2. Lesson Outline
What is Culture?
The Components of Culture
Theoretical Analysis of Culture
3. What is Culture?
Sociologists define culture as the values, beliefs,
behavior, and material objects that constitute a people’s
way of life
It is a lens through which one views the world and is
passed from one generation to the next.
It is what makes us human.
4. Culture determines…
Food we eat
Games we play
How to express emotions
What is good or bad
What is high or low culture (if any)
5. What makes up culture?
Sociologists see culture as consisting of two different
categories: material culture (any physical object
to which we give social meaning) and symbolic
culture (the ideas associated with a cultural
6. Material Culture
Material culture includes the objects associated with
a cultural group, such as tools, machines, utensils,
buildings, and artwork.
7. Symbolic Culture
Symbolic culture includes ways of thinking (beliefs,
values, and assumptions) and ways of behaving
(norms, interactions, and communication).
The Meaning of this red light depends on the
9. Components of Culture
Symbols, anything that carries a particular meaning recognized
by people who share culture.
One of the most important functions of symbolic culture is it allows
us to communicate through signs, gestures, and language.
Signs (or symbols), such as a traffic signal or product logo, are
used to meaningfully represent something else. Gestures are the
signs that we make with our body, such as hand gestures and facial
expressions; it is important that these gestures also carry meaning.
10. Components of Culture (cont…)
Language, a system of symbols that allows
members of a society to communicate with one
It is the major means of cultural transmission,
the process by which one generation passes culture
to the next.
11. Components of Culture:
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which is the idea
that language structures thought, and that ways of
looking at the world are embedded in language,
supports this premise.
Ex: snow, jam, Family Guy
12. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
Since people can conceptualize the world only
through language, language precedes thought
Word symbols and grammar organize the
world of us and determines our behavior
Language does more than describe reality, it
shapes the reality of a culture
The Hanunoo people of the Philippines
have different names for 92 varieties of rice
Americans use a single word “rice”
Hanunoo would be incapable of seeing the
distinction b/w a Ford and a Toyota
14. An overview of U.S. Values made by
sociologists Robin Williams (1965)
Achievement and success
Activity and work
Efficiency and practicality
15. Components of Culture (cont…)
Values are abstract standards of goodness.
Collective concepts of what is considered good,
desirable, and proper-or bad, undesirable, and
improper- in a culture
Values indicate what people find important and
morally right (or wrong)
Values influence people's behavior and serve as
criteria for evaluation of the actions of others
16. Americans traditionally prized success through individual
effort and initiative, Japanese emphasize collectivism and
loyalty to the company
17. Components of Culture (cont…)
Beliefs are specific statements that people hold to
Norms, the formal and informal rules regarding
what kinds of behavior are acceptable and
appropriate within a culture. Norms govern our
- Norms are established standards of behavior
maintained by a society
18. Components of Culture: Norms
Some norms are:
a. Proscriptive – mandating what we should not do
Ex. Chinese parents scold young lovers for holding
hands in public.
b. Prescriptive – spell out what we should do
Ex. U.S schools teach practices of “safe sex”.
Formal norms have been written down and involve
strict rules or punishment of violators (Law is the
“body of rules ,made by government for society,
interpreted by courts, and backed by the power of the
state” (Wise, 1993)
Informal norms are generally understood but are
not precisely recorded
Examples: standards of proper dress or proper
behavior at school
21. According to the informal norms of culture of the
mountainous Asian kingdom of Bhutan, people greet
each other by extending their tongues and hands
22. Types of Norms (according to their relative
importance to society)
Mores (pronounced MORE-ays), refer to a
society’s standard of proper moral conduct.
- Each society demands obedience to its mores
(violation can lead to severe penalties)
Examples: murder, child abuse
23. Types of Norms (according to their relative
importance to society)
Folkways, norms governing everyday behavior
whose violation might cause a dirty look, rolled eyes,
or disapproving comment
Example: Walking up a “down” escalator in a
department store challenges our standards of
- Proper dress, appropriate greetings, common courtesy
24. “A man who walks down a street
wearing nothing on the upper
half of his body is violating a
folkway; a man is wearing
nothing on the lower half of his
body is violating one of mores
(requirement that people cover
their genitals and buttocks in
Sociologists Ian Robertson illustrated the difference
between Folkways and Mores:
25. Types of Norms (according to their
relative importance to society)
Taboos are norms that are so deeply held that even
the thought of violating them upset people
In the U.S. There is a taboo against eating human
26. Social Control and Sanctions
Sanctions are positive or negative reactions to the
ways that people follow or disobey norms, including
rewards for conformity and punishments for norm
Sanctions help to establish social control, the
formal and informal mechanisms used to increase
conformity to values and norms and thus increase
27. Norms and Sanctions
Salary bonus Fine
Medal Jail sentence
28. “Ideal” and “Real’ Culture
Ideal, social patterns mandated by cultural values and
Real, actual social patterns that only approximate
To illustrate: Most women and men acknowledge the
importance of sexual fidelity in marriage Even so, in a
recent study, about 25% of married men and 10% of
married women reported being sexually unfaithful to their
spouses at some point in the marriage (Laumann et. al.,
29. Material Culture and
Material, tangible human creations that
sociologists term artifacts. social patterns mandated
by cultural values and norms.
Technology, knowledge that a society applies to
the task of living in a physical environment.
30. CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Japan – the most monocultural of all industrial nations
United States – the most multicultural of all
industrial nationsHigh Culture and Popular
High Culture – cultural patterns that
distinguish a society’s elite
Popular Culture – designates cultural patterns
that are widespread among a society’s population.
