Chapter 3. Culture
Figure 3.1. Graffiti’s mix the colourful drawings, words, and also symbols is a colorful expression the culture—or, depending upon one’s viewpoint, a disturbing expression that the creator’s absence of respect for a community’s common space. (Photo courtesy of aikijuanma/flickr)

Learning Objectives

3.1. What Is Culture?

Differentiate between society and societyExplain product versus nonmaterial cultureDiscuss the ide of cultural universalism as it relates to societyCompare and also contrast ethnocentrism and also xenocentrism

3.2. Elements of Culture

Understand just how values and also beliefs differ from normsExplain the meaning of symbols and language come a cultureExplain the Sapir-Whorf hypothesisDiscuss the role of social control within culture

3.3. Popular music Culture, Subculture, and cultural Change

Discuss the duties of both high society and pop society within societyDifferentiate between subculture and also countercultureExplain the role of innovation, invention, and also discovery in cultureUnderstand the function of cultural lag and also globalization in cultural change

3.4. Theoretical Perspectives top top Culture

Discuss the significant theoretical ideologies to cultural interpretation

Introduction come Culture

Are there rules for eating in ~ McDonald’s? Generally, we do not think about rules in a fast food restaurant, however if girlfriend look around one ~ above a common weekday, you will certainly see world acting together if they to be trained because that the duty of quick food customer. They was standing in line, choose items native the colourful menus, swipe debit cards come pay, and also wait to collect trays the food. After ~ a fast meal, customers wad up their document wrappers and also toss them right into garbage cans. Customers’ movement through this rapid food program is orderly and predictable, also if no rules are posted and also no officials direct the process.

You are watching: Buses differ according to their ____.

If friend want much more insight into these undeded rules, think around what would occur if friend behaved according to some various other standards. (You would be act what sociologists call ethnomethodology: on purpose disrupting social standards in order come learn around them.) because that example, call ahead for reservations, asking the cashier in-depth questions about the food’s ingredients or just how it is prepared. Questioning to have actually your meal offered to girlfriend at her table. Or throw your trash ~ above the ground as you leave. Opportunities are, you will certainly elicit hostile responses native the restaurant employees and also your fellow customers.

People have actually written whole books evaluating the definition of quick food customs. They study the extensive, detailed physicality of fast food: the food itself, wrappers, bags, trays, those tiny ketchup packets, the tables and also chairs, and also even the restaurant building. Everything around a chain restaurant reflects culture, the beliefs and behaviours the a social group shares. Sociological analysis can be applied to every expression of culture, indigenous sporting events to holidays, from education and learning to transportation, indigenous fashion to etiquette.

In day-to-day conversation, human being rarely distinguish between the state “culture” and “society,” but the terms have actually slightly different meanings, and also the distinction is necessary to a sociologist. A society describes a group of human being who re-superstructure a usual territory and a culture. By “territory,” sociologists refer to a definable region—as tiny as a neighbourhood (e.g., eastern Vancouver or “the west next of town”), as big as a nation (e.g., Ethiopia, Canada, or Nepal), or somewhere in in between (in Canada, this might include someone who identifies v the West Coast, the Prairies, or Atlantic Canada). To clarify, a culture represents the beliefs, practices and artifacts that a group, while culture represents the social structures and organization of the people who re-publishing those beliefs and also practices. Neither culture nor culture could exist there is no the other. In this chapter, we examine the connection between culture and society in greater detail, paying special attention come the elements and forces that form culture, including diversity and social changes. A final conversation touches on the various theoretical perspectives indigenous which sociologists study culture.

3.1. What Is Culture?

Humans space social creatures. Because the dawn of Homo sapiens almost 250,000 year ago, civilization have grouped with each other into communities in order to survive. Living together, people form common habits and behaviours—from certain methods that childrearing to wanted techniques for obtaining food. In contemporary Paris, many people shop day-to-day at outdoor sectors to choose up what they need for their evening meal, purchase cheese, meat, and also vegetables from various specialty stalls. In the Canada, the majority of world shop once a week in ~ supermarkets, filling big carts to the brim. The Parisian Roland Barthes disdainfully referred to this as “the hasty stocking up” that a “more mechanical civilization” (Barthes 1977).

