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What is culture?

Culture is the way of life.

According to Sir Edward Burnett Taylor: a complex whole which
includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom and any other
capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.
It is not actual observable behavior of a group of people, but an
abstraction derived from it.
It is a set of rules or standards which, when acted upon by the
members of a society, produces behavior that falls within a range of
variance the members consider proper and acceptable.
Culture is manifested in music, literature, lifestyle, painting and
sculpture, theater and film and similar things.
Some definitions of culture:
* Culture is an instant reality and apparatus of satisfaction biological
delights need.
Culture is the sum total of integrated long behavior patterns which are
characteristics of members of society.
* Religion is one kind of culture.
Culture shapes our personalities. The totality of learned, socially
transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and behavior. It
consists of all objects and ideas within a society.
Characteristics Features of culture or Fundamental features of
Culture is learned behavior.
Culture is society equated behavior.
Culture is a heritage of man.
Culture is always idealized.
5. Culture satisfies human needs.
6. Culture is the production of human society.
7. Culture is the manifestation of human capacity
8. Culture is changeable through periods.
9. Culture is transmitted from generation to generation.
10. Culture varies from societies to societies
Culture has 2 kinds
1. Material culture: the tangible products of human society.
Chair, Table, Fan, Freeze, Television, Horse, Building etc.
2. Non-Material culture: the intangible creations of human society.
Non-Material culture consists of words. The people speak. The believes,
they holds, values and virtues, they cherish, habits, they follow, retunes
and the practice they do and their ceremonies, they observed it also
includes our customs and manners, attitudes and our look in brief our
ways of acting feelings and thin kings.

Elements AND Characteristics of Culture

1. Symbols
Is anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by
people who share a culture. It will vary within single society.
2. Language
Is the critical element of culture that sets human apart from other
species. Members of a society generally share a common language, which
facilitates day to day exchanges with others. This is the foundation of every
The key to the world of culture, is a system of symbols that allows
people to communicate with one another. Humans have created many
alphabets to express the hundreds of languages we speak.
Language not only allows communication but is also the key to cultural
transmission, the process by which one generation passes culture to the
next. Just as our bodies contain the genes of our ancestors, our culture
contains countless symbols of those who came before us. Language is the
key that unlocks centuries of accumulated wisdom.
Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf claimed that each language has its
own distinctive symbols that serve as the building blocks of reality. Further,
they noted that each language has worlds or expressions not found in any
other symbolic system. Finally, all languages fuse symbols with distinctive
emotions so that, as multilingual people know, a single idea may feel
different when spoken in Spanish rather than in English or Chinese.
Sapir-Whorf thesis states that people see and understand the world
through the cultural sense of language.
3. Values
Culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is
desirable, good, and beautiful and that serve as broad guidelines for
social living.
Beliefs specific idea or thoughts that people hold to be true.
In other words, values are abstract standards of goodness, and beliefs
are particular matters that individuals consider true or false.
4. Norms
Rules and expectation by which a society guides the behavior of its
members. In everyday life, people respond to each other with
sanctions, rewards or punishments that encourage conformity to
cultural norms.
Cultural Diversities:
1. Culture is learned
Culture is learned, not biologically inherited.
This is mans social heredity.

ENCULTURATION: the process whereby culture is transmitted from

one generation to the next. Through this, one learns the socially
appropriate way of satisfying ones instinctual needs.
2. Culture is symbolic
All human behavior originates in the use of symbols.
the most important symbolic aspect of culture is LANGUAGE this is
the foundation upon which human cultures are built.


is series nature.
is shared.
is patterned
diversities for peoples creativity.
is adaptive
is general as specific

Development of Culture
Language is the critical element of culture that sets human apart from
other species. Members of a society generally share a common language,
which facilitates day to day exchanges with others. This is the foundation of
every culture.
Cultural Universals
all societies have developed certain common practices and beliefs.
Culture may be universal, but the manner in which they are
expressed varies from one culture to another.
Innovation is the process of introducing a new idea or object to a culture.
Two types of innovation:
1. Discovery
2. Invention
Diffusion refers to the process by which a cultural item spread from group
to group or society to society. It can be achieved in a variety of means,
exploration, military conquest, missionary work, mass media and tourism.
Cultural integration the close relationship among various elements of a
cultural system.
Culture lag the fact that some cultural elements change more quickly than
others, disrupting a cultural system.
Non-verbal communicationsrefers to gestures and hand signals.

