Chapter 4

Report
Chapter 4
Culture
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Inc.
A Definition of Culture
• Culture encompasses the ideas, values,
and material objects that allow a group,
even an entire society, to carry out their
collective lives in relative order and
harmony.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Basic Elements of Culture:
Values
• The broadest elements of culture
• General and abstract standards defining
what a group or society considers good
• Express a society’s ideals
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The Basic Elements of Culture:
Norms
• Informal rules that guide what people do
and how they live
• Tell people what to do and not do in a
certain situation
• Informal
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
The Basic Elements of Culture:
Norms
• Norms are reinforced through sanctions,
which can be positive (rewards) or negative
(punishments).
• Folkways: norms that are relatively
unimportant
• Mores: important norms whose violation is
met with a severe negative sanction
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
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The Basic Elements of Culture:
Material Culture
• Encompasses the artifacts that are
reflections of culture
• Includes clothes, homes, technology, toys,
and even weapons
• Culture shapes these objects.
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The Basic Elements of Culture:
Symbolic Culture and Language
• Symbolic culture encompasses
nonmaterial culture.
• Two key forms are values and norms.
• Language is an important aspect of
symbolic culture that allows for the storage
and development of culture.
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Cultural Differences: Ideal and Real
Culture
• Ideal culture: what the norms and values
of society lead us to think people should
believe and do
• Real culture: what people actually think
and do in their everyday lives
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Cultural Differences: Ideology
• Ideology: set of shared beliefs that
explains the social world and guides
people’s actions
• A dominant ideology is one upon which
many people act.
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Inc.
Cultural Differences:
Subcultures
• Subculture: a group of people who accept
much of the dominant culture, but are set
apart from it
• Subcultures can be grouped by interest,
entertainment, fashion, vocabulary, or
lifestyle.
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Inc.
Cultural Differences:
Countercultures
• Counterculture: a group of people who are
set apart from the dominant culture and
their norms and values are incompatible
with it
• Examples include the KKK, hippies,
antiwar activists, and computer hackers
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Cultural Differences: Culture
Wars
• A conflict between a subculture or
counterculture and the dominant culture
• Culture wars sometimes lead to the
disruption of the social, economic, and
political status quo.
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Inc.
Cultural Differences:
Multiculturalism and Assimilation
• Multiculturalism: an environment in which
cultural differences are accepted and
appreciated by the majority dominant
group
• Assimilation: when the dominant culture
makes the minority culture adapt to its
values, norms, and beliefs
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
Cultural Differences:
Multiculturalism and Assimilation
• Identity politics: a tactic used by the minority
group when the dominant group is unwilling
to accept them
• Cultural relativism: the idea that a culture
needs to be understood within the context of
that culture
• Ethnocentrism: the belief that one’s culture is
superior to other cultures
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Inc.
Cultural Differences: High and Low
Culture
• High culture has tended to be associated
with societal elites, seen as the product of
artists or skilled professionals, and thought
of as aesthetically rich.
• Low culture (sometimes called popular
culture) has been associated with the
masses and is viewed as lacking in
redeeming aesthetic qualities.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
Emerging Issues in Culture: Global
Culture
• The Globalization of Values: as ideas,
information, products, and people flow
across the globe, what people value
become increasingly similar.
• Cultural Imperialism: the idea that what
affects global culture the most is the
imposition of one dominant culture on
other cultures
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Inc.
Emerging Issues in Culture:
Consumer Culture
• Consumer culture: a culture in which the
core ideas and material objects relate to
consumption and in which consumption is
a primary source of meaning in life
• While it can be said that consumer culture
is the culture of the West and modernity, it
has been globalized to a great degree.
Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications,
Inc.
Emerging Issues in Culture:
Consumer Culture
• Children in a consumer culture is perhaps the
most controversial aspect of consumer
culture.
• It is the idea that children are socialized into, and
actively involved in, consuming
• Nontraditional settings for consumption
include areas like health care (doctors,
pharmaceuticals), higher education, and the
Internet.
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Inc.
Emerging Issues in Culture:
Consumer Culture
• The recent Great Recession (2007-2009)
caused many observers to question the
durability of the consumer culture, leading
many to consider the possibility of a
postconsumer culture.
• Culture Jamming involves radically
transforming an intended message in
popular culture.
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Inc.
Emerging Issues in Culture:
Cyberculture
• The Internet is a site of an entirely new
culture---a cyberculture.
• The Internet has the characteristics of a
culture, including distinctive values
(openness and sharing) and norms (don’t
hack into websites).
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Inc.

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