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SOCI1101, Week 3 Notes

by: Bethany B.

SOCI1101, Week 3 Notes SOCI 1101

Bethany B.


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Chapter 3 Lecture Notes. This chapter is all about culture and what cultural norms (and such) are and where they came from.
Introduction to Sociology
William M. Sweatman
Class Notes
sociology, Ethnocentrism, Culture, social norms
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Bethany B. on Wednesday September 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCI 1101 at Georgia Gwinnett College taught by William M. Sweatman in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Sociology at Georgia Gwinnett College.

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Date Created: 09/21/16
9.21.16 SOCI 1101Notes [Week 3] Chapter 3 Lecture Notes CulturalCrossroads Whatis Culture?  Culture is the entire way of life for agroupof people.  Itis hard for us to see our ownculture,so we may notrecognize the extentto whichitshapes and defines who we are.  Itincludes things suchas language, standards of beauty,hand gestures,styles of dress,food,and music.  Culture is learned.Itis passedfrom one generationto the nextthrough communication—notgenetics. o Itis not inheritedandit is notinstinct. Ethnocentrism  Ethnocentrism occurs whenapersonuses their owncultureas astandardto evaluate another groupor individual,leadingto the view thatcultures other than one’s ownare abnormal.  Cultural relativism is the process of understandingothercultures ontheir own terms, rather thanjudgingaccordingto one’s ownculture.  Whenstudyingany group,it is important to try to employ cultural relativism because ithelps sociologists see others more objectively. Components of Culture  Culture consists of two differentcategories:material culture andsymbolic culture  Material cultureincludes the objects associatedwithacultural group,suchas tools,machines,utensils,buildings, and artwork  Symbolic culture includes ways of thinking(beliefs,values,andassumptions)and ways of behaving(norms,interactions,andcommunication).  One of the most important functions of symbolic culture is to allow us to communicate throughsigns,gestures,andlanguage** o Is the dollar bill materialistic or symbolic culture? Itwouldprobably be both. 50+ years ago,it was more materialistic because they only used cash.Now,because wemainly use credit,itis more symbolic.  Signs(or symbols), suchas a traffic signal or productlogo,are usedto meaningfully representsomethingelse.  Gesturesare the signs that we make withour body,suchas hand gestures and facial expressions;itis important to note that these gestures also carry meaning  Language is asystem of communicationusing vocal sounds,gestures,and writtensymbols. o This is probably the most significantcomponentof culture because it allows us to communicate. o Language is so important that many have arguedthatit shapes not only our communicationbut our perceptions of how we seethings as well. o The Sapir-Whorfhypothesis,whichis the ideathatlanguage structures thoughtand that ways of lookingatthe worldare embeddedin language,supports this premise.  Feral childrenwho do notlearnhow to speak by the age of 10, usually don’t learnhow to speak or understandspeech.  VIDEOTO WATCH: “No one coulddescribe the color ‘blue’ until moderntimes”  Light blue is a shade of blue. Butwe justcall pink “pink”,thoughit is really justlight red.We have awordfor pink. Culture Includes Values andNorms  Valuesare sharedbeliefs aboutwhatagroupconsiders worthwhileor desirable; these guide the creationof norms.  Normsare the formal and informal rules regardingwhatkinds of behavior are acceptable andappropriate withinaculture. o Norms are specific to a culture,time period,andsituation. o Norms can be either formal,suchas a law or the rules for playingsoccer, or informal,not writtendownandunspoken. o Types of norms can also be distinguishedby the strictness withwhichthey are enforced.  We know we valuesafe roads more thanwe do a“fart-free” elevatorbecause if youbreak the speed limit,you geta ticket.If youpass gas in the elevator,the worstyouwill probably getis a disgustlook. o A folkway is aloosely enforcednormthatinvolves commoncustoms, practices,or procedures thatensure smoothsocial interactionand acceptance. o A more is a norm that carries greatermoral significance,is closely related to the core values of agroup,andofteninvolves severe repercussions for violators.  Lying, cheating,stealing,disrespect…. o A taboo is a norm engrainedso deeply that eventhinkingaboutviolating it evokes strongfeelings of disgust,horror,or revulsionfor mostpeople.  Incest,rape,eatingdog or horse,cannibalism,… How do we Enforce Norms?  Sanctionsare positive or negativereactions to the ways thatpeople follow or disobey norms,includingrewards for conformity andpunishments for norm violators.Sanctions helpto establish social control,the formal andinformal mechanisms usedto increase conformity to values andnorms andthus increase social cohesion. 2 Variations in Culture  Multiculturalism valuesdiverse racial,ethnic,national,andlinguistics backgrounds andso encourages the retentionof cultural differences within society,rather thanassimilation. Dominant Culture,Subcultures,andCountercultures  The dominantculture refersto the values,norms,andpractices of the group withinsociety thatis most powerful interms of wealth,prestige,status,and influence. o The 1% are the dominant culture.WASP—white,Anglo-Saxon,protestant. o The middle class is also a dominant culture because ithas a lotof influence.  A subculture is a groupwithinsociety thatis differentiatedby its distinctive values, norms, and lifestyle.People insubcultures are also inthe dominant culture. o Fandoms, sportteam fans, goth  A counterculture is agroupwithinsociety thatopenly rejectsand/or actively opposes society’s values andnorms. o KKK,peace hippies o Whatabout the Amish? They are somewhereinbetweenasubculture and a counterculture. Cultural Change  Cultures usually change slowly andincrementally,thoughchange canalso happen inrapid and dramatic ways.  At times, a subculture caninfluence the mainstreamand become part of dominant culture,or somethingthat is dominant can change to a counterculture. o Nazi’s and the black rights movement 3


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