Norms are the established standards of behavior maintained by a society.

The ways of encouraging and enforcing what they view as appropriate
behavior while discouraging and punishing what they consider to be
improper behavior.
2 Types of Norms
1. Formal norms these are the norms which are usually written and any
violation of the norms would have a penalty.
2. Informal norms - these norms may or may have not a penalty.
Mores are norms deemed highly necessary to the welfare of a society,
often because they embody the most cherished principles of the people. The
norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance. Taboos,
incestuous relationships
Folkways - are norms of everyday behavior. The important role in shaping
the daily behavior of members of a culture. Norms for routine or casual
Social control attempts by society to regulate peoples thoughts and
Attitudes toward cultures:
1. Ethnocentrism practice of judging another culture based on the
standards of ones culture.
2. Cultural Relativism the practice of judging a culture by its own
3. Culture Shock- anyone who feels disoriented, uncertain, out of place,
even fearful, when immersed with unfamiliar culture. The inability to
read meaning in strange surroundings. Not understanding the
symbols of a culture leaves a person feeling lost and isolated, unsure
of how to act, and sometimes frightened.
High culture to refer to cultural patterns that distinguish a societys elite.
Popular culture to designate cultural patterns that are widespread among a
societys population.
Subculture refers to cultural patterns that set apart some segment of a
societys population.
Multiculturalism is a perspective recognizing the cultural diversity of a
place and promoting equal standing for all cultural traditions. Represents a
sharp change from the past, when our society downplayed cultural diversity
and defined itself primarily in terms of well off Spaniards.

What is society?
-is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a
large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory,
subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.
- a group of people occupying a territory who are dependent on each other
for survival. The relationships that hold a society together are known so
social structure or social organization.
Other definitions of society:
Society is a system.
Society is composed of (consists only of) very many parts, which we
call members, and which are Intelligent
Systems or societies themselves.
The life span of the members of the society is appreciably shorter than
that of the society or sub society to which they belong.
Society is a group of interacting individuals sharing the same territory
and participating in common culture.
Basic features of a society
Society is the mutual interaction of individuals. It is invisible.
Active cooperation is the back bone of the society.
Liberty is regulated through the mutual agreement of individuals.
Society is universal having no boundary or limits.
Family is the force of biological interdependence of society.
Likeness of members is the essential pre-requisite for society
Origin of society
o Social contract theory.
Society is based on some original contracts between the individuals.
Society was formed to protect man against its sun bridled nature.
Society was evolved to maintain a state of peace and justice in nature
Society has an abstract phenomenon where as human body has
a definite form.
Individuals can work in an organic manner where as a body cell can
o Organic theory.
Society is a biological system.
Society is an animal body.
Industrial and agricultural systems are the nutritional systems of
the society.
Individual persons are the cells of the society.
Communication and transport are the heart, veins and arteries of
the society.

Society has an abstract phenomenon where as human body has

a definite form.
Individuals can work in an organic manner where as a body cell can
Group mind theory
Society is an embodiment of an absolute mind.
Idealism by Weber: that society was ideas shape by human
State is the higher form of the individual, which gives meaning to it.
The well defined position of an individual in the society is known as the
It determines whether a person fits in the society and his relations.
Societies can be classified into 5 groups:
Hunting gathering and tribal societies.
They live in primary groups.
They require large territories to support themselves.
their requirements are less and easily satisfied.
They work less as compared to other societies.
Pastoral societies
They are indulged in raring herds of animals domestically.
These people find food directly from these animals.
This society is more productive than the hunters.
They are nomadic and carry their herds to new grazing grounds.
Horticultural societies
They move periodically but to a short distance.
They are specialized in domestication of plants.
The strategy is based on slash and burn technology.
Agricultural societies
The use of plough greatly increases the productivity of the land, as it
brings the surface nutrients sunk out of the reach of the roots.
Money is used as a medium of exchange
The use of animal power increases the productivity several times.

