Chapter 3: Culture and Society:

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14 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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Chapter 3: Culture and Society:


Hardware and Software of Our
Social World

Soc 100

Dr. Santos

Culture and Society


Society as “hardware”


Culture as “software”

The Importance of Software


Culture makes societies unique. Culture is the
way of life shared by a group of people.


Knowledge


Beliefs


Values


Rules or laws


Language


Customs


Symbols


Material products


Culture provides a guideline for carrying out
tasks and giving meaning to human activities

Society: The Hardware


Societies are composed of structures


Positions we hold


Groups we belong to


Institutions

Society: The Hardware


Society develops in stages depending on
many things


Availability of resources


Technological/scientific knowledge


Contact with other societies


Cultural beliefs


Political events and changes

Evolution of Societies


Mechanic societies


Small, simple, pre
-
modern societies


Held together by
common beliefs,
values, and emotional
ties


Labor is divided by
male/female
distinctions and age
groupings, with little
or no status inequality


Organic societies


Large, complex societies


Held together by the
specialization of tasks


Division of labor that
carry significant status
inequalities


Efficiency is a key value


Institutions and rule
-
driven bureaucratic
organizations begin to
exist.

Types of Societies


Hunting and Gathering (Band) Societies



99% of human history


Rely on wild vegetation and animals to live (none
domesticated); this includes fishing & scavenging


Organized around kinship
--
> spousal exchanges


Nomadic, usually in circular seasonal patterns


Small (between 20
-
50 members)


Gendered division of labor with little status difference


Resources shared fairly: sharing is highest value


No rulers or chiefs
-

stateless


Actions and behaviors dictated through tradition or
survival in specific ecological niches


Lack material possessions and the desire for them

Types of Societies


Herding and Horticultural Societies


Herding (pastoral) societies


produce small herds of domesticated
animals for food and survival


Horticultural societies


maintain small garden plots of
domesticated plants for food and
survival: nomadic, semi
-
nomadic,
settled village modes


Combined with gathering, hunting &
fishing activities to various degrees


Chiefdoms emerged, from temporary
to hereditary; from one village to many

Types of Societies


Herding and Horticultural Societies


Semi
-
Nomadic


Relatively small (50
-

3,000 members) in Old
World; became quite large in New World


Status differences become important and
produce inequality


“Traditional” gender roles emerge: patriarchy & matriarchy


Some material possessions are unequally
distributed, as casts/strata emerge

Types of Societies


Agricultural Societies



Rely on raising domesticated crops for food


Use technological advances for increased
efficiency and higher crop yields


Plows


Irrigation


Use of animals


Fertilization


Very labor intensive
--
> peasantization is
accompanied with the rise of the central state
& landlord classes, who exploit and oppress
the peasants & dispossess them of surplus.

Types of Societies


Agricultural Societies


Permanent settlements


Use of advanced technologies


Populations can be large (1,000,000 or more)


Stratification intensifies


Peasant classes


Ruling classes: kings & dynasties, landlord nobilities, priests


Institutions beyond the family are established


Religious


Political


Military organizations

Types of Societies


Industrial Societies


Rely on mechanized production


Pronounced division of labor


Rise in overall standard of living


Wide gaps between owners and laborers appear and
are the subject of bitter class struggle


State power and coercive apparatus become
consolidated
--
> bigger wars & revolutions


Population concentrates in cities: urbanization
and de
-
peasantization


Kinship patterns change: women lose status


Social change becomes ever more rapid

Types of Societies


Postindustrial Societies


Technology, or scientific knowledge used for utilitarian or
economic purposes, is very important


Majority of labor force in service positions


The division of labor more pronounced & globalized


Technical and professional education increasingly important


Stratification based on technological knowledge and
education now overlaps wealth & status stratification


Emphasis on science to solve social problems including:


Creating alternate energy sources


Finding automated ways of completing tasks


Using computers and robots to complete tasks formerly
done by individuals


Information Revolution: the internet, cable TV, etc.

Culture: The Software


Culture

is the way of shared life by a
group of people

the knowledge, beliefs,
values, rules or lays, language, customs,
symbols, and material products within a
society that help meet human needs &
give meaning to human activities

Real Versus Ideal Culture


We teach new
members of our
society the ideal
culture, or the
practices and beliefs
that are most
desirable & avowed


However, the real
culture of a society
refers to the way
things in society are
actually done,
including those
practices and beliefs
that are unavowed or
deemed undesirable

Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativity


Ethnocentrism

is the
tendency to view
one’s own group and
its cultural values &
expectations as right,
proper, and superior
to others:


We’re Number One!


