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culture
the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and even material objects that are passed fromone generation to the next. e.g. american culture, african culture
material culture
such things as jewlry, art, buildings, weapons, machines, and even eating utensils, hairstyles, and clothing e.g. it is no more natural (or unnatural) to wear gowns on the street than it is to wear jeans.
non-material culture
a group's ways of thinking (its beliefs, values, and other assumptions about the world) and doing (its common patterns of behavior, including language, gestures, and other forms of interaction). e.g. north african assumptions that it is acceptable to stare at others in public and to push people aside to buy tickets.
culture shock
a disorientation due to nonmaterial culture failing, when one is no longer able to make sense out of the world e.g. "...I found these unfamiliar behaviors upsetting, for they violated my basic expectations of 'the way people ought to be'-and I did not even realize how firmly I held these expectations until they wre challenged so abruptly. When my nonmaterial culture failed me-when it no longer enabled me to make sense out of the world-I experienced (this disorientation)"
ethnocentrism
a tendency to use our own group's ways of doing things as a yardstick for judging others. e.g. all of us learn that the ways of our own group are good, right, and even superior to other ways of life.
cultural relativism
we can try to understand a culture on its own terms. e.g. Most U.S. citizens appear to have strong feelings against raising bulls for the purpose of stabbing them to death in front of crowds that shout "Ole!" According to cultural relativism, however, bullfighting must be viewed from the perspective of the culture in which it takes place-its history, its folklore, its ideas of bravery, and its ideas of sex roles.
symbolic culture
non-material culture; because its central component is the symbols that people use.
e.g.
symbol
something to which people attach meaning and that they then use to communicate with one another e.g. symbols include gestures, language, values, norms, sanctions, folkways, and mores.
gestures
movements of the body to communicate with others, are shorthand ways to convey messages without using words.
e.g. raising the middle finger
language
symbols that can be combined in an infinite number of ways for the purpose of communicating abstract thought. e.g. english, german, etc. some words mean differnt things in different languages
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
rather than objects and events forcing themselves onto our consciousness, it is our language that determines our consciousness and, hence, our perception of objects and events. e.g. Socilogist Eviatar Zerubavel gives a good example. Hebrew, his native language, does not have separate words for jam and jelly. Both go by the same term, and only when Zerubavel learned English could he "see" this difference, which is "obvious" to native english speakers
norms
group developed expectations concerning the right way to reflect its values.
sanctions
the reactions people receive for following or breaking norms
Positive sanction
expresses approval for following a norm
negative sanction
reflects disapproval for breaking a norm
folkways
norms that are not strictly enforced
mores
norms that are taken much more seriously. we think of them as essential to our core values, and we insist on conformity.
taboo
refers to a norm so strongly ingrained that even the thought of its violation is greeted with revulsion.
subculture
a world within the larger world of the dominant culture
counterculture
a group's values and norms place it at odds with the dominant culture.
pluralistic society
made up of many different groups
value cluster
values that sometimes cluster together to form a larger whole.
value contradiction
Not all values fall into neat, integrated packages. Some even contradict one another
ideal cultures
the values, norms, and goals that a group considers ideal, worth aspiring to.
real culture
what sociologists call the norms and values that people actually follow
technology
in its simplest sense, it can be equated with tools. In a broader sense, it also includes the skills or procedures necessary to make and use those tools.
new technology
refers to an emerging technology that has significant impact on social life.
cultural lag
not all parts of a culture change at the same pace. when one part of a culture changes, other parts lag behind
cultural diffusion
humans have always had some contact with other groups. During these contacts, people learned from one another, adopting things they found desireable.
cultural leveling
a process in which cultures become similar to one another
values
their ideas of what is desireable in life. values are the standards by which people define what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly. values underlie our preferences, guide our choices, and indicate what we hold worthwhile in life.
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