Culture & Society


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  • Culture & Society

    1. 1. CHI114/GES104 (Updated on April 4, 2008)
    2. 2. 1. 2. Concepts related to the varying natures of culture: familiar with the content of such concepts Examples are very important in understanding and applying for such concepts     1. 2. 1. We can find examples everywhere and from our surroundings The New Year/Lunar New Year McDonald Secondary schools     be familiar with the content of such concepts understand and apply such concepts with examples reflect how culture affects our lives, and we also affect our culture too appreciate the similarities and differences of cultures in different places Can make use of what you learned about culture in matriculation/other course/s As we are members of society, think of how we are affected by culture (The followings can be typical examples) At the end of the topic, you are expected to 2
    3. 3. Human beings are social beings: we are affected by the social environment In a specific environment, culture is a guide of our values [ 價值觀 ], norms [ 規範 ], judgments, and behaviors. Culture embodies social institutions [ 社會制度 ], conventions [ 慣例 ] mores [ 習俗 ], and laws 3
    4. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The total pattern [ 形式 ] of human behavior and its attitudes and behaviors, embodied in thought, speech, action, and artifacts [ 人工製品 ]. Is the way of thinking and doing that is passed on from adults to children, and then the people of a society follow Include all knowledge, beliefs, art, morals [ 道德 ], government, law, customs [ 習慣 ], and any other contents acquired by a human being as a member of society dependent on the capacity for learning through the use of tools, language, and systems of abstract thought Creating humans and human societies: it has evolved through a long process of change, and is composed over many generations 4
    5. 5. 1. 2. A process in which individuals acquire their knowledge, skills, customs, ideas, religion, and morals from their social environment  shape the personalities of individuals  can adjust and become members of society All people in a culture are not fully alike in their personalities. We should consider different family backgrounds and personal experiences within a society 5
    6. 6. 1. 2. 3. 4. Is a body of individuals living as members of a community Members should have organized their established relationships Developed common ideas, interests, and techniques for living and working together as a community is changed or shaped by innovations of people in different generations 6
    7. 7. 1. 1. 1. 2. 3. Social norms:  Conventions  Mores  Laws Social institutions  E.g., schools, families, governments, religions Cultural objects/products Language Social values 7
    8. 8. 1.     1.    Conventions: simple, everyday customs of a group that represent the usual ways of behaving. They are persistent and change slowly. Such established customs are of little moral significance e.g., sleep on a bed, eat at a table Mores: they are conventions, but people would have serious consequences if they were violated. If people break a society’s mores would not necessarily land a person in jail, it would lead social/informal punishment in the form of peer disapproval e.g., you shared the “shining cards” (=nude photos) of Edison Chan” to your sisters without considering their acceptability 8
    9. 9. Laws: 3.       are more exact, and generally recorded, codified, and enforced as a means of securing public obedience. are the principles and regulations set up in a community by some authority and applicable to its people. can be in the form of either legislation or policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision. If you break a law, you will receive a severe punishment. What is against the law and the punishment for violence of laws vary in different societies E.g., women will be punished if they do not cover their faces in some Islamic societies 9
    10. 10. is an established complex pattern of behavior in which a number of persons participate in order to further important group interests. E.g.,  Government provides the necessary order and coordination among individuals.  The church, temple, mosque [ 清真寺 ] and synagogue [ 猶太教 會堂 ] are institutions that enable people to express their religious beliefs.  The school provides for formal education for the young.  The family helps meet many of the needs of daily life (shelter, food, close companionship, and affection) 10
    11. 11.  4 elements within social institutions: 1. Personnel: people who are qualified and duly selected to perform certain functions 2. Equipment: material (e.g., computers) and nonmaterial (e.g., language, spirit) possessions of the group 3. Organization: refer to various special relationships of members, and the ways in which equipments are arranged and used. These are related to authority. Authority is found in terms of (1) positions of people within the institution, and (2) the level of influence of such people. 4. Ritual [ 禮儀 ]: customs and regulations that determine the behavior of members 11
    12. 12. Material products/cultural objects/cultural artifacts: Are products of human skill and effort that are essential to the functioning of a society Include food, clothing, houses, tools, machines, work of arts, etc. 12
    13. 13. Is a body of words and the system for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition Plays a central role in the development and transmission of culture: communication, document, accumulation, and preservation But it influences the way individuals look at issues and can incorporate many hidden biases [ 偏見 ]  E.g., Martin Lee as a traitor or a genuine democrat? 13
