Principles Chapter 3

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Principles Chapter 3
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Principles Chapter 3
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  1. Define Culture.
    Culture is the knowledge, language, values, and customs passed from one generation to the next in a human group or society. Culture can be either material or nonmaterial. Material culture consists of the physical creations of society. Nonmaterial culture is more abstract and reflects the ideas, values, and beliefs of a society.
  2. List and briefly explain ten core values in U.S. society.
    (1) Individualism. People are responsible for their own success or failure. (2) Achievement and success. Personal achievement results from successful competition with others. (3) Activity and work. People who are industrious are praised for their achievement; those perceived as lazy are ridiculed. (4) Science and technology. People in the United States have a great deal of faith in science and technology. (5) Progress and material comfort. The material comforts of life include not only basic necessities (such as adequate shelter, nutrition, and medical care) but also the goods and services that make life easier and more pleasant. (6) Efficiency and practicality. People want things to be bigger, better, and faster. (7) Equality. Since colonial times, overt class distinctions have been rejected in the United States. However, "equality" has been defined as "equality of opportunity"-an assumed equal chance to achieve success-not as "equality of outcome." (8) Morality and humanitarianism. Aiding others, especially following natural disasters (such as floods or hurricanes), is seen as a value. (9) Freedom and liberty. Individual freedom is highly valued in the United States. (10) Racism and group superiority. People value their own racial or ethnic group above all others.
  3. State the definition of norms and distinguish between folkways, mores, and laws.
    • Norms are established rules of behavior or standards of conduct.
    • Folkways are informal norms or everyday customs that may be violated without serious consequences within a particular culture.
    • Mores are strongly held norms with moral and ethical connotations that may not be violated without serious consequences in a particular culture.
    • Laws are formal, standardized norms that have been enacted by legislatures and are enforced by formal sanctions.
  4. Distinguish between high culture and popular culture and between fads and fashion.
    • High culture consists of classical music, opera, ballet, and other activities usually patronized by elite audiences. Popular culture consists of the activities, products, and services of a culture that appeal primarily to members of the middle and working classes.
    • A fad is a temporary but widely copied activity followed enthusiastically by large numbers of people. Most fads are short-lived novelties.
    • A fashion is a currently valued style of behavior, thinking, or appearance that is longer lasting and more widespread than a fad.
  5. Describe how culture can be both a stabilizing force and a source of conflict in societies.
  6. Describe subcultures and countercultures; give examples of each.
    • Subculture is a group people who share a distinctive set of cultural beliefs and behaviors that differs in some significant way from that of the larger society. Examples are the Old Order Amish and ethnic enclaves in large urban areas.
    • Counterculture is a group that strongly rejects dominant societal values and norms and seeks alternative lifestyles. Examples include the beatniks of the 1950s, the flower children of the 1960s, the drug enthusiasts of the 1970s, and members of nonmainstream religious sects, or cults.
  7. Describe the importance of culture in determining how people think and act on a daily basis.
    Simply stated, culture is essential for our individual survival and for our communication with other people. We rely on culture because we are not born with the information we need to survive. We do not know how to take care of ourselves, how to behave, how to dress, what to eat, which gods to worship, or how to make or spend money. We must learn about culture through interaction, observation, and imitation in order to participate as members of the group.
  8. Use your experiences with food as a symbolic representation of culture.
  9. Describe the importance of language and relate to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
    • Language is a set of symbols that expresses ideas and enables people to think and communicate with one another. Verbal (spoken) language and nonverbal (written or gestured) language help us describe reality. One of our most important human attributes is the ability to use language to share our experiences, feelings, and knowledge with others. Language can create visual images in our head, such as "the kittens look like little cotton balls." Language also allows people to distinguish themselves from outsiders and to maintain group boundaries and solidarity.
    • Whorf suggested that language not only expresses our thoughts and perceptions but also influences our perception of reality. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, language shapes the view of reality of its speakers.
  10. Contrast ideal and real culture and give examples of each.
    According to sociologists, we do not always act in accord with our stated values. Sociologists refer to this contradiction as a gap between ideal culture and real culture. Ideal culture refers to the values and standards of behavior that people in a society profess to hold. Real culture refers to the values and standards of behavior that people may actually follow. For example, we may claim to be law-abiding (ideal cultural value) but smoke marijuana (real cultural behavior, or we may regularly drive over the speed limit but think of ourselves as �good citizens.�
  11. State the definitions for culture shock, ethnocentrism, and cultural relativism, and explain the relationship between these three concepts.
    • Culture shock is the disorientation that people feel when they encounter cultures radically different from their own and believe they cannot depend on their own taken-for-granted assumptions about life.
    • Ethnocentrism is the practice of judging all other cultures by one's own culture.
    • Cultural relativism is the belief that the behaviors and customs of any culture must be viewed and analyzed by the culture's own standards.
