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Chapter 3

by: awilson28

Chapter 3 1101

GPA 2.74

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Key terms and concepts for Chapter 3
Intro to Sociology
jung kim
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by awilson28 on Tuesday February 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 1101 at Georgia State University taught by jung kim in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Intro to Sociology in Sociology at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 02/02/16
Ashley Wilson Introduction to Sociology Chapter 3 Culture What is Culture?  Culture: the ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the materials objects that together form a people’s way of life  Culture included what we think, how we act, and what we own  Culture is both our link to the past and our guide to the future  Nonmaterial culture: the ideas created by members of a society  Material culture: the physical things created by members of a society  Culture shock: personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life  No particular way of life is “natural” to humanity, even though most people around the world view their own behavior that way  Only humans rely on culture rather than instinct to create a way of life and ensure our survival (Harris, 1987; Morell, 2008)  Culture is a product of evolution: as the human brain evolved, culture replaced biological instincts as our species’ primary strategy for survival  A nation is a political entity, a territory with designed boarders  Society is the organized interaction of people who typically live in a nation or some specific territory The Elements of Culture  Humans transform elements of the world into symbols  Symbols: anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture  Culture shock is a two-way process: 1. Traveler’s experience culture shock when encountering people whose way of life is different 2. A traveler may inflict culture shock on local people by acting in ways that offend them  Language: a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another  Cultural transmission: process by which one generation passes culture to the next  Language skills may link us with the past, but they also spark the human imagination to connect symbols in new ways, creating an almost limitless range of future possibilities  Sapir-Wharf thesis: the idea that people see and understand the world through the cultural lens of language  Value: culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable, good, and beautiful and that serve as broad guidelines for social living  People who share a culture use values to make choices about how to live  Beliefs: specific ideas that people hold to be true  Values are abstract standards of goodness, and beliefs are particular matters that individuals consider true or false  Key values of U.S. culture 1. Equal opportunity 2. Achievement and success 3. Material comfort 4. Activity and work Ashley Wilson Introduction to Sociology 5. Practicality and efficiency 6. Process 7. Science 8. Democracy and free enterprise 9. Freedom 10. Racism and group superiority  values vary from culture around the world, the values that are important in higher-income countries differ somewhat from these common in lower-income countries  Norms: rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members  William Graham Sumner recognized that some norms are more important to our lives than others  Sumner coined the term mores: norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance; example: taboos  Folkways: norms for routine or casual interaction, they draw a line between right and rude  Social control: attempts by society to regulate people’s thoughts and behavior  Every culture include a wide range of physical human creations called artifacts  Technology: knowledge that people use to make a way of life in their surroundings  The more complex a society’s technology is, the more its members are able to shape the world for themselves Cultural Diversity: Many Ways of Life in One World  High culture: cultural patterns that distinguish a society’s elite  Popular culture: cultural patterns that are widespread among a society’s population  Subculture: cultural patterns that set apart some segment of a society’s population  Counterculture: cultural patterns that strongly oppose those widely accepted within a society  Ethnocentrism: practice of judging another culture by the standards of one’s own culture  Cultural relativism: practice of judging a culture by its own standards  Global culture; societies have more contact with one another than ever before, thanks to the flow of good, information, and people 1. Global economy: flow of goods 2. Global communications: flow of information 3. Global migration: the flow of people  There are three important limitations to the global culture thesis: 1. Global flow of goods, information, and people is uneven in differences parts of the world 2. Global everywhere are able to afford various new goods and services 3. Although many cultural practices are new found in countries throughout the world, people everywhere don’t attach the dame meaning to them Theories of Culture  Structural-functional approach explains culture as a complex strategy for meeting human needs  Cultural universals: traits that are part of every known culture  Social-conflict approach stresses the link between culture and inequality  Gender: the personal traits and social positions that members of a society that members of a society attach to being female or male Ashley Wilson Introduction to Sociology  Sociobiology: theoretical approach that explores ways in which human biology affects how we create  Natural selection has four simple principles: 1. All living things live to reproduce themselves 2. Blueprint for reproduction is in the genes, the basic units of life that carry traits of one generation into the unit 3. Some random variation in genes allows a species to “try out” new life patterns in a particular environment 4. Genetic pattern that promote reproduction survive and become dominant Culture and Human Freedom  Culture can limit the choices we make  As cultural creatures, we have the capacity to shape and reshape our world to meet our needs and pursue our dreams


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