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Culture and Society
A Social Systems Perspective
Definitions
 Culture:
 Those qualities and attributes that seem to be
characteristic of all humankind.
 Humans evolve and adapt primarily through
culture rather than changes in anatomy or
genetics.
 Culture survives if it can accommodate to
changing conditions.
 Culture is viewed as a macrosystem.
 Binds a particular society together, and includes
its manners, morals, tools, and techniques.
 Society:
 A group of people who have learned to live
and work together.
 Society is a holon and within the society,
culture refers to the way of life is followed
by the group (society).
Nature of Culture
 Culture is a group phenomenon.
 Cultures evolve from the interaction of
person with others, and a person’s belief
or behavior becomes part of the culture
when it is externalized and objectified.
 A culture evolves as each person encounters
four “poles”.
 One’s own body or somatic process.
 Biological constitution
 Genetic endowment
 Other persons or society.
 Feedback cycle
 The material world of nonhuman objects.
 The universe of social constructed meanings.
 According to Erikson, cultures change
through the action of persons whose ideas
and behavior “fit” the culture.
 Change can also occur as a result of
cataclysm, either physical as in famine,
war, epidemic, or disaster.
 It can also change as a result of a
“paradigm shift” in fundamental
understandings by those in the culture.
Unique Aspects of the Human
Species
 The capacity to think.
 Sets humans apart from most other forms of
life.
 Humans have the capacity to externalize
the thought process.
 Tools
 Human reproduction
 Cloning
The Family as Human Universal
 The family is biologically based and is the
primary social unit.
 Family is constant; the form of the family is
variable.
 The development of culture exists because
culture is transmitted from one generation to
the next through education not through the
genes.
Language and Communication
 Language is defined as any transfer of
meaning, but general usage refers only to
spoken and written messages.
 It is essential to be attuned to unspoken
and unwritten language.
 Language structures reality
 Form and variability determine how members
of the culture will view reality and structure
their thoughts.
Territoriality
 Tendency of people to seek and maintain
a territory.
 The definition of spatial and interactional
territories is paramount feature of any
culture.
 Refers to the cultural ways people locate
themselves in their universe and establish
the boundaries of their various human
systems.
Qualities of a Society
 Culture is that complex whole that includes
knowledge, belief, art, law, morals,
custom, and any other capabilities and
habits acquired by a human being as a
member of society.
 Culture is viewed as the ways of doing,
being, and explaining, as they exist in
each particular system.
Tools
 Amplifiers of human capacities:
 Sensory capacity
 Motor capacity
 Reasoning and thinking capacity
 Include devices, objects, and procedures that
are extensions of human natural capacities.
 Tools of a culture include not only understanding
their built-in purpose but, their purpose for the
user.
Social Organizations:
Society and Roles
 All cultures, being social systems, have
organization.
 Three aspects operating to define social class:
 Economic status
 Social status
 Political power
 Social class suggests a group consciousness on
the part of members.
 Emergence of a permanent “underclass” in
American society.
 Role relates to and derives from status.
 Total of the cultural expectations associated with
a particular status, including:
 Attitudes
 Values
 Behavior
 Role expectation are defined by the culture and
its components and incorporated by the persons
filling the role.
 All persons occupy a complex set of roles:
 Parent
 Child
 Worker
 Voter
 Worshipper
 The total number of roles is influenced by
the quantity of networks they are involved
in.
Language
 Transfer of meaning between systems and
between subsystems.
 Composed of symbols and the meanings
are learned and transferred through social
interaction.
 Communication of symbols and their
meanings represents the major form of
transaction between systems.
 Mead stated that we do not simply respond to
the acts of others; we act on our interpretations
of their intentions and judgments.
 A means of setting and maintaining cultural
boundaries; also to organize the energies of the
system.
 The importance of screening and interpreting
symbols in working with people is quite clear.
Child Rearing
 A major task of any culture.
 As a culture becomes more complex and
differentiated, so too does child rearing,
and other social provisions appear.
 These new systems arise to realize more
effectively the complex values of a culture.
 Certain values are in conflict with certain
other values, leading to tension and strain
within the culture.
Human Urge to Explain the World
 Humans are congenitally compelled to
impose a meaningful order upon reality.
 Religion, philosophy, science, and
superstition are some of the means.
 Science continues to be the dominant
means of exploring, explaining, and
changing our world.
Social Relations:
Caring
 Cultures are marked by the style in which
they conduct social relationships.
 Caring involves both an emotional
disposition and caring labor.
 It is a practice in which both thought and
action are integrated around central aims
or goals.
 Caring is a dimension of culture as much
as tools and language.
 A feminist critique states that caring is largely
delegated to women by a male-dominated
society.
 Regardless of sex, individuals and groups who
occupy subordinate status display a responsive
orientation to others characterized by deference,
attentiveness, awareness of needs,
understanding of perspectives, moods,
intentions, and responsiveness.
