Chapter Two Culture Society, The Basics 10th Edition John J. Macionis What is Culture? Culture – the ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the material objects that together form a people’s way of life Only humans rely on culture rather than instinct to ensure survival. What is Culture? Nonmaterial culture – ideas created by members of a society. Material culture – tangible things created by members of a society. What is Culture? Society refers to people who interact in a defined territory and share culture. Culture shock refers to personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life. How Many Cultures? • • • • One indication of culture is language Global estimates document 7,000 languages In the USA, there are about 200 languages Upcoming decades will show the disappearance of hundreds of languages The Elements of Culture Although cultures vary, they all have five common components: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Symbols Language Values and Beliefs Norms Ideal and Real Culture Elements of Culture Symbols Symbols – anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share culture. Elements of Culture Symbols Symbols – collective creations General Marketing • Aimed at a total population Segmented (section) Marketing • Aimed at a specific population Elements of Culture Language Language – a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another. Language allows for the continuity of culture. BBC Elements of Culture Language Cultural transmission (Oral traditions) – the process by which one generation passes culture to the next. Every society transmits culture through speech. The Sapir-Whorf Thesis Languages are not just different sets of labels for the same reality. All languages fuse symbols with distinctive emotions. The Sapir-Whorf Thesis – people perceive the world through the cultural lens of language. Don’t write For example, Margaret Mead pointed out that some of the South Pacific people whom she studied did not have a word for "war" in their vocabularies. Interestingly, these people did not participate in war. So, the hypothesis is that we must be able to think of some phenomenon before we can name it or experience it. Elements of Culture Values and Beliefs Values – culturally defined standards by which people assess desirability, goodness, and beauty and that serve as broad guidelines for social living. Values are abstract standards of goodness. Don’t write If someone values hard work, that someone will go out of their way to shower a hard worker with praise, bonuses and other benefits. If someone values honesty, they avoid lying and reward honesty from those in their lives. Elements of Culture Values and Beliefs Beliefs – specific statements that people hold to be true. Beliefs are particular matters that individuals consider true or false. Elements of Culture Societies show significant cultural variations in their favorite sports. Canada: Ice Hockey Jamaica: Cricket Thailand: Kite flying China: tai chi chuan Key Values of United States Culture Robin M. Williams, Jr. Equal Opportunity Achievement and Success Material Comfort Activity and Work Practicality and Efficiency Key Values of United States Culture Robin M. Williams, Jr. Progress Science Democracy and Free Enterprise Freedom Racism and Group Superiority Elements of Culture Norms o Norms – rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members. o Most important norms in a culture apply everywhere and at all times. Elements of Culture Norms Mores – norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance. (Ex. Rape) Folkways – norms for routine, casual interaction. (Eating Big Macs, using Deodorant) Elements of Culture Norms Mores Societal taboos such as: (Right vs. wrong) Murder Treason Child sexual abuse Inspire intense reactions Punishment inevitably follows Elements of Culture Norms Folkways (polite vs. rude) – People chew quietly with mouths closed Accepting one’s place in line People avoid facing each other in elevators No written rules No one physically harmed Technology & Culture Material culture also reflects a society’s technology – knowledge that people use to make a way of life in their surroundings. Sociocultural evolution Technology and Culture hunting and gathering societies horticultural & pastoralism agriculture industry postindustrial information technology Cultural Diversity Cultural diversity can involve social class. Many cultural patterns are readily accessible to only some members of a society. Cultural Diversity High culture – cultural patterns that distinguish a society’s elite Popular culture – cultural patterns that are widespread among a population. Subcultures Subculture – cultural patterns that set apart some segment of society’s population. (Ex: Amish and Mormons) Multiculturalism Multiculturalism – an educational program recognizing the cultural diversity of the United States and promoting the equality of all cultural traditions. Multiculturalism Afrocentrism – the dominance of African cultural patterns. Eurocentrism – the dominance of European cultural patterns. Counterculture Counterculture – cultural patterns that rejects and opposes those widely accepted within a society. Examples: • Hippies of the 60’s • Street Gangs • Hare Krishna • Extreme rightwing religious groups Cultural Change • Cultural integration – the close relationships among various elements of a cultural system. • Some elements of culture change faster than others – cultural lag. Cultural Change Cultural integration • Examples: Women in the workforce • Later first marriages • Change in family patterns • Increased use of day care Cultural Change Cultural lag • Examples: Contraception • Increased availability • Use by adolescents Medical Advances • Little or no ability to provide higher quality of life Cultural Change Cultural changes • New cultural elements – Cell phones – Blackberry – iPhones • Diffusion – Spread of objects from one society to another Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism Ethnocentrism – the practice of judging another culture by the standards of one’s own culture. Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism Cultural Relativism – the practice of evaluating a culture by that culture’s own standards. Cultural Universals A Global Culture Global economy: the flow of goods Global communication: the flow of information Global migration: the flow of people Theoretical Analysis of Culture The structural–functional paradigm depicts culture as a complex strategy for meeting human needs. The social–conflict paradigm suggests that many cultural traits function to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others. Sociobiology explores ways in which human biology affects how we create culture.