Introduction to Sociology
When some parts of culture change, and other parts do not. Material culture often changes first.
- Technology, science, and economics are the engines that drive our society, non material culture or our ideas lag behind.
- Example: The public school system, most are on a 9 month term, this is from the early 19th century, and has not caught up with new patterns of work, and living.
The view that technology is the new determinate of our culture, that technology has life of it’s own, forcing humans to follow it’s lead.
Groups that adapt part of other people’s way of life, remaining open to changes. This occurs via increased contact with others: travel & communication
The process by which cultures become similar, through industrialization, technology, capitalism
- Western culture: Radio shack, McDonald’s, Disney, Coca Cola, rock music, clothes
- The incorporation of Western culture into the world via globalization
- Eventually, everyplace starts to look like every other place.
- Values determine for us what is desirable in our life;
- If we learn other people’s values we learn about other people;
- Values underlie our preferences, our choices, indicate what we deem as worthwhile in our society.
- Values are “general” rules for behavior and perceptions we hold in a society.
- Norms develop out of our values.
- Norms are the expectations, rules of particular behaviors which come out of our everyday life.
- Norms are particular ways that we act, and prescribed behavior and rules governing our everyday life.
- With Norms come sanctions, rewards, punishments - you receive approval or disapproval for upholding or violating norms.
- Positive and negative sanctions, rewards, or punishments occur that are social consequences if we adhere or violate a norm.
- Rewards are smiles, claps, hugs, high 5, prize, trophy, money; negative sanctions or punishments are frowns, stares, fists, harsh words…norms become laws!
- Regulation of appearance and behavior
- Define and maintain boundaries
- Norms support cultural values.
- Desirable behavior is attached to an actual expectation with social consequences.
- There are norms that govern us in everyday life.
- How do you act at Church? A ballgame? Greeting someone? A rock concert?
Types of Norms
- Folkways: These are norms that are not strictly enforced, we expect people to comply, but if they don’t we don’t make a big deal about it. Situational: Walking on one side of the sidewalk, going up and down stairs, elevator behavior
- Customs, habits, commonly accepted practices
Types of Norms
- Folkways: Usually involve unimportant matters: table manners, accepting your place in line rather than cutting ahead, wearing appropriate clothing.
- Few restrictions, and mild sanctions.
Types of Norms
- Mores: Means “manners” in French. Mores are norms that are essential to American Values, close to legalistic.
- Attitudes from the past, habituated, very little deviation allowed
- Duties, obligations, common to cultural morality
Types of Norms
- Mores: The fundamental ideas about what is right/wrong, virtuous and sinful.
- Important because they involve moral vision based on social cohesion, continuity, and community in human life.
- Mores eventually become LAWS.
- Part of social life, not changing.
- Strict enforcement, and insistence on conformity, we learn through socialization via our institutions in society.
- Examples: “prescribed” gender roles; Americans eat beef, not horse, dog, cat; you do not expose your genitals in public
- Part of moral behavior which includes the following:
- not in self interest
- command/obligation to do right
- desirable, satisfactory
- sacred authority
- A taboo is a norm so strongly ingrained that to violate it creates disgust, revulsion, horror - the thought of it makes people sick:
- Eating human flesh - cannibalism
- Incest - having sex with relatives
- Pedophilia - adults having sex with children
- Laws are norms with strict and formal sanctions, punishments - to violate a law is to violate society itself.
- Codified, and enforcement is reserved for those in positions of authority.
- Formal legal codes are necessary to manage relationships in interdependent, self interested, contractual societies.
- Criminal law has to do with formal, clear definitions, specialization, and enforcement. Prohibits behaviors such as murder, fraud, desecrating sacred objects or places.
- Civil law has to do with social relations, disputes, compensation, loss through negligence - example family law.
- All societies have some form of law the prohibit certain behaviors.
- Law comes from mores.
- Most societies have similar laws and mores, but the rule of sociology is:
- “One culture’s mores are another group’s folkways, and another group’s laws!”
- (cultural and ethical relativism)