Caribbean Society and Culture
The “social” is the totality of explanations describing how people interact and make
meaning of their experiences
It includes the variety of perspectives and explanations that people have for some
phenomena and the tendency to prefer order and precision as well as a safer feeling when
definitions are used
The term “social” is a construct – a construct is a label given to some idea or way of
thinking that people use in order to better explain and describe social life
Society is a collection of people living in the same area over time
Society is a group which shares a common purpose that structures their relationships and
Society is an ideal which people are striving to achieve; it is dynamic and one cannot say
that one has achieved it yet
Culture is the way of life of a people
The view that people hold tend to come from their social location
The social world comprises of many kinds of groups where one holds multiple
memberships which means that belonging to a group often means that one has to identify
with certain views that the group has of social life and this describes one’s social location
Slight history of current society
The Renaissance brought about renewed interest in the arts, learning and the possibilities
of mankind which caused rapid social change within social life in Europe during the 17th
and 18th century
During this era strides were made in knowledge which facilitated inventions and
discoveries that enabled people to live a better life – known as the Age of Enlightenment
Next came the Industrial Revolution which dealt with the manufacturing age; goods and
services were cheaper and more widespread
Engineering breakthroughs led to the production of a large scale in shipping, railroads,
rods, canal construction etc
Agrarian Revolution led to food being produce in bulk for the urban industrial centers
The social world was being and still is being characterized by constant change
Information society – term used today describing a society where maximum use is made
of information and communication technologies (ICT)
Groups in society employ the technologies to lead lives of utmost efficiency and
Thus the term is saying that the ways in which information is managed, stored and
communicated deeply influence and permeate the whole society making it different from
10 years ago
Digital Divide – term used to call attention to the different relationships that the haves
(computer savvy) and the have-nots experience in society
Learning Society- a society that actively promotes and enhances learning.
Sociology- the study of society therefore, it attempts to distinguish between society and
culture and to specify the relationship between the two.
Social Structure- reference to the organized patterns, arguments and interactions between
groups who comprise the various sex institutions and organizations.
E.g. of Soc. Inst. -
E.g. of Soc. Org. -
Patterns of behaviour describe how members with different roles interact with each other.
Functionalist and stability.
View society structure as working in such a way as to ensure peace
The structures that organize relationships and interactions make certain
that the collective will of members is satisfied.
Undesirable behaviours are discouraged through society structures
such as laws, norms, rules, roles, values and sanctions.
The process of socialization and education are the major ways through
which respect for the laws and norms are taught.
The Functionalist View of Society
(roles, norms, laws, sanctions)
Politics (roles etc.)
The Marxist View of Society
(Economic base or
Marxist – understood social structure but not in agreement with peace and harmony. Structures
in the capitalist society are enabling for the wealthy and not the poorer groups. Because the
economic structure dominates interaction and relationships, the interests of the elites are always
taken care of. The process of socialization and education support the inequalities.