Culture and Identity

Topics: Sociology, Culture, Low culture Pages: 5 (1461 words) Published: December 14, 2012
Culture and Identity

Outline, what the term ‘Culture’ may be taken to mean and then explain the ways in which it is transmitted by the wider society and the effects that this may have for individual members of the society .


Society and Culture are interlinked, thus sociology defines society as two or more people who interact in such a manner as to share a common culture. Therefore culture is seen as a vital factor of sociology. Culture can be defined as common beliefs, behavior, objectives or characteristics formed within a group of people or society. People tend to define themselves with to a particular culture. In other words culture is a common set norms formed within a group of the society or a society to which people identify themselves to. This essay aims to explain in which ways culture is transmitted within the society and the effects this may have on individual members of a society. The essay will look at concepts of culture in terms of mass and folk culture. Furthermore it will take into consideration age, gender, social class and ethnicity, which will help to understand the interrelationship between self, identity and socialization. To understand culture in modern world better, the essay will aim to analyze the link between cultural consumption and identity in the modern society.

Main body:

According to Linton (1945) culture of a society is the way of life of its members; a collection of ideas and thoughts, which they learn and practiced. This is shared from one generation to another. There are different types of cultures for example high culture and low culture or popular culture. Popular culture or low culture is persuade by middle class people or working class people, whereas high culture is persuade by professionals or upper class people like sophisticated pursuits . These sophisticated pursuits enjoyed or shared by high culture individuals are directly linked to the education levels and refer to a more civilized society; this has been supported by two academics Elliot and F.R Leavis.

Folk and Mass are two other types of culture. Folk culture refers to a culture created in societies that are behind in industrialization. This culture takes transmitting information from one generation to another as vital. The principles of folk culture include personal honor, loyalty to family and clan; duty or service to the community and respect for Nature. In other words to place the welfare of one's community, one's folk, before one's own personal interests and happiness.

However as the society developed the influence of industrial activities pushed the folk culture practices such as composing songs and telling stories were slowly fading away. At the same time, grassroots fan communities emerged in response to mass media content. This mass Society was brought about by mass production and mass consumption. This culture was identified by left wing critics in the 30’s; it included Hollywood films, popular music and pulp fiction. Thus traditional thinking was replaced by scientific thinking and folk culture was replaced by mass culture. This culture is seemed to persuade by younger generations. However there were criticism on the mass society were made by the Frankfurt school leader Theorder W.Adorno along with Freud, Marx and Hegel in 1940’s. He stated that media had direct effect on the mass culture in terms of supporting dominating ideas of the media. Many other authors state that many norms of the society come from the entertainment industry, thus making mass society abusive. Subcultures are smaller groups within the society who form their own norms. Frederic M. Thrasher (1927- 46) studied gangs in a systematic way, analyzing gang activity and behavior. He defined gangs by the process they go through to form a group interlinked through conflict thus resulting in collective behavior.

In sociology the interrelationship between self, identity and socialization can be explained starting...

Bibliography: Blunden.A (1998) The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,[online ]available at: as accessed on 24 /11/2012
Foster.M.G (2009) What Is Folk Culture?, American Anthropological Association, Volume 55, Issue 2, pages 159–173,
Kristina.R (1995) Mass Culture [online] available at as accessed on 22/11/2012
Linton. R (1893) A biographical Memoir: Ralph Linton, National Academy of the Sciences, Columbia University Press Pp 1-10
Robert.M (1957) Social theory and social structure, Glencoe, IL: Free press 1957, pp 197-202
Rolf.M (1977) The Sociology of Popular Culture: Looking Backwards and Forwards: Paper presented to the American Sociological Association
Stephan.D (2001) Communications and Culture Transformation: Cultural Diversity, Globalization and Cultural to the American Sociological Association
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