Industrial societies
Emergence of modern families.
Powerful economic institutions.
Domination of management and division of labor in factories.
Social mobility and change of status prevails.
More economic avenues for women
Post Industrial societies
Refers to technology that supports an information based economy.
More and more jobs demand information-based skills using

computers, satellites, facsimile machines, and other forms of

Utilizes less and less of its labor force for industrial production.

a sociologist that differentiates societies based on their level of
technology, communication and economy
Social Conflict struggle between segments of society over the valued
resources. The most significant form of social conflict involved classes that
arise from the way society produces material goods.
This economic system, Marx noted, transformed a small part of the
population into capitalists, people who own factories and the other
productive enterprises. A capitalists goal is profit, which results from
selling a product for more than it costs to produce. Capitalism casts most of
the population as industrial workers, whom Marx termed the Proletariat
people who provide labor necessary to operate factories and other
productive enterprises.
Marx viewed the economic system as the social infrastructure.
Marx rejected capitalist common sense as false consciousness
explanations of social problems in terms of the shortcomings of
individuals rather than the flaws of society. He said, industrial
capitalism itself is responsible for many of the social problems he saw all
around him.
Marx use the term class conflict to refer to antagonism between
entire classes over the distribution of wealth and power in society.
Class consciousness the recognition by workers of their unity as a class
in opposition to capitalists and ultimately capitalism itself. Because the
inhumanity of early capitalism seemed so obvious to him, Marx concluded
that industrial workers would inevitably rise up en masse to destroy
industrial capitalism.
Max Weber: The Rationalization of Society
Webers coined the term idealism- which emphasizes how human ideas
shape society.

Ideal types abstract statements of the essential characteristics of any

social phenomenon.
He encourages rationality, deliberate, matter of fact calculation of the most
efficient means to accomplish a particular goal. Weber viewed both the
Industrial Revolution and capitalism as evidence of historical surge of
rationality. He used the phrase rationalization of society a historical
change from tradition to rationality as the dominant mode of human
Emile Durkheim: Society and Function
Durkheims observation on society:
First, society has structure because social patters exsit in orderly
relationship to ont another.
Second, society has power because the soial world surrounds us, shaping
our thoughts and actions.
Third, society has an objective existence because it operates apart from any
individuals subjective experience.
Society is complex organisms that spring form our collective life.
Durkheims vision of society is the concept of function. He explained that
the significance of any social fact lies, not in the experience of individuals,
but its contribution to the general life of society.
The Division of Labor specialized economic activity
Mechanical Solidarity social bonds, based on shared moral sentiments
that unite members of preindustrial society
Organic Solidarity- social bonds, based on specialization, that unite
members of industrial societies.

The lifelong process in which people learn the attitudes, values, and
behaviors appropriate for members of a particular culture.
The lifelong social experience by which individuals develop human
potential and learn the patterns of their culture.
Human beings rely on social experience to learn the nuances of their
culture in order to survive.
Social experience is also the foundation of personality, which refers to
a persons fairly consistent pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.
Learning how to live within ones culture.

Understanding the Socialization Process

Sigmund Freud: the elements of personality
The theory of Psychoanalysis the analysis of personality and
According to Sigmund Freud he stated that we all have inborn drives
especially drives for sexual gratification in channeling human behavior.
Also according to Freud self is a social product, and that aspects of
ones personality are influenced by other people(especially parents).

He contended that biology plays an important part in personality of

development, although not in terms of simple instincts as is common
to most other species.
Freud incorporated both basic drives and the influence of society into a
broader model of personality with three parts:
o Id - represents the human beings basic drives, which are
unconscious and demand immediate satisfaction.
o Ego a persons conscious efforts to balance innate pleasure
seeking drives with the demands of society.
o Superego the presence of culture within the individual.
Jean Piaget: Cognitive Development
The human cognition how people think and understand.
o Four Stages of Cognitive Development
The Sensorimotor Stage the level of human
development in which individuals experience the world
only though sensory contact.
On this stage, on the first two years of life, the infant
explores the world by touching, looking, sucking, and
listening. Children gain skills at imitating the actions or
sounds of others during the sensorimotor stage, but they
have no comprehension.

