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  • Created by: Stano
  • Created on: 11-01-14 18:48


Culture is the common way of life of a society. It refers to patterns of belief, values, attitudes and ways of thinking which people use to make sense of their social worlds.

Culture consists of norms and values. Values are widely accepted beliefs that something is worthwile and norms are the behavior that is based on values.

For example, if the value is privacy then the norm expected of people in society would be to respect the privacy of people.

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High culture

This is mainly linked to the wealthy elite - upper class. It is seen as superior to other cultures such as popular culture because it can only be valued if people have a certain type of education or viewpoint that knows good taste.

Values include creativity, artistic expression, critical discussion and serious philosophical issues. Examples of high culture pursuits include the appreciation of art, sculpture, classical music, opera, ballet, Shakespeare and classical literature such as Austen and Dickens.

It is argued that it's set apart from the ordinariness of everyday life, since many high cultural pursuits, such as trips to musuems or theatres, are expensive and unaffordable for ordinary people.

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Popular culture

This is mainly connected with the entertainment culture, for example television, cinema, pop music, popular literature, magazines and newspapers which are enjoyed by the majority of the population.

The media is largely responsible for creating popular culture in contemporary UK and that consumption plays a key role in popular culture.

Popular culture feeds the obsession of consumerism with images of designer goods and by placing a high value on materialism. Most popular culture is accessible to 'ordinary' people and forms a major part of their leisure.

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Consumer culture

Consumer culture is the product of the increasing emphasis on the consumption of goods and services, developing over the past thirty years.

A consumer culture is related to the things we consume within society, for example , services such as banking, insurance, hotels and fast food have become more important than factories producing goods such as cars and televisions.

For example, shopping has become a major leisure pastime in the last ten years and has turned the UK into a consumer culture because of the investment in new shopping experiences such as super-large supermarkets, internet shopping, the easy availability of credit cards and loans, and the increasing importance of conspicuous consumption - the buying of brands and logos to gain status and respect from others.

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Global culture

Globalisation is the process by which events in one part of the world come to influence what happens elsewhere in the world, and it means that there are no longer individual or isolated countries.

A global culture is a key feauture in the process of globalisation, and has emerged due to patterns of migration, international travel and the spread of the media.

Global culture means the world has become a smaller place. An example of this is Americanisation and Mcdonaldisation, which suggest that global culture is basically American culture.

The world has become increasingly interconnected; socially, politically and economically. For example, socially, trends and fashions in large cities spread quickly to other cities; fashion in Paris is likely to impact on styles in New York and London.

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Large societies tend to have subcultures; a culture enjoyed by a small group of people within society. They're social groups that are usually committed to the wider culture that dominates a society, but they also tend to share their own norms, values and customs.

Many people associate themselves with subcultures during the period of youth, and then move away from them in time.

Examples of subcultures in the UK include youth groups such as Goths, Emos, Indies, Punks and skaters, or relgious groups such as the Scientoligists.

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Multiculturalism relates to communities containing multiple cultures. It can refer to different ethnic groups living side by side in society and promotes the belief that all ethnic groups are of the same status, and each have an equal right to preserve their own culture and heritage.

For example, schools tend to teach multi-faith religious education and the celebration of a range of ethnically-diverse festivals.

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Cultural diversity

Cultural diversity can mean the variety of cultures and ethnic groups in one specific region. Three types of diversity are:

When members of society have distinct ways of life while still broadly serving the dominant culture within society. For example, gays and lesbians are trying to diversify what is accepted as the norm in society and open it up.

Some members of society rebel against its principles by rejecting dominant values. For example, the environmental group 'Reclaim the Streets' does this.

Communal diversification is where ethnic groups have established communities which add diversity to the dominant way of life. For example, Bangladeshi communities in East London relate to this.

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