SOCIOLOGY Chapter 2 Cultural Diversity and Conformity Revised July 2015
The Meaning of Culture • Section 1 (pgs. 23-29) • Culture is made up of all the shared products of human groups.
1. Where does the word culture come from? What does it mean? • The term culture originated from two Latin words: colere and cultus. • The verb colere means “to till the land,” and the participle cultus means “planted” or “cultivated.” • In a way, culture is similar to a society’s “harvest”—or all that a people cares for, practices, and produces. • Culture is a key focus of sociology because it is the feature that distinguishes one human group from another.
2. What do most sociologists believe about human behavior? • Many believe that humans are not controlled by natural instincts. • Because humans are not locked into a set of predetermined behaviors, they are able to adapt to and change their environment. • These methods of adapting form the foundation of culture.
3. What is the meaning of the term culture? • Culture is the shared products of human groups. • These products include physical objects and the beliefs, values, and behaviors shared by a group.
4. What is the difference between material culture and nonmaterial culture? • Material culture are objects that people create. • Examples of material culture include cars, books, buildings, clothing, computers, and cooking utensils. • Nonmaterial culture are abstract human creations. • Examples of nonmaterial culture include beliefs, family patterns, ideas, language, political and economic systems, rules, skills, and work practice.
5. What is the difference between culture and society? • In everyday speech, people tend to use the terms interchangeably. • However, sociologists distinguish between the two. • A society is a group of interdependent people who have organized in such a way as to share a common culture and feeling of unity. • Culture consists of the material and nonmaterial products that people create. • The way of life of a group.
6. How do you acquire your culture? • Culture is both learned and shared. • It does not mean that everyone in the U.S. dresses the same way or belongs to the same church or listens to the same type of music. • It does mean that most people in the U.S. choose from among the same broad set of material and nonmaterial elements culture. • For example, many languages are spoken in the U.S.; however, English is the most shared language.
7. What are the five components of culture? • Technology • Symbols • Language • Values • Norms
8. Describe how technology is a component of culture. • Technology is the creation of objects and rules. • These objects often make life easier. • For example, an understanding of how silicon chips work or a knowledge of computer language are all skills related to the computer. • Sociologists are not only interested in skills but also in the rules of acceptable behavior when using material culture. • “Hacking” would be considered an unacceptable behavior.
9. Describe how symbols are a component of culture. • It is through symbols that we create our culture and communicate it to group members and future generations. • A symbol is anything that represents something else. • In other words, a symbol has a shared meaning attached to it. • Any word, gesture, image, sound, physical object, event, or element of the natural world. • A church service, a class ring, the word hello, the Lincoln Memorial, and a handshake are examples of common symbols in the U.S.
10. Describe how language is a component of culture. • Language is one of the most obvious aspects of any culture. • Language is very simply an organization of written or spoken symbols into a standardized system. • Have you ever visited a foreign country and been unable to speak the language? • If so, you will realize how important the use of language is in daily life.
11. Describe how values are a component of culture. • Values are shared beliefs about what is good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable. • Language allows us to communicate our values to future generations. • The types of values held by a group help to determine the character of its people. • Respect for one’s elders is an important value in many cultures.
12. Describe how norms are a component of culture. • All groups create norms to enforce their cultural values • Norms are shared rules of conduct that tell people how to act in specific situations. • It is important to keep in mind the norms are expectations for behavior, not actual behavior.
13. Describe and give examples of folkways. • Norms that describe socially acceptable behavior but do not have great moral significance attached to them. • In essence, they outline the common customs of everyday life. • Examples of folkways include: not standing for the National Anthem at a sporting event, talking out-loud during a church service, picking your nose in public or cutting in line at the grocery store. • Failure to abide by such rules usually results in a reprimand or a minor punishment. • Some degree of nonconformity to folkways is permitted because it does not endanger the well-being or stability of society.
14. Describe and give examples of mores. • Mores have great moral significance attached to them. • This relation exists because the violation of such rules endangers society’s well-being and stability. • For example, dishonesty, fraud, arson and murder all greatly threaten society. • These are deviances from cultural mores. • Societies have established punishments for violating mores in order to protect the social well-being.
