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Culture: the entire way of life of a group of people (includ

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Donna Wood

on 2 February 2015

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Transcript of Culture: the entire way of life of a group of people (includ

Chapter 3: Culture

Culture: the entire way of life of a group of people (including both material and symbolic elements) that acts as a lens through which one views the world and is passed from one generation to the next

Language and gestures
Style of dress
Standards of beauty
Customs and rituals
Tools and artifacts
Child-rearing practices
Right and wrong
Good and bad
Culture is not innate. It is learned.
We are unaware of the process because it is slow and incremental.
We all carry culture within ourselves; it is ingrained and internalized into our way of thinking and acting.
Components of Culture
Material Culture: the objects associated with a cultural group, such as tools, machines, utensils, buildings, and artwork; any physical objects to which we give social meaning
Components of Culture
Symbolic Culture: the ideas associated with a cultural group, including ways of thinking (beliefs, values, and assumptions) and ways of behaving (norms, interactions, and communication

Signs (or symbols)
Language: probably the most significant component of culture
Past - present -future
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: the idea that language structures thought and that ways of looking at the world are embedded in language
Values, Norms, and Sanctions
Values and norms are symbolic culture in action.
Values: ideas about what is desirable or contemptible and right or wrong in a particular group; they articulate the essence of everything that a cultural group cherishes and honors

Norm: a rule or guideline regarding what kinds of behavior are acceptible and appropriate within a culture
Law: a formally defined norm
Folkway - More - Taboo

Sanction: positive or negative reactions to the ways that people follow or disobey norms, including rewards for conformity and punishments for violations (social control)
A policy that values diverse racial, ethnic, national, and linguistic backgrounds and so encourages the retention of cultural differences within society rather than assimilation
Variations in Culture
Dominant Culture: the values, norms, and practices of the group within society that is most powerful (in terms of wealth, prestige, status, influence, etc.

Subcultures: a group within society that is differentiated by its distinctive values, norms, and lifestyle

Countercultures: a group within society that openly rejects and/or actively opposes society's values and norms
Culture Wars: clashes within mainstream society over the values and norms that should be upheld

Ideal Culture: the norms, values, and patterns of behavior that members of a society believe should be observed in principle

Real Culture: the norms, values, and patterns of behavior that actually exist within a society (which may or may not correspond to the society's ideals)
Cultural Change
Technological determinism: the notion that developments in technology provide the primary driving force behind social change

The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology, Ferris, K., & Stein, J. (2014). 4th ed., Norton, ISBN: 0-393-92258-8, ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92258-5
Cultural diffusion: the dissemination material and symbolic culture (tools and technology, beliefs, and behavior) from one group to another
Cultural leveling: the process by which cultures that were once unique and distinct become increasingly similar
Cultural imperialism: the imposition of one culture's beliefs and practices on another culture through mass media and consumer products rather than by military force
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