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Chapter 2 Weekly notes

by: Rosalino Antunez

Chapter 2 Weekly notes SOC 1003

Rosalino Antunez
Arkansas Tech University

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About this Document

Notes over chapter 2
Introduction to Sociology
Dr. Chapman
Class Notes
sociology, notes, Culture
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rosalino Antunez on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 1003 at Arkansas Tech University taught by Dr. Chapman in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Social Sciences at Arkansas Tech University.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Chapter 2 Notes: Culture Culture is the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and even material objects that are passed from one generation to the next. Material Culture – things like jewelry, art, buildings, weapons, machines, and even clothing. Nothing inherently natural about material culture. Nonmaterial culture is a group’s way of thinking a doing. Things like beliefs, values, and common patterns of behavior. No “right” customs or assumptions. Nothing natural about either material or nonmaterial culture. It’s important to understand how culture affects lives and it’s easy to take for granted OUR gestures, beliefs, and customs and assume they are the natural or normal. Our own culture is usually imperceptible but is profound in every aspect of who we are, and sociologists call this the Culture within us (learned and shared ways of believing and of doing). When our assumptions are challenged, it can become upsetting and when nonmaterial culture fails you; you experience a disorientation known as culture shock. Culture also provides a moral imperative or becomes the “right” way of doing things and culture is universal regardless of differences. Ethnocentrism, a tendency to use our own group’s ways of doing things as a yardstick for judging others. Cultural relativism is when we try to understand a culture on its own terms without judging if its inferior or superior to our own way of life. Nonmaterial culture is also referred as symbolic culture because it consists of symbols that people use and the meanings that are attached to symbols in order to communicate. Gestures are movements in the body that convey messages without words. Gestures can have different meanings around the world and can facilitate communication and misunderstanding/embarrassment. Language is the primary way of communication and it consists of symbols being combined in infinite ways for the purpose of communicating thought. It allows cultures to pass ideas, knowledge, and attitudes to the next generation. We associate experiences with words and can provide a shared past and future. Words are the embodiment of our experiences and allows a shared understanding and develops a purpose for getting together. Overall language allows culture to develop and frees people from the present and is the basis of culture. 1930s, Edwards Sapir and Benjamin Whorf developed the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that says language creates ways of thinking and perceiving and that it determines our consciousness. Learning a language means acquiring the perceptions embedded in that language. Values are ideas of what is desirable in life. Norms are expectations of right behavior and develop out of a group’s values. Sanctions are either positive or negative and they are expressions of approval (following norm) or disapproval (breaking a norm). Moral holidays are specified times when people are allowed to break norms. Folkways are norms that are not strictly enforced, so if broken they are not a big deal. Mores are norms that are essential to core values of a group and are taken more seriously. Taboo refers to a norm so strongly ingrained that even the thought of its violation is greeted with revulsion. Breaking a taboo leads to severe sanctions. A subculture is a world within a larger world of a dominant culture. It can vary and can form around any interest or activity (ex. Bodybuilders). Counter Culture is a group whose values, beliefs, and norms place its members against the broader/dominant culture (Ex. Motorcycle gangs). U.S. is a pluralistic society or made of many different groups and sociologist try to identify the core values or those shared by most of the groups in the U.S. Values cluster together and form a larger whole. Value contradictions are also a part of culture and to value one means to come in conflict with another value. 5 emerging value clusters are LEISURE, SELF-FULFILLMENT, PHYSICAL FITNESS, YOUTHFULLNESS, and CONCERN FOR TH ENVIRONMENT. Values don’t just happen. They are related to conditions of society. Only when an economy can produce surpluses can a society afford these emerging values. Ideal culture refers to values, norms, and goals that a group considers ideal and worth aiming for. Real culture is the normal and values that people actually follow. Cultural universals are values, norms, or traits found in every group, but there are none. Only universal human activities. Sociobiology is a framework of thought in which human behavior is considered to be a result of natural selection and biological factors. Genes influence human behavior but not determine since we don’t act purely on instinct and have developed abstract thought. Technology is central to a group’s material culture, and it refers to tools and skills necessary to make and use those tools. New Technology – emerging technologies of an era that have a significant impact on social life. Technology sets a framework of a group’s nonmaterial culture. Cultural lag refers to human behavior lagging behind tech innovations. A group’s material culture changes first, with nonmaterial culture lagging behind and sometimes we hold onto some outmoded form. Cultural diffusion – the spread of cultural traits from one group to another; both material and nonmaterial. Cultural leveling – the process by which cultures become similar to one another especially for the western culture being exported to other nations.


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