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Deviance & Culture. What is Culture?. Anthropologists say culture is a system of ideas, values, behaviours, & attitudes shared by the members of a society Sociologists believe culture refers to the ways in which social groups differentiate themselves from other groups

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what is culture
What is Culture?
  • Anthropologists say culture is a system of ideas, values, behaviours, & attitudes shared by the members of a society
  • Sociologists believe culture refers to the ways in which social groups differentiate themselves from other groups
    • Differences are based on language, attire, food, social etiquette, attitudes & roles, religious values, and political beliefs
  • Culture is commonly accepted & learned by members of a society through the process of socialization (passed on)
    • Socialization unifies, communicates, & maintains societies cultural beliefs
  • Culture is a toolthat helps explain behaviour among & towards other groups
culture social identity
Culture & Social Identity
  • Culture influences an individual’s perception & self-concept
    • So it effects the development of social identity too
  • Sociologists are very interested in cultural universals
    • They are beliefs common across all cultures --- examples?
  • Ppl rely on culture to guide us in social situations (to make appropriate decisions)
  • Recall – norms help est. acceptable behaviours in society
  • Social behaviour that doesn’t fit w/ est. rules of society is either shunnedor punished
    • It is Deviance: a violation of society’s social norms & accepted standards
  • Emile Durkheim was the 1st sociologist to write about anomie
    • Durkheim stated anomie referred to a state of normalness & represents an individual’s breakdown in relation to social order and structure (a violation of society’s est. norms)
robert merton deviance
Robert Merton & Deviance
  • Deviance is an attractive option esp. if societies rules are restrictive
  • Merton claimed deviance occurs when individuals cannot obtain the society’s goals, through the means society provides
  • Strain Theory of Behaviour
    • Belief that indy’s will pursue illegitimate actions to obtain societies highest goals when they are blocked from accessing institutional means to them
  • IOW Society causes deviance b/c it pressures ppl to conform to its goals
    • Work w/in the structure or join/create a deviant subculture
  • Unequal access to social rewards/privileges can lead to alienation
  • Alienation is a feeling of separation or isolation (from society)
    • It can occur in any situation when someone is left-out
  • Causes: social inequalities, cultural differences, alt. lifestyle
  • Can feel alienated from social norms, values, roles OR from social institutions not serving needs effectively
  • Often leads to a rejection of the dominant culture
  • Mainstream culture is what we define culture as on a large scale (i.e. CDN culture)
    • Most ppl fulfill their needs w/in it
  • Others look to subcultures to meet needs
    • Small groups w/in a larger group that share common values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, and/or lifestyles different from the dominant culture
  • Differences are often exaggerated or distorted versions of mainstream culture
  • Sociologists describe subcultures as deviance from the norm & prevalent amongst youth
  • Subcultures are often labelled
    • Labelling is a theoretical approach to defining deviant behaviour through the creation of a subculture
  • Subcultures over-time can become popular enough to become mainstream
  • More extreme than subcultures are countercultures
    • These reject the most popular values & most important norms of society, replacing them w/ their own extreme views on violence, family, & loyalty
  • Can be +ve or –ve for society
  • Most extreme are cults
    • Extremist religious groups w/ rigid social/moral views that oppose mainstream culture & led by a charismatic leader