Culture: The language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors and material objects passed from one generation to another
Material and Nonmaterial
Material: jewelry, clothes, shoes, cars, etc.
Nonmaterial: groups way of thinking and doing
For sociologist; it is essential to understand how culture affects people’s lives.
Culture becomes the lens through which we perceive and evaluate what is going on around us.
The tendency to use our own groups way of doing things as measuring stick to judge others
Our ways (both thinking and doing) are good, right, and superior to those of others
It creates in-group loyalties
Leads to discrimination
Understanding a culture on its own terms
Look at how the elements of a culture fit together
Not judging those elements as superior or inferior to our own way of life
None of us can be completely successful at practicing cultural relativism
Values, Norms, and Sanctions
Values: ideas about what is desirable in life
Standards for “good” and “bad”
Underlies preferences, guides our choices, indicates what is worthwhile
Norms: expectations concerning the right way to reflect values
Sanctions: reactions for following or breaking norms
Folkways and Mores
Folkways: norms that aren’t strictly enforced
Mores: norms that are essential to core values
Taboo: norm so strongly ingrained that is violation is greeted with revulsion
A world within the larger world of the dominant culture
There are thousands of subcultures in the US
Body builders, running, ethnic groups, etc.
Values, norms, food, religion, music, language and clothing set them apart