Cultural Values of 12 Angry Men

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Culture, which is the language, beliefs, values, norms, and behaviors, is around us everyday, all the time. To understand culture, social facts are necessary to know. Social facts are patterns of behavior that characterize a social group, which includes values, norms, and sanctions. In the movie, 12 Angry Men, the jury as a group is an example of a culture in which social facts can be described. The values of the jurors in 12 Angry Men seem to be along the same lines. Most of the men value that the way they dress at work must be presentable. Their idea of what is desirable in life is to be successful. The group’s values differ when it comes to the way they treat their elders, though. An obvious norm of the jury is that murder is not acceptable; it disobeys the expectations of behaviors that reflect their values. These men have a few norms that they share, but also have norms that are different, due to their differences in social facts. They all think kids now are worse than when they were kids. Sanctions were expressed in the group when the men voted. At first the signs of sanctions consisted of being lectured for voting “not guilty”. Disapproval was mostly directed towards the men voting “not guilty” because they stood up for the boy. A sanction against the boy, if found guilty, could be death. The twelfth juror did not use his own group’s way of doing things as a yardstick for judging others. He put himself in the boy’s shoes by taking everything into consideration and the other men did not start to do this until the end of the movie. One of the men brought up a point that just because he grew up in the slums doesn’t mean he murdered his father. He spoke from his personal experiences. But the twelfth juror added, “I kept putting myself in the kid’s place.” This is important because his way of looking at the case was fine. The man stood firm on his vote until the boy was proved with facts to be guilty. He showed cultural relativism because he realized he must...
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