Chapter 3 Culture

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The learned and shared behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, values, and material objects that characterize a particular group or society.


A group of people who have lived and worked together long enough to become an organized population and to think of themselves as a social unit.

Material Culture

The tangible objects that members of a society make, use, and share.

Nonmaterial Culture

The shared set of meanings that people in a society use to interpret and understand the world.


Anything that stands for something else and has a particular meaning for people who share a culture.


A system of shared symbols that enables people to communicate with one another.


The standards by which members of a particular culture define what is good or bad, moral or immoral, proper or improper, desirable or undesirable, beautiful or ugly.


A society's specific rules concerning right and wrong behavior.


Norms that members of a society (or a group within a society) see as not being critical and that may be broken without severe punishment.


Norms that members of a society consider very important because they maintain moral and ethical behavior.


Formal rules about behavior that are defined by a political authority that has the power to punish violators.


Rewards for good or appropriate behavior and/or penalties for bad or inappropriate behavior.

Cultural Universals

Customs and practices that are common to all societies.

Deal Culture

The beliefs, values, and norms that people in a society say they hold or follow.

Real Culture

The actual everyday behavior of people in a society.


The belief that one's culture and way of life are superior to those of other groups.

Cultural Relativism

The belief that no culture is better than another and that a culture should be judged by its own standards.


A group of people whose distinctive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting differ somewhat from those of the larger society.


A group of people who deliberately oppose and consciously reject some of the basic beliefs, values, and norms, or the dominant culture.

Multiculturalism (Cultural Pluralism)

The coexistence of several cultures in the same geographic area, without one culture dominating another.

Culture Shock

A sense of confusion, uncertainty, disorientation, or anxiety that accompanies exposure to an unfamiliar way of life or environment.

Popular Culture

The beliefs, practices, activities, and products that are widely shared among a population in everyday life.

Mass Media

Forms of communication designed to reach larges numbers of people.

Cultural Imperialism

The cultural values and products of one society influence or dominate those of another.

Cultural Integration

The consistency of various aspects of society that promotes order and stability.

Cultural Lag

The gap when nonmaterial culture changes more slowly than material culture.

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