Chapter 3. Culture
Figure 3.1. Graffiti’s mix the colourful drawings, words, and also symbols is a colorful expression that culture—or, depending on one’s viewpoint, a disturbing expression of the creator’s absence of respect because that a community’s mutual space. (Photo courtesy the aikijuanma/flickr)

Learning Objectives

3.1. What Is Culture?

Differentiate between society and societyExplain product versus nonmaterial cultureDiscuss the ide of cultural universalism as it relates to societyCompare and contrast ethnocentrism and also xenocentrism

3.2. Facets of Culture

Understand exactly how values and also beliefs differ from normsExplain the significance of symbols and language to a cultureExplain the Sapir-Whorf hypothesisDiscuss the role of social control within culture

3.3. Pop Culture, Subculture, and cultural Change

Discuss the roles of both high culture and pop culture within societyDifferentiate in between subculture and countercultureExplain the role of innovation, invention, and discovery in cultureUnderstand the duty of social lag and also globalization in cultural change

3.4. Theoretical Perspectives on Culture

Discuss the significant theoretical approaches to social interpretation

Introduction come Culture

Are there rules for eating at McDonald’s? Generally, we perform not think about rules in a fast food restaurant, however if friend look about one top top a typical weekday, you will certainly see human being acting together if they to be trained because that the function of rapid food customer. They stand in line, choose items from the colourful menus, swipe debit cards come pay, and wait to collect trays that food. After a quick meal, customers wad increase their paper wrappers and also toss them into garbage cans. Customers’ activity through this rapid food regime is orderly and predictable, even if no rules room posted and also no officials straight the process.

You are watching: Minor components that make up a culture

If friend want more insight right into these did not like rules, think about what would occur if friend behaved follow to some various other standards. (You would certainly be act what sociologists speak to ethnomethodology: deliberately disrupting social norms in order come learn around them.) for example, speak to ahead for reservations, questioning the cashier detailed questions around the food’s ingredients or just how it is prepared. Asking to have your meal offered to you at her table. Or throw her trash top top the ground as you leave. Chances are, you will elicit hostile responses native the restaurant employees and your fellow customers.

People have actually written whole books examining the significance of quick food customs. They study the extensive, in-depth physicality of quick food: the food itself, wrappers, bags, trays, those small ketchup packets, the tables and also chairs, and even the restaurant building. Everything around a chain restaurant mirrors culture, the beliefs and behaviours the a social team shares. Sociological analysis can be used to every expression the culture, native sporting occasions to holidays, from education and learning to transportation, from fashion come etiquette.

In day-to-day conversation, world rarely distinguish in between the state “culture” and “society,” yet the terms have slightly different meanings, and also the difference is important to a sociologist. A society explains a group of world who re-superstructure a common territory and also a culture. By “territory,” sociologists describe a definable region—as small as a neighbourhood (e.g., east Vancouver or “the west side of town”), as large as a country (e.g., Ethiopia, Canada, or Nepal), or somewhere in between (in Canada, this could include someone who identifies v the West Coast, the Prairies, or Atlantic Canada). To clarify, a society represents the beliefs, practices and also artifacts of a group, while culture represents the society structures and also organization the the human being who re-publishing those beliefs and also practices. Neither society nor culture could exist without the other. In this chapter, we study the partnership between society and society in greater detail, paying distinct attention come the elements and forces that shape culture, consisting of diversity and social changes. A final discussion touches top top the various theoretical perspectives from which sociologists research culture.

3.1. What Is Culture?

Humans space social creatures. Since the dawn the Homo sapiens almost 250,000 year ago, world have grouped with each other into areas in order come survive. Life together, people form common habits and behaviours—from certain methods of childrearing to preferred techniques because that obtaining food. In modern Paris, many human being shop daily at outdoor markets to pick up what they require for your evening meal, to buy cheese, meat, and vegetables from different specialty stalls. In the Canada, the majority of people shop when a week at supermarkets, filling big carts come the brim. The Parisian Roland Barthes disdainfully described this together “the hasty stocking up” of a “more mechanically civilization” (Barthes 1977).

