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all that human beings learn to do, to use, to produce, to know, and to believe as they grow to maturity and live out their lives in the social groups to which they belong

culture shock

the difficulty people have adjusting to a new culture that differs markedly from their own. This CAN happen within an individual's own society.


people often make judgements abut other cultures according to the customs and values of their own; leads to discrimination and prejudice

cultural relativism

the recognition that social groups and cultures must be studied and understood on their own terms before valid comparisons can be made

material culture

consists of human technology--all the things human beings make and use, from small handheld tools to skyscrapers

nonmaterial culture

the totality of knowledge, beliefs, values, and rules for appropriate behavior (family, government, education, economy)


the rules of behavior that are agreed upon and shared within a culture and that prescribe limits of acceptable behavior


strongly held norms that usually have a moral connotation and are based on the central values of the culture

ideal norms

expectations of what people should do under perfect conditions

real norms

norms that are expressed with qualifications and allowances for differences in individual behavior

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

argues the language of an individual determines his perception of reality


anything that represents something else and carries a particular meaning recognized by members of a culture


the process by which human beings adjust to change in their environment


any new practice or tool that becomes widely accepted in a society

innovation + diffusion

cultural evolution =


the movement of cultural traits from one culture to another


a trait is modified in some way so that it fits better in its new context


the distinctive lifestyles, values, norms, and beliefs of certain segments of the population within a society

Ethnic, Occupational, Religious, Political, Geographical, Social Class, Deviant

types of subcultures

rights of passage

standardized rituals marking major life transitions


object or thing that can represent other things because they share some important quality with them

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