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Sociology Chapter 3
Terms in this set (37)
refers to the knowledge, values, customs and physical objects that are passed from generation to generation among members of a group
What are material aspects of culture?
skyscrapers, computers, cell phones and cars(anything you can touch), how we relate to physical objects, consists of the concrete, tangible objects within a culture
What are the nonmaterial aspects of culture?
beliefs, customs, rules, family systems, and a capitalist economy(more of an intellectual part of society)
-Culture and society are interwoven
a group of people who live in a defined territory and participate in a common culture
are generally inherited parts of behavior. Humans, unlike animals, cannot rely on instinct alone for survival, so we rely on our culture
What are other influences on our behavior?
1. Heredity- genetically inherited traits
2. Reflexes- simple, biologically inherited automatic reactions to physical stimuli
(these can vary depending on the culture)
the study of the biological basis of human behavior
Darwin's theory of natural selection + modern genetics
What are some criticisms of sociobiology?
-certain races should be labeled as inferior or superior
-there is too much variation in societies for human behavior to be based biology alone
Middle ground of sociobiology
Some sociobiologists believe that genes work with culture in a complex way to shape and limit human nature and social life (nurture vs. nature, we can come from a bad environment but if we are nurtured we can change)
What are the 2 essential components to culture?
rules defining appropriate and inappropriate behavior. they are so engrained in humans that they guide behavior without awareness
What are the 3 types of Norms?
rules that cover the customary way of thinking, feeling, and behaving but lack moral overtones
norm of great moral significance
a norm so strong that its violation demands punishment by the group(ostracized by the group)
norms that are formally defined and enforced by officials
rewards and punishments used to encourage conformity to norms, either formally or informally
sanctions that may be applied, for positive and negative reasons, only by officially designated persons, such as judges and teachers
can be applied by most members of a group, also for positive or negative reasons(ostracize someone)
broad ideas about what most people in a society consider to be desirable, they have a tremendous influence on human social behavior because they form the basis for norms
According to sociologist Robin Williams, what are some of the most important values that guide most people in the U.S.?
-Achievement and success
-Activity and work
-Efficiency and practicality
defines the transmission and creation of culture, or the idea that each generation must taught about their culture
things that stand for or represent something else, the most important symbols are those that create language
Edward Spair and Benjamin Whorf believe that our perceptions of the world depend in part on the particular language we have learned
Ex: When something is important to a society, its language will have many words to describe it
What 2 other aspects make up culture?
2. Physical objects
are the ideas about the nature of reality, (beliefs are perception, it is about how we view reality)
people base their behavior on what they believe, even if their belief might not be true
Cultures change according to what 3 major processes?
1. Discovery- the process of finding something that already exists
2. Invention- the creation of something new
3. Diffusion- the borrowing of aspects of culture from other cultures
Cultures contain groups within them that differ in important ways from the main culture that are called what?
subcultures and countercultures
While apparently very different on the surface, all cultures have common traits or elements, traits that exist in all cultures like cooking, education, sports
Cultural universals exist for 3 main reasons:
1. The biological similarity shared by all human beings
2. The physical environment affecting by all human beings
3. Many countries face the same social problems
the ways that each culture expresses the universals
groups that share a social characteristic such as age, gender, or religion
part of the dominant culture but differs from it in some important respects
a subculture deliberately and consciously opposed to certain beliefs or attitudes of the dominant culture
the practice of judging others in terms of one's own cultural standards
Advantages of ethnocentrism
-people feel good about themselves and others
-stability is promoted
Disadvantages of ethnocentrism
Inflexibility-my country right or wrong
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