 An emphasis on autonomy as a basis for
caring may be more acceptable to men.

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1. Culture and Society.ppt

  • 1. Culture and Society A Social Systems Perspective
  • 2. Definitions  Culture:  Those qualities and attributes that seem to be characteristic of all humankind.  Humans evolve and adapt primarily through culture rather than changes in anatomy or genetics.  Culture survives if it can accommodate to changing conditions.  Culture is viewed as a macrosystem.  Binds a particular society together, and includes its manners, morals, tools, and techniques.
  • 3.  Society:  A group of people who have learned to live and work together.  Society is a holon and within the society, culture refers to the way of life is followed by the group (society).
  • 4. Nature of Culture  Culture is a group phenomenon.  Cultures evolve from the interaction of person with others, and a person’s belief or behavior becomes part of the culture when it is externalized and objectified.
  • 5.  A culture evolves as each person encounters four “poles”.  One’s own body or somatic process.  Biological constitution  Genetic endowment  Other persons or society.  Feedback cycle  The material world of nonhuman objects.  The universe of social constructed meanings.
  • 6.  According to Erikson, cultures change through the action of persons whose ideas and behavior “fit” the culture.  Change can also occur as a result of cataclysm, either physical as in famine, war, epidemic, or disaster.  It can also change as a result of a “paradigm shift” in fundamental understandings by those in the culture.
  • 7. Unique Aspects of the Human Species  The capacity to think.  Sets humans apart from most other forms of life.  Humans have the capacity to externalize the thought process.  Tools  Human reproduction  Cloning
  • 8. The Family as Human Universal  The family is biologically based and is the primary social unit.  Family is constant; the form of the family is variable.  The development of culture exists because culture is transmitted from one generation to the next through education not through the genes.
  • 9. Language and Communication  Language is defined as any transfer of meaning, but general usage refers only to spoken and written messages.  It is essential to be attuned to unspoken and unwritten language.  Language structures reality  Form and variability determine how members of the culture will view reality and structure their thoughts.
  • 10. Territoriality  Tendency of people to seek and maintain a territory.  The definition of spatial and interactional territories is paramount feature of any culture.  Refers to the cultural ways people locate themselves in their universe and establish the boundaries of their various human systems.
  • 11. Qualities of a Society  Culture is that complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by a human being as a member of society.  Culture is viewed as the ways of doing, being, and explaining, as they exist in each particular system.
  • 12. Tools  Amplifiers of human capacities:  Sensory capacity  Motor capacity  Reasoning and thinking capacity  Include devices, objects, and procedures that are extensions of human natural capacities.  Tools of a culture include not only understanding their built-in purpose but, their purpose for the user.
  • 13. Social Organizations: Society and Roles  All cultures, being social systems, have organization.  Three aspects operating to define social class:  Economic status  Social status  Political power  Social class suggests a group consciousness on the part of members.  Emergence of a permanent “underclass” in American society.
  • 14.  Role relates to and derives from status.  Total of the cultural expectations associated with a particular status, including:  Attitudes  Values  Behavior  Role expectation are defined by the culture and its components and incorporated by the persons filling the role.
  • 15.  All persons occupy a complex set of roles:  Parent  Child  Worker  Voter  Worshipper  The total number of roles is influenced by the quantity of networks they are involved in.
  • 16. Language  Transfer of meaning between systems and between subsystems.  Composed of symbols and the meanings are learned and transferred through social interaction.  Communication of symbols and their meanings represents the major form of transaction between systems.
  • 17.  Mead stated that we do not simply respond to the acts of others; we act on our interpretations of their intentions and judgments.  A means of setting and maintaining cultural boundaries; also to organize the energies of the system.  The importance of screening and interpreting symbols in working with people is quite clear.
  • 18. Child Rearing  A major task of any culture.  As a culture becomes more complex and differentiated, so too does child rearing, and other social provisions appear.  These new systems arise to realize more effectively the complex values of a culture.  Certain values are in conflict with certain other values, leading to tension and strain within the culture.
  • 19. Human Urge to Explain the World  Humans are congenitally compelled to impose a meaningful order upon reality.  Religion, philosophy, science, and superstition are some of the means.  Science continues to be the dominant means of exploring, explaining, and changing our world.
  • 20. Social Relations: Caring  Cultures are marked by the style in which they conduct social relationships.  Caring involves both an emotional disposition and caring labor.  It is a practice in which both thought and action are integrated around central aims or goals.  Caring is a dimension of culture as much as tools and language.
  • 21.  A feminist critique states that caring is largely delegated to women by a male-dominated society.  Regardless of sex, individuals and groups who occupy subordinate status display a responsive orientation to others characterized by deference, attentiveness, awareness of needs, understanding of perspectives, moods, intentions, and responsiveness.
  • 22.  An emphasis on autonomy as a basis for caring may be more acceptable to men.