Tmp 4128 Culture 2013414069444

Topics: Culture, Sociology, Anthropology Pages: 8 (931 words) Published: April 4, 2015
Culture
A sociological
perspective

Culture
Sociologically, culture is viewed in the broadest possible
sense- referring to everything that is part of a people’s way of life.

Definition
 Sociologist Cooly and Angel said, ‘Culture is the sum total

of the reflection of the way of life’.
 According to E.B. Tylor, ‘culture is that complex whole

which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law customs
and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a
member of society’. (E.B. Tylor, Primitive Cultures 1871).  Culture is the way of life shared by a group- a system of

ideas, values, beliefs, knowledge, expressiveness and
customs transmitted from generation to generation within
a social group (Metta Spencer).

Elements of Culture
Values
 Values are culturally defined standards for what is good,

desirable and proper or bad, undesirable and improper
which serve as broad guidelines for social living.

Influence people’s behavior
Criteria for evaluating actions
of others
Values may change

Elements of Culture
Norms
Established standards of

behavior maintained by a
society
Norms are rules by which a
society guides the behavior of
its members.

To be significant,
norms must be
widely shared and
understood

Types of Norms
Formal norms: generally written;

specify strict punishments
Informal norms: generally understood but
not precisely recorded

Elements of Culture
The American sociologist William Graham Summer
introduced two important terms to the study of norms.

Folkways- Norms that are everyday

habits and conventions. These are a
society’s customs for routine, casual
interaction. A person who fails to
conform to these norms or folkways
may be thought of as thoughtless or
crude, but not as a criminal or a sinner.

Mores-

Mores refer to a society’s
standards of proper moral conduct.
These norms are sacred and violations of
them are almost unthinkable.

Taboos
Taboos are mores so strong that

violation is considered extremely
offensive and even unmentionable.
The incest taboo, which prohibits
sexual relations between certain
kin, is an example of a nearly
universal taboo.

Sanction
Sanctions-Penalties

or
rewards
for
conduct
concerning a social norm.
Formal Sanctions-salary bonus,
firing from job.
Informal
Sanction-smile,
humiliation.

Laws
Formal, standardized norms that have been
enacted by legislatures and are enforced by
formal sanctions.
 

 Civil

law deals with disputes among persons or
groups.
 Criminal law deals with public safety and wellbeing.

Elements of Culture
Symbols:
A symbol is anything that carries a particular
meaning recognized by people who share the
same culture.
Language:
Language is a key element of culture. It has

been called ‘the storehouse of culture’ (Harroff,
1962). Language is a system of verbal and
non-verbal symbols that allows members of a
society to communicate with one another. All
cultures have a spoken language though not all
have a written language.

Culture and the Dominant Ideology
• Dominant Ideology
Describes the set of cultural beliefs and

practices that help maintain powerful social,
economic, and political interests
Functionalists view culture as stabilizing agent
for sociology
Conflict theorists view culture as serving the
privileges of powerful groups.

Development of Culture
Around the World
Cultural
Universals are learned
Cultural
Universals

behavior patterns that are shared by
all of humanity collectively.  No
matter where people live in the
world, they share these universal
traits.

Societies develop common practices, including:
Athletic sports
 Music
 Funeral ceremonies
 Medicine
 Sexual restrictions


Development of Culture
Around the World
• Innovation

Process of introducing new idea or object to a

culture
Discovery: making known or sharing existence of...
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