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SocioUnit III-Socitety and Culture

SocioUnit III-Socitety and Culture

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Published by Jaffar Ali

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Published by: Jaffar Ali on Jun 03, 2011
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No society exists without a culture and equally no culture could existwithout society in this chapter, you will learn important concepts that will helpyou better understand society and culture. The chapter also explains how thestructural functionalists and conflict theorists view society’s norms and whydeviation from these norms occur.
After the discussions and exercises, the students will be able to:1.Explain the major concepts related to culture and society;2.Explain and differentiate the various theoretical views of culture;3.Identify some issues related to our own and other cultures;4.Develop a general acceptance of our own tolerance for other cultures.
: Lecture discussion, exercises, show and tell, collection of culturalartifacts
Major concepts
: culture, sociocultural systems, cultural universals anddiversity, subculture and counterculture, ethnocentrism, cultural relativism,culture shock, the elements of culture.
I. SOCIETY 1.Definitions of societySociety
is the totality of social organization and the complex network of interconnected, interdependent, and overlapping social relationships. Itsmembers interact and interrelate with each other and share a commonculture and territory (Panopio et.al. 1994; Macionis 2003)
Types of Societies
(Palispis 1996)
Hunting and food gathering societies
are the earliest form of humansociety. They are subsistence societies that forage for vegetation andgame on the basis of what is needed for each day’s existence.
Horticultural societies
are those that plant gardens and fields usingonly human muscle power and hand-held tools. They are two types:
Pastoral societies
rely on herding and the domestication of animals forexistence. Animals raised provide milk, dung for fuel, skin, sheared fur,and even blood (which is drunk as a major source of protein in EastAfrica). Pastoral societies develop in many regions not suitable for plantdomestication. Since pastoral groups follow their herds in quest forpasture and water, these groups are relatively small and mobile.
Agricultural societies
cultivate plants with the use of plow. Earlyagriculture did not yield much more than the food gatherers were ableto harvest in naturally rich environments. With the use of irrigation,farming became capable of producing huge surpluses—enough to feedlarge numbers of people who did not produce food for them. Relianceon agriculture had dramatic and interrelated consequences for society.Ever-growing populations came together into broad river valleys.Agriculture also made land that was suitable for farming into a valuableresource. Those who controlled access to arable land soon became arich and powerful since they could demand the payment of taxes andpolitical support.
Industrial societies
arose as a result of the Industrial Revolution, thechanges brought about by industrialism which used mechanical meansfor the production of goods. The Industrial Revolution began in a smallway by the mid 18th century and gained momentum by the turn of the19
century. Industrial societies require an immense, mobile, diverselyspecialized, highly skilled and well-coordinated labor force. Industrialsocieties have tremendous shifts in population and have led to theestablishment of bureaucracy.
Post-industrial societies
depend on specialized knowledge to bringabout continuing progress in technology, compared to industrialsocieties that depend on inventions and advances made by craftspeople.In the post-industrial society, there is the spread of computer industries.Advances in this field are made by highly trained specialists who work toincrease the capabilities of computers. The computer is the symbol of the post-industrial society, and knowledge and information are society’shallmarks.
3. Societies as Sociocultural Systems
(Lenski and Lenski)
Societies are social and cultural units
 The social and cultural aspects of human life is inextricably intertwined
Culture is a social product
4. Systems Needs of Human Societies
(Lenski and Lenski)
Communication among its members
—Without communication socialbehavior is impossible. Every society has at a minimum a spokenlanguage
Production of goods and services
–production for physical and psychicneeds is largely a cooperative effort and it needs a vast store of information not only in production but on how members can contribute towards the satisfaction of one another’s needs
Distribution of goods and services
that are produced—The solutionsto to problems of distribution are essentially cultural solutions.
Protection of members
from the threats posed by the environment(physical hazards, other organisms, and other human societies—societymust protect its members individually and collectively through culture interms of techniques for protection, healing and warfare. Members mustalso live long enough to carry out their functions to raise the nextgeneration to adulthood.
Replacement of the members
(reproduction)—biological reproductionto perpetuate society’s genetic heritage but the cultural heritage mustalso be preserved for that society to survive through socialization.
Regulation and control of behavior
of the members—to ensure thatthe vital of society gets done and to prevent conflicts among membersthat disrupt societal life.
5. Basic Components of Sociocultural Systems1.Population:
Genetic constants-
those that are rooted in our species’common genetic heritage: the ability to reason and devisecultural solutions to social problems, powerful emotions andappetites every society’s most precious resource and cause of its many problems.
Genetic variables
they are absent or occur in differentforms in other individuals; not distributed equally amongsocieties; color of skin, texture of hair, eye shape, blood type,etc.
Demographic variables—
size, density, distribution,migration, age, sex, deaths and births, etc.
2. Culture
Symbol systems
(Language; spoken and written, bodygestures, etc)
every culture has a substantial store oinformation about the:1.biophysical world: plant and animal life, minerals, soil,water, climate, etc2.society itself; origins, history its people, its heroes3.ultimate causes of events in this world4.coping with recurring problems from food to socialconflict5.guiding individuals in making judgments about what isgood and beautiful and right6.satisfying culturally activated and intensified needs suchas the desire for artistic expression or for ritual
3. Social Structure—
the network of relationships among members of asociety
the building block in every social structure

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