15. Describe and give examples of laws. • Societies have established punishments for violating mores in order to protect the social well-being. • These serious mores are formalized as laws—written rules of conduct enacted and enforced by the government. • Most laws enforce mores essential to social stability, such as those against arson, murder, rape, and theft. • However, laws may also enforce less severe folkways, such as not parking in spaces reserved for drivers with disabilities.
16. Exploring Cultural Diversity—Why did the Chevy Nova not sell in Spanish-speaking countries? • The diversity of world languages has created some funny mistakes as the economy has become more global. • In the 1970s, General Motors executives wondered why their Chevy Nova cars were not selling well in Spanish-speaking countries. • Management learned that no va in Spanish means “it won’t go.”
17. How does the environment create cultural diversity? • Yanomamo • Farmers on the border between Brazil and Venezuela. • Studied by anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, who called them Fierce People. • Warfare and feats of male strength play an important role in daily life. • 30% of male deaths are the result of wounds received in warfare • Farming villages can usually support 500-1000 people, but the Yanomamo rarely have villages larger than 200 people. • Conflicts within the village usually cause groups to split off and form new settlements. • Most instances of warfare occur between split villages. • San • Hunter-gatherers in South Africa (Kalahari desert) • Way of life is based on cooperation • San groups have their own territories, and they take great care not to trespass on the lands of others. • Within groups, all members—except for the very young, the very old, and the sick—take part in the search for food. • The group shares the game it has hunted with all its members.
18. Why is culture considered “dynamic?” • Culture is continually changing. • New material objects are constantly being introduced, as are new words, expressions, and ideas. • If cultures are so vast and complicated and are constantly changing, how do sociologists study them? • Sociologists examine a culture by breaking it down into levels and studying each level separately. • The features of a culture can be divided into three levels of complexity: traits, complexes, and patterns.
19. Describe and give examples of cultural traits. • A cultural trait is the simplest level of culture. • It is the individual tool, act, or belief that is related to a particular situation or need. • Using knives, forks, and spoons when eating is a culture trait. • Another trait is the specific greeting used when meeting people, like “hi”. • In the game of football, the helmet, shoulder pads, and rules are all cultural traits.
20. Describe and give examples of culture complexes. • Individual culture traits combine to form the next level—culture complexes. • A culture complex is a cluster of interrelated traits. • The game of baseball is a culture complex that involves a variety of traits. • Material traits include shoes (cleats), baseball, bat, cap, and the dugout for the players. • Hitting, catching, throwing, running the bases and the belief that certain rules should be followed are specific beliefs related to the game.
21. Describe and give examples of culture patterns. • Culture complexes combine to form larger levels called culture patterns. • A culture pattern is the combination of a number of culture complexes into an interrelated whole. • For example, the separate complexes of baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track combine to form the American athletic pattern. • Other patterns relate to such aspects of society as agriculture, education, family life, manufacturing, and religion. • These patterns form important components of a society’s culture.
SOCIOLOGY Chapter 2 Cultural Variation Section 2 (pgs. 30-39)
1. How do languages differ across the globe? • If you count only the languages that have more than 2 million speakers, there are more than 220 different languages in the world today. • If you include all the local languages, the number is enormous • In addition, because there may be dialects of the same basic language, even people who speak the same language may have difficulty understanding one another. • For example, in the English language, British English, American English, Canadian English, and Australian English are just a few of the possible variations.
2. Describe what George Murdock’s research found. • Murdock was a famous anthropologist in the 1940s. • He examined hundreds of different cultures in an attempt to determine what general traits are common to all cultures. • Murdock used his research to compile a list of more than 65 cultural universals. • Cultural universals are traits common to all cultures. • These needs are so basic that all societies must develop certain features to ensure their fulfillment. • Body adornment, cooking, dancing, family, feasting, forms of greeting, funeral ceremonies, gift giving, housing, language, medicine, music, myths and folklore, religion, sports, and tool making.
3. Who was Margaret Mead? • Famous anthropologist • Held various positions at the American Museum of National History in New York City. • Made numerous field trips to the South Seas, where she observed primitive societies. • In addition to writing several books in anthropology, Mead became a well-known celebrity. • She spoke out on women’s rights and world hunger.
