Assess the Sociological Explanations of the Role of Culture in Contemporary Society

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Culture Pages: 4 (1337 words) Published: November 19, 2012
Assess the sociological explanations of the role of culture in contemporary society

Culture is the behaviour, beliefs and characteristics of a particular group of people. Age groups, ethnic groups and social groups etc… are all examples of groups of people that possess their own unique culture. The people within a culture are expected to follow the norms and values that are passed down through generation to generation. Over the past 30 years, different cultures have gradually intermingled due to an increasing number people immigrating to different countries, which each bring their own cultures, be it religious or pop culture etc... . This is particular visible in many western countries such as Britain, Canada and the United States, as there is a much higher level of ethnic diversity. The amalgamation of different cultures has also shaped people’s views on things like sexuality, gender roles and age roles etc… Functionalists believe that culture benefits the whole of society. They believe that if everyone in society shares the same beliefs and ideas, i.e. a value consensus is reached, and then society as a whole can be kept in a civilised manner. They also believe that socialisation is a key factor, to shaping culture and society. Primary socialisation is taught by parents who teach children what they expect of them. It also develops their own personal characteristics, beliefs and values, which are largely influenced by their parents and family. Secondary socialisation is taught mainly by teachers in schools. Teenagers and young adults learn what is expected of them in larger society, outside of their home (e.g. what is acceptable and not acceptable based on age or gender etc…). Tertiary socialization occurs when individuals are integrated into the world and being to gain new ideas and values of socialization. Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist during the late 19th century and early 20th century, believed that culture is collectively formed and only exists...
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