  12. Describe the functionalist, conflict, symbolic interactionist, and postmodernist perspectives on culture.
    • A functionalist analysis of culture assumes that a common language and shared values help produce consensus and harmony.
    • According to some conflict theorists, culture may be used by certain groups to maintain their privilege and exclude others from society's benefits.
    • Symbolic interactionists suggest that people create, maintain, and modify culture as they go about their everyday activities.
    • Postmodern thinkers believe that there are many cultures within the United States alone. In order to grasp a better understanding of how popular culture may simulate reality rather than being reality, postmodernists believe that we need a new way of conceptualizing culture and society.
  13. Compare several of the forms that popular culture takes.
    • Three prevalent forms of popular culture are fads, fashions, and leisure activities.
    • A fad is a temporary but widely copied activity followed enthusiastically by large numbers of people. According to John Lofland fads can be divided into four major categories. (1) Object fads are items that people purchase despite the fact that they have little use or intrinsic value. (2) Activity fads include pursuits such as body piercing, "surfing" the Internet, and the "free hugs" campaign. (3) Idea fads, such as New Age ideologies including "The Secret," as advocated by Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities. (4) Personality fads, such as those surrounding celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Tiger Woods, 50 Cent, and Brad Pitt.
    • A fashion is a currently valued style of behavior, thinking, or appearance that is longer lasting and more widespread than a fad.
  14. Distinguish between discovery, invention, and diffusion as means of cultural change.
    • Discovery is the process of learning about something previously unknown or unrecognized. For examples, the discovery of a polio vaccine virtually eliminated one of the major childhood diseases. Invention is the process of reshaping existing cultural items into a new form. Guns, video games, airplanes, and First Amendment rights are examples of inventions that positively or negatively affect our lives today.
    • Diffusion is the transmission of cultural items or social practices from one group or society to another through such means as exploration, military endeavors, the media, tourism, and immigration. To illustrate, pi�atas can be traced back to the twelfth century, when Marco Polo brought them back from China, where they were used to celebrate the springtime harvest, to Italy where they were filled with costly gifts in a game played by nobility. In today's "shrinking globe," cultural diffusion moves at a very rapid pace as countries continually seek new markets for their products.
  15. Explain why the rate of cultural change is uneven.
  16. Culture
    The knowledge, language, values, customs, and material objects that are passed from person to person and from one generation to the next in a human group or society.
  17. Material Culture
    A component of culture that consists of the physical or tangible creations (such as clothing, shelter, and art) that members of a society make, use, and share.
  18. Technology
    The knowledge, techniques, and tools that allow people to transform resources into a usable form and the knowledge and skills required to use what is developed.
  19. Nonmaterial Culture
    A component of culture that consists of the abstract or intangible human creations of society (such as attitudes, beliefs, and values) that influence people's behavior.
  20. Cultural Universals
    Customs and practices that occur across all societies.
  21. Symbol
    Anything that meaningfully represents something else.
  22. Language
    A set of symbols that expresses ideas and enables people to think and communicate with one another.
  23. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
    The proposition that language shapes the view of reality of its speakers.
  24. Values
    Collective ideas about what is right or wrong, good or bad, and desirable or undesirable in a particular culture.
  25. Norms
    Established rules of behavior or standards of conduct.
  26. Sanctions
    Rewards for appropriate behavior or penalties for inappropriate behavior.
  27. Folkways
    Informal norms or everyday customs that may be violated without serious consequences within a particular culture.
  28. Mores
    Strongly held norms with moral and ethical connotations that may not be violated without serious consequences in a particular culture.
  29. Taboos
    Mores so strong that their violation is considered to be extremely offensive and even unmentionable.
  30. Laws
    Formal, standardized norms that have been enacted by legislatures and are enforced by formal sanctions.
  31. Cultural Lag
    William Ogburn's term for a gap between the technical development of a society (material culture) and its moral and legal institutions (nonmaterial culture).
  32. Discovery
    The process of learning about something previously unknown or unrecognized.
  33. Invention
    The process of reshaping existing cultural items into a new form.
  34. Diffusion
    The transmission of cultural items or social practices from one group or society to another.
  35. Subculture
    A group of people who share a distinctive set of cultural beliefs and behaviors that differs in some significant way from that of the larger society.
  36. Counterculture
    A group that strongly rejects dominant societal values and norms and seeks alternative lifestyles.
  37. Culture Shock
    The disorientation that people feel when they encounter cultures radically different from their own and believe they cannot depend on their own taken-for-granted assumptions about life.
  38. Ethnocentrism
    The practice of judging all other cultures by one's own culture.
  39. Cultural Relativism
    The belief that the behaviors and customs of any culture must be viewed and analyzed by the cultures own standards.
  40. Popular Culture
    The components of culture that consists of activities, products, and services that are assumed to appeal primarily to members of the middle and working classes.
  41. Cultural Imperialism
    The extensive infusion of one nation's culture into other nations.

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