Chapter 3 Culture
Culture • All that human beings learn to do, to use, to produce, to know, and to believe as they grow to maturity and live out their lives in the social groups to which they belong.
Culture and Biology • Human beings acquire the means to meet their needs through culture. • Example: • Although human infants cry when hungry, the responses to the cries vary. • In some groups, infants are breast-fed; in others, they are fed prepared milk formulas from bottles; and in still others, they are fed according to the mother’s preference. • Culture is shared, and • Transmitted from one generation to the next
Culture Shock • The difficulty people have adjusting to a new culture that differs markedly from their own.
Ethnocentrism • When one makes judgments about other cultures based on the customs and values of one's own. • An Iranian female in a meeting with students at FIU…
Cultural Relativism • Recognizing cultures must be understood on their own terms before valid comparisons can be made.
With which cultural background do you identify with the most? Choose only one. • Anglo (white, non-Hispanic) • Hispanic • African American, black • Native American (American Indian) • Asian • Other
Components of Culture • Material culture (objects) • Nonmaterial culture (rules) • Cognitive culture (shared beliefs) • Language
Material Culture • Everything human beings make and use. • Material culture allows humans to cope with extreme environments and survive in all climates. • Material culture has made human beings the dominant life form on earth.
Nonmaterial Culture • Knowledge, beliefs, values, and rules for appropriate behavior. • Elements of nonmaterial culture: • Norms • Mores • Folkways • Values
Question • Do you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would make English the official language of the United States? • Favor • Oppose • No opinion
Norms • The rules of behavior that are agreed upon and shared within a culture and that prescribe limits of acceptable behavior. • Norms define “normal” expected behavior and help people achieve predictability in their lives.
Mores • Strongly held norms that usually have a moral connotation and are based on the central values of the culture. • Violations produce strong negative reactions, often supported by the law. • Examples: sexual molestation of a child, rape, murder, incest, and child beating.
Folkways • Norms that permit a wide degree of individual interpretation as long as certain limits are not overstepped. • People who violate folkways are seen as peculiar but they rarely elicit a strong public response. • The way we dress, the music we listen to, or the “good manners” can be considered folkways.
Ideal and Real Norms • Ideal norms - expectations of what people should do under perfect conditions. • Real norms - Norms that are expressed with qualifications and allowances for differences in individual behavior.
Values • A culture’s general orientations toward life—its notions of what is good and bad, what is desirable and undesirable.
Language and Culture • Language makes it possible for humans to share culture. • Animals are controlled by their biology, but human behavior is determined by culture and language. • Children learn culture through language, socialization, and role models.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis • The language a person uses determines their perception of reality. • Different languages classify experiences differently. • Example: The Hopi Indians • Two words for water—pahe (water in a natural state) and keyi (water in a container). • One word to cover every thing or being that flies, except birds. • Perceptions of time
Symbol • Anything representing something else, carrying a particular meaning recognized by members of a culture. • Can you think of some common symbols we use in the United States? • Symbols are entirely arbitrary and rely on cultural conventions for their meaning. • Swastikas • Mourning
Culture and Adaptation • Culture is the primary means by which humans adapt to the challenges of their environment. • We are culture producing, culture transmitting, and culture dependent. • Take away culture and the human species would perish.
Mechanisms of Cultural Change Two mechanisms are responsible for cultural change: • Innovation – new concepts, ideas, and material objects. • Diffusion - the movement of cultural traits from one culture to another.
Innovation • Invention - recombining elements already available to a society. • Discovering new concepts. • Finding new solutions to old problems. • Devising and making new material objects.
Diffusion • Results when people from one group or society come into contact with another. • Diffusion is marked by reformulation, inwhich a trait is modified in some way so that it fits better in its new context.
Cultural Lag • The phenomena through which new patterns of behavior emerge even though they conflict with traditional values.
Subcultures • Distinctive lifestyles, values, norms, and beliefs of certain segments of the population within a society. • Types of subcultures include: ethnic, occupational, religious, political, geographic, social class and deviant.
Cultural Universals Developed to solve common societal problems: • Division of labor • Incest taboo • Marriage • Family organization • Rites of passage
Families • Families differ between cultures depending on who is allowed to marry and how many spouses are allowed. • The basic family unit of husband, wife, and children is recognized in almost every culture. • Sexual relations among a family (other than between husband and wife) are almost universally taboo.
Functions of the Incest Taboo • Helps keep sexual jealousy under control. • Prevents the confusion of authority relationships in the family. • Ensures family offspring will marry into other families, creating a network of social bonds.
Rites of Passage • Standardized rituals marking life transitions. • Examples of rites of passage: • Baptisms • Bar and bat mitzvahs • Graduation • Wedding ceremonies • Funerals and wakes
Functions of Rites of Passage • Help the individual achieve a social identity. • Map out the individual’s life course. • Aid the individual in making life plans. • Provide people with a context to share emotions.
Ideologies • Beliefs and values that help groups maintain identity as a social unit. • Examples of deeds performed in the name of an ideology: • Thirteenth-century crusaders • Abolitionists, prohibitionists, trade unionists, • Civil rights activists, feminists, environmentalists
Culture and Individual Choice • Culture tells humans what to do, how to do it, and when it should be done. • Humans have more individual freedom of action than any other creature. • Society and culture limit choices and make it difficult to act in ways that deviate from cultural norms.