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Culture. Culture v. Society: What’s the difference?. culture. a ll the shared products of human groups. society. a n organized group of interdependent people who share a common culture and feeling of unity . Material v. Nonmaterial Culture.

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Culture v society what s the difference
Culture v. Society: What’s the difference?


all the shared products of human groups


an organized group of interdependent people who share a common culture and feeling of unity

Material v nonmaterial culture
Material v. Nonmaterial Culture

  • Material – physical objects people create & use

  • Nonmaterial – abstract human creations (beliefs, family patterns, ideas, language, political & economic systems, rules, skills, & work practices)

Culture case studies the san and nacirema
Culture Case Studies: The San and Nacirema

The nacirema
The Nacirema

When studying cultures
When studying cultures…

  • Avoid ethnocentrism – the tendency to view one’s own culture and group as superior

    • can result from technology advances

    • Can cause culture to stagnate (exclude new influences that might prove beneficial)

  • Adopt an attitude of cultural relativism – belief that cultures should be judged by their own standards rather than applying the standards of another culture

5 characteristics of culture1
5 Characteristics of Culture

  • Technology

  • Symbols

  • Language

  • Values

  • Norms


  • knowledge/skills/rules (nonmaterial culture) & tools (material culture) people use for practical purposes

What knowledge, skills, or rules do you need to use these American tools?


  • Reminder: symbols are anything that stands for something else

  • basis of human culture – we create & communicate our culture to group members & future generations through symbols

  • All cultures communicate symbolically


  • the organization of written or spoken symbols into a standardized system

    Fun fact for you:

  • If you count only the languages that have more than 2 million speakers, there are more than 220 different languages in the world today.

Have you ever visited a foreign country and been unable to speak the language? Describe your experience.


  • shared beliefs about what is good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable

  • values determine the character of the people & the kinds of material & nonmaterial culture they create

American values analysis
American Values Analysis

American values are dynamic, not static.

What does this mean?

Which early sociologist used the terms dynamics & statics to describe elements of culture?

Our values have changed over time

August Comte

American values according to benjamin franklin
American Values…According to Benjamin Franklin

  • Read: With your small group, read Franklin’s list of American values (text pg. 43)

  • Discuss: As a group discuss the values Franklin identified. Are these your own values? Do you think Franklin’s list is still accurate for Americans today? Why or why not?

Current american values
Current American Values

American Values

Personal Achievement



Morality & Humanitarianism

Efficiency & Practicality

Progress & Material Comfort

Equality & Democracy


Nationalism & Patriotism

Science & Rationality

Racial & Group Superiority


Religion & Spirituality

Romantic Love


  • Read: pages 44 – 48 and compile a list of current American values.

  • Write: After you have listed each one, give them two ratings:

    • Which ones are most – least important for you

    • Which ones are most – least important for Americans in general.

  • Write some more: Chose 2 values identified by the text, and write one paragraph for each one explaining what that value says about American culture. How does that value impact our material and nonmaterial culture?


  • shared rules of conduct that tell people how to act in specific situations

  • societies develop norms that reflect cultural values

What do you do when you yawn?

What do you do when you sneeze?

After you use the restroom, what do you do?

Think pair share

  • What are other examples of norms?

  • Think of at least 2 and discuss them with a neighbor.


  • norms that do not have great moral significance attached to them – the common customs of everyday life

  • some degree of nonconformity is permitted b/c it doesn’t endanger the well-being/ stability of society

When lowering the American flag, what should you NOT do?

What do you eat soup with?


Memory Trick: Mores are MORE serious


  • (mawr-ayz) – norms that have great moral significance attached to them

  • nonconformity endangers society’s well-being





  • written rules of conduct enacted and enforced by the government

  • laws are serious folkways & mores that societies punish



Parking Violations

How are norms enforced by societies
How are norms enforced by societies?


  • when a norm becomes part of your personality, thus you have learned to conform to society’s expectations

Remember the Urinal Game? Why did you choose your answers?

When someone finishes performing a great song or speech, what do you do?

When you walk down the hallway or drive down the road, what side do you stay on?

Because you have internalized America’s restroom norms

Think pair share1

  • What are other examples of norms that you have internalized?

  • Think of at least 2 and discuss them with a neighbor.

Norm challenge bonus
Norm Challenge (Bonus!)

  • Examples:

  • eating soup with a fork

  • popping gum bubbles while talking to someone

  • wearing two totally different shoes to school

  • wear your clothes backwards

  • violate personal space – touch a stranger

  • walk backwards down a busy street

  • cut in line (dangerous?)

  • talk the entire time during a movie

  • give away the ending to a movie

  • Laugh at a really inappropriate time (middle of class, sad movie)

  • Break a social norm - folkways only!

  • Answer these questions:

    • How did others respond to you?

    • How did you feel while breaking the norm?

How are norms enforced by societies1
How are norms enforced by societies?


  • rewards or punishments used to enforce conformity to norms

How are norms enforced by societies2
How are norms enforced by societies?