31. High Culture Low Culture
32. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 32
Cultural patterns that set apart some segments of a
An educational program recognizing past and
present cultural diversity in U.S society and
promoting the quality of all cultural traditions.
33. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 33
Cultural patterns that strongly oppose those widely
accepted within a society.
34. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 34
Cultures usually change slowly and incrementally,
though change can also happen in rapid and
One of the key ways that material culture can
change is through technology.
35. Cultural Change (cont…)
Cultural change can also occur through cultural
diffusion, which is when different groups share their
material and nonmaterial culture with each other.
Cultural leveling occurs when cultures that were once
distinct become increasingly similar to one another.
Cultural imperialism is the imposition of one
culture’s beliefs, practices, and artifacts on another culture
through mass media and consumer products.
36. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 36
Ethnocentrism and Cultural
Ethnocentrism, the practice of judging another
culture by the standards of one’s own culture.
Subservience to Males? Moral
37. Ways of looking at Cultures
Who wants a snack?
and other insects on
for sale in
Market in Beijing,
38. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 38
Ways of looking at Cultures
Cultural relativism, the practice of judging a
culture by its own standards.
When studying any group, it is important to try to
employ cultural relativism because it helps
sociologists see others more objectively.
39. Cultural Relativism and
Chinese immigrant was convicted in a New York court of
bludgeoning his wife to death with a hammer
He was sentenced to only 5 years of probation
The judge took into consideration the cultural considerations
The deceased women confessed extramarital affair
Testimony of an expert in Chinese culture revealed that husbands
in China exact severe punishment on their wives
In posttrial hearings, the judge declared that the defendant “took
all his culture with him to the U.S. and therefore was not fully
responsible for his violent act///”
Reverse to ethnocentrism
Xenocentrism is the belief that the products, styles,
or ideas of one’s society is inferior to those that
People in the U.S. assume that French fashion or
Japanese electronic devices are superior to our own
41. People in Saudi Arabia may prefer to buy Pepsi Cola and
other food products that originate in the United States
42. THEORETICAL ANALYSIS OF
- Views culture as a relatively stable system built on core values.
Cultural traits function to maintain the over-all system.
- Envisions culture as a dynamic arena of inequality and conflict.
Cultural patterns typically benefit some categories of people more
- investigates the influence of humanity’s evolutionary past on
present-day cultural patterns.
43. CULTURE AND HUMAN
Culture as constraint
Our emphasis on personal freedom affords us privacy
and autonomy, yet our culture often denies us the
support of a human community in which to share
Culture as freedom
Culture gives us the responsibility to make and remake
a world for ourselves. 43
For individuals, socialization is the process of
building our humanity and particular identity
through social experience.
For society as a whole, socialization is the means by
which one generation transmits culture to the next.
Introduction to Sociology: Culture 44
45. SIGMUND FREUD
Envisioned the human personality as composed of three
1. Id – represents general human drives
(the life and death instincts) which Freud claimed were innate.
2. Superego – embodies cultural values and norms
internalized by individuals
3. Competition between the needs of the id and the restraints
of the superego are mediated by the ego.
46. JEAN PIAGET
Believed that human development reflects both
biological maturation and increasing social
In his view, socialization proceeds four major stages
of development: sensory motor, concrete
operational, and formal operational.
47. LAWRENCE KOHLBERG
Applied Piaget’s approach to the issue of moral
Discovered that gender affects moral reasoning.
Females, looks to the effect of decisions on
relationships, while males rely more on abstract
standards of rightness.
Introduction to Sociology: Culture 47
48. GEORGE HERBERT MEAD
Socialization is based on the emergence of the self,
which he viewed as partly autonomous (the I) and
partly guided by society.
Used the term “looking glass self” to underscore that
the self is influenced by how we think others
respond to us.
Charles Horton Cooley
49. KEY NOTES
Commonly the first setting of socialization, the
family has the greatest influence on a child’s
attitudes and behavior.
School exposes children to greater social diversity
and introduces the experience of impersonal
Members of youthful peer groups are subject to
adult supervision less than in the family or in
50. KEY NOTES
The mass media have considerable impact on the
As with each phase of the life course, the
characteristics of childhood are socially constructed.
Adolescence, the transition between childhood and
adulthood, is considered a difficult period in our
51. KEY NOTES
During adulthood, socialization involves setting
into careers and raising families.
In old age, people make many transitions, including
Adjustment to the death of a spouse (an experience
more common to women) and acceptance of one’s
own death are part of the socialization for the
52. KEY NOTES
Total institutions such as prisons and mental
hospitals strive for socialization – radically
changing the inmate’s personality.
Socialization demonstrates the power of society to
shape our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Yet, as
free humans, we also have the capacity to act back
on society and, in so doing, shape our lives and our
53. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 53
1. A student who tries to objectively analyze the food
that the people of a different culture eat is using:
c. cultural relativism.
d. cultural spotting.
54. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 54
2. Based on our discussion, what is the most
significant component of culture?
55. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 55
3. Which of the following is NOT true concerning norms?
a. Norms are specific to a culture, time period, and
b. Norms are the rules and guidelines regarding what
kinds of behaviors are acceptable.
c. Norms often develop directly out of values.
d. Norms are completely unrelated to the situation.
56. Introduction to Sociology: Culture 56
4. The spread of McDonald’s restaurants throughout
Asia is an example of:
a. technological determinism.
b. cultural diffusion.
c. cultural leveling.
d. cultural imperialism.