Cultural relativism

is
setting aside one’s
own personal beliefs
and prejudices to
understand and value
a culture by its own
standards, or as a
member of that
culture would

Culture and Our Social World (at the
National Level)

Geoculture of the

world
-
system

Micro
-
level Analysis: Microstructures


Microcultures



organizations that
influence only a small segment of an
individual’s lives or only affects an
individual’s life for a small period of time

Meso
-
level Analysis:

Subcultures and Countercultures


A
subculture

is a social unit smaller than &
embedded in a national state but large enough
to sustain people throughout the life span


Elements that make them unique


Share conventions and expectations of national
dominant culture


Influence people’s lives in pervasive ways


Not so “Sub:” May actually exist “repeatedly” in
various contiguous or dispersed national states:
oppressed nationalities (Kurds), diasporas
(African, Chinese, Jewish) and culture regions
(Western Hemisphere Indigenous Peoples)

Meso
-
level Analysis:

Subcultures and Countercultures


A
counterculture

is a group or movements with
expectations and values that challenge or
contrast sharply with the dominant values of a
particular society


Values or practices that go against laws and regulations
of the dominant culture


May wish to replace values of the larger culture


Most often short
-
lived, but may have lasting impact


Some aspects accepted by the dominant culture


Countercultures can challenge unfair treatment of
powerless groups in society or various shortcomings in
its dominant culture (consumerism, eco
-
toxic, violent
prone or militaristic, shallow & unenchanted, etc.)

Macro
-
level Analysis:

National and Global Culture


Natural Culture and Society


Every culture intricately related to a society


Global Society and Culture


Globalization

is the process where the entire
globe is becoming a “single socio
-
cultural
place”
-

each world era has its “geoculture”


Globalization or Westernization?


Global culture

is the behavioral standards,
symbols, values, and material objects that
have become common across the globe

Material Culture: The Artifacts of Life


Material culture

includes all the objects we
can see or touch, all the artifacts of a
group of people

Nonmaterial Culture: Beliefs, Values,
Rules, and Language


Nonmaterial culture is the invisible and
intangible parts of culture


Beliefs


Values


Norms/Rules


Language

Nonmaterial Culture: Beliefs


Beliefs

are ideas we hold about life, about
the way the society works, and about
where we fit into it


Based in tradition


Influence choices we make

Nonmaterial Culture: Values


Values

are nonmaterial shared judgments
about what is desirable or undesirable,
right or wrong, good or bad


So much a part of the way of life that they can
be hard to identify


Groups in society can have different values


can lead to group conflict

Nonmaterial Culture: Rules


Norms are rules of behavior shared by
members of a society and rooted in the
value system


Folkways


Mores


Taboos


Laws

Non
-
material Culture: Sanctions


Sanctions are behaviors that reinforce
norms through rewards and penalties


Formal sanctions


Positive formal sanctions


Negative formal sanctions


Informal sanctions


Positive informal sanctions


Negative informal sanctions

Nonmaterial Culture: Language


Language

is the spoken, written, or
nonverbal use of symbols to convey
meaning, objects, or ideas


Takes three forms:


Spoken


Written


Nonverbal


The foundation of every culture


Makes culture possible

Nonmaterial Culture: Language


Spoken language


Uses a set of sounds to symbolize objects or ideas


Sounds generally hold common meaning to all members
of a culture


Written language


Uses a set of images to symbolize objects or ideas


Societies tend to store information through written
language


Makes communication over distances possible


Nonverbal language


Uses gestures, facial expression, and body posture to
symbolize an object or idea

Nonmaterial Culture: Language


The
linguistic relativity theory

posits that
people who speak a specific language
make interpretations of their reality based
on their knowledge of that language

Understanding Culture:

Symbolic Interaction Theory


How we learn to share meanings of symbols


Symbols are the basic element of all cultures


“Humanness” comes from the impact we have
upon each other through shared understandings
of symbols


We learn meanings of symbols through
interaction with others


We define how we should act through our
definition of situations

and symbols


Understanding Culture:

Symbolic Interaction Theory


Three steps through symbols gain meaning
and importance


The symbol is created


The symbol is objectified, assuming a reality
independent of the creator


The group internalizes the symbol

Understanding Culture:

Structural Functionalism


Looks for the functions or purposes behind
the actions and practices of a culture


Shared norms, values, and beliefs serve
the function of holding a society or a
subculture together


However sometimes shared norms,
values, and beliefs are dysfunctional for
individuals or groups of individuals within
a society

Understanding Culture:

Conflict Theory


Societies are composed of groups; each of which
protects its own self
-
interests and struggles to make its
own cultural ways dominant in the society


Dominant groups may impose their cultural beliefs on
minorities and other subcultural groups


This practice can create conflict


People with privilege and power in society manipulate
agents of socialization so people learn the values,
beliefs, and norms of the privileged group(s)


However, conflict theory does not explain stable
societies


Policy and Cultural Change


Technology is bringing change to societies
around the world


Cultural lag

occurs when shifts in society
occur unequally between material culture and
nonmaterial culture


New technologies must be used cautiously


Some can save lives


Others can disrupt and destroy cultures