Social control
Social Control

  • enforcing norms through either internalization or sanctions

Who does the enforcing?

self-control, authority figures, police, courts, religion, family, public opinion


To maintain social stability so society can function smoothly

Song lyrics analysis what music reveals about american culture
Song Lyrics Analysis:What Music Reveals about American Culture

  • Assignment: Choose a song & analyze the lyrics to determine what the piece revels about American culture

  • Assignment due: Tuesday, February 7th

  • Practice: Switchfoot “Faust, Midas, and Myself”

Culture shock
Culture Shock

  • state of bewilderment &distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social &cultural environment

Karen tribe of Burma


  • are strongly engrained norms; violation elicits revulsion & may even be uncomfortable to discuss

  • American Examples:

  • making fun of someone’s religion

  • abortion

  • dog meat

  • Pedophilia

  • polygamy

  • drinking blood

  • incest

Cultural universals
Cultural Universals

  • common features that are found in all human cultures

  • 1940s anthropologist George Murdock examined hundreds of different cultures to determine which general traits are common to all cultures

  • What do you think? How many cultural universals are there?

Murdock s results
Murdock’s Results

  • Identified more than 65 cultural universals.

  • Examples:

  • body adornment

  • cooking

  • dancing

  • Family (purpose is the same even if the structure is not)

  • feasting

  • forms of greeting

  • funeral ceremonies

  • gift giving

  • housing

  • language

  • medicine

  • music

  • myths & folklore

  • religion

  • sports

  • tool making

Social change what causes it
Social Change: What causes it?


  • Functionalist perspective (society = interrelated parts); when one part changes, whole system changes



Social change what are the 6 main sources of social change
Social Change:What are the 6 main sources of social change?

  • Values & Beliefs

    • changes happen when new values & beliefs are part of a larger ideology – system of beliefs or ideas that justifies the social, moral, religious, political, or economic interests held by a group of by society

    • Ideologies are spread through social movements – long-term conscious effort to promote or prevent social change (examples: civil rights, prohibition, peace, environmental)

Ideologies spread by social movements

system of beliefs or ideas that justifies the social, moral, religious, political, or economic interests held by a group of by society

Ideologies spread by social movements…

Social change what are the 6 main sources of social change1
Social Change:What are the 6 main sources of social change?

  • Technology

    • people find new ways to manipulate the environment

    • discovery (recognize new uses for existing elements)

    • invention (creating something new)

Social change what are the 6 main sources of social change2
Social Change:What are the 6 main sources of social change?

  • Population

    • pop. size & immigrant groups may change culture

      • job opportunities

      • crowded living conditions as cities grow

      • new foods are introduced

    • migration causes change (loss of regional distinction)

    • age of the population (need for schools v. elderly services)

Social change what are the 6 main sources of social change3
Social Change:What are the 6 main sources of social change?

  • Diffusion

    • spreading culture traits from one society to another

    • today diffusion takes place constantly (via mass transportation technology)

    • societies adopt material culture and technology more freely than ideas & beliefs

    • reformulation – adapting borrowed cultural traits

      (example: societies in Africa blended Christian

      beliefs with elements of traditional religions)



Cultural leveling – where cultures become so similar to one another that traditional cultures begin to lose their unique distinctions

Tokyo, Japan



New York City

Mumbai, India

Social change what are the 6 main sources of social change4
Social Change:What are the 6 main sources of social change?

  • The Physical Environment

    • foods available (imports & exports)

    • natural disasters

    • natural resources available (ex. fuel)

  • Wars & Conquests

    • bring about the greatest change in the least amount of time

    • loss of life, destruction of property, changes in economy, promotes advances in technology & medicine, changes in government

Opposition to social change
Opposition to Social Change

  • ethnocentrism

  • cultural lag – some aspects of the culture change less rapidly (lag behind) other aspects

    • material culture usually changes faster & nonmaterial culture lags behind

    • examples of cultural lag: summer break, Internet

Variation within societies subcultures
Variation within Societies: Subcultures

  • subcultures – groups with their own unique values, norms, and behaviors that exists within a larger culture (do not reject all values of the larger society)

  • based on age, gender, ethnicity, religion, politics, geography, social-class, or occupation. Most do not represent a threat to society.

  • specific examples: Generation Y, Women race car drivers, Chinese in San Francisco, Buddhists in America, the Tea Party, Kurds in the Middle East, 1% (extremely wealthy), the Amish, untouchables in India, police, physicians

Variation within societies counterculture
Variation within Societies: Counterculture

  • counterculture – group that rejects the values, norms, and practices of the larger society and replaces them with a new set of cultural patterns

  • goal is to challenge the values of the larger society

  • specific examples: gangs, anarchists, organized crime families, hippie movement, civil rights movement, feminist movement, Elvis & rock & roll, punk rock, heavy metal, green movement

Counter subculture body biography
Counter/Subculture Body Biography

Pick one counterculture OR subculture group:

  • Draw or print a picture of your counter/subculture member’s face (real or fictional member)

  • Draw a heart in the center of their body and list their core values

  • Record 1 group norm in each leg

  • Record 1 other key cultural characteristic (symbols, language, technologies) in each arm

  • Give him/her some personality: add color, clothes, shoes, etc. to highlight important elements of material or nonmaterial culturefor your group