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Culture Shock

the disorientation that people experience when they come in contact with fundamentally different cultures


a system of symbols that can be combined in an infinite number of ways and can represent not only objects but abstract thoughts

Cultural Universals

a value, norm, or other cultural trait that is found in every group


the ways in which people use their bodies to communitcate with one another

Ideal Culture

the ideal values and norms of a people; the goals held out for them

Real Culture

the norms and values that people actually follow


the values and related behaviors of a group that distinguish its members from the larger culture; a world within a world


a group who's values, beliefs, and related behaviors place its members in opposition to the broader culture

Nonmaterial Culture

a groups way of thinking (beliefs, values, and other assumptions about the world)

Material Culture

tangible objects of a culture


the use of one's own culture as a yard stick for judging the ways of other individuals and society


the standards by which people define what is desirable or undesirable, good or bad, beautiful or ugly

Culture War

when values clash

Charles Darwin

came up with the idea of social darwinism-- "survival of the fittest"

Cultural Relativism

not judging a culture but trying to understand it on its own terms

Pluralistic Society

a society made up of many different groups

Value Contradiction

values that contradict one another


a norm that is strictly enforced

Natural Selection

people best adapted to their society are more apt to survive

Positive Sanction

a reward or positive reaction for following norms, ranging from a smile to a prize

Negative Sanction

an expression of disapproval for breaking a norm; ranging from a frown to a prison sentence

Cultural Diffusion

the spread of cultural characteristics from one group to another


norms that are not strictly enforced


developed to substitute for gestures


a norm so strong that it often brings revulsion if violated

Basic Elements of Nonmaterial Culture

beliefs, values, other assumptions about world

Cultural Leveling

the process by which cultures become similar to one another; especially the US culture which is being exported and diffused into other nations

Examples of Subcultures

Muslims, Amish, Rasfarians, Greek

American Values

Achivement and Success
Activity and Work
Science and Technology
Material Comfort
Racism and Group Superiority
Romantic Love

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