John D. Carl's Amusing Ourselves To Death

Submitted By Luke-Blair
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• In his book Amusing
Ourselves to Death, professor and social commentator Neil
Postman sounds a sociological alarm, warning readers that a culture based purely on technology and TV is not necessarily a culture worth enjoying.

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Culture
• Culture includes
– Language
– Beliefs
– Values
– Norms
– Behaviors
– Material objects - that are passed on from generation to generation
THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Material Culture
• Material culture includes items that you can taste, touch or feel
Examples are:
– buildings
– cars
– computers
– clothing
– crafts and artifacts
THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Nonmaterial Culture
• Nonmaterial culture includes the nonphysical products of society
Examples are:
– language
– values
– norms
– laws
– symbols
THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Language
• Language is a system of speech and/or written symbols used to convey meaning and communication
– Language may be oral or both oral and written
– There are over 6,000 different languages
– Two main factors determine the size of a language group: population size and colonial history THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
• The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis says that the structure of a language influences a native speaker’s perception and categorization of experience – For example, the US has many words for advanced communication

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (2)
• After studying many languages the SapirWhorf Hypothesis proposes two key points: 1. The differences in the structure of language parallel differences in the thinking of the people who speak the language
2. The structure of a language strongly influences the speaker’s worldview

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Universal Grammar

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
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Values
• Values represent cultural standards by which we determine what is good or bad, right or wrong
– Value pairs help us define values, usually in terms of opposites
– Value clusters are two or more values that support each other

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

VALUES

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
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U.S. Values according to Robin
Williams
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Achievement and Success
Activity and Work
Moral Orientation
Humanitarianism
Efficiency and Practicality
Progress
Material Comfort
Equality
THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

U.S. Values according to Robin
Williams
9. Freedom
10.External Conformity
11.Science and Secular Rationality
12.Nationalism and Patriotism
13.Democracy
14.Individual Personality
15.Racism and Related Group Superiority
THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Additional Values
1. Physical Fitness and Youthfulness
2. Sexuality and Romance

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Norms
• Norms are rules developed for appropriate behavior based on specific values that are conditional, they can vary from place to place
– Norms provide the justification for sanctions

THINK Sociology, Second Edition
John D. Carl

Copyright ©2011 by Pearson…