q1 sociology AS OCR

norms, cultures 

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  • Created by: farwa
  • Created on: 30-04-12 06:16

define the concept subcultures

Subcultures are a minority part of the majority culture; they are committed to the wider culture that dominates society but they have distinct norms and values which make them different and distinctive. There are a range of subcultures in British society which illustrates the fact that Britain is a culturally diverse society. Examples of subcultures in the UK include youth subcultural groups such as emos and goths or environmental/eco subcultural groups, or religious subcultural groups such as scientologists. Some sociologists have focused their attention on deviant sub cultural groups these groups grow in opposition to authority. Membership to sub cultures changes as do the sub cultures, they represent the changing nature of society. 

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define the concept of norms

Norms are social rules which define the acceptable and expected ways of behaving in a given social situation. Norms are much more precise than values; they are essentially values put in to practice; for example the norm of knocking on a door before entering someone else’s room or house reflects the value of privacy. Norms are specific to social situations; for example laughing and dancing would be a norm associated with night clubbing but not at a funeral. In this sense norms are relative. Breaking norms would generally be seen as deviant behaviour and are usually enforced using informal sanctions; the disapproval of others embarrassment or telling off from parents for example. However when people break society’s formal norms (laws) then the sanctions become formal. Customs are norms which have lasted for a long time and have become part of society’s traditions; for example decorating  tree at Christmas time buying presents for peoples birthdays.

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define the concept of culture

The term culture can be summarised as the learned and shared way of life in any society. It includes society’s language, beliefs, values norms, customs, dress, diet and roles which people use to make sense of their social world. Our culture provides us with guidelines and rules which help us to accomplish everyday activities and relate socially to other people. The word culture is often used interchangeably with concept of society but these two concepts do not mean the same thing. Culture forms the connection between the individual and society, it tells us how to operate effectively within social institutions which make up society such as societies have an institution called the education system but it is a societies culture which helps to provide guidelines for individuals to enable the, to fit in to the institution.  This is achieved for example through cultural understanding of school norms and rules the different roles that are performed, the customs, dress code, expectations and so on. Culture is made up of several different aspects including norms, values statuses and roles.

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