Culture and Society

Topics: Sociology, Culture, Western culture Pages: 2 (532 words) Published: April 14, 2008
Culture and Society
Society is a system of interrelationships that connects individuals together. Society and culture are dependant on each other. Without culture there would not be society and without society there would be no culture (Giddens, Duneier, & Appelbaum, 2007). Societies are characterized by common interests. A society may refer to a particular people, such as Chinese, to a nation state, such as Switzerland, or to a broader cultural group, such as Western society (Society, n.d.). On the other hand culture refers to the way individuals or groups of a society live (Giddens, et al. 2007). Culture is defined as the values, norms, and material goods characteristic of a given group (Giddens, et al. 2007). The values and norms that are accepted differ from culture to culture. For example, in Western culture monogamy is a very important value, unlike many other cultures where having more than one wife or husband at the same time is perfectly acceptable (Giddens, et al. 2007). Another value that is recognizably different is the use of eye contact. American society pushes the belief that eye contact is a sign of respect and honesty. Children are always told to look people in the eyes. A culture as close as Mexico is vastly different. A child who looks their father or another elder in the eye is thought of as being disrespectful. A woman would never confront a man by looking him straight in the eyes. It is respectful to lower your head and eyes to show a man or elder respect. A norm that is easily recognizable as being different is the personal space issue. American society has developed certain areas in which others must not invade. The areas differ depending on the type of relationship you have with the other person. For the most part Americans do not feel comfortable with a stranger being so close to them, or touching them in some way, but in the Middle East men often give each other hugs and standing very close is normal to them. Material goods are the...
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