Sociology – Topic 1 Culture And Social Structure

Introductory notes for Sociology AS

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Emma Rudd BMA
16th September
Sociology ­ Topic 1 Culture and Social Structure
Evidence that demonstrates that human behaviour is learnt
Human behaviour is too complex and diverse to just be explained simply
by genes.
Feral children can be taken from their society and placed into a human
based society and learn human skills, to a certain extent. Although they
may never leave their animal traits behind.
Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity explains that people from different cultures behave differently.
But if genes control behaviour, then everyone no matter what culture they are
from would behave in a similar way. So this indicates that genes alone cannot
control behaviour.
Elias's Work
Elias work provides evidence that cultural attitudes towards the body change. As
in the 16th century people were not ashamed of their body of behaviours. They
would happily wipe snot on their sleeve or tablecloth, ate with their hands and
would freely burp in public. Whereas in later centuries people have gradually
become more aware and embarrassed about bodily functions, and now control
their bodies to behave in civilised ways, i.e. good manners.
The Three main definitions of Culture

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Emma Rudd BMA
16th September
Norms, Values and Subcultures
Definition Example
`Norms' Expectations about how Violence is not seen as
people should or should not acceptable.
behave in society.
Values Standards or principles Religion, honesty, justice and
people see as important fairness.
Subculture A large society that shares Britain ­ Many groups share the
the same culture, but also same mainstream culture but
has individual groups that also have attitudes and ways of
have certain beliefs and behaving on their own.…read more

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Emma Rudd BMA
16th September
Social Roles, Social Institutions and Social Structure
Definition Example
Social Roles Set expectations applied to A soldier is expected to be
a particular social status brave and disciplined
Social Institutions When social roles group The roles of patients,
together nurses, G.…read more


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