University of Toronto
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mariam Nagi on Sunday September 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC100 at University of Toronto taught by Nathan Innocente in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see in Sociology at University of Toronto.
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Date Created: 09/25/16
Culture Ideas that come out of context that we internalize We have to work, live, communicate, survive. We internalize what we need to make these happen and constantly develop and refine them—that is culture. Tools that help us survive. Culture is a strategy for adapting into the environment. It’s the ideals and practices we develop to help us deal with real-life problems in society. Components of culture: Symbols allow us to classify and generate our experiences into terms that make sense for us. They develop out of abstraction—ideas that have no physical form--and have specific meanings, such as the alphabet, the word spoon, or language in general. Cooperation creates a complex social life by establishing norms and moralities, what is good and bad, right and wrong, and by sharing resources and working together. Ranging from least to most severe in terms of violation, these norms are folkway (etiquette), more (it would be problematic if this thing was a norm, for instance, stealing) and taboo (cannibalism). Production allows us to create tools we need to survive and make us more efficient. We can create and consume things we wouldn’t have had previous generations ago. Production improves our ability to take what we want from nature. Language allows us to conceptualize our experiences and filters how we interpret the physical world. According to the Sapir-Whorf thesis, the way we define the world filters how we perceive it. Culture as freedom. Culture allows us to deal with our problems in everyday life. We create tools for us to express our needs, hope, fears, anxiety, and so on. It’s a freedom in that sense, for us to be able to cope with reality in the way we want to. According to symbolic interactionism, we develop and refine culture, shaping it to suit our needs; it’s an independent variable. We can categorize culture into two parts—judgement and openness. Judgement (Symbolic Interactionism in terms of culture) Ethnocentrism: Judging other cultures based on your own (Westerners find the worshipping of the cow among rural peasants in India odd because it is so very different and strange from their own culture). Cultural relativism: Understanding one’s culture in terms of that individual’s own thoughts and beliefs. Treats all cultural practices as if they hold equal value. Openness (the ‘freeing’ element of culture) Diversity: Multiculturalism. Celebration of different cultures. Globalization: People are less obliged to accept the culture they were born in and are free to combine elements of culture from a wide variety of historical periods and geographical settings. Postmodernism: Globalization is technically a part of this. Society where no one is bound to where they were born, erosion of cultural and social barriers, everyone upholds the same morals, anyone can do whatever they want to. The ‘constraining element’ of nature. Sometimes we have to uphold to certain morals/standards to make us face reality and its problems. It can limit us, constrain us. Rationalization: the process of achieving mass efficiency, standardizing the procedure to obtain this efficiency at a cost. It limits you to what you can only do to make sure you get the most efficient result. You can’t do anything else, can’t apply other skills. You can only do what can achieve maximum efficiency—it’s a standard procedure. Consumerism: The things we consume define who we are. They are advertised to us in such a way that makes us feel like we have to go out and buy it, even if it hurts our pockets. Mass consumption creates an incessant drive for more of these products to be consumed because buying it means something. As if it’s a product of your identity. Counterculture: subversive subcultures that are highly critical of mainstream culture and want to replace it. Also known as ‘rebels’. Counterculture cannot indefinitely replace mainstream culture because there are norms and values that will prevent it from getting there (it’s explicit, speaks out against authority, etc.). Consumerism is a control mechanism for counterculture because it offers these ‘rebels’ the chance to make profit out of their products and essentially turn them into entrepreneurs.