    14. 14. Are motivating power that makes institutions function effectively Are the desirable things because people believe that they contribute to good life and the general welfare  E.g., honesty, courage, justice, respect for law, and for the rights of others, financial success, health, higher education Are relative rather than absolute: vary widely from one culture to another, and each individual acquires from his/her own culture ideas of what is desirable/undesirable, good/bad, right/wrong. 14
    15. 15. 1. Cultural universal [ 文化普世性 ]  is an aspect of culture that is found in all culture  e.g., religion, education, family 2. Cultural integration [ 文化整合 ]  Is the degree to which a culture is internally consistent and homogenous (similar)  e.g., MacDonald’s foods & drinks, logo, slogan, and its management 15
    16. 16. 3. Cultural relativism [ 文化相對主義 ]  All cultures are for the most part equally valid.  Cultures are not as a whole good, bad, right, or wrong; they simply exist and must be judged relative to their own value system  To understand other cultures, we must try to look at them through the eyes of those who have grown under their influence, rather than through our own eyes  e.g., Eating dogs is acceptable in Chinese culture, but is appalling in Western culture because dogs are seen as loyal friends  Watch for discussion and reflection 16
    17. 17. 4. 5. Cultural alternatives [ 文化選擇 ]  Those cultural characteristics that are not necessarily shared by other cultures  E.g., respecting (western) VS looking down (Asian) women Ethnocentrism [ 我族中心主義 ]  A tendency to judge other cultures by a person’s own culture and its standard  a belief of a group that its people and its way of life are superior to all others  e.g., Chinese in Qing dynasty, Japanese before the World War Two  Positive: contribute to the cohesion, understanding and cooperation of a society, people and nations  Negative: misunderstanding, prejudice, ill feeling and conflict 17
    18. 18. What forces cause cultural changes? 1. Technological development  Begins with discovery and invention  Discovery [ 發現 ] : is learning something about the physical or social environment that was not known before  E.g., explorers, astronomers, anthropologists, scientists  Invention [ 發明 ] : is a new way of doing something, a new object, or mechanical device to serve as some specific purpose. It may be either material (objects) or nonmaterial (methods, systems, ideas, etc).  An invention is really a special kind of discovery. Inventions bring about changes in technology. In modern societies, technological change has been a powerful force behind social change (e.g., computers). 18
    19. 19. 2. Cultural diffusion [ 文化傳播 ]  Spread of cultural traits from one social group to another.  Not all the elements found in the culture were invented or developed within that group. In most cases, the greater part of the content of any culture has been borrowed from other cultures.  E.g., Alphabet, 漢字平假名 ;  pigeon English: 「溫」( one ),「拖」 ( two ),「夫里」( three ),「科」 ( four ),「快夫」( five ),「昔 士」( six ),「舍焚」( seven ), 「噎」( eight ),「乃吾」( nine ), 「吞」( ten )。 19
    20. 20. 3. New ideas and ideologies  Ideas may result in inventions that are accepted and become a recognized part of the cultural pattern. Such ideas relate to important changes in social attitudes and basic social values  When such ideas are well established in society, they become a powerful force continuing social change  The role of ideology: as a composite of ideas, values, and emotions, it is an organized system of ideas for remodeling society so as to bring it “nearer to the heart’s desire”.  E.g., Fascism [ 法西斯主義 ], communism [ 共產主義 ], socialism [ 社會主義 ], democracy, liberalism 20
    21. 21. 4. Collective action  Usually refer to a planned government/group action because the government is the only agency that can make and enforce rules that in theory apply to the whole social group (e.g., Meiji Reform in Japan)  In democratic countries, legislation and reform are the common ways to drive social changes with popular support  In non-democratic countries, the government takes the radical ways to drive social changes (e.g., nationalization, political campaigns) 21
    22. 22. 1. Stability of social norms  Human beings appear to be basically conservative despite progress. When they acquire certain beliefs, attitudes and patterns of behaviors, they have difficulty changing them.  Our beliefs and attitudes may allow some changes, but only within limits. 1. Habit  ways of behaving that have been learned so well they can be carried out without conscious attention.  Once acquired, they are difficult to change because they become a part of the individual’s personality. 22
    23. 23. 3. Value attachment [ 依附價值 ]  when we believe that the established patterns of behavior have high moral values and when they arouse us strong emotions, then patterns become difficult to change  A vested interest [ 既得利益 ]: a power, privilege or advantage that an individual enjoys because of the status quo [ 維持現狀 ]. The people oppose the introduction of new elements into their culture  E.g., some scientists or theologians have opposed the new ideas and knowledge for fear that their own established beliefs and theories would be discredited 23
    24. 24.  Social problems meet 2 beliefs  Some condition adversely affects the welfare of a significant number of people (e.g., the salary cut but heavy workload)  Condition can and should be changed (e.g., poor management, leadership should be removed)  It is uneasy to have any simple or complex solution for a major social problem (e.g., Language problems of local students, poverty, class polarization) because  Complex causes: PCS model advocated by Thomson (1997): Personal, cultural and structural problems  difficult to find or carry out practical remedies  public indifference [ 冷漠 ] or ignorance [ 忽視 ]  the opposition of vested interests  Cultural lag [ 文化滯後 ]: the slowness in the rate of change on one part of culture in relation to another, resulting in a maladjustment within society 24