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Lecture 3. Culture

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PLEKHANOV
RUSSIAN UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMIC
Academic Department of Political Science and Sociology
SOCIOLOGY
Lecture 5:
CULTURE
Denisenkova
Natalya Nikolaevna
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
1. What is culture?
2. Elements of culture
3. Pop culture, subculture, and cultural change
4. Theoretical perspectives on culture
KEY POINTS
• Differentiate between culture and society
• Explain material versus nonmaterial culture
• Discuss the concept of cultural universalism as it relates
to society
• Compare and contrast ethnocentrism and xenocentrism
THE WAYS CULTURE AND BIOLOGY INTERACT
Culture and Biology
Culture relates to nature (our biology and genetics)
and nurture (our environment and surroundings that
also shape our identities.
Culture and biology interact to form societies,
norms, rituals and other representations of culture.
“Culture” encompasses:
 objects and symbols
 the meaning given to those objects and symbols
 the norms, values, and beliefs that pervade social life.
Values reflect an individual’s or society ‘s sense of right
and wrong or what “ought” to be.
DEFINING CULTURE
Culture is a term used by
social scientists, like
anthropologists
and
sociologists,
to
encompass all the facets
of human experience that
extend
beyond
our
physical fact.
Culture refers to the way
we understand ourselves
both as individuals and as
members of society, and
includes stories, religion,
media, rituals, and even
language itself.
DEFINING CULTURE
 the term culture does not describe a singular, fixed entity
 it is a useful heuristic, or way of thinking, that can be very
productive in understanding behavior
 the word culture as a conceptual tool rather than as a uniform,
static definition
Culture necessarily changes, and is changed by,
a variety of interactions, with individuals, media,
and technology.
Difference between culture and society
Culture has great influence on individual
value framework.
It is a set of traditional belief and values that
are transmitted and shared in a given society.
Culture is also the total way of life and
thinking patterns, speech action and artifacts
that are passed from generation to
generation.
However, this is dependent on the man’s
capacity for learning and transmitting
knowledge to succeeding generation. In
nutshell, culture is a total sum of customs,
rituals, artifacts, beliefs and values.
WHAT IS CULTURE?
Culture generally describes the shared
behaviors and beliefs of these people, and
includes material and nonmaterial elements.
WHAT IS CULTURE?
3.1. WHAT IS CULTURE?
MATERIAL CULTURE
refers to the objects or belongings of a group
of people:
technology
art forms
architecture
material goods and equipments used in daily
life
house hold
agriculture
trade and commerce
other social activities
WHAT IS CULTURE?
NONMATERIAL CULTURE
consists of the ideas, attitudes, and beliefs of a
society:
the literary
intellectual
traditions
beliefs
myths
legends
other forms of oral tradition.
Material and nonmaterial aspects of culture are
linked, and physical objects often symbolize cultural
ideas.
DIMENSIONS OF CULTURE
1.A normative system, by which there is a
social control in the form of sanctions,
which make people follow generally
accepted moral/ ethical norms.
2.An expressive system: music, art, literature
and so on are cultural expressions of
people.
3. A system of ideas which enables members
of a society to interpret the world
meaningfully and process through which
culture influences a social system is called
institutionalization.
DIMENSIONS OF CULTURE
1.A normative system, by which there is a
social control in the form of sanctions,
which make people follow generally
accepted moral/ ethical norms.
2.An expressive system: music, art, literature
and so on are cultural expressions of
people.
3. A system of ideas which enables members
of a society to interpret the world
meaningfully and process through which
culture influences a social system is called
institutionalization.
DEFINITION
“Culture is symbolic, cumulative and
progressive process”
Harrison White
“Culture is an organized body of
conventional understanding
manifested in art and art craft,
which persisting through tradition
characterize a human group”.
James Redfield
CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE
1. Culture is learned: - culture is not inherited
generally but it must be learned and
acquired.
A child is instilled with cultural values at an early
age.
Cultural learning can occur by informal learning
and by formal learning.
Enculturation is the process of learning values
of one’s own culture from childhood. If a person
learns the culture of a society other than the one
in which he is raised, the process of
acculturation occurs.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE
2.Culture is dynamic - culture is not
static it is dynamic.
It evolves according to changing social,
political, economical and technical
environment.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE
3. Culture is shared - culture is socially
shared, based on social interaction and
creation.
It cannot exist by itself.
It must be shared by the members of a society.
Cultural values are widely held. Each culture has
certain widely held and commonly accepted
values that differentiate it from other cultures.
The sharing of values is facilitated by language.
LAVELS OF CULTURE
1. National level: - Associated with nation as a whole.
2. The regional level: - Associated with ethnic,
linguistic or religious differences that exist within a
nation.
3. The gender level: - Associated with gender
differences.
4. The generation level: - Associated with the
difference between grandparents and parents, parents
and children.
5. The Social class level:- Associated with educational
opportunities and difference in occupation.
6. The corporate level:- Associated with particular
culture of an organization.
MANIFESTATIONS OF CULTURE
MANIFESTATIONS OF CULTURE
1. Symbols: - are words, gestures, pictures or
objects that carry a particular meaning which is
not recognized by those who share a particular
culture. New symbols easily develop, old ones
disappear. Symbols from one particular group are
regularly copied by others.
