AS Sociology- Culture & Identity

Culture and Identity revision.

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  • Created by: Samm
  • Created on: 24-05-10 11:23

The Definition of Culture

Contemporary sociologist use this explanation.

Jencks (1993) distinguished this explanation.

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The Definition of Culture

  • The whole way of life of a people.
  • Linton (1945) 'The culture of a society is the way of life of its members; the collection of ideas and habits which they learn, share and transmit from generation to generation'

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Types of Culture

High Culture
Folk Culture
Mass Culture
Popular Culture
Global Culture

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Types of Culture

  • High Culture- Refers to cultural creations that have a particularly high status. E.g. opera, classical music and literature. Seen as superior.
  • Folk Culture- Refers to culture of ordinary people. E.g. traditional folk songs and stories handed down from generation to generation.
  • Mass Culture- Seen as less worthy than high or folk culture. It's a product of mass media including popular feature films, TV soaps and pop music.
  • Popular Culture- Similar to mass culture. Features any cultural products appreciated by ordinary people; TV programmes, mass-market films and popular fiction.
  • Subculture- Applied to a wide range of groups; those who live close together and have a shared lifestyle, youth groups who share interests and ethnic groups who share the same beliefs.
  • Global Culture- Implies an all-embracing culture common to people all over the world.
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Giddens (2006)

Handel (2006)

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Giddens (2006)- defines socialisation as the process through which culture is passed from generation to generation. It initially takes place in the family; later education, religion, the media and peer groups are important.

Handel (2006)- argues that individuals gain their own unique identity during socialisation

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The Definition of Identity;

Personal identity

Social identity

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Identity is having a sense of who you are and what is important to you.

Personal Identity- How a person thinks about themselves.

Social Identity- How a person is perceived by others.

According to Postmodernists;

People actively create their own identities.

People have a great deal of choice about what social groups to join.

Through shopping and other forms of consumption people can shape and change their identities.

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Identity and Culture

Functionalism and Marxism


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Identity and Culture

Identity is closely related to the concept of culture; identities can be formed through the cultures and subcultures to which people belong.

Functionalism & Marxism- Theories see identity as originating in a fairly straightforward way from involvement in particular cultures and subcultures; people living in Britain would be expected to have a strong sense of British identity.

Postmodernist- Theories stress the diversity of factors influencing identity; British people from different ethnic or national origins interpret British identity in different ways.

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Marxist theories of culture and identity

Marxist Theories

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Marxist theories of culture and identity

In class-stratified societies, culture can be seen as little more than ruling-class ideology.

The view of the world advanced by the dominant class.

Sees the working class as suffering from false class conciousness.

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