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  1. 1. culture
  2. 2. culture <ul><li>why is culture essential to our survival, what is common to all cultures, and how they vary? </li></ul>
  3. 3. what is culture? <ul><li>a culture is a design for living, or more precisely, that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, moral, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by the human being as a member of society </li></ul>
  4. 4. society & culture compared <ul><li>society consists of people interacting with one another in a patterned, predictable way </li></ul><ul><li>culture consists of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>abstract ideas that influence people (nonmaterial culture) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tangible, human made objects that reflect those ideas (material culture) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. nonmaterial culture <ul><li>cognitive component: knowledge and beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>normative component: norms and values </li></ul><ul><li>symbolic component: signs and language </li></ul>
  6. 6. cognitive <ul><li>culture help us to develop certain knowledge and beliefs about what goes on around us </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge is a collection of ideas and facts about our physical and social worlds, which are relatively objective, reliable, or verifiable </li></ul><ul><li>beliefs are ideas that are more subjective, unreliable or unverifiable </li></ul>
  7. 7. normative <ul><li>each culture has its own idea not only about what is important in the world but also how people should act </li></ul><ul><li>values are socially shared ideas about what is good, desirable or important </li></ul><ul><li>these shared ideas are usually the basis of a society’s norms, rules that specify how people should behave </li></ul>
  8. 8. norms <ul><li>folkways – norms that are rather trivial, relatively weak, only expecting us to behave properly in our everyday lives </li></ul><ul><li>mores – insist that we behave morally, and violations of such norms will be severely punished </li></ul>
  9. 9. why do values have power over our behavior? <ul><li>our parents, teachers, and other socializing agents teach us our society’s values so that we will feel it is right and natural to obey its norms </li></ul><ul><li>values contain an element of moral persuasion </li></ul><ul><li>values carry implied sanctions against people who reject them </li></ul>
  10. 10. symbolic <ul><li>a symbol is a language, gesture, sound or anything that stands for some other thing. </li></ul><ul><li>symbols enable us to create, communicate and share, and transmit to the next generation the other components of culture </li></ul><ul><li>it is through symbols that we get immersed in culture and in the process become fully human </li></ul>
  11. 11. symbols : its characteristics <ul><li>arbitrary: a word may mean whatever a group of humans have agreed it is supposed to mean </li></ul><ul><li>open system: we can blend and combine symbols to express whatever ideas come into our heads; we can create new messages, and the potential number of messages that we can send is infinite </li></ul>
  12. 12. nonverbal communication <ul><li>kinesics: body language; the use of body movement as means of communication </li></ul><ul><li>proxemics: the use of space as a means of communication – unless someone violates what we consider our personal space </li></ul>
  13. 13. the power of language: sapir-whorf hypothesis <ul><li>human beings live at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium expression for their society </li></ul><ul><li>language predisposes us to the see the world in a certain way </li></ul>
  14. 14. evolution & culture <ul><li>according to the theory of natural selection, the biological characteristics of every species change over the generations and evolutionary change takes place in either of the following situations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>physical environment changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a species move to a new environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>competition among species </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. evolution & culture <ul><li>humans today are the product of a tremendously long process of evolution – and that caused us to lose nearly all our instincts – biologically fixed traits that enable the carrier to perform complex tasks </li></ul><ul><li>the loss of instincts has made us more dependent on each other, but the development of culture has also loosened our bondage to the natural environment </li></ul>
  16. 16. cultural universals <ul><li>cultural universals – point of similarities in all cultures, i.e., need for clothing, complex communication, social order and esthetic and spiritual experiences are basic necessities of human social life </li></ul>
  17. 17. ethnocentrism <ul><li>ethnocentrism: an attitude that our own culture is superior to other people’s, i.e. we think that the way we live is right and that other people’s way of life are wrong, uncivilized, or unnatural </li></ul><ul><li>ethnocentrism: is so powerful, it is bound to make us extremely biased against other cultures and to distort our observation of what they are really like </li></ul>
  18. 18. cultural relativism <ul><li>It involves judging a culture on its own terms, i.e. since the terms of the culture – the participants’ perceptions, feelings, or viewpoints – are either completely or largely known to outsiders, social scientists usually try to become insiders so as to understand the native’s point of view </li></ul>
  19. 19. ecological perspective <ul><li>attributes cultural variations to differences in the natural environment </li></ul><ul><li>humans must adapt to their environment to survive and they adapt through their cultures </li></ul>
  20. 20. functional perspective <ul><li>explains cultural practice by referring to its function for the society as a whole </li></ul>
  21. 21. key terms <ul><li>belief : an idea that is relatively subjective, unreliable, or unverifiable </li></ul><ul><li>counterculture : a subculture whose norms and values sharply contradict those the larger society but which is basically not illegal or criminal </li></ul><ul><li>cultural relativism : evaluating other cultures in their own terms, with the result of not passing judgment on them </li></ul><ul><li>cultural universal : a practice that is found in all cultures as a means for meeting the same human need </li></ul><ul><li>deviant subculture : a subculture whose values are in conflict with those of the dominant culture and which tends to be illegal or criminal </li></ul><ul><li>ethnocentrism : the attitude that one’s own culture is superior to that of others </li></ul><ul><li>folkways : weak norms that specify expectations about proper behavior </li></ul>
  22. 22. key terms <ul><li>instincts: fixed traits that are inherited and enable the carrier to perform complex tasks </li></ul><ul><li>kinesics: use of body movements as a means of communication </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge : a collection of relatively objective ideas and facts about physical and social world </li></ul><ul><li>laws: norms that are specified formally in writing, and backed by the power of the state </li></ul><ul><li>material culture: all the physical objects produced by humans as members of society </li></ul><ul><li>mores: strong norms that specify normal behavior and constitute demands, not just expectations </li></ul><ul><li>natural selection: process in which organisms that are well-adapted to their environment have more offspring that the less well-adapted, thereby producing evolution </li></ul>
  23. 23. key terms <ul><li>nonmaterial culture: norms, values, and all the other intangible component of culture </li></ul><ul><li>norm: a social rule that directs people to behave in a certain way </li></ul><ul><li>proxemics: perception and use of space as a means of communication </li></ul><ul><li>sanction: formal or informal rewards for conformity to norms, or punishments for violation of norms </li></ul><ul><li>subculture: a culture within a larger culture </li></ul><ul><li>symbol: a thing that stands for some other thing </li></ul><ul><li>value: a socially shared idea that something is good, desirable or important </li></ul><ul><li>variable subculture: a subculture that is different from but acceptable to the dominant culture </li></ul>