The Preoperational Stage the level of human

development in which individuals first use language and
other symbols.
The Concrete Operational Stage the level of
development at which individuals first perceive causal
connections in their surroundings.
The Formal Operational Stage the level of human
development at which individuals use highly abstract
thought to imagine alternatives to reality.

Lawrence Kohlberg: Moral Development

He has extended Piagets work to the issue of moral reasoning, that is,
the ways in which individuals come to judge situations as right or
wrong. He argued that moral development occurs in stages
o Pre-conventional Level young children who experience the
world in terms of pain and pleasure.
o Conventional Level - level of moral development and this will
appear among teenagers. Young people are less self centered in
their moral reasoning, defining right and wrong in terms of what
pleases parents and what is consistent with broader cultural
o Post Conventional Level moves individuals beyond the
specific norms of their society to ponder more abstract ethical
Sociological Approaches to the Self
Cooley: Looking-Glass Self
In the early 1900s, Charles Horton Cooley advanced the belief that we
learn who we are by interacting with others. Our view of ourselves, then,
comes not only from direct contemplation of our personal qualities but also
from our impressions of how others perceive us. Cooley used the phrase
looking-glass self to emphasize that the self is the product of our social
interactions with other people. This is to capture the idea that self-image is
based on how others respond to us.
The Self has two components: (The I and the Me)
1. The self is subject in that it can initiate social actions
2. The self is the object because, taking the role of another, we form
impressions of ourselves. The objective element of the self the ME.
Mead: Stages of the Self
George Herbert Mead continued Cooleys exploration of interactionist
theory. The self a dimension of personality composed of an individuals self
awareness and self image. The self develops only in social experience. Mead
developed a useful model of the process by which the self emerges, defined
by three distinct stages: the preparatory stage, the play stage, and the game
The Preparatory Stage. During the preparatory stage, children
merely imitate the people around them. As they grow older, children
become more adept at using symbols to communicate with others.
Symbols are the gestures, objects, and language that form the basis
of human communication.
The Play Stage. Mead was among the first to analyze the relationship
of symbols to socialization. As children develop skill in communicating
through symbols, they gradually become more aware of social
relationships. As a result, during the play stage, they begin to pretend

to be other people. Just as an actor becomes a character, a child

becomes a doctor, parent, superhero, or ship captain. Role taking is
the process of mentally assuming the perspective of another and
responding from that imagined viewpoint.
The Game Stage. The child of about eight or nine years old no longer
just plays roles, but begins to consider several actual tasks and
relationships simultaneously. At this point in development, children
grasp not only their own social positions, but also those of others
around them. Generalized other refers to the attitudes, viewpoints,
and expectations of society as a whole that a child takes into account
in his or her behavior.
Impacts of Socialization to:
The Individuals
- provides the skills and habits
- for acting and participating within the society
The Society
- inducting all individual members to its norms, values, beliefs, etc.
- the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained.
Goals of Socialization
Impulse control and development of a conscience
Role preparation and performance
Prepares humans to function in social life
Types of Socialization
Primary- the individual learns the culture as a member of a particular
Secondary- the individual learn the culture as member of a smaller
Developmental- process of learning behavior in a social institution, or
developing ones skills within the social institution.
Anticipatory- rehearses for future behaviors, future skills.
Re-socialization- discards former behavior pattern and accept new
pattern as a part of a transition in ones life.
Agents of Socialization
Agents of Socialization are the people and groups that influence our selfconcept, emotions, attitudes, and behavior.
Family- most important agent of socialization. Family is responsible for
among other things, determining ones attitudes toward religion and
establishing career goals.
Education- education is the agency responsible for socializing groups
of young people in particular skills and values in society.

Peer groups- peers refer to the people who are roughly the same
age/or who share other social characteristics. Peers can be the source
of harassment as well as support.
Mass media
Workplace- learning to behave appropriately within an occupation is a
fundamental aspect of human socialization. Socialization in the
workplace changes when it involves a more permanent shift from an
after-school job to full-time employment.
The State- social scientists have increasingly recognized the
importance of the government as an agent of socialization because of
its growing impact on the life course. The state has had a noteworthy
impact on the life course by reinstituting rites of passage that had
disappeared from agricultural societies and during periods of early