.
What comes to mind when you hear the following terms: "Culture Shock", "High Culture", or "Multi-cultural"?
Meaningfully represents something else
The heart with an arrow through it or two fingers raised do not carry meaning on their own, they are assigned meaning within a given culture
Beliefs-the mental acceptance or conviction that certain things are true or real
Belief is a practical trust that an item in a culture can serve a purpose (ex. airplanes can safely travel across the country
Values-collective ideas about what is right or wrong, good or bad, and desirable or undesirable in a particular culture
Values are the criteria we use to evaluate people objects or events (ex. "equality" is a value that people use differently)
customs and practices that occur across all societies
Hand symbols may differ greatly in different societies, but the fact that nearly all societies use some form of hand symbol makes them "cultural universal"
More on "Values"
-values that conflict with one another (ex. humanitarianism may conflict with individual achievement)
Ideal Culture vs. Real Culture
People profess to hold certain values but actually live differently
Write about an example of an "ideal culture" idea that is not quite carried out in "real culture"
-established rules of behavior or standards of conduct
-rewards for appropriate behavior or penalties for inappropriate behavior
-informal norms or everyday customs that may be violated without serious
consequences within a particular culture
-strongly held norms with moral and ethical connotations that may not be violated without serious consequences in a particular culture
Subcultures and Counterculture
-a category of people who share distinguishing attributes, beliefs, values and norms that set them apart in some significant manner from the dominant culture
-a group that strongly rejects dominant societal values and norms and seeks alternative lifestyles
More likely to be young people due to less investment in the existing culture
"Countercultures" are different from "Subcultures" because they actively oppose the larger culture
Culture in the future
How do you think technology changes the different cultures we can be exposed to?
Technology will continue to have a profound effect
-increased communication across large spaces will create significantly more integration of different cultures
Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural Relativism
Ethnocentrism-the practice of judging all other cultures by one's own culture
Cultural Relativism-the belief that the behaviors and customs of any culture must be viewed and analyzed by the culture's own standards
Role of Language
Language is a major aspect of culture
Beyond the differences in literal languages (English, Spanish, French, etc.) there are different meanings to the same word within a language based on cultural characteristics (age, race, sex, etc.)
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis-Because people can conceptualize the world only through language, language precedes thought. Meaning the way we consider the world is heavily influenced by our culture's language
Different views of common culture by theoretical groups
Functionalists-social stability requires a consensus and the support of society's members
Conflict theorists-the dominant cultural ideas may only exist to serve the privileges of certain groups