2. Heroes: - are person, Past or Present, real or
fictitious, who posses characteristics that are
highly prized in culture.
MANIFESTATIONS OF CULTURE
3. Rituals:- are collective activities, sometime
superfluous in reaching desired objectives, but are
considered as socially essential.
4. Values: - are board tendencies for preferences of
certain state of affairs to others. Many values remain
one unconscious to those who hold them. Therefore
they often cannot be discussed, nor can they directly
observed by others. Values can only be inferred from the
way people act under
different circumstances.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Cultural diversity is the variety of
human cultures in a specific region
or in the world as a whole.
Cultural diversity is a necessity for
humankind as biodiversity is for
nature.
DIMENSIONS OR CULTURAL DIVERSITY
8. Religious beliefs
1. Cultural beliefs
9. Education
2. Norms
10. Life experience
3. Age
11. Geography
4. Gender
12. Opinions
5. Language
13.Socioeconomic
6.Communication style
status
7. Ethnicity
LAYERS OF CULTURE
1. Body of cultural
tradition
2. Subculture
3. Cultural universal
LAYERS OF CULTURE
1. Body of cultural tradition
2. Subculture
3. Cultural universal
LAYERS OF CULTURE
The body of cultural traditions
distinguishes one society from the
other.
When people speak of Chinese,
Russian, or Italian Culture, they are
referring to the shared language,
traditions, and beliefs that set each of
these peoples apart from others.
LAYERS OF CULTURE
All societies have developed certain
common practices and beliefs, known as
cultural universals
Cultural universal - the learned behaviour
patterns that are shared by all of humanity
collectively. No matter where people live in
the world, they share these universal traits.
CULTURAL UNIVERSALS
Anthropologist George Murdock
compiled a list of cultural universals,
including:
Athletic sports
Cooking
Dancing
Visiting
Personal names
Marriage
Medicine
Religious ritual
Funeral ceremonies
Sexual restrictions
Trade
ETHNOCENTRISM
Many everyday statements reflect our attitude
that our culture is best.
We use terms such as underdeveloped,
backward, and primitive to refer to other
societies.
What “we” believe is a religion; what “they”
believe is superstition and mythology.
ETHNOCENTRISM
Sociologist William Graham Sumner (1906) coined the term
ethnocentrism to refer to the tendency to assume that one’s own
culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all
others.
ETHNOCENTRISM
The ethnocentric person sees his or her group
as the center or defining point of culture and
views all other cultures as deviations from
what is “normal.”
Westerners who think cattle are to be used for
food might look down on India’s Hindu
religion and culture, which view the cow as
sacred.
Or people in one culture may dismiss as
unthinkable the mate selection or childrearing practices of another culture.
XENOCENTRISM
is the opposite of ethnocentrism, and refers to the belief
that another culture is superior to one’s own.
(The Greek root word xeno, pronounced “ZEE-no,”
means “stranger” or “foreign guest.”)
Perhaps the greatest challenge for sociologists studying
different cultures is the matter of keeping a perspective.
It is impossible for anyone to keep all cultural biases at
bay; the best we can do is strive to be aware of them.
Pride in one’s own culture doesn’t have to lead to
imposing its values on others. And an appreciation for
another culture shouldn’t preclude individuals from
studying it with a critical eye.
2. ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
Belief
Values
Customs
Rituals
Language and symbols
Stories
Artifacts
2. ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
1. Belief: - Beliefs consist of large number of
verbal or mental statement about any object based
on person’s specific information and judgment of
something about that object. Based on beliefs person
decides what is right or wrong, what is good or bad.
2. Values:- Values are also beliefs. But, these are
those beliefs which are less in number, core in
nature and very difficult to change and is shared by
most of the member of the society values guide that
what is good and desirable versus what is bad and
undesirable.
2. ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
Customs: - Customs are apparent modes
of behaviour that form culturally approved
or acceptable ways of behaving in particular
situations. They consist of every day or routine
behaviour.
4. Rituals: - A ritual is a series of symbolic
behaviours that occur in fixed sequence and
are repeated most often.
3.
2. ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
5. Language and symbols: - Language is considered
to be a system of communicating with other people
using sounds, symbols and words in expressing a meaning,
idea or thought. Many languages use gestures, sounds,
symbols, or words, and aim at communicating concepts,
ideas, meanings and thoughts. This language can be used in
many forms: oral and written communications as well as
using expressions through body language.
Symbol: - the symbolic characteristics of culture are a
subtle, notion, as are all symbols. Symbols are seen in every
act of faith.
2. ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
6. Stories: - Culture is often embedded and
transmitted through stories, whether they are deep
and obviously indented as learning device or whether
they appear more subtly. The power of stories is in when
and how they are told, and the effect they have on their
recipients.
7. Artifacts: - Artifacts are the physical things that
are found and that have particular symbolism for
culture, when people see them, they think about their
meaning and hence they are remind of their identity as a
member of the culture, and by association, of the rules
of the culture.
CULTURE AND THE DOMINANT IDEOLOGY