Almost every human being behaviour, indigenous shopping to marital relationship to expression of feelings, is learned. In Canada, world tend to view marital relationship as a selection between two people, based on mutual feelings of love. In other nations and in other times, marriages have actually been arranged with an intricate process of interviews and negotiations between entire families, or in various other cases, with a direct system such as a “mail stimulate bride.” come someone elevated in Winnipeg, the marriage customs of a family members from Nigeria may seem strange, or even wrong. Conversely, who from a classic Kolkata family could be perplexed v the idea of romantic love as the structure for the lifelong commitment of marriage. In other words, the way in which people view marital relationship depends greatly on what they have been taught.

Behaviour based upon learned customizeds is not a negative thing. Being familiar with unwritten rules helps human being feel secure and also “normal.” Most world want come live their daily lives confident that their behaviours will certainly not be challenged or disrupted. Yet even an activity as seemingly an easy as commuting to occupational evidences a good deal of social propriety.

Figure 3.2. Just how would a visitor indigenous a countryside Canadian town act and feel on this crowded Tokyo train? (Photo courtesy the simonglucas/flickr)

Take the instance of going to occupational on publicly transportation. Whether commuting in Dublin, Cairo, Mumbai, or Vancouver, countless behaviours will certainly be the exact same in all locations, but far-reaching differences also arise between cultures. Typically, a passenger would discover a marked bus prevent or station, wait for the bus or train, pay an agent before or after boarding, and quietly take it a chair if one is available. Yet when boarding a bus in Cairo, passengers can have to run, because buses there often do not concerned a complete stop to take on patrons. Dublin bus riders would be expected to expand an arm to show that they want the bus to avoid for them. And when boarding a commuter train in Mumbai, passengers should squeeze into overstuffed cars between a lot of pushing and shoving ~ above the overfilled platforms. That type of behaviour would certainly be considered the height of rudeness in Canada, but in Mumbai it mirrors the daily obstacles of getting about on a train mechanism that is taxed to capacity.

In this example of commuting, society consists of thoughts (expectations about an individual space, for example) and tangible things (bus stops, trains, and also seating capacity). Material culture refers to the objects or belongings of a team of people. Metro passes and bus tokens are component of material culture, as space automobiles, stores, and the physical frameworks where civilization worship. Nonmaterial culture, in contrast, consists of the ideas, attitudes, and beliefs the a society. Material and also nonmaterial aspects of culture are linked, and also physical objects frequently symbolize social ideas. A metro pass is a product object, yet it to represent a kind of nonmaterial culture, namely, capitalism, and the acceptance of paying for transportation. Clothing, hairstyles, and jewellery are component of material culture, but the appropriateness the wearing particular clothing for particular events reflects nonmaterial culture. A school structure belongs to product culture, but the teaching methods and also educational requirements are part of education’s nonmaterial culture. This material and nonmaterial elements of society can vary subtly from region to region. As world travel aside from that afield, moving from various regions to entirely various parts that the world, specific material and nonmaterial aspects of society become significantly unfamiliar. What happens as soon as we encounter various cultures? together we communicate with societies other than our own, we become more aware that the differences and also commonalities between others’ worlds and also our own.

Cultural Universals

Often, a to compare of one culture to an additional will reveal evident differences. Yet all cultures share usual elements. Cultural universals space patterns or properties that are globally usual to all societies. One instance of a cultural universal is the family unit: every human society recognizes a household structure that regulates sex-related reproduction and the treatment of children. Also so, just how that family unit is defined and how it attributes vary. In many eastern cultures, because that example, family members members from all generations typically live together in one household. In these cultures, young adults will continue to live in the prolonged household family structure till they marry and join your spouse’s household, or they might remain and also raise your nuclear family within the prolonged family’s homestead. In Canada, through contrast, people are meant to leave home and live independently for a period before developing a family members unit consist of of parents and their offspring.

See more: How To Get To Cave Of Origin From Sootopolis City ? How Do I Go Back To The Cave Of Origin

Anthropologist George Murdock very first recognized the existence of social universals while researching systems of kinship around the world. Murdock uncovered that social universals regularly revolve around an easy human survival, such together finding food, clothing, and also shelter, or around shared human experiences, such together birth and death, or illness and healing. V his research, Murdock identified other universals including language, the concept of an individual names, and, interestingly, jokes. Humor seems to be a universal way to relax tensions and create a feeling of unity amongst people (Murdock 1949). Sociologists take into consideration humour necessary to person interaction since it helps individuals navigate otherwise it is too dirty situations.