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Cultural Diversity, Cultural Adaptation and Cultural Change

Cultural Diversity, Cultural Adaptation and Cultural Change. What is culture?. Culture - all of the shared products of human groups - - products people create Material culture – physical objects that people create (cars, clothes, books, buildings)

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Cultural Diversity, Cultural Adaptation and Cultural Change

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  1. Cultural Diversity, Cultural Adaptation and Cultural Change

  2. What is culture? • Culture - all of the shared products of human groups - - products people create • Material culture – physical objects that people create (cars, clothes, books, buildings) • Nonmaterial culture – abstract human creations (language, ideas, beliefs, rules, skills, family patterns) • Society – group of mutually interdependent people who have organized in such a way as to share a common culture and feeling of unity - - people

  3. Components of Culture • Physical objects • Symbols – anything that stands for something else Ex: Can be a word, gesture, image, sound, physical object, event or element of the natural world • Language – organization of written or spoken symbols into a standardized system • Values – shared beliefs about what is good or bad or right or wrong

  4. Norms – shared rules of conduct that tell people how to act in specific situations • Are expectations for behavior, not actual behavior • Folkways – norms w/no great moral significance attached (shake hands when you’re introduced to someone) • Mores – have moral significance attached (killing someone)

  5. Examining culture • Culture is dynamic (continually changing) rather than static • Cultural trait – individual tool, act or belief related to a particular situation or need Ex: Using a fork to eat, how we greet people • Cultural complex – cluster of interrelated traits Ex: football – measuring chain, football, cleats, helmets, first-aid kits; belief that players should be good sports, penalties for rule violations

  6. Culture pattern – combination of a number of cultural complexes into an interrelated whole Ex: basketball, softball, swimming, tennis combine to form American athletic pattern

  7. Cultural variation • Cultural universals – features common to all cultures Ex: cooking, body adornment, religion, sports, forms of greeting, medicine, family • Ethnocentrism- tendency to view one’s own culture and group as superior • Cultural relativism – belief that cultures should be judged by their own standards

  8. Variation within societies • Subculture – characteristics (values, norms, behaviors) shared by a group w/in society that aren’t shared by the entire population • Counterculture – subcultural practices consciously intended to challenge the values of the larger society

  9. The American Value System • Traditional American values • Personal achievement • Work • Morality and humanitarianism • Efficiency and practicality • Progress and material comfort • Equality and democracy • Freedom

  10. American Value System –cont- • New value: Self-fulfillment – commitment to the full development of one’s personality, talents and potential • Negative effects • Sociologist Christopher Lasch – personality disorder called narcissism – extreme self-centeredness • Daniel Bell – weakens values of hard work and moderation and threatens stability of the capitalism • AmitaiEtzioni – hurts family life and educational system

  11. American Value System –cont- • Positive effects • Daniel Yankelovich – emphasis on self-improvement and a movement away from satisfaction based on material gain

  12. Social control • Social control – enforcing of norms • Sanctions – rewards or punishments used to enforce conformity to norms • Positive sanctions – rewards

  13. Social Control –cont- • Negative sanctions – punishment or threat of punishment • Formal sanctions – reward or punishment given by some formal organization (govt, school, police) • Informal sanctions – spontaneous expression of approval or disapproval by an individual or group • Standing ovation, compliments, frowns, gossip

  14. Social Change • Sources of social change • Social movement – long-term conscious effort to promote or prevent social change • Prohibition, civil rights, gay rights • Technology (through discovery or invention) • Population • Population increase/decrease, movement or age change

  15. Diffusion – process of spreading culture traits from one society to another • Physical environment • War and conquest

  16. Social Change –cont- • Resistance to change • Ethnocentrism • Cultural lag – situation when some aspects of culture change less rapidly than other aspects of the same culture • Vested interests

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