Almost every human being behaviour, indigenous shopping to marriage to expression of feelings, is learned. In Canada, world tend to view marital relationship as a choice between two people, based upon mutual feelings of love. In various other nations and also in various other times, marriages have been arranged through an intricate procedure of interviews and negotiations between entire families, or in various other cases, with a direct system such together a “mail order bride.” come someone increased in Winnipeg, the marriage customs of a family members from Nigeria may seem strange, or also wrong. Conversely, who from a classic Kolkata family could be perplexed through the idea the romantic love together the structure for the lifelong appointment of marriage. In various other words, the means in which world view marriage depends mostly on what they have actually been taught.

Behaviour based upon learned personalizeds is not a poor thing. Being familiar with unwritten rules helps civilization feel secure and “normal.” Most civilization want to live their everyday lives confident that their behaviours will certainly not be challenged or disrupted. However even an activity as seemingly basic as commuting to work evidences a an excellent deal of cultural propriety.

Figure 3.2. How would a visitor from a countryside Canadian city act and feel on this crowded Tokyo train? (Photo courtesy the simonglucas/flickr)

Take the case of going to job-related on publicly transportation. Even if it is commuting in Dublin, Cairo, Mumbai, or Vancouver, many behaviours will certainly be the same in all locations, but far-reaching differences likewise arise between cultures. Typically, a passenger would uncover a significant bus stop or station, wait because that the bus or train, pay an agent before or after ~ boarding, and quietly take it a chair if one is available. Yet when boarding a bus in Cairo, passengers can have come run, due to the fact that buses there regularly do not involved a complete stop to take it on patrons. Dublin bus riders would certainly be intended to prolong an eight to show that they want the bus to stop for them. And when boarding a commuter train in Mumbai, passengers must squeeze right into overstuffed cars between a most pushing and also shoving top top the crowded platforms. That kind of behaviour would certainly be taken into consideration the elevation of rudeness in Canada, however in Mumbai it reflects the daily obstacles of getting about on a train system that is taxed to capacity.

In this example of commuting, culture consists of think (expectations about an individual space, for example) and tangible things (bus stops, trains, and seating capacity). Material culture refers to the objects or belongings of a team of people. Metro passes and also bus tokens are component of product culture, as space automobiles, stores, and also the physical structures where people worship. Nonmaterial culture, in contrast, consists of the ideas, attitudes, and beliefs of a society. Material and also nonmaterial facets of society are linked, and also physical objects regularly symbolize social ideas. A metro pass is a product object, however it to represent a kind of nonmaterial culture, namely, capitalism, and also the acceptance of paying for transportation. Clothing, hairstyles, and also jewellery are part of material culture, yet the appropriateness of wearing particular clothing for specific events shows nonmaterial culture. A school structure belongs to material culture, however the to teach methods and educational criter are part of education’s nonmaterial culture. This material and also nonmaterial aspects of culture can vary subtly from an ar to region. As people travel aside from that afield, moving from different regions come entirely various parts of the world, particular material and also nonmaterial elements of culture become drastically unfamiliar. What happens once we encounter different cultures? as we communicate with societies other than our own, we become an ext aware that the differences and commonalities in between others’ worlds and our own.

Cultural Universals

Often, a comparison of one society to another will reveal evident differences. But all cultures share usual elements. Cultural universals are patterns or characteristics that are globally common to every societies. One instance of a social universal is the family unit: every human society recognizes a family members structure that regulates sex-related reproduction and the care of children. Even so, exactly how that family members unit is defined and also how it attributes vary. In many asian cultures, for example, family members members from all generations frequently live with each other in one household. In these cultures, young adult will continue to live in the expanded household family members structure till they marry and also join their spouse’s household, or they may remain and also raise your nuclear family within the expanded family’s homestead. In Canada, by contrast, people are supposed to leaving home and live independently for a period before developing a family members unit consists of parents and also their offspring.

See more: " Kingdom Hearts Hd 1.5 + 2.5 Remix Limited Edition, Square Enix Support Center

Anthropologist George Murdock very first recognized the presence of cultural universals while researching systems that kinship around the world. Murdock discovered that social universals often revolve around straightforward human survival, such together finding food, clothing, and also shelter, or around shared person experiences, such together birth and also death, or illness and healing. Through his research, Murdock determined other universals consisting of language, the ide of an individual names, and, interestingly, jokes. Humor appears to be a universal means to relax tensions and create a sense of unity among people (Murdock 1949). Sociologists consider humour important to person interaction because it helps people navigate otherwise tense situations.