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Chapter 3. Culture. Culture. The sum of: socially transmitted practices Languages Symbols Beliefs Values Ideologies material objects that people create to deal with real-life problems. Cultures enable people to adapt to, & thrive in, their environments. Types of Culture.

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chapter 3

Chapter 3

Culture

culture
Culture

The sum of:

  • socially transmitted practices
  • Languages
  • Symbols
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Ideologies
  • material objects

that people create to deal with real-life problems.Culturesenablepeopleto adaptto,&thrivein,their environments

types of culture
Types of Culture
  • High Culture – culture consumed mainly by upper classes (opera, ballet, art, fine literature)
  • Popular or Mass Culture – culture consumed by all classes
society
Society
  • Composed of people who interact, usually in a defined territory, and share a culture
the origins components of culture
The Origins & Components of Culture
  • Why did humans survive?
    • The first humans 100,000 years ago lived in harsh conditions
    • They had poor physical endowments (slow runners and weaker fighters than many other animals
    • Yet they survived
    • The survival of humans was possible largely because they had sophisticated brains that enabled them to create cultural survival kits
the origins components of culture1
The Origins & Components of Culture
  • What were these cultural survival kits?
    • Three Main Tools
      • Abstraction
      • Cooperation
      • Production
culture origins components
Culture: Origins & Components
  • Abstraction – the human capacity to create general ideas, or ways of thinking that are not linked to particular instances
    • For example: Symbols
      • Anything that carries a particular meaning, including the components of language, mathematical notations, & signs.
      • Symbols allow us to classify experience & generalize from it.
culture origins components1
Culture: Origins & Components
  • Cooperation – the human capacity to create a complex social life
    • This is accomplished by establishing Norms & Values
      • Norms are generally accepted ways of doing things
      • Values are ideas about what is right and wrong
culture origins components2
Culture: Origins & Components
  • Norms achieved by Cooperation
    • The human capacity to create a complex social life
      • Raise children & build schools, we are cooperating to advance human race
      • Create communities & industries, we are cooperating by pooling resources and encouraging people to acquire specialized skills
culture origins components3
Culture:Origins & Components
  • Production – making and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to take what we want from nature
    • Such tools & techniques are called Material Culture
    • Only humans are sufficiently intelligent and dexterous to make tools and use them to produce everything from food to computers
culture origins components4
Culture:Origins & Components

See Concept Summary 3.1, p.66

culture origins components5
Culture: Origins & Components
  • Social Control – the sum of sanctions in society by means of which conformity to cultural guidelines is ensured.
    • Sanctions: rewards and punishments to ensure conformity to cultural guidelines
culture origins components6
Culture:Origins & Components
  • Types of Sanctions:
    • Taboos: strong social norms (incest, murder)
    • Mores: core norms most people believe essential for survival of group or society
    • Folkways: very mild norms and evokes least severe punishment
culture biology
Culture & Biology
  • Evolution of Human Behavior
    • Human brain structure and genes account not just for physical characteristics but also for specific behaviors and social practices
    • Charles Darwin
    • First identify a universal human trait
    • Next explain why this behavior increases survival
culture and language
Culture and Language
  • Language is a system of symbols strung together to communicate thought
  • With language we can share understandings, pass experience and knowledge from one generation to the next, and make plans for the future.
  • Language allows culture to develop
culture and language1
Culture and Language
  • Is Language Innate or Learned?
    • The Innate Argument:
      • Steven Pinker
        • “people know how to talk in more or less the sense that spiders know how to spin webs.”
        • Language is an “instinct”.
        • Language is not so much learned as it is grown.
culture and language2
Culture and Language
  • Is Language Innate or Learned?
    • The Innate Argument:
      • Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
        • Mutation of gene FOXP2 associated
        • Children with SLI find it hard to articulate words and make variety of grammatical errors when they speak
culture and language3
Culture and Language
  • Is Language Innate or Learned?
    • The Learned Argument:
      • From sociological viewpoint there is nothing problematic abut the argument that we are biologically prewired to acquire language and create grammatical speech
culture and language4
Culture and Language
  • Is Language Innate or Learned?
    • The Learned Argument:
      • However, young children

