Elements of Culture

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SOCIAL ORGANIZATION

·         Creates social structure by organizing its members into small units to meet basic needs. ·         Family Patterns: family is the most important unit of social organization. Through the family children learn how they are expected to act and what to believe. ·         Nuclear family: wife, husband, children.  This is a typical family in an industrial society (US).  ·         Extended family: Several generations living in one household, working and living together: grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins.  Respect for elders is strong. ·         Social classes: rank people in order of status, depending on what is important to the culture (money, job, education, ancestry, etc.)  

 
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
 
·         Rules of Behavior are enforced ideas of right and wrong. They can be customs, traditions, rules, or written laws.  
RELIGION
 
·         Answers basic questions about the meaning of life. ·         Supports values that groups of people feel are important. ·         Religion is often a source of conflict between cultures. ·         Monotheism is a belief in one god.

·         Polytheism is a belief in many gods.
·         Atheism is a belief in no gods.

LANGUAGE

·         Language is the cornerstone of culture. ·         All cultures have a spoken language (even if there are no developed forms of writing). ·         People who speak the same language often share the same culture. ·         Many societies include a large number of people who speak different languages. ·         Each language can have several different dialects.  

 

ARTS AND LITERATURE

·         They are the products of the human imagination. ·         They help us pass on the culture’s basic beliefs. ·         Examples: art, music, literature, and folk tales  

 

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

·         People form governments to provide for their common needs, keep order within society, and protect their society from outside threats. ·         Definition of government: 1. Person/people who hold power in a society; 2  Society’s laws and political institutions.

·         Democracy:  people have supreme power, government acts by and with consent. ·         Republic:  people choose leaders who represent them. ·         Dictatorship: ruler/group holds power by force usually relying on military support for power.

 

ECONOMIC SYSTEMS

·         How people use limited resources to satisfy their wants and needs. ·         Answers the basic questions:  what to produce, how to produce it, and for whom. ·         Traditional Economy:  people produce most of what they need to survive (hunting, gathering, farming, herding cattle, make own clothes/tools). ·         Market Economy:  buying and selling goods and services ·         Command Economy:  Government controls what/how goods are produced and what they cost.   Individuals have little economic power ·         Mixed Economy:  Individuals make some economic decisions and the government makes others.

 

THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF CULTURE

I. Language.
A. Language is a set of symbols used to assign and communicate meaning. It enables us to name or label the things in our world so we can think and communicate about them. B. Language as a social product.

C. Language, communication and interaction.
D. Language, cognition, and reality.
E. Language and culture.
II. Norms.
A. Norms as humanly created rules for behavior.
1. The production of norms.
a. The need for orderly, stable, predictable interactions. b. The role of power in the production of norms. 2. The reification of norms.
3. Renegotiating and changing norms.
B. Types of norms....
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