Sociology of Culture

Sociological Neglect of Culture
Early 20th American Sociology neglected culture.
Emphasis on "social facts"
Mainstream American culture taken as a given--the "work ethic"; "assimilation"
Culture studied in anthropology
When used in sociology, culture was often very abstract--e.g., "constitutive symbolization," or "latent pattern maintenance"
"Cultural turn" in Sociology
The Civil Rights Movement (questioned unified nature of American culture, anti-colonialism, era of multiculturalism)
Frankfurt School of Social Research
Culture Industry
Used by elites to spread ideology through mass media
Material Culture
Physical or technological aspects of daily lives
(food, houses, factories, computers)
Nonmaterial Culture
Ways of using material objects as well as values, social organization and government, patterns of communication
Formal Norms
Generally written; specify strict punishments, laws
Informal Norms
Generally understood but not precisely recorded, informal shame and praise
Penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm
(norms and sections in a culture reflects that culture's values and priorities)
Collective conceptions of what is good, desirable, and proper--or bad
(influence our behavior, are subject to change)
Imagined Ethnicity
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, 1982
The emergence of the nationstate in 18th century Europe
"How can large groups of people who don't know each other feel social communion?" (print media)
A move away from essentialist arguments about culture
Mediated/Unmediated Culture
Mediated culture: is largely based on consumer relations
Unmediated culture: based on direct relationships within the ethnic community