go through periods of

rapid development, and

if they do not interact symbolically with others during these critical periods, their language skills remain permanently impaired

culture and language5
Culture and Language
  • Is Language Innate or Learned?
    • The Learned Argument:
      • This suggests that our biological potential must be unlocked by the social environment to be fully realized.
      • Language must be learned
culture and language6
Culture and Language
  • Is Language Innate or Learned?
    • The Learned Argument:
      • The environment is in fact such a powerful influence on language acquisition that even a mutated FOOXP2 gene does not seal linguistic fate. Up to half of children with SLI recover fully with intensive language therapy
culture and language7
Culture and Language
  • Is Language Innate or Learned?
    • Conclusion:
      • All language is learned, though our potential for learning and the structure of what we can learn is rooted in biology
culture and language8
Culture and Language
  • What is the relationship between our use of language, the way we think, and our social environment?
    • Sapir-Whorf Thesis
      • Speech patterns are interpretations of experience
culture and language9
Culture and Language

Sapir-Whorf Thesis

1 Experience

Verbalization 3

(language)

2 Conceptualization

(thought)

culture and ethnocentrism
Culture and Ethnocentrism
  • Ethnocentrism is the tendency to judge other cultures exclusively by the standards of your own culture.
the two faces of culture
The Two Faces of Culture:

Freedom

And

Constraint

the two faces of culture freedom and constraint
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint
  • Freedom:
    • People do not accept

culture passively

    • We are not empty vessels into which society pours a defined assortment of beliefs, symbols, and values.
    • People actively produce and interpret culture, therefore we are at liberty to choose how culture influences us.
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint1
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint
  • Freedom:
    • Part of the reason we are increasingly able to choose how culture influences us is that a greater diversity of culture is available from which to choose.
    • Cultural diversification of America and Multiculturalism
    • The Rights Revolution
    • Globalization
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint2
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint
  • Constraint:
    • Values: Although people in much of the world are freer than ever to choose their values, powerful social forces still constrain their choices.
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint3
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint
  • Constraint:
    • Two value dimensions
      • Values are not randomly distributed across populations and people are not free to choose whatever values they want. Instead, values cluster along identifiable dimensions
      • Values cluster in the way they do because they are influenced by powerful social forces, one economic, the other religious
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint4
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint
  • Constraint:
    • Two value dimensions
      • Traditional/Modern
      • Materialist/Postmaterialist
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint7
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint
  • Constraint:
    • Regulation of Time
      • 700 years ago Germans imposed town clocks on workers
      • Today we have so internalized this and made it part of our culture that we wear watches on our wrists
      • A rational means (work clock) leads to an irrational end (hectic life)
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint8
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint

Constraint and Consumerism

  • To define ourselves in terms of the goods we purchase
  • Advertising is widespread, most people unquestioningly accept it as part of their lives, and many people have become ads (wearing outward labels)
  • Advertisers teach us to associate labels with different kinds of people
  • Advertising becomes us and once we incorporate into us, it becomes our culture
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint9
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint

Constraint and breaking free?

  • Countercultures oppose dominant values and seek to replace them
    • Hippies
    • Environmentalists
the two faces of culture freedom and constraint10
The Two Faces of Culture:Freedom and Constraint

Constraint and breaking free?

  • Countercultures
    • System of social control, of rewards and punishments, keeps countercultures from disrupting social order
    • The system transforms deviations from mainstream culture into means of making money and by enticing rebels to become entrepreneurs
      • Ozzy Osbourne
      • Hip Hop
extra credit
Extra Credit
  • http://www.coedu.usf.edu/culture/Activity.htm
class culture activity
Class Culture Activity
  • http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/educators/culture.html
  • Or find a magazine article on culture.
  • Read on-line or hardcopy article and write a brief reaction (3-5 sentences) – bring to class Friday for a quiz grade