4. Describe what Margaret Mead’s research found. What did she conclude about temperament? • In the 1930s she conducted a now-classic study of cultural variation. • Her purpose in the study was to determine whether differences in basic temperament—the fundamental emotional disposition of a person—result mainly from inherited characteristics or from cultural influences. • She lived among the people of New Guinea and participated in their activities. • Two of the societies she examined were the Arapesh and Mundugumor, who lived only about 100 miles apart. • Her conclusion is that temperament is mainly the result of culture rather than biology.
5. Describe the Arapesh. • Contented, gentle, nonaggressive, receptive, trusting, and warm people. • Their society is based on complete cooperation. • They live in close-knit villages consisting of clans—families with a common ancestor. • The women bring in firewood and water, prepare daily meals and carry goods from place to place. • The men clear and fence the land, build and repair the houses, carry heavier loads, hunt, plant and care for certain crops, and cook and carve ceremonial food. • Both men and women take care of the children. • The children grow up in a very loving and friendly social environment. • Children are discouraged from displaying any aggression toward others.
6. Describe the Mundugumor. • Very aggressive, competitive, jealous, and violent. • They delight in showing off and fighting. • Until the government banned such activities, they were headhunters. • There is open hostility among all members of the same sex. • They must reside, scattered throughout the bush. • There is great hostility between father and sons, brothers, mothers and daughters, and sisters. • The only ties between members of the same sex are through members of the opposite sex. • These occur through a form of social organization called the rope. (father-daughters-his daughter’s son, etc.) • When a person dies, his property is passed down the rope. • Wealth and power for males come mainly from having a large number of wives. • Child-rearing involves the infant being carried in a rigid basket, with little contact with the mother. • Children are not picked up or comforted. • Children receive slaps and other physical punishments for breaking rules.
7. What is ethnocentrism? • It is not unusual for people to have a negative response to cultural traits that differ drastically from their own. • This tendency to view one’s own culture and group as superior is called ethnocentrism. • People in all societies are, at times, ethnocentric. • The belief that the characteristics of one’s group or society are right and good helps to build group unity. • However, when ethnocentrism becomes extreme, groups and societies run the risk of excluding new influences that might prove beneficial, thus stagnating the development of culture.
8. What is meant by cultural relativism? • Social scientists attempt to keep an open mind toward cultural variations. • They must adopt an attitude in which cultures are judged by their own standards rather than by applying the standards of another culture. • Bizarre foods to us? • In other words, researchers who practices from the points of view of the members of the society being studied. • Cultural relativism helps sociologists and anthropologists understand practices that seem strange or different from those of their own culture.
9. How might cultural relativism help you explain this image? • Cultural relativism helps explain that the family wearing black are dressed differently from typical beachgoers • The family is Amish and has different cultural beliefs about proper dress for the beach.
10. Who developed the idea of a subculture? What is a subculture? • Edwin Sutherland developed the idea of subcultures in the 1920s, through his work on crime and juvenile delinquency. • Subcultures are groups who share values, norms and behaviors that are not shared by the entire population. • Examples include, San Francisco’s Chinatown, Little Havana in Miami and the Navajo of the Southwest. • Other examples include, the military, the police, lawyers, physicians, teachers, and religious leaders. • Subcultures also develop around age groups. • Youth subcultures include music choice, hair and dress styles,
11. What is cultural discontinuity? • When members of a subculture find their beliefs, values, or practices at odds with those of the larger or predominant culture. • Because public schools promote and value the culture traits of the predominant culture. • Spanish-speaking at home vs. English-speaking at school.
12. What is the difference between a subculture and a counterculture? • In most instances, subcultures do not present a threat to society. • Most subcultures do not reject all of the values and practices of the larger society and do not present a threat to society. • However, countercultures consciously intend to challenge the values of the larger society. • Examples include, anarchists, organized crime families, and the hippie movement of the 1960s. • These groups reject the major values, norms, and practices of the larger society and replace them with a new set of cultural patterns. • Mafia